Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth. Ephesians 6:14.
The Loin Belt was possibly the most important item of all, but it was rarely seen and was probably not very glamorous anyhow.
It was of vital importance because it held everything together.
Without that, everything can fall apart.
The loin belt covered the loins, which refers to the reproductive organs. It is the loin belt of Truth. There are some aspects of truth to consider. Jesus is the way, the Truth and the life (John 14:6). The Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth who guides us, leads us and teaches us all the truth. See John 14:16-17, 26; John 15:26, John 16:13-14.
God's word is truth. See Psalm 33:4; John 17:17; Colossians 1:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:13.
Our only ability to reproduce in the spirit is in the Word of God. If we do not know the truth, we will fall for anything.
The loin belt held the breastplate together. The shield of faith which we shall look at shortly could be clipped to the loin belt. The Sword of the Spirit, which we shall also look at soon, fitted into its scabbard which was fixed to the loin belt.
If you think for a moment about the temptation of Jesus, He did not succumb to the wiles and strategies of the devil, because He was wearing this loin belt of truth. On each and every occasion Jesus was tempted, He did not fight against it, struggle and strive not to yield. He spoke truth! It is written... It is written... It is written! My friend, you too can overcome, by knowing and applying the truth the way Jesus did. He said-
...If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31-32.
That word Know is Ginōskō. It relates to the very highest of intimate, personal knowledge, such as that of a man knowing his wife as in marriage.
God wants us to be so close and so intimate with Him and what He has said that we can think as He does, Act as He does and talk creatively as He does. When we reach this level, which is very possible for everyone, we can live well and victoriously.
Merely acquiring information, culture, history or tradition (which is more often than not the tradition of men) will not suffice and may in fact produce bondage. Jesus was talking to Jews who knew the Old Testament backwards, but had no idea of the revelation contained within! They, like many modern day theologians may possess great information, but not be able to see the truth hidden within because their studies, that are wonderful indeed, are too often intellectually based. He said-
[Yes] I know that you are Abraham's offspring; yet you plan to kill Me, because My word has no entrance (makes no progress, does not find any place) in you. John 8:37.
Please note that Jesus said that we cannot be His disciples, if we do not abide in His word! He also said-
So if the Son liberates you [makes you free men], then you are really and unquestionably free. John 8:36.
It is not knowing truth, but the application of this truth that will be in you, a liberating force. See Psalm 19:7-14; 119:11, 33-45, Romans 1:16, 15:4; 2 Timothy 2:15, 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Peter 1:23.
The breastplate was made of two separate pieces, one fitted to the front and one to the back and was held together and fastened by two brass rings at the shoulders. It supported the shield that was held by or fastened to the loin belt by a fitting on the side. When required, the soldier could slip it from its clasp.
The breastplate (thorax) covered the vital organs and extended down over the knees so that it not only covered the vital organs, but also extended down like a skirt. It was fastened together at the waist to the loin belt.
Often times it was made of brass chain mail. Whilst it provided protection, its appearance was enhanced—almost polished by the continual rubbing action each individual piece had because they rubbed against each other. We can also take on lustre by relating to each other and thus polishing each other as we walk together.
The longer we walk in righteousness the better we become and the more beautiful we become. If their breastplates could shine in the sunlight, how more brilliant can we become as we radiate with the light of God in our lives?
It is not just called a breastplate but the Breastplate of Righteousness. It covered the heart and deals with a Christian's right standing with God. Righteousness speaks about justification; our declaration of innocence by God; our cleanness of heart before him when we make Jesus the Lord of our lives. See Acts 13;39; Romans 5:1; 1 Corinthians 5:1; Colossians 2:10-15.
The Shield refers to an often misunderstood item. It is often regarded as a defensive item, but this is far from the truth. Paul said-
Above all… take the shield of faith.
This is not saying that faith is the most important, but that faith has to be out in front. There is a faith that covers all.
There were two kinds of shield. One is a chield called aspis. This was a small round shield used for ceremonial purposes only. It was highly decorated, engraved and polished, but due to its relative small size and shape, offered little protection in battle.
The other is thurion which means a door. Please bear in mind that Jesus is the door (John 10:7-9).
This shield was an oblong or rectangular shape and it is very interesting.
When enlisting into the army, the soldier was measured for his shield. It was custom made for him so that it covered him from top to bottom and from side to side.
This now makes sense when we see that God has dealt to EACH man THE MEASURE of faith. You have enough. God has already given you all the faith you will ever have so asking for more is not actually correct. Use what you have. Increase in faith merely means that you start to use more of what God has already set aside for you. Your measure has been tailor made for you and the standard is of course, Jesus. Romans 10:17 says-
faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
God has said too many times to mention here that our success depends on what we do with his word. The more we use it, the more we release or use what he has already given us. A few examples are found in Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 40; 5:1; 6:1-3, 7-9; 7:9-15; 8:1-6; 15:5-6; 28:1-14; Joshua 1:8.
