“Therefore, stand! Have the belt of truth buckled around your waist, put on righteousness for a breastplate, and wear on your feet the readiness that comes from the Good News of shalom. Always carry the shield of trust, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. And take the helmet of deliverance; along with the sword given by the Spirit, that is, the Word of YaHuWaH; as you pray at all times, with all kinds of prayers and requests, in the Spirit, vigilantly and persistently, for all YaHuWaH’s people.” Ephesians (Eph) 6:14-18
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 Yahusha’s words of Luke 17:20-21, the Kingdom of YaHuWaH (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 Yisra’El (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, Yahusha, 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 the ‘the devil’ (even though, that as an entity he does not exist in scripture) than they are taught about how to hear the Voice of YaHuWaH. This is not the way scripture reveals Yahusha doing it (John 5:30).
Christians are also told that ‘if we only had eyes to see’ we could observe spiritual warfare taking place all around us, referring to a single scripture in 2 Kings 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 YaHuWaH – 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 or warfare into the words. This concept of an external warfare engaged in a spiritual battle against evil also lies in direct conflict with Yahusha’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 YaHuWaH 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 Yahusha’s Hebrew Words whose origins are found in the Original Writings in order to understand Truth – Who is YaHuWaH (Exodus 34:6). There is nothing, and let us be clear on this issue – nothing – Yahusha 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). Most assuredly, there are demons active among us. Yahusha dealt with them all the time. They are often found in packs, like wolves, seeing 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.
…like a pack of wolves
They are very crafty, however, appearing as an ‘angel of light’ as they did to Joseph Smith of the Mormons and Mohammad of Islam to deceive those susceptible and unknowledgeable of the Truth (Hosea 4:6). Have you noticed that scripture never speaks of Yahusha taking authority over such things? He WAS authority – the authority of the Father rested in Him. He BECAME authority because of His obedience to YaHuWaH’s Words (John 15:10).
Whenever Yahusha stepped into an arena where demon activity is recorded in scripture, the first thing that happened was that those demons either came and bowed at His feet or acknowledged His Authority in some way. He didn’t have to DO anything – like the difference between Light and darkness, they had no choice but to acquiesce to the authority abiding in him. Then, with a word, He cast them out. There was no fighting, no wrestling, no haranguing and no argument. They just left. This is the effect of embracing virtue. Have you also noticed that there is no account anywhere in the Messianic Writings where any of the disciples were healed or delivered? This is because the Greek word translated ‘authority’ Yahusha gave to His disciples in Luke 9:1 is the same Greek word (eksousia) Yahusha uses to point to where His authority originates and means ‘power of choice. Those who embrace the Words of the Father, like Yahusha did, have access to the same authority the Father gave His Son – the power within to choose what manner of behavior is exhibited without in the face of circumstance. Of the 103 times that eksousia appears in scripture, it is translated ‘power’ 69 times (as in John 1:12).
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 YaHuWaH 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. Yahusha became the example of how our behavior results in righteousness – He does not do it for us (Mark 8:34). Those who follow Yahusha’s example to choose YaHuWaH’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 that it just ‘fell’ on Him (Hebrews 5:8). The Hebrew word for ‘righteousness’ is tsedaqah, 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 behaviorally based. Romans 4:3 is a direct quote from Genesis 15:6 which says that ‘Abraham believed YaHuWaH, 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 YaHuWaH’s Word would come to pass just as He had spoken it. How did Abraham exhibit that belief? Abraham acted on YaHuWaH’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 YaHuWaH the very day they were spoken to him (Genesis 17). This is reinforced in Genesis 26:4-5 when YaHuWaH declares to Isaac WHY His Word will come to pass – because of the behavior of Abraham.
