SPIRITUAL WARFARE. Sooner or later every believer discovers that the Christian life is a battleground, not a playground, and that he faces an enemy much stronger than he is—apart from the Lord. ~ Warren Wiersbe ~. • we are soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3–4).
Sooner or later every believer discovers that the Christian life is a battleground, not a playground, and that he faces an enemy much stronger than he is—apart from the Lord.
~ Warren Wiersbe ~
Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier (stratiw¿thß) of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier (2 Timothy 2:3–4).
But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier (sustratiw¿thn), who is also your messenger and minister to my need (Philippians 2:25);
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved brother and fellow worker, and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier (twˆ◊ sustratiw¿thØ), and to the church in your house (Philemon 1–2):
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world (1 Peter 5:8–9).
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly place (Ephesians 6:12).
And the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will (2 Timothy 2:24–26).
• offensively, our job is to tear down strongholds—fortresses of the enemy in the souls of men with the spiritual weapons God has provided (2 Cor 10:3–6)
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete (2 Corinthians 10:3–6).
• defensively, we are “to stand firm (sthvnai) against the schemes of the devil” (Eph 6:11)• the verb histemi (iºsthmi) is often a military term meaning “to hold a watchpost” or “to…hold out in a critical position on a battlefield”
• spiritual warfare is applying the great power of positional truth to experience—learning how to put on your armor and use your spiritual weapons effectively to fight against Satan (Eph 6:11, 13, 14)
Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm (Ephesians 6:10–13).
giving no cause for offense in anything, in order that the ministry be not discredited, but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left (2 Corinthians 6:3–7),
This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the good fight (1 Timothy 1:18),
• in spiritual warfare churches need a command center to send and receive vital communications• military vehicles are now equipped with computers and satellite positioning devises that relay coordinates to the command center; commanders can overlay these positions on accurate satellite generated maps and coordinate forces on the battlefield to outmaneuver the enemy—all a result of good communications
• get the phone number of your Sunday School teacher, a mature believer, a deacon you trust, or your pastor—and don’t hesitate to call anytime of the day or night if you feel you’re under satanic attack• they will immediately pray with you, meet with you, and give you the doctrine you need to stand firm against the enemy—so you’re not isolated and picked off
• the full armor of God covers and protects the whole body:belt stomach, groinbreastplate chestsandals feetshield hand, arm, chest, groin, legs, facehelmet head
• this armor is listed in the order a Roman infantryman would put them on• he first put a belt on over his short tunic to keep the breastplate and scabbard in place
Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH…(Ephesians 6:14a NASB)
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist… (6:14a NIV)
• soldiers used wide leather belts (cingulum) studded with decorated metal plates to carry their aprons, daggers, and swords• the apron consisted of a number of leather thongs with riveted metal plates and weighted with bronze terminals: it swung between the legs and protected the stomach and private parts
• “belt of truth” is a genitive of apposition in which A (belt) = B (truth)• the “belt of truth” ( 6:14) held “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (6:17)
• truth protects us from one of Satan’s most powerful weapons—deception, lies, and false doctrine (cf. Eve, Gen 3:1–6; 2 Cor 11:3; 1 Tim 2:14; millennial unbelievers, Rev 20:7–10)
• the belt is defensive truth (you won’t be suckered by lies and false doctrine); the sword of the Spirit is offensive truth (such as James 4:7: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”)
• some of the positive gains of revival will be lost to satanic deception, lies, and false doctrine (e.g., heresy, evolution, philosophy, occult, New Age Movement, cults, religion)
…having put on the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14b NASB)
…with the breastplate of righteousness in place (6:14b NIV)
• the breastplate (lorica segmenta) consisted of six or seven horizontal overlapping strips attached on the inside by leather strips to allow freedom of movement• the shoulders were covered with sets of curved strips• it also had front and back plates• it could be taken apart or quickly put on as a complete unit and laced up from the front
• parts of three breastplates have been found in a wooden box dating to 98–100 A.D. in a Roman fort at Corbridge—the iron has rusted to its oxide but the leather has survived• fragments of hinges, hooks, and buckles are often found in forts in Roman Britain• a scarf was worn around the neck and knotted at the front to prevent the metal plates from chafing the skin
• the breastplate covered the body’s most vital organs—the heart, lungs, stomach, liver, and bowels• a wound from an enemy’s sword, spear, or arrow in any one of these organs meant almost certain death
• “breastplate of righteousness” is a genitive of apposition in which A (breastplate) = B (righteousness)• righteousness is given a place of vital importance in the believer’s warfare• righteousness is all that Satan is not; he is unrighteous, wicked, evil, and full of darkness (John 8:44; 13:2; 1 John 3:8)
• the breastplate of righteousness is living a righteous life (experiential righteousness) • experiential righteousness is imitating the righteousness of God; that is, conformity to the righteous standards of God in your thoughts, words, and deeds:Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous (1 John 3:7);
not as Cain, who was of the evil one, and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous (1 John 3:12).
• a state of experiential righteousness is produced by confession of sin:If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).• if you have been cleansed from all unrighteousness, you’re in a state of experiential righteousness (but not necessarily practicing righteousness, living a righteous life, or doing righteous deeds)
• if the breastplate is imputed righteousness (at salvation), then every believer has his breastplate on all the time (and doesn’t need to put it on); if the breastplate is ultimate righteousness (resurrection body), then no believer has received a breastplate yet (and can’t put it on)• since this verse is addressed to believers (not unbelievers), the breastplate must be experiential righteousness
• our knowledge of experiential righteousness comes from the Scriptures:All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
• many verses promise protection for living a righteous life—memorize them before going out to battle:For it is Thou who dost bless the righteous man, O LORD,Thou dost surround him with favor as with a shield (Psalm 5:12).
He brought me forth also into a broad place;He rescued me, because He delighted in me. The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD,And have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His ordinances were before me,And I did not put away His statutes from me. I was also blameless with Him,And I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness,According to the cleanness of my hands in His eyes(Psalm 18:19–24).