If this shield is a door, then the shield of faith must be a door. Faith is the door through which we can do to do the impossible, receive the miraculous and do what God expects of us.
We have often pictured soldiers with big heavy metal shields. Big brass shields were often used more for ceremonial purposes than for battle. Such shields were heavy and unwieldy. Another kind of shield was often used in close combat.
In early warfare the shields used in actual combat were often made from wooden frames over which leather was stretched. The leather could be studded with metal of course, but essentially the shield was leather to give lightness and ease of use. The shield could have a metal spike on the bottom that could be used as a weapon.
Such shields were regularly oiled to make the leather supple and pliable. If a shield was dry it became brittle and was easily penetrated, so a soldier was obliged to regularly smear oil on his shield. Arrows dipped in burning oil could be not only deflected but the flames extinguished, especially if the soldiers soaked their shields in water just before battle. The fiery darts of the devil are not something to fear, causing people to want to cower behind their shield of faith as is too often purported, but things that could be deflected or extinguished without harm to the individual. Extinguishing something is an action, or an active force.
Bible students should know that oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Christians cannot do without a regular smearing and anointing of the Holy Spirit. Without that, we become dry and brittle, easily penetrated and damaged. I never cease to wonder why so many Christians deny the role of the Holy Spirit in their lives and refuse to use what he has given us to live effectively.
The soldiers could easily manouevre their shields with military precision. They could interlock them to form a wall of armour on front, provided by the soldiers in the front lines, whilst others behind could hold their shields overhead for a protective covering. When Paul said ABOVE ALL, he described this wall both ahead and above the individual. Biblical terms like God being our SHIELD and Buckler now start to make sense.
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him 2 Samuel 22:31.
Quenching fiery darts refers to a special kind of arrow. There were two kinds of arrows that look alike externally. One was an ordinary kind, sometimes encased with oil soaked rags, but the other was hollow that was filled with an inflammable liquid. It “exploded” on impact. This latter one was very dangerous, because when this was in flight, it was almost impossible to tell any difference. Anyone who was not prepared would be taken by surprise. You did not know it was coming until it hit you.
The purpose of the fiery darts that the devil uses is to catch us unawares and to inflame the vilest of human emotions. This is why
Paul told us to have this shield out front where it is supposed to be where it is covering all, so that it would extinguish that arrow.
Before battle, the soldiers would soak their shields in water. When they took them out, they were dripping wet adding to the protection against any flaming arrow. This tells me that our faith is to be soaked in the water of the word.
We now turn to the next item.
The Helmet of Salvation.
Roman helmets especially those of officers, were often very elaborate and covered with all sorts of images and adornments. Some had plumes on them. High ranking officers had elaborate plumes of feathers, some of which were so long they draped down their backs. They got attention!
This is like salvation. It is something noticeable. You can see a perfect stranger who just happens to be a Christian and see something in him.
There is some kind of recognition within that is like a knowing that the other person is a born-again believer. It is a witness in the spirit that Paul describes in Romans 8:14-17. The King James version incorrectly renders the word as itself, instead of himself, when speaking of the Holy Spirit. He is not an object or an it, but the third person of the Godhead, possessing intellect, feelings, emotions, beliefs and desires. Treat him with respect.
This helmet is invisible to the natural eye, but is seen spiritually. The Holy Spirit who dwells within a believer enables us to see each other as he sees us, namely, blood washed, redeemed saints.
In battle a formidable foe was someone who knew how to use a battle axe, not just to use it in close, but to throw it with great skill and force. If it it someone on an unprotected head, it meant death. The devil wants to hit us a blow on the head to knock us into insensibility, or knock revelation knowledge out of us. Little by little he wants to knock healing belief out of us, knock prosperity out of our belief structure and so on until we have few belief systems left in us. Once we have lost those things, all that remains is human generated religion.
The word for helmet means something wrapped tightly and tightly around our head.
The word used for salvation embraces everything from soundness of mind to fulness, peace and healing, completion and the like. We must have these things wrapped so tightly into our system by the Word of God that nothing will deter us, inflict permanent damage, cheat us out of believing what God has said or hinder us from moving into what God has told us to do.
The Sword was placed in a sheath that was fastened on the other side to the loin belt. It also provided a fastening for the lance’s scabbard. The lance fitted into a sheath running down the middle of the back and was also fastened to the loin belt and we shall talk of this lance afterwards.
