Warfare: Part Five
by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"Therefore, stand! Have the belt of truth buckled around your loins; put on righteousness for a breastplate and wear on your feet the readiness that comes from the Good News of YHVH's Shalom. Always carry the shield of trust, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of evil. And take the helmet of deliverance; along with the sword given by Spirit, that is, the Word of YHVH; as you pray at all times with all kinds of prayers and requests, in the Spirit, vigilantly and persistently, for all of YHVH's people." Ephesians 6:14-18 CJB
There is a perception traditionally handed down through the religion of Christianity that, somewhere in the distant past, there was a gigantic warfare which began in heavenly places to see which god will reign supreme. This perception says those who embrace that religion are now engaged in this battle for supremacy which is still raging and are charged with chasing down and overwhelming "evil" wherever it is encountered. First of all, no such event is recorded in scripture as having taken place. The closest we come to that description is spoken of in the Book of Revelation about the accuser of the brethren being cast out of heaven (not "down") and, according to Yeshua's words of Luke 17:20-21 (click on highlighted words to view content), the Kingdom of YHVH (Whose throne is heaven) is within or among the brethren (Revelation 12:7-11). Secondly, rest assured that there is only One True Elohim of Israel (translated as "God" or "LORD" in modern bibles to diminish His Hebrew Name) and He doesn't need to battle anybody. His reign always has been, always will be and is presently - Supreme (Isaiah 44:6). Third, nowhere in scripture is it recorded that our example of behavior, Yeshua, ever fought with an enemy. Yet, Christians are continually admonished to "fight the devil, to take back what he has stolen, to bind and subdue him". What is astounding is how much Christians are taught and know more about how to deal with "the devil" (even though, as been shown in the previous article of this series, that as an entity he does not exist in scripture) than they are taught about how to hear the Voice of YHVH. This is not the way scripture reveals Yeshua doing it (John 5:30).
Christians are also told that "if we only had eyes to see" we could observe a spiritual warfare taking place all around us, referring to a single scripture in 2Kings 6:17-18. However, when read closely - there was no warfare, neither spiritual nor physical, that actually occurred in that passage. It speaks of "horses and chariots of fire" surrounding Elisha and the young man but there are no angelic riders mentioned. Whatever the meaning of that description was, to read "warrior angels" into those words is an assumption. What actually happened when Elisha prayed was that the enemy became blinded by YHVH - not defeated in battle. Others refer to what happened in Daniel 10:10-14 as more proof of some sort of warfare to be engaged in. But, again, when that passage is read closely, what is described in those words did not happen "to" Daniel and he did absolutely nothing to facilitate the outcome of what took place - he was simply waiting on a prayer that had already been answered. We are not given enough information to draw any conclusions from what actually ensued between the messenger and the "prince of the Kingdom of Persia", but whatever was happening in that encounter was the Father's business. Daniel's responsibility was to focus on the Father. There is no description of an "angelic battle" in that passage either - only that the messenger was "withstood" until Michael arrived to "help" him. What kind of help Michael gave is not known and, since neither of those words in Hebrew is associated with violence, it is another leap of assumption to read a battle of warfare into the words. This concept of an external warfare engaged in a spiritual battle against evil also lies in direct conflict with Yeshua's words of Mark 7:20-23 (the benchmark by which all the other words of the Book are measured (Revelation 19:10b) saying that evil proceeds from the heart of men.