• the Devil is called “the accuser (oJ kath/gwr) of our brethren” (Rev 12:10)• he accused Job of serving God only to receive God’s blessings (Job 1:9–11; 2:4–5)• he accused Joshua the high priest (Zechariah 3:1–2)
• the name Satan (NDfDÚcAh) means “Adversary or Opposer’ and the noun sitnah (hÎnVfIc) refers to an accusation (Ezra 4:6)• Devil (dia/boloß) means “Slanderer”—he sullies your good name by making false accusations to God
• Satan cannot effectively accuse a believer who is living a righteous life (confessing his sins, practicing righteousness, and doing righteous deeds)
• a lack of experiential righteousness in spiritual warfare may be fatal: it’s going out to battle without a breastplate—leaving you exposed to enemy fire• you may be pierced through the heart by an accusation from Satan
• to be pierced through the heart is a fatal spiritual wound; e.g., a pastor who is caught in adultery: he’s living an unrighteous life (without his breastplate), he gets caught and his sin is made known to all by Satan, he loses his credibility, loses his church, and loses his ministry—and never pastors a church again• Satan kills him as a spiritual leader (Jimmy Swaggart suffered a near fatal wound)• to be wounded or killed spiritually is to be partially or totally neutralized in effectively using your spiritual gifts (healing is possible with the passage of time)
• some of the positive gains of revival will be lost to unrighteous living (temptation, sin, disobedience, carnality, failure to confess your sins daily)
…having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE (Ephesians 6:15)
…your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (6:15 KJV);
• soldiers wore an elaborate military boot called a caliga• they were heavy sandals with several thicknesses of sole studded with hollow-headed hob-nails• the soles were three-quarters of an inch thick
• eyewitness account:…he was wearing ordinary military boots thickly studded with sharp spikes, and as he ran across the pavement he slipped and fell on his back with a loud clang of his armor…(Josephus, The Jewish War, 22.214.171.124)• modern equivalents are baseball or football cleats (shoes)
• sandals were defensive military equipment• sandals protected a soldier’s feet from stones, bugs, stickers, and the weather while marching to battle and fighting on battlefields• sandals also provided sure footing, traction, and mobility
• traction and sure footing are imperative in hand-to-hand combat:when you’re fighting with swords, your first slip is usually your last• in the Old Testament God promises to protect the righteous by keeping their feet from slipping
• a pilgrimage psalm:I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From whence shall my help come?My help comes from the LORD,Who made heaven and earth.He will not allow your foot to slip;He who keeps you will not slumber (Psalm 121:1–3).
• a wisdom psalm:The steps of a man are [firmly] established by the LORD;And He delights in his way. When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong;Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand. I have been young, and now I am old;Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,Or his descendants begging bread. All day long he is gracious and lends;And his descendants are a blessing (Psalm 37:23–26).
Depart from evil, and do good,So you will abide forever. For the LORD loves justice,And does not forsake His godly ones;They are preserved forever;But the descendants of the wicked will be cut off. The righteous will inherit the land,And dwell in it forever (Psalm 37:27–29).
The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,And his tongue speaks justice. The law of his God is in his heart;His steps do not slip.The wicked spies upon the righteous,And seeks to kill him. The LORD will not leave him in his hand,Or let him be condemned when he is judged. Wait for the LORD, and keep His way,And He will exalt you to inherit the land;When the wicked are cut off,you will see it (Psalm 37:30–34).
• a psalm of praise for deliverance from an enemy:Praise our God, O peoples,let the sound of his praise be heard;he has preserved our livesand kept our feet from slipping (Psalm 66:8–9 NIV).
• the sandals of the preparation of the gospel of peace are also defensive military gear—used in spiritual warfare• these sandals carry your armor and weapons to battle
and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION (e˚toimasi÷a) OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE (6:15)• on our feet are “the preparation of the gospel of peace”• God has provided what may be called “the sandals of the preparation of the gospel of peace”
• the implied “sandals of preparation” would be a genitive of apposition in which A (sandals) = B (preparation)• other examples of a genitive of apposition are “the feast of unleavened bread” (Luke 22:1) and “the sign of circumcision” (Romans 4:11)• your sandals (combat boots) are your preparation of the gospel of peace
• e˚toimasi÷a is used of the preparation of food and drink for a banquet with the Egyptian king Ptolemy II:…the king ordered the finest apartments to be given them near the citadel, and thepreparationsfor the banquet to be made. The chief steward Nicanor summoned Dorotheus, who was appointed in charge of these matters, and bade him completepreparationsfor each guest. “These,” he said, “are the king’s orders; some of them you still see now.” The number of prominent delegates corresponds to the number of cities, all having the same customs in matters of drink and food and bedding. Allpreparationswere made in accordance with these customs, so that when they came in the presence of the kings they would have a happy visit, with no cause for complaint (Letter of Aristeas 181–182).
• the phrase “the preparation of the gospel” is a genitive of reference and may be translated ‘the preparation with reference to the gospel’• the preparation is done in the area of the gospel: defensively, it’s learning how the gospel protects you from false gospels; and offensively, it’s learning how the gospel brings peace between God and men (reconciliation) and peace between believers and unbelievers (evangelism)
• “the preparation of the gospel of peace” is getting ready for spiritual combat by studying, learning, and understanding the gospel• the preparation is the work you do in learning about the gospel• this preparation comes through personal Bible study, preaching, teaching, and meditation• this preparation (understanding of the gospel) is put on like military sandals before going out to battle
• defensively, the preparation of the gospel of peace protects you fromfalse gospels—another favorite weapon of Satan:But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully (2 Corinthians 11:3–4).
I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:6–9 ).
• there are many false gospels:(1) salvation by good works: pagans, neo-orthodoxy, Judaism, most religions(2) faith plus good works: believe and be baptized, repent and believe, believe and surrender by giving Christ control of your life (lordship salvation adds obedience to faith)
• faith-plus gospels say faith in Jesus Christ is necessary, but is not enough—works are also needed to make it to heaven• these faith-plus gospels are endless: faith plus baptism, repentance, surrender, obedience, faithful living, church membership, personal sacrifice, penances and masses (Roman Catholicism)• salvation is conditioned solely on faith over 200 times in the New Testament
• false invitations:• “Give your heart to Christ”—salvation is not my gift to God, but his gift to me.Variations of this false invitation are “Give your life to God,” “Give your heart to Christ,” “Surrender all,” “Put your all on the altar,” and “Ask Jesus to come into your heart.”• “Forsaking all your sins”—this means that the sinner must promise to live perfectly from now on
• “God be merciful to me a sinner, and save me for Jesus’ sake”—an incomplete invitation• “Surrender all”—the full surrender of Jesus Christ on Calvary saves us, not our full surrender to him• “Make Jesus your Lord” or “Make Jesus the Lord of your life”—promising to obey the rest of your life is works
• the gospel is also a powerful offensive weapon to turn people “from these vain things to a living God” (Acts 14:15).For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Romans 1:16).
• the phrase “the gospel of peace” is a genitive of the product in which B (peace) is the product of A (the gospel): the gospel of peace provides peace with God:Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1),
• when you successfully use the gospel against an unbelieving enemy you make peace between him, yourself, and God—effectively defeating, disarming, and taking captive one of Satan’s warriors
• what seems to be an incongruity is really a paradox: weapons of peace are used to make war• a good soldier seeks peace through conquest• use the gospel to invade the Kingdom of Darkness
• here is another paradox:And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet (Romans 16:20b).• the aggressor in the angelic conflict is clearly Satan, not God
• all were at peace when Satan rebelled; and all will be at peace again when Satan is incarcerated for a thousand years in the Abyss and forever in the Lake of Fire• the title “the God of peace” occurs five times in the New Testament (Rom 5:33; 16:20; Phil 4:9; 1 Thess 5:23; Heb 13:20)• God wants peace and provides peace of mind (fruit of the Spirit) and peace with Him (propitiation and reconciliation) in the midst of war—and ultimately peace on earth (millennial Kingdom and the new earth)
• your understanding of the gospel is your sure footing in spiritual warfare• you can’t use your Sword (Word of God) effectively without sandals (the gospel)
• did you know there is an interesting story behind the Greek word for 'gospel'? euangelion means 'good news' euangelizo means 'bring or announce good news' euangelistes means 'a bringer of good tidings' or 'an evangelist'• the word gospel (euangelion)is closely linked with victory in battle
• originally it referred to the good news of a decisive victory in battle:• a city-state's army is at war in the field• the people anxiously await news of the outcome• victory means they will remain free and enjoy the spoils; defeat means certain death and slavery• suddenly a messenger arrives from the battlefield—on a ship, on horseback, or as a swift runner
• he has a broad smile on his face • his spear is decked with laurel • his head is crowned • he swings a palm branch over his head with his left hand • he raises his right hand in greeting• he cries out with a loud voice "Chaire…nikomen" which means "Rejoice…we are victorious!"