Beloved ones, I appeal to you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts which battle against the being, Kĕpha Aleph (1 Peter) 2:11
Moses and the sorcerers
Scripture clearly states from both sides of the Book, that our warfare is primarily with the flesh (flesh opposes spirit – John 3:6, Ezekiel 11:19-20). We would rather blame something or someone other than ourselves for the consequences we suffer in the flesh because of our lack of adherence to the Words of the Father which are given to provide us with the instruction we need to navigate this thing called life. Exodus 15:26 is a classic example of this instruction (the key word in this verse being ‘if’). Christians are taught they can have the blessing without the condition by ‘just believing’ – which is why so many are sick. They would rather seek the advice of medical sorcerers than be faithful to the Words of the Great Physician. The Greek word, pharmakeia (translated as the English ‘witchcraft’ in Galatians 5:19-21) is primarily defined as ‘the use or the administering of drugs’. The definition of the Greek word, sozo, translated as ‘saved’ in John 5:34 means ‘deliverance from physical infirmities’. You will find their Hebrew counterparts to carry very similar definitions. Life-death, Light-darkness, Set-Apart-Profane all come as an exercise of eksousia. The only power that demons of darkness have over the faithful is the power the faithful CHOOSE to give them in their daily lives – the place they make for it (Ephesians 4:27). This is what Yahusha meant by ‘binding and loosing’ in Matthew 18:18. The prevalent ‘faith’ teaching rampant in Christianity today has its adherents engaging in sorcery without them even realizing how they are involved. Sorcery is the exercise of our will over others and things, calling it ‘prayer’ – even if it may seem to be ‘good’. There is real power in the spiritual realm – the sorcerers of Pharaoh’s court were able to reproduce the same miracles YaHuWaH gave Moses in Exodus 7. The Nature of YaHuWaH contained in His Words are given as instruction to keep us out of darkness.
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 Yahusha (2 Corinthians 10:3-6, John 14:23-24). There is not and never has been a ‘fight’ between YaHuWaH and a persona named ‘Satan’ – and there is no scripture that suggests an external ‘fight’ with Yahusha 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 Yahusha 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 Yahusha’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 YaHuWaH which tells us what YaHuWaH says is good or to follow our own determination as to what we say is good – and it was in remembering YaHuWaH’s Words that Yahusha countered that temptation.
Contrary to the popular depiction in Christian religious tradition, doing battle with the enemies of YaHuWaH is not waged as a Roman soldier with weapons and armor to trade blows with another entity. Most will be surprised to learn the ‘armor’ 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 YaHuWaH. Because of the Greco/Roman influence that crept into Christianity centuries after the Resurrection, these words have been taught to picture a Roman soldier’s armor; 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. 1 Peter 2:9 and Revelation 1:6 tells us that those who actively embrace the Life of Yahusha 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). 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 Set-Apart Priesthood who stand before Him today in Ephesians 6:11-18:
The Clothing of the High Priest
The Belt of Truth can be seen in the Ephod of Exodus 28:5-14 depicting an apron-like garment worn from the waist and covering the loins – Ephesians 6:14a.
The Breastplate of Righteousness is described in Exodus 2815-30 and Isaiah 59:17 – Ephesians 6:14b.
The Feet of Shalom. Priests were always barefoot before the Present Presence, shod only in YaHuWaH’s Shalom because they were walking on set-apart ground (Exodus 3:5, Isaiah 52:7).
The Shield of Trust. Belief, ‘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 thing) 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 “Set-Apart Unto YaHuWaH”. Here, the emphasis is on the covering of thought processes, ‘taking every thought captive unto the obedience of the Messiah’ (2 Corinthians 10:5) – Ephesians 6:17a.
The Sword of the Spirit is the Torah. (Exodus 20:1, Isaiah 55:11, John 17:17). Priests carried no weapons of war, so the Word of YaHuWaH (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 YaHuWaH by His Priests (Psalm 141:2, Revelation 5:8, 1 Peter 2:5) – Ephesians 6:18
Ephesians 6:11 is declaring to those who would be priests alongside Yahusha to ‘…put on the whole armor of YaHuWaH’ and in Ephesians 6:13, ‘Wherefore take up the whole armor of YaHuWaH…’ In other words, wearing the breastplate of righteousness is always in accord with the Nature of YaHuWaH’s righteousness which is selfLESSness (Romans 14:7)). ‘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. The Armor of the Priesthood is designed by YaHuWaH 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, satan.