"The earth belongs to Satan" is another popular catch-phrase of Christian tradition used to facilitate assumption of some battle being fought over it - even though Exodus 19:5 clearly shows YHVH saying that "the earth is Mine". Nowhere does scripture bestow ownership of earth upon anyone - mere possession does not constitute ownership. We have to look at everything mentioned in scripture through the lens of Yeshua's Hebrew Words whose origins are found in the Original Writings in order to understand Truth - Who is YHVH (Exodus 34:6). There is nothing, and let us be clear on this issue - nothing - Yeshua said that cannot be traced back to the Original Words of His Father in the Tenakh (OT - John 5:19, John 8:28, John 14:24, see the Beatitudes for more). Most assuredly, there are demons active among us. Yeshua dealt with them all the time. They are often found in packs, like wolves, seeking a vessel to inhabit (Matthew 8:30-32). While there may be one demon more dominant than the others within the pack, in spite of traditional dogma - there is no scriptural account to be found of a central, controlling entity coordinating the efforts of a worldwide hierarchy of demons (see Defining Enemies for more insight).
|...like a pack of wolves|
We must continually remind ourselves that part of the reason the Son lived in the flesh was as a practical example for us to emulate. His walk was not an unattainable life apart from our own human experience but a living testament of how that Authority, that Power, that Virtue, that Excellence came to be in His Life. That Virtue was attributable directly to the choices He made in His daily existence. He CHOSE to embrace the Nature of the Source of Life found in YHVH at every encounter by keeping the Words of His Father found in Exodus 20:1-17 and, in so doing, is how we do not give any place to the enemy (Ephesians 4:27, Revelation 12:8). When we do likewise, we become imbued with the same power, the same authority over darkness Just As - Even So as He has and it is through that virtue, released into the world, that flows the power to heal and deliver. But, we cannot give what we do not live (John 17:20-21). Where does virtue come from? Virtue is cultivated in righteousness. Yeshua became the example of how our behavior results in righteousness - He does not do it for us (Mark 8:34). Those who follow Yeshua's example to choose YHVH's Words of Life just as He chose are empowered with righteousness just as He was empowered (Romans 8:29). That righteousness does not just "fall" on anyone any more than it just "fell" on Him (Hebrews 5:8). The Hebrew word for "righteousness" is tsedachah, and its definition (derived from Isaiah 33:14-16) means "rectitude, virtue and justice in behavior". In the Greek, righteousness is translated from the word dikaiosyne, (derived from Matthew 6:33) meaning "integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking, feeling and acting". According to these definitions righteousness is behaviorially based. Romans 4:3 is a direct quote from Genesis 15:6 which says that "Abraham believed YHVH, and it was counted to him as righteousness". Notice that in either account do the words say Abraham believed IN an Elohim (the Hebrew word translated "God" in Genesis 1:1 and unique to the Hebrew language only). It says he believed YHVH's Word would come to pass just as He had spoken it. How did Abraham exhibit that belief? Abraham acted on YHVH's WORD spoken to him and that action was what was accounted to him as righteousness. The English/Greek word "believed" in this verse has been superimposed upon the Hebrew word 'aman which means to be "faithful". Faithful to what? Abraham was faithful to keep the Words of YHVH the very day they were spoken to him (Genesis 17). This is reinforced in Genesis 26:4-5 when YHVH declares to Isaac WHY His Word will come to pass - because of the behavior of Abraham.
|"Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and aliens to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul." 1Peter 2:11|
|...Moses and the sorcerers|
There IS a struggle being waged in the spiritual realm, but it is not external. The struggle that is occurring is over what will reign supreme in the hearts and minds of those who say they believe in Yeshua (2Corinthians 10:3-6, John 14:23-24). There is not and never has been a "fight" between YHVH and a persona named "Satan" - and there is no scripture that suggests an external "fight" with Yeshua or His followers exists today. James 1:14 says that everyone is tempted when lured and enticed by his own desires - not by some "devil". If the temptation Yeshua encountered in the wilderness spoken of in Matthew 4:3 had occurred as a "battle" of some sort - don't you think it would have been recorded in that fashion? What about Yeshua's statement in John 18:36 where He says that if His Kingdom were of this world, his servants would be fighting for it? The only warfare scripture says is taking place is in the heart of man to follow the Words of YHVH which tells us what YHVH says is good or to follow our own determination as to what we say is good - and it was in remembering YHVH's Words that Yeshua countered that temptation (see Confronting Evil for a detailed explanation).