• joy fills the city—pandemonium breaks out—everyone is ecstatic, shouting, hugging each other, and celebrating• the city offers good news sacrifices (euangelia) to its gods• garlands are put on their temples• an agon (assembly met to see games) is held• the victor is honored with a wreath
• the messenger—the one bringing the good news—is just as ecstatic as the people in the city—the ones he tells the good news to (so we should be happy and excited to tell the good news to others)• the people often rewarded the messenger for bringing the good news (his good news brings relief to the recipients; therefore he is rewarded)—so we are rewarded for proclaiming the good news
• euangelion (good news) is often combined with soteria (salvation) because victory over enemies is the salvation of the city (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:1–3)
• the word came to be used of any kind of message that was good news and brought joy to the hearers • news about the birth of a son • news of an approaching wedding • news of winning an election (political)• news of a popular general becoming emperor (the cities of the east rejoiced when they heard about Vespasian's accession to the throne, Josephus, War 4.618)
• the gospel is the good news of victory over death and Satan:Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil (Hebrews 2:14); The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8b).
But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:54–57).
• names of the gospel:“the gospel of God” is the good news from God the Father (Mark 1:14; Romans 1:1)“the gospel of Jesus Christ” is the good news about Jesus Christ” (Mark 1:1)“the gospel of his Son” is the good news about God’s Son (Romans 1:9)
“the gospel of the kingdom” is the good news about the coming Kingdom of God (Matthew 4:23)“the gospel of the grace of God” is the good news about God’s saving grace (Acts 20:24)“the gospel of your salvation” is the good news that produces salvation (Ephesians 1:13)
• preaching the gospel: the gospel is preached in different geographical areasJesus was going about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 4:23)
• spreading the gospel: the gospel travels by footBut Philip found himself at Azotus; and as he passed through he kept preaching thegospel to all the cities, until he came to Caesarea (Acts 8:40).
• demand of the gospel: the gospel demands faith (Mark 1:15; Acts 15:7) • enemies of the gospel: the Jews (Romans 11:28) and Satan (2 Cor 4:4)
• first offensive objective of preaching the gospel:“preach the gospel to you in order that you should turn from these vain things to a living God” (Acts 14:15) • second offensive objective of preaching the gospel: to make disciples (Acts 14:21)
In addition to all this, take up the shield (qureo/ß) of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16 NIV).
• their legs were bare; protection was sacrificed for mobility• they carried a large shield (scutum) curved to fit the body• shields were made of a kind of plywood (thin sheets of wood, glued together so that the grain of each piece was at right-angles to its neighbor)
• the edges were trimmed with bronze or wrought iron• the outside surface was covered with leather, on which was fastened gilded or silvered decoration, probably in bronze• the center was hollowed out on the inside for the hand-grip and protected by a metal boss (a finely decorated bronze boss from the river Tyne in the British Museum bears the inscription of its owner—Junius Dubitatus of the century of Julius Magnus of VIII Augusta)
• the curve of the shield helped deflect blows• these shields were about two feet wide and four feet long• it looked like a door (the word qureo/ß ‘shield’ is a derivative of qu/ra ‘door’)• it was used to deflect swords, spears, and volleys of arrows
• swords were short range weapons; spears were medium range weapons; and arrows were the long range weapons of the ancient world• soldiers turned sideways on one knee, raised their shields above their heads, and held their ground (were steadfast) against a volley of arrows, then advanced toward the enemy
• the shield was the only maneuverable armor: it could be moved to protect exposed body parts (feet, legs, neck, face) and give added protection wherever needed
• “shield of faith” is a genitive of apposition in which A (shield) = B (faith)• faith is maneuverable: it not only protects against fear, doubts, worries, and discouragement, but also helps protect against deception, lies, and false doctrine (belt and apron), accusations and temptations (breastplate), false gospels (sandals), and the fear of death (helmet)
• our faith in God’s character and Word can protect us from all of Satan’s weapons (arrows)• note the effectiveness of this shield: faith can neutralize (extinguish) every fear, doubt, or discouragement (arrows) that Satan shoots at us
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)
• faith is(1) believing the invisible world is just the way the Bible says it is (angels, demons, Satan, Jesus, God, heaven, hell), and(2) believing God will keep all of his promises; that is, give us in the future what we hope for now (resurrection, rewards)
• to doubt is to be uncertain about something
• the word used for doubts (diakrino,diakri/nw) means to take issue with something, to argue or dispute with someone over something, or to be at odds with yourself• it's used (1) of the Jews in Jerusalem who argued with Peter over his ministry to the Gentiles (Acts 11:2–4), and (2) of the archangel Michael's dispute with Satan over the body of Moses (Jude 9)
• to doubt is to argue silently with yourself:One moment you say, "God will keep His promise!" and the very next moment you say, "No, He won't keep His promise! It's hopeless. It's too difficult—even for God!"
• "yet, with respect to the promise of God, he [Abraham] did not waver in unbelief, but was strong in faith" (Romans 4:20 NASB). A better translation of "he did not waver in unbelief" is ‘he did not dispute with himself in unbelief (ouj diekri÷qh thØv aÓpisti÷aˆ).’• Abraham did not allow doubts to linger in his mind as he contemplated his impossible situation (having a child in their old age). A great faith never has doubts about God's ability to keep his promises.
• doubting is being double-minded (di/yucoß) (James 1:8a)• your mind is so filled with uncertainty and indecision that you cannot make a choice between the alternatives with which you are faced
• doubts take away your joy and peace of mind: like waves blown by storm-winds, so is a heart filled with doubts—not calm and peaceful but billowing, churning, agitated:…the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind (James 1:6b).
• doubt is sin: “…whatever is not from faith is sin”(Romans 14:23)• doubts must be confessed to restore fellowship with God and faith must be restored to effectively enter the fight again • confession is not enough: it restores fellowship but not courage
• doubts weaken our faith and spiritual power (Matthew 14:31; Romans 4:20)• Peter walked on water until he became afraid and began doubting. He started to sink when he started doubting.• do you think Satan increased the wind to create fear and doubts in Peter to cause him to fail this test of faith and to make Jesus look bad?