Everything pivoted around the loin belt. Paul said to have our loins girt about with truth (Ephesians 6:14) and God's word conveys this truth to us. Everything we are, do or have, depends on the Word of God or to more correct, by revelation knowledge in the Word of God! Without this knowledge and experience, we are vulnerable. Little wonder that the devil has infiltrated some churches and educational systems to remove the bible. Anyone who does not know his or her covenant rights can be conned. Anyone who does not know the contents of the last will and testament could be cheated out of their inheritance. The dark ages ushered in a dangerous element. People were illiterate, so their priests had to read scriptures to them, but it devolved to interpreting what they meant and discouraging the laity from reading for themselves. Bibles were few and far between, but when the printing press was invented, the written word became readily available. What has happened is that in many churches today, reading of the word of God as it should be read does not happen. This fact is easily verified by attending one of them. Test me and go.
Paul clearly stated that the sword of the spirit is the word of God. It is not the bible as such. Some Christians have heard of the Logos, but fewer have an understanding of the Rhema. Both can talk of the bible. The former is merely the paper and ink, for want of better description, but the latter is the living, revealed word. It is as if the Spirit of God reveals something to you, or opens up a passage to you. He gives understanding.
Theologians often miss this wonderful and powerful element, focussing on the mere logos. It is not that they are in error. Their work is great, but often lacking life, because it is intellectually based. This is the kind of difference Paul spoke of in the first few chapters of his first letter to the church at Corinth.
Anyone who has read the bible many times, can often open a passage and read it as if for the first time. A word or phrase seems to leap out of the page at them. It is as if the author points his finger to that section telling you, "Look at this." That is the kind of thing I mean and it is amazing.
Paul rightly called it The Sword of the Spirit.
Many kinds of swords used, but two main ones were used in the Roman Army.
The first kind was a huge 2-handed sword that was too big and cumbersome to use single handed or use in battle. Its purpose was for training and exercise. It was used to develop yourself and get yourself fit. One trained by swinging it sideways to hit the target. Tis is not the sword that the Spirit wields. Perhaps this is the better way to say it.
The type of sword Paul described here is machaira. It was a small, short sword used for close combat.
The bible is the double handed sword. If you are in a battle, it is no good waving that big double handed sword against the enemy because it does not work! It is too cumbersome and heavy, dull on the edge and once you start swinging it, the enemy can duck the blow or cause you to lose your balance relatively easy.
The Sword of the Spirit is a small personal sword that is designed for one-on-one close combat, so close you could see the enemy’s face, perhaps so close, you can smell his breath. Remember that the sword is held in the sheath that is held onto the Loin Belt. This means that when you draw your sword,you are drawing from every faculty of the spirit that the complete armor provides!
The word Macharia is linked to other words that mean quarrel, dispute, striving etc and is linked to words that mean dagger. This makes is a close-in and very personal affair.
Jesus did not quote the whole bible to the devil but specific words gained by intimate and personal relationship with the Father, prayer and the Rhema word that directly related to the issue at hand.
Scriptures also speak of the 2-edged sword seen in scripture.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12.
The Logos is used here to state that the word of God is living and alive (zaō) and not some stuffy religious rendering. It is powerful or energēs that means it is energy in motion that is active, operational and effective. It is very sharp (tomos) which means that it is designed to be so decisive in operation that one single blow or strike is all that is required. The alternative is a series of hacking, chopping strikes, that might expose the soldier to a counter strike.
I for one, do not want to keep on swinging ineffective blows and wear myself out in the process. I want a decisive strike.
What is this twoedged sword? The Greek word used is distomos. It is derived from two other words, stomos and di. The former means mouth and the latter means two.
This means that it comes from 2 mouths! In other words, the double edged sword is something that comes firstly from God to you; then it comes from you. This is the Rhema word in motion.Hebrews 10:23 states-
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
The Greek word for profession is homologia that means to say the same things that God says. God speaks it to you and you say it back and it then is the Sword of the Spirit, or the Sword that the Spirit Wields.
This is a basic description of the armor of God that Paul described. There is one element that he did not mention and I am not trying to add to scripture. I share this for additional information. One item that was commonly used was the lance, or spear. You have doubtless seen pictures of them. Perhaps this was the weapon used when Jesus was on the cross?
The lance was a weapon that was used for distant combat. Whilst the sword was used in close, the spear could be used first by hand or thrown to strike a distant enemy.
We could liken the lance to prayer in the spirit. I do not want to discuss various kinds of prayer here, but there is praying and there is praying. Recited prayer is not praying in the spirit. Reciting the "Lord's Prayer" is not really praying. I am talking of praying in the spirit and there is much to look at in this area. Paul said that we can pray in the spirit and we can pray with the understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15) so there is a difference.
If you look for a moment at Ephesians 6:17-19, Paul's words flowed into each other. Notice my emphasis. There is a colon between God and praying. Say that passage without pausing and you will see what I mean.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; Ephesians 6:17-18.
Why bother getting into a close fight when you can win from a distance?
Wear the armor continually and pray without ceasing.