Contrary to the popular depiction in Christian religious tradition, doing battle with the enemies of YHVH is not waged as a Roman soldier with weapons and armor to trade blows with another entity (see Defining Enemies). Most will be surprised to learn the "armour" the Hebrew apostle Sha'ul was referring to in Ephesians 6:14-17 at the top of this article is not inspired by the garb of a Roman soldier, but came from its Hebraic root in the Original Writings as the clothing of a priest described in Exodus 28 as a picture of the Whole Armor of of YHVH. Because of the Greco/Roman influence that crept into Christianity centuries after the Resurrection, these words been taught to picture a Roman soldier's armour; but when studying these scriptures with the Hebrew perspective they were written from based on the Torah, a totally different picture appears. The word "priest" is translated from the Hebrew kohen, always denoting one who offers sacrifices and first occurs in Genesis 14:18 as applied to Melchizedek. 1Peter 2:9 and Revelation 1:6 tell us that those who actively embrace the Life of Yeshua by keeping the words of the Father are now under the Melchizedek Priesthood alongside that of the Elder Brother, continually offering sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving (Hebrews 7:1-10, see a Nation of Priests). While the priesthood of the Levite could only be attained through birth, the apostle was hearkening to the shadow expressed in the clothing worn by those priests of what is to be put on by His Holy Priesthood who stand before Him today in Ephesians 6:11-18:
|the clothing of the High Priest|
The Breastplate of Righteousness is described in Exodus 28:15-30 and Isaiah 59:17 - Ephesians 6:14b.
The Feet of Shalom. Priests were always barefoot before the Present Presence, shod only in YHVH's Shalom because they were walking on holy ground (Exodus 3:5, Isaiah 52:7) - Ephesians 6:15.
The Shield of Trust. Faith, 'aman, in Hebrew means "to trust" (Deuteronomy 7:9, Psalm 115:10, Proverbs 30:5) - Ephesians 6:16.
The Helmet of Deliverance (in Hebrew, deliverance and salvation mean the same) is found in Exodus 28:36-39, and is made of white fine linen, generally signifying righteous deeds (Revelation 19:8). This Turban carried an engraved plate attached to it that said "Holy Unto YHVH". Here, the emphasis is on the covering of thought processes, "taking every thought captive unto the obedience of the Messiah" (2Corinthians 10:5) - Ephesians 6:17a.
The Sword of the Spirit is the Torah. (Exodus 20:1, Isaiah 55:11, John 17:17, see Torah or "the Law"). Priests carried no weapons of war, so the Word of YHVH (as with all of these descriptions about armor) is used defensively, to protect what is within - not offensively against someone or something externally (Hebrews 4:12) - Ephesians 6:17b.
The Sacrifice of Prayer is found in Exodus 30:7-8. The burning of incense signifies the supplications continually offered up to YHVH by His Priests (Psalm 141:2, Revelation 5:8, 1Peter 2:5) - Ephesians 6:18.
Ephesians 6:11 is declaring to those who would be priests alongside Yeshua to "…put on the whole armour of YHVH" and in Ephesians 6:13, "Wherefore take up the whole armour of YHVH…" In other words, wearing the breastplate of righteousness is always in accord with the Nature of YHVH's righteousness which is selfLESSness (Romans 14:7, see what it means To Be Free). "I put on righteousness, and it clothed me" (Job 29:14, Isaiah 11:5). And having stood, continue to stand resisting the fiery darts of the enemy - the passions of the flesh (see Arrows of Famine for more information on those darts). The Armor of the Priesthood is designed by YHVH to protect His Priests from those forces of the flesh which would cause them to become an "accuser of the brethren" - the definition of the Hebrew word, sa-tan.
Part One - Defining Enemies
Part Two - Chasing Lucifer
Part Three - Confronting Evil
Part Four - the Real Enemy
Part Five - Authority
|"…you pray and don't receive, because you pray with the wrong motive - that of wanting to indulge your own desires ." James 4:3 CJB|
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.