• doubts shut down your prayer life:But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1:5–8).
• the sin of doubt puts you out of fellowship with God and “the Lord will not hear” your prayers (Psalm 66:18)• you lose your heavy artillery, your most formidable spiritual weapon—prayer
• fear causes doubts (Matthew 14:28–32)And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind stopped.
• Satan uses the weapon of fear to create doubts in believers to weaken their faith and defeat them spiritually—by making them powerless to do supernatural feats of power (miracles)• if doubts penetrate your shield (loss of faith) and breastplate (loss of experiential righteousness caused by the sin of doubt), you’re neutralized spiritually: you no longer have the faith to continue fighting or to do the impossible because you’re cowering with fear and doubts• Satan has effectively won; he has put you out of this spiritual battle
• the shield of faith is our protection against the flaming arrows of doubt (Ephesians 6:16)• causing fear and doubts are two of Satan’s favorite weapons
• when you have doubts, claim these promises by faith:With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26 = Mark 10:27 = Luke 18:27).For nothing will be impossible with God (Luke 1:37). This verse was spoken by the angel Gabriel—and he ought to know!
• faith without doubts can do the impossible: walk on water (Matthew 14:30–31), wither fig trees, and move mountains (Matthew 21:17–22; Mark 11:23).• faith without doubts can accomplish great miracles and do awesome supernatural feats of power
• Satan uses the weapon of fear to create discouragement and to keep us from doing God’s work
• the spies were afraid of the giants and discouraged the children of Israel from entering the promised land (Numbers 13:31–33):Now why are you discouraging the sons of Israel from crossing over into the land which the LORD has given them? This is what your fathers did when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to see the land. For when they went up to the valley of Eshcol and saw the land, they discouraged the sons of Israel so that they did not go into the land which the LORD had given them (Numbers 32:7–9).
• enemies living nearby frightened and discouraged the returning Jewish exiles from building a temple for God (Ezra 4:1–5):Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah, and frightened them from building, and hired counselors against them to frustrate their counsel all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia (Ezra 4:4–5).
• enemies living nearby tried to frighten and discourage Nehemiah from rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 6:1–9):For all of them were trying to frighten us, thinking, “They will become discouraged with the work* and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands (Nehemiah 6:9).* literally, ‘Their hands will drop from the work’—figurative language expressing the idea of discouragement
• Satan often uses the weapon of fear to keep us from doing God’s work (Acts 21:10–14):
And as we were staying there for some days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles’” (Acts 21:10–11).
And when we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” And since he would not be persuaded, we fell silent, remarking, “The will of the Lord be done!” (Acts 21:12–14)
• fear may cause you to sin (Nehemiah 6:10–14):He was hired for this reason, that I might become frightened and act accordingly and sin, so that they might have an evil report in order that they could reproach me (Nehemiah 6:13).
• fear often produces discouragement, fear and discouragement often produce disobedience, and disobedience produces divine discipline (compare Numbers 14:9 with 32:6–13)
• with our shield (faith) we can successfully resist attacks from the Devil:Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world (1 Peter 5:8–9).
• stop flaming arrows of fear with your shield of faith by claiming such promises and warfare verses as:“Do not fear, for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10; cf. 1 Chronicles 28:20; 2 Chronicles 20:17).
Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37).
• elsewhere faith is the breastplate—a different metaphor but the same defensive protection against Satan’s fiery arrows (fear, worry, doubts, and discouragement)…having put on the breastplate (qw¿rax) of faith and love…(1 Thessalonians 5:8)
And take the helmet of salvation…(Ephesians 6:17a)
• helmets were made of bronze or iron with an iron skull-plate and a leather skull-cap inside to take the shock of blows• a projecting piece in the back shielded the neck• a smaller ridge fastened to the front protected the face• on the sides were large cheek-pieces hinged at the top
• the helmet of salvation protects you from the fear of death—one of Satan’s most powerful weapons:Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives (Hebrews 2:14).
Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8b).• in the African bush young, strong lions seldom roar, preferring to stalk and quickly ambush their victims; older, weaker lions, however, rely on their roar to paralyze their victims with fear
• the helmet of salvation gives you the courage to face persecution and martyrdom:‘Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life’ (Revelation 2:10).
• the helmet of salvation gives you the courage to be faithful:Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up (Daniel 3:16–18).
• the helmet of salvation provides courage to boldly speak the truth: “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it” (Acts 7:51–53).
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears, and they rushed upon him with one impulse (Acts 7:54–57).
And when they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him, and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they went on stoning Stephen as he called upon the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” And falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” And having said this, he fell asleep (Acts 7:58–60).
And when we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” And since he would not be persuaded, we fell silent, remarking, “The will of the Lord be done!” (Acts 21:12–14)
• persecution usually results from unseen demonic activity• Satan motivates and creates opportunities for human agents to persecute God’s people
• persecution is inflicting suffering without just cause
Princes persecute me without cause, But my heart stands in awe of Thy words (Psalm 119:161).
• expect persecution:Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also (John 15:20).And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12).
• persecution usually arises because of God’s Word:And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away (Mark 4:16–17).
• persecution may come from false interpretations of Scripture (such as legalism):Jesus said to him, “Arise, take up your pallet, and walk.” And immediately the man became well, and took up his pallet and began to walk. Now it was the Sabbath on that day. Therefore the Jews were saying to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.” But he answered them, “He who made me well was the one who said to me, ‘Take up your pallet and walk’” (John 5:8–11).And for this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath (John 5:16).
• persecution is instigated by Satan(here anti-semitism in the Great Tribulation):And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. And the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, in order that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent (Revelation 12:13–14).
And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus (Revelation 12:15–17).
• persecuting Christians is persecuting Jesus:and he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who art Thou, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting (Acts 9:4–5),And I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons (Acts 22:4),
• persecution may kill your spiritual life:And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away (Matthew 13:20–21).
• in times of persecution remember that God will not forsake us:we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8–9);• e˙gkatalei÷pw (egkataleipo) means to desert a person and leave him uncared for
• persecution cannot separate us from Christ’s love:Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (Romans 8:35)
• be patient and endure the persecution:To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure (aÓne÷cw); when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now (1 Corinthians 4:11–13).• aÓne÷cw(anecho) means “to be patient with, in the sense of enduring possible difficulty”
• keep a good attitude:I cry out to Thee for help, but Thou dost not answer me; I stand up, and Thou dost turn Thy attention against me. Thou hast become cruel to me; With the might of Thy hand Thou dost persecute me (Job 30:20–21).
• pray for deliverance (like David):My times are in Thy hand;Deliver me from the hand of my enemies,and from those who persecute me(Psalm 31:15).
• pray for your persecutors:You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:43–45).
• don’t curse your persecutors:Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not (Romans 12:14).• to bless is to say good things (eujlogi/a) about someone and to do good things for them• to curse is to say bad things about someone—to besmirch their character
• God, for example, blesses us by giving us good things—such as money, livestock, and health (Deuteronomy 28:2–6, 8, 12; Psalm 21:3)• we bless God by giving good things to him: giving him praise, thanksgiving, glory, honor, adoration, worship (Psalm 34:1; 63:4; 66:8; 100:4; 145:1–2, 10–12; Daniel 4:34; Nehemiah 9:5), money (tithes, giving), and sacrifices• to curse God is to say bad things about God—to berate his character, to denigrate his love, care, or faithfulness. Job’s wife encouraged Job to say something bad about God (Job 2:9)
• persecution often provides opportunities for witnessing:But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony (Luke 21:12–13).
• God will avenge you in due time:How many are the days of Thy servant? When wilt Thou execute judgment on those who persecute me? (Psalm 119:84)
• we will be rewarded for enduring persecution:Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets whowere before you (Matthew 5:10–12).
• soldiers who are not afraid of death are invincible: they cannot be spiritually overcome by Satan• they will fearlessly fight to the death for their Lord
• they are not afraid of the next life; they look forward to it“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:10–12).
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake (Philippians 1:21–24).
Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord—for we walk by faith, not by sight—we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6–8).
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “FOR THY SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35–39).
• it’s also called the helmet of the hope of salvation:…and as a helmet, the hope (e˙lpi÷ß) of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8).• e˙lpi÷ß means “the looking forward to someth. with some reason for confidence respecting fulfillment, hope, expectation” (BAGD).
…having put on the breastplate (qw¿rax) of faith and love…(1 Thessalonians 5:8)
• the apostle mixes defensive metaphors in his letters:breastplate of righteousness (Eph 6:14) shield of faith (Eph 6:16)breastplate of faith and love (1 Thess 5:8)
• but our love for whom? for our enemies? for one another? for God?in other words, who is the object of our love?• love for our enemies is not defensive but is an offensive spiritual weapon:But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:20–21).
• our love for one another can certainly protect us (e.g., the prayers for Peter in Acts 12:3–17), but I think this breastplate is our faith in God and our love for God• the breastplate of love provides personal protection when attacked:having put on the breastplate of faith and love (1 Thessalonians 5:8)
• the breastplate of love protects us from hatred and persecution—two very effective weapons of Satan• he shoots flaming arrows of hatred and persecution at you to get you to back down, to give up, or to run away, but your love for God is like a breastplate that protects and keeps you standing firm—steadfast
• because of our love for God we are willing to endure persecution and suffering, resist temptation, be faithful and obedient, and stand firm during satanic attacks
• the breastplate of love is our best (most needed, most effective, most reliable) piece of defensive armor:And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40).
How can I love God?
Why should I love God?
• love his attributes and character—his name:But let all who take refuge in Thee be glad, Let them ever sing for joy;And mayest Thou shelter them,That those who love Thy name may exult in Thee (Psalm 5:11).
compare his attribute of kindnessThe LORD is righteous in all His ways,And kind in all His deeds (Psalm 145:17).with his command to love kindnessHe has told you, O man, what is good;And what does the LORD require of youBut to do justice, to love kindness,And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
• obey him:For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3).…whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected (1 John 2:5a).
• love him with all of your heart (by excluding all other gods):And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might (Deuteronomy 6:5).(similarly, to love your wife with all your heart, soul, and might is to love her and her alone—to forsake all others)
• Solomon “loved the LORD” (1 Kings 3:3) but not with all of his heart:For it came about when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been (1 Kings 11:4).
(2) access to God’s wisdom…we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory; … just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God (1 Corinthians 2:7–10).
(3)protection and vengeanceO love the LORD, all you His godly ones!The LORD preserves the faithful,And fully recompenses the proud doer (Psalm 31:23).
(4) protection in spiritual warfareBut since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8).
(5) a promise that all things will work together for goodAnd we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
(6) a promise of rewardsFor God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints (Hebrews 6:10).Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him (James 1:12).
• your love for God will be tested:If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul (Deuteronomy 13:1–3).
• tell God you love him:I love Thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,And I am saved from my enemies(Psalm 18:1–3).
• an apostolic wish for you:And may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ (2 Thessalonians 3:5).
Belt of Truth ………………………………Lies, False Doctrine
Breastplate of Righteousness…………Accusation, Temptation
Sandals of the Gospel of Peace ………False Gospels
Shield of Faith……………………………Fear, Worry, Doubts, Discouragement
Helmet of Salvation……………………..Fear of Death
Breastplate of Love……………………..Hatred, Persecution
…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word (rJhvma) of God (Ephesians 6:16b).
• the sword (gladius, machaira) was a short double-edged weapon of varying length and width• it often had a corrugated bone grip• the scabbard was connected to the belt by a pair of side rings; above these rings were a second pair of rings attached to a strap slung over the left shoulder
• legionaries carried their swords high on the right side; centurions low-slung on the left• of 28 swords found, the shortest blade is 10.5 inches and the longest blade is 23.25 inches• the longer swords belonged to centurions and higher ranking officers, since experiments have shown that blades of 19.5 inches and up cannot be drawn with the right hand in an upward movement (shorter blades are easier to pull from scabbards)
• battle tactics in the face of an advancing enemy consisted of, first, throwing their two javelins, and second, rapidly drawing their swords, tightening their ranks, and charging, using the gladius as a quick thrusting weapon into the midsection of the enemy—as in modern bayonet drills
• legionaries were taught to stab rather than cut and thrust• archaeologists can tell from skeletons whether a defender of Maiden Castle in Dorset fell to the slash of an auxiliary’s long sword or the two-inch deep thrust of a legionary
• the sword of the Spirit is the only offensive weapon in the panoply of spiritual weapons in Ephesians 6( a panoply is a full suit of armor and equipment)
• the sword of the Spirit is infinitely greater than the legendary Excalibur (King Arthur) or Singing Sword (Prince Valiant) because it’s the sword of Omniscience, Omnipresence, and Omnipotence• there is no defense against the proper use of this sword; if your armor holds, you will defeat the enemy• it is “divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses” (2 Corinthians 10:4)
• how powerful is this sword?For the word of God is living (za/w) and active (ejnergh/ß) and sharper than any two-edged sword…(Hebrews 4:12).• it’s living because God is alive—Eternal Life• it’s active (effective, powerful) because God is all-powerful—Omnipotent
… by the word of God the heavens existed long ago (2 Peter 3:5)the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible (Hebrews 11:3).
THE GREATEST SWORDFIGHT OF ALL TIME
• at the beginning of his public ministry Jesus used his shield (faith) and Sword (Word of God) to fight against three temptations (arrows) of Satan—and easily defeated him (Matthew 4:1–11)
• Jesus must pass three tests:(1) he must endure a test to its completion (lack of food throughout these three tests)(2) in testing he must not test God to prove to himself or to others that God really cares about him(jump from the Temple)(3) he must be faithful and not forsake God for personal gain(worship Satan)
• at his baptism God the Father has just said “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).• first temptation (Matthew 4:3–4): Satan recognizes that Jesus is the Son of God (first class condition) and challenges him to prove that he has authority over heaven and earth by doing a miracle—satisfying his hunger by changing stones into loaves of bread (cf. Matthew 11:27; 28:18; John 3:35; 13:3; 17:2)
• Jesus has not eaten for 40 days and 40 nights:And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry (Matthew 4:2).And He ate nothing during those days; and when they had ended, He became hungry (Luke 4:2b).• death may not have been all that far away had Jesus not eaten soon
The human body has a remarkable capacity for surviving without food for long periods. There is the well-authenticated case of Terence MacSwiney, the Irish revolutionist and mayor of Cork, who in his famous hunger strike in a British prison in 1920 survived for 74 days before dying of starvation. It has been shown many times that a fast for the biblical period of 40 days and 40 nights is well within the capability of a healthy adult (Vernon R. Young and Nevin S. Serimshaw, “The Physiology of Starvation,” Scientific American, October 1971, p. 14).
A large number of obese patients have now undergone the total-fasting treatment for extensive periods under careful observation at centers in North America and Europe, and in almost all cases there have been no serious complications (“The Physiology of Starvation,” Scientific American, October 1971, p. 15).
The longest reported fasts were by two women treated by T. J. Thompson and his co-workers at the Stobhill General Hospital and Ruchill Hospital in Glasgow. One was a 30-year-old woman who ate no food for 236 days and reduced her weight from 281 pounds to 184; the other patient, a 54-year-old woman, fasted for 249 days and reduced from 282 pounds to 208. Of 13 fasting patients in Thompson’s group none showed any significant adverse side effects that could be attributed to lack of food (“The Physiology of Starvation,” Scientific American, October 1971, p. 15).
The one exception was a 20-year-old girl who in 30 weeks of total fasting cut her weight from 200 pounds to 132 pounds. On the seventh day after she had resumed eating, her heartbeat became irregular, and she died of ventricular fibrillation on the ninth day. E. S. Garnett and his co-workers at the General Hospital in Southhampton, England, found that this patient not only had lost fatty tissue but also had consumed, during her fast, half of the lean-tissue mass in her body, including part of the fibrous tissue of the heart muscle (“The Physiology of Starvation,” Scientific American, October 1971, p. 15).
• this was a life-and-death test of Jesus’ faith (as was Israel’s hunger in the wilderness, Deuteronomy 8:2–3)• Satan tried to plant seeds of doubt and fear in Jesus’ mind: doubts about God’s goodness and guidance and fear that he may die if he continues to trust and obey the Father
• fasting was a part of this test since he ‘was continually being led about’ (progressive imperfect passive indicative of a¡gw) by the Holy Spirit in the wilderness for forty days (Luke 4:1)• the Spirit did not lead Jesus to any food• Satan wanted Jesus to repeat Israel’s sins of unbelief and rebellion in the wilderness: a lack of faith, grumbling, and a refusal to wait for God’s provision of food (in the wilderness of Sin, Exodus 16:1–4; on the way to Edom, Numbers 21:4–5)
• Satan tempted Jesus to act independently of his Father’s will and against the leading of the Holy Spirit• Jesus relives the testing of Israel in the wilderness, but in forty days rather than forty years
• the time difference is explained by the principle that a day in the life of an individual is equivalent to a year in the life of a people:According to the number of the days in which you [the spies] spied out the land, forty days, for every day a year, you [the people] shall bear your iniquity forty years…(Numbers 14:34).
I assign to you a number of days, 390 days, equal to the number of years of their iniquity, and so you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. When you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the iniquity of the house of Judah: 40 days I assign you, one day for each year (Ezekiel 4:5–6).
• Jesus passed the first test: he knew that fasting was a part of this test devised by God, so he would not use his powers to cut short the test—trusting that God would provide for him• he decided to continue trusting his heavenly Father with his life
• Satan’s second deception: Jesus has just received the Holy Spirit at his baptism and is God’s son (Matthew 3:13–17) but has not yet been given authority over all of God’s creation• he must defeat Satan first to win back the right to rule the earth, thereby restoring human vicegerency on earth• originally Adam was the ruler over the earth in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1:28)
• after defeating Satan at his temptation, Jesus immediately regained the scepter and was given authority over all creation• his miracles demonstrated his power over nature (heal the sick, restore an ear, wither a fig tree, create wine, multiply loaves and fish, walk on water, still storms, raise the dead) and his authority over fallen angels (exorcisms) and men (forgive sins)
• Jesus could not have changed these stones into loaves of bread yet because he had not yet received authority over heaven and earth• he must continue having faith that God will provide his needs and continue waiting for God to give him authority over all creation• Satan wanted Jesus to repeat the sin of Adam: to disobey God by eating forbidden food
• in these three tests Jesus has to reverse the sin of Adam in the garden and the sins of Israel in the wilderness• Jesus’ first miracle was at Cana of Galilee—after his temptation (John 2:1–11)
• defensively, Jesus used his shield to stop the fear,doubts, and impatience (food and power now) Satan tried to plant in his mind—he had faith and waited for his heavenly Father to provide food and authority over creation when He was ready (compare Matthew 4:1–4 with 4:11)
• offensively, Jesus used his Sword (a verse of Scripture) to destroy Satan’s deception:Satan: “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread” (Matthew 4:3).Jesus: “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD’”(Matthew 4:4).
• combat fear, doubts, and impatience with faith in a promise and waiting for the Lord (shield of faith)• combat deception with the Truth—the Word of God (sword of the Spirit)Thy word is truth (John 17:17)
• second temptation (Matthew 4:5–7):Satan tempts Jesus to prove he is a great man of faith by stepping out in suicidal faith in a promise of protection and then trusting God to save his life• all of the great men and women of the Bible stepped out with suicidal faith in the promises of God (Abraham, Moses, Joshua and Caleb, Rahab, David, the widow of Zarephath, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, the widow with the two copper coins)
• in effect Satan says to Jesus, “You say you trust God’s Word with your life (the provision food). So show me how much you trust his Word. Let’s see you claim the promise of Psalm 91:11–12. As I said in the wilderness, I don’t think God cares about you. I don’t think he cares enough to keep his promise to catch you if you jump. Prove to me your faith! Jump!”• jumping would be a hard thing to do and would require great faith
• Josephus says the drop from the roof-edge of the royal portico overhanging the Kedron Valley was 450 feet and made people dizzy when they looked down into the ravine (Jewish Antiquities 15.411–12)
• the Devil took Jesus to a place where he could not be nearer to God—to the Temple, the place where God has chosen to dwell (cf. Psalm 132:13–14)
• Satan attacked Jesus with a misapplication of Scripture (deception through Scripture-twisting)—tempting him to misapply one of the promises of protection in the Old Testament:“If You are the Son of God throw Yourself down; for it is written,‘HE WILL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE CONCERNING YOU’;AND ‘ON THEIR HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP,LEST YOU STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE’” (Matthew 4:5–6).
• the Devil quotes a portion of verses 11–12 from Psalm 91, a song that teaches God’s protection of those who trust in Him• these two verses promise angelic protection in all our ways (91:11–12)• but this promise assumes that “all your ways” are within God’s will • it was not God’s will for Jesus to jump from the pinnacle of the Temple
• jumping from the Temple, then, would not have been compatible with the underlying assumption of this promise—“all your ways” must be God’s will for your life for the promise to be valid• he could claim the promise if God told him to jump• this promise is for obedient believers
• Jesus would not be putting his faith to the test; he would be putting God to the test• forcing God to rescue him by unnecessarily exposing himself to danger would be forcing God to obey him• to test God is doubt and presumption, not faith and obedience
• Jesus was not disputing the truth of Psalm 91; he was refuting the Devil’s erroneous application of it• we must always ask when hearing Scripture cited, “Is this what this text really says?”• sometimes we must use Scripture to refute those who are using the Bible falsely
• Jesus struck this misapplication down with his Sword by citing from memory the correct application of Scripture:Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST’” (Matthew 4:7).
• Jesus quotes the first half of Deuteronomy 6:16:You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah.• in this verse Moses warns the Israelites not to repeat their sin at Massah, where they demanded water and tested God by asking “Is the LORD among us, or not?” (Exodus 17:1–7; cf. Psalm 78:17–20)
• if it was wrong for Israel the “son of God” to demand miraculous confirmation of the Father’s care (water), so it would be for Jesus “the Son of God” to demand the same (catch him)• Jesus did not repeat the sin of the fathers by testing God
• we test God when we try to force him to do a miracle to prove his love, care, or protection for us (instead of waiting with faith and patience for his provision that often comes at the last possible moment)
• we are not to step out in suicidal faith unless we know it’s God’s will—unless we are personally led or otherwise instructed to do so in the Scriptures (e.g., “test Me now in this” in Malachi 3:10; compare “beyond their ability they gave” in 2 Corinthians 8:3 with “multiply your seed for sowing” in 9:8–11)
• note that both fight with swords (the Word of God) in Matthew 4:5–7: Satan quotes Psalm 91:11–12 and Jesus countered with Deuteronomy 6:16
• third temptation (Matthew 4:8–10):the ruler of this world offered Jesus his entire kingdom in return for worship• a powerful weapon of Satan is making deals—offering something you want in exchange for something he wants (we call this making a pact with the devil)
• under this arrangement Satan would be Jesus’ god and Jesus would be his vicegerent (cf. “I will make myself like the Most High” Isaiah 14:14)• he only asks for one act of worship, but worship carries with it a continuing obligation
• Satan’s deception: had Jesus accepted this offer of all the kingdoms of the world and worshiped Satan, God would have forsaken him; he would have continued to be inferior to Satan in his human body (cf. Hebrews 2:7, 9); Satan probably would not have kept his promise to give Jesus these kingdoms; and Satan probably would have continued his rule over the earth—even over Jesus• had Jesus accepted this offer of the kingdoms of the world, he would have forfeited his eventual rule over all creation as God’s vicegerent
• the Devil was playing for high stakes and offered all he had:I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish (Luke 4:6).
Ketef Jericho, “the shoulder of Jericho,” is also called the Mount of Temptation—the traditional spot where Jesus was tempted by the Devil. Ptolemy’s second century B.C. citidel sits on top and a restored monastery perches on the cliff.
• Jesus was alone, tired, dirty, hungry, probably thirsty, and didn’t look very kingly after 40 days and nights of fasting in the wilderness• Jesus’ appearance and the splendor of all the kingdoms of the world must have been quite a contrast at this moment• the kingdom must have seemed a long way off
• in effect Satan said: “I’ll give you the kingdoms, and you may do with them as you wish. Inaugurate the kingdom of God on earth, if that’s what you want to do. Free Israel from Roman rule. Establish justice in the world. Take care of the poor. Bring about world peace. Wouldn’t that please God? Do it without suffering! Do it successfully! Do it now! YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL!”
• application: a temptation may appeal to our ministry dreams• it may be an opportunity for service we have longed for, or a chance to see our spiritual gift have spectacular results• this tempts our strengths—our zeal for the glory of God
• again Jesus used his shield to stop the doubts and impatience (kingdom now) Satan tried to plant in his mind—he had faith and waited for his heavenly Father to give him authority over all the kingdoms of the world• he chose to rely on the promise “Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Thy possession” (Psalm 2:8).• again Jesus used his Sword (a verse of Scripture) to destroy this deal offered by Satan
• Satan: “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9).• Jesus: “YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY” (Matthew 4:10).
• offensively, Jesus quoted from memory a verse of Scripture to strike down each temptation (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10)• each verse he quoted was from the Book of Deuteronomy (8:3; 6:16; 6:13)• it was natural for Jesus to quote verses from this book because one of the main themes in the Book of Deuteronomy is the testing of Israel
• Jesus thus relived and successfully reversed the solicitation to idolatry to which Israel succumbed in worshipping the golden calf (Exodus 32)• and in refusing to serve Satan Jesus reversed the service Adam owed to Satan
• he will attack again in the future • it appears that Satan is only allowed a few big attacks at a time (two against Job; three against Jesus):And when the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time (Luke 4:13).
• Jesus was tempted the entire 40 days and 40 nights by Satan:And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan…(Mark 1:13)and was led about by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil (Luke 4:1–2).• he faced more than the three recorded temptations
• apparently he was sent into the wilderness without supplies: no food, water, or weapons• most of the temptations were little things (bugs, heat, cold, snakes, wild animals, scary sounds, things that go bump in the night) with no doubt some big things (lack of water)He was tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).
• Jesus had to relive and reverse Israel’s unbelief, grumbling, and rebellion in the wilderness• “And the tempter came and said to Him” in Matthew 4:3 implies Satan now appeared in person for the first time: apparently no visible face-to-face confrontations took place before• most of the temptations Jesus faced for 40 days were created by invisible enemies (just like most of ours)—except the last three
• at the end of this temptation Jesus received from God everything the Devil offered him—and more:(1) the one who refused to turn stones into bread is now given food—probably manna, ”the bread from heaven” (Matthew 4:11b; cf. Exodus 16:4)(2) the one who refused to throw himself off the Temple to get angelic help is now served by angels(3) the one who refused to take Satan’s kingdom is now given authority over all the nations—over heaven and earth (cf. Matthew 28:18)
• Jesus used his Sword (the Word of God) to correct Satan:All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16–17).• deception is neutralized and destroyed by the correction of Scripture
• a swordfight like this requires a thorough understanding of the Scriptures, memorizing many verses, a quick mind—and the help of the Holy Spirit• the best swordfighters are “mighty in the Scriptures” (Acts 18:24)
• victory does not always depend on your skill in using the Sword, but on the Holy Spirit personally fighting through you and for you:(1) in this casepreparation is not necessary:But beware of men; for they will deliver you up to the courts, and scourge you in their synagogues; and you shall even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not become anxious about how or what you will speak; for it shall be given you in that hour what you are to speak. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you (Matthew 10:17–20; cf. Mark 13:9–110.
(2) and victory is promised:They will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name's sake. It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute (Luke 21:12–15).
THE WORD OF GOD WAS REVEALED AND PASSED ON BY WORD OF MOUTH
• twice Job beat Satan with principles he learned from oral tradition (the Word of God):Satan’s accusation:“Put forth Thy hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse Thee to Thy face” (Job 1:11).Job’s Sword:“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away, Blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21).
Satan’s accusation:“Put forth Thy hand, now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse Thee to Thy face” (Job 2:5).Job’s Sword:“You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10)
• notice that Satan used Job’s wife to tempt Job:Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9)and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will (2 Timothy 2:26).• first Job rebuked her (2:10a) and then cited a principle he learned from oral tradition (2:10b): “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?”
• note a very important distinction:hrema is a verse or quotation from the Bible; logos is the entire Bible
• the sword is sharp, double-edged, and can cut deep into the material and immaterial parts of men:For the word of God (oJ lo/goß touv qeouv) is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword (ma¿caira), and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (th\n ma¿cairan touv pneu/matoß), which is the word of God (rJhvma qeouv) (Ephesians 6:17).
• hrema is using the right phrase, verse, or verses to answer each different onslaught or thrust of Satan• this method of warfare is perfectly seen in the temptation of Christ: Jesus blocked each thrust of Satan with an appropriate verse or sentence from the Bible
• memorize warfare verses:the Sword won't do you much good if you can’t pull it out of the scabbard in time to fight—if you can't think of a verse quick enough to use• I've won a lot of battles mentally after I've been defeated: a day or two later I think of all the verses I should have used
• the proper motive for Scripture memorization is not to impress people, but to prepare yourself for battle• be discriminating: better to memorize parts of verses that can be used in spiritual warfare than whole verses with little or no warfare application
• use warfare verses that are clear and easily understood by the enemy• the shakespearean English of the King James Version often doesn’t cut it in spiritual warfare: don’t use black powder cap-and-ball muskets when you can use modern automatic weapons
• which is better…Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil (1 Corinthians 13:4–5 KJV);orLove is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered (1 Corinthians 13:4–5 NASB),
• you must speak the word of God out loud because Satan is a created being and doesn’t know exactly what you are thinking• since he can’t read your mind and doesn’t know the future, he has no idea what you’re praying silently or what wisdom you receive from God• the noun rJhvma means “that which is stated intentionally”—the spoken word of God
• swordplay is a duel: keep slashing away and parrying slashes until the enemy weakens and is finally overcome (strongholds are demolished or the enemy gives up the fight and departs)• don’t quit fighting too soon; don’t let the enemy escape (change the subject, move on to the next point without satisfactorily answering the preceding point)
• your armor can be used in both defensive and offensive spiritual warfare• the defensive armor will protect you while you’re using your sword• your armor keeps you from being neutralized (defeated) before you can overcome with the sword
• legionaries were tough to kill:There was a centurion from the Bithynian contingent called Julianus who was a man of note and far more remarkable for skill of arms, physical strength, and intrepidity of spirit than any I had met during that war.…he was wearing ordinary military boots thickly studded with sharp spikes, and as he ran across the pavement he slipped and fell on his back with a loud clang of his armor, which made the fugitives turn.…the Jews crowding around him aimed blows from all directions with lances and swords. He parried many weapons with his shield. Time after time he tried to stand up but was knocked down by the mass of assailants. Yet, even as he lay prostrate, he stabbed many with his sword. For he would not be quickly dispatched, as he was protected in every vital part by his helmet and breastplate, and kept his head down; but at last, when all his limbs were hacked away, and no comrade dared to come to his aid, he succumbed (Josephus, The Jewish War 6.1.8).
WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST (Revelation 19:11–21)
And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty (Revelation 19:15).And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh (Revelation 19:21).
Sandals of the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace…………………take the enemy captive,
Sword of the Spirit……….destroy strongholds
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit…(Ephesians 6:18a).
• defensive prayer: pray for a hedge of protection around yourself, your family, and your church—that God will not allow Satan to attack at all (cf. Job 1–2)• defensive prayer: if God allows Satan to attack, put on your armor, stand firm, resist, and pray for additional protection in battle
Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; and that we may be delivered from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one (2Thessalonians 3:1–3).
• ask for wisdom:But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him (James 1:5).• wisdom from God is the ultimate weapon: through prayer God may reveal to you a perfect battle plan all at once in its entirety or a point at a time over the space of an hour—complete with the right weapons to use (wisdom and not the Sword), what to say, what to do, what to wear (white sport coat), how to squash rebellion (brilliant procedural content)
• after receiving this wisdom, all you have to do is follow the instructions implicitly—it’s all of God and none of self (as Moses did in persuading Israel to follow him and in his confrontations with Pharaoh—all he did was follow directions and throw his staff on the ground)• knowing this wisdom came from God (because of its perfect timing and brilliant content), you can enter the battle with perfect faith and confidence of victory
• prayer brings God into the fight:after praying (2 Chronicles 20:1–13), God revealed the battle plan to King Jehoshaphat (20:14–19), and then fought for his people (20:20–30)
• one righteous man of prayer is more powerful than thousands of the enemy:And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed to the LORD and said, “Strike this people with blindness, I pray.” So He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, nor is this the city; follow me and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he brought them to Samaria. And it came about when they had come into Samaria, that Elisha said, “O LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.”
So the LORD opened their eyes, and they saw; and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. Then the king of Israel when he saw them, said to Elisha, “My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?” And he answered, “You shall not kill them. Would you kill those you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.” So he prepared a great feast for them; and when they had eaten and drunk he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the marauding bands of Arameans did not come again into the land of Israel (2 Kings 6:18–23).
• the ultimate divine warrior is the Messiah:And He put on righteousness like a breastplate,And a helmet of salvation on His head;And He put on garments of vengeance for clothing,And wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.According to their deeds, so He will repay,Wrath to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies;To the coastlands He will make recompense.So they will fear the name of the LORD from the west And His glory from the rising of the sun,For He will come like a rushing stream,Which the wind of the LORD drives (Isaiah 59:17–19).
• the garments of vengeance are the blood-splattered garments of Jesus Christ on the Day of the LORD (Isaiah 63:1–3)• Jesus is “clothed with a robe dipped in blood” at his second advent (Revelation 19:13)
• ask for angelic reinforcements:Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? (Matthew 26:53)
• ask in Jesus’ name:And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it (John 14:13–14; cf. 15:16; 16:23–24, 26).• asking in Jesus’ name brings Jesus into the fight and accomplishes what can’t be done in our own power
• “in My name” means “in the sphere of Jesus’ name”—in the sphere of his authority, power, and glory…and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come (Ephesians 1:20b–21).
Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9–11).
• to pray to the Father in Jesus’ name is to pray with the authority of our position in ChristBut God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4–6),
• remember your powerful position in Christ before making prayer requests• asking in Jesus’ name makes available the great power of positional truth by tapping the authority of Jesus Christ
• Jesus delegated his authority to us to demonstrate to the kingdom of darkness who is really in control in this world:To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things; in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places (Ephesians 3:8–10).