The Book of Ephesians ~ Chapter 6:11-12 ~ The Angelic Conflict Pt. 2 ~ The Enemy ~ Spiritual Warfare

Vol. 17, No. 3 – January 21, 2018

eph 6 vs 11 spiritual warfare the enemy

Eph 6:10-24, Stand in Warfare!
1. The Empowerment, vs. 10.
2. The Enemy, vs. 11-12.
3. The Equipment, vs. 13-17.
4. The Energy, vs. 18-20.
5. The Encouragement, vs. 21-24.

2. The Enemy, vs. 11-12.

Vs. 11

Eph 6:11, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

The exhortation is to “put on the full armor of God that you may be able to stand firm against.” Then we are given the identification of our enemy, “the schemes of the devil.”

By putting on the whole armor God has provided, believers are able to stand victoriously in the tactical battles of the Angelic Conflict. This exhortation is the means by which we “become and remain strong in the Lord.” And remember, although the strategic victory is won in Christ, believers must still defend the position that Christ has won for them against the last desperate attacks of the devil and his malevolent allies.

Some of this imagery may be inspired by Isaiah, Isa 59:17; 11:4-5; 52:7.

Isa 59:17, “And He (Jesus Christ) 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.”

We begin with the command, “put on” which is the Aorist, Middle, Imperative of ENDUO, ἐνδύω that means, “dress, clothe oneself, put on.” It is also used in vs. 14. The Constative Aorist tense views the entirety of the action of “putting on” the armor of God; from salvation to spiritual adulthood. The Reflexive Middle voice tells us that the believer is responsible for this putting on. Therefore, “putting on for one’s self.” The Imperative mood is for a command, once again. This time we are commanded to “put on” God’s armor. So, this is personally accepting and appropriating the defensive armor that is already yours in Christ.

In the LXX, this word was used to translate the Hebrew LAVESH of the same meaning, and is used in 1 Chron 12:18; 2 Chron 24:20, for the Holy Spirit coming upon someone to empower them.

1 Chron 12:18, “Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, who was the chief of the thirty, …”

2 Chron 24:20, “Then the Spirit of God came on Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest…”

As you know, the indwelling and filling of the Holy Spirit was not universal to all believers of the OT. But occasionally and many times temporally, the empowerment of the Holy Spirit would come upon someone to perform certain tasks for God. Because of the Greek word ENDUO being used in the LXX for this OT empowerment, in theology we call this the “enduement” of the Holy Spirit. But now, during the Church age, all believers are permanently indwelt by God the Holy Spirit from the day of their regeneration, Rom 8:11, and all believers have the opportunity to be filled with God the Holy Spirit, Eph 5:18, to strengthen and empower them to walk inside the plan of God for their lives. This filling of the Holy Spirit is accomplished as a result of applying 1 John 1:9 post salvation. Therefore, the command to “put on” the armor of God includes the filling of God the Holy Spirit who empowers us to wield that armor of God, so that we are able to stand firm in warfare during the Angelic Conflict.

In the NT, ENDUO is also used for being “clothed” with Christ, Gal 3:27, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Cf. Rom 13:14. This Baptism is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Acts 1:5; Eph 4:5. This tells us that we are also indwelt by the Lord Jesus Christ at the moment of our regeneration / salvation. Therefore, in our passage, it combines both the Spirit and Son of God as we are commanded to, “put on the full armor of God.” This is part of the DUNAMIS, KRATOS, and ISCHUS of vs. 10, along with the Word of God / Bible Doctrine resident within your soul, Heb 4:12.

Earlier in Eph 4:24, Paul said that believers must, “put on the new nature, created in God’s image, in righteousness, holiness, and truth,” cf. 5:9. He also said that we should imitate the Messiah, Eph 4:32, and God, Eph 5:1, in showing forgiveness and love to one another. Now he depicts this imitation of God in terms of putting on the armament of God to fight the daily battles inside the war of the Angelic Conflict that has already been won by Christ. It means to be identified with Christ and to fight with His strength, displaying His character. Remember, the critical battle has already been won! There is now just a mop-up operation going on. Christ is Lord, and we are in Him.

The thing we are to “put on” in this verse is given generally in the words, “the full armor of God.” It begins with the Accusative of HO PANOPLIA, πανοπλία that means, “full armor or complete armor.” In classical Greek, PANOPLIA is used for the “complete armor” used by heavily armed infantry, including both offensive and defensive weapons. In the NT, it is used for the spiritual weapons supplied by God to the believer for overcoming the temptations of the devil. It is used only here, and in vs. 13, as well as Luke 11:22.

It is a compound word from PAS, (PAN), “all or every,” and the verb HOPLIZO that means, “to arm, to arm oneself with, or equip,” cf. 1 Peter 4:1, and the noun HOPLON that means, “tool, instrument, or weapon,” John 18:3; Rom 6:13; 13:12; 2 Cor 6:7; 10:4. Read 2 Cor 6:1-10.

1 Peter 4:1, “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves (HOPLIZO) also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.”

Rom 6:13, “And do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”

Rom 13:12, “The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

2 Cor 10:3-5, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5We 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.”

Cf. 1 Thes 5:8, “But 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.”

Our implements of war are mighty, because they are supplied by God. With them, as Paul did, we can pull down, overpower, conquer, and destroy demonic spiritual strongholds. Such fortresses are prisons for the minds of men. And since the gods of this world guard the bars that hold them, only spiritual weapons more effective than theirs can set their captives free.

That is why we need to put on this armor for ourselves first, so that we are overcomers in this life, and secondly for our unbelieving neighbors, to free them from the enslavement of the enemy; sin, the world, and Satan.

And, we are to put on the “whole armor.” We are not to be partly armed with what God has appointed, and partly with such weapons as men use; nor are we only to put on a part of the armor, but the whole armor of God. A man needs all the armor of God if he is to fight the battles of the Lord. No opening at the head, the feet, the heart, the belly, the eye, the ear, or the tongue is to be given to Satan. Yet, if he lacks one of the weapons which God has appointed, defeat may be the consequence.

In Luke 11, when the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons in the name of Beelzebul, He rebuked them, yet He also gave us insight to what happens when someone does not have the power of God working within their soul.

Luke 11:22, “But when someone stronger (Satan) than he attacks him and overpowers him, he (Satan) takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied, and distributes his plunder.”

 Jesus went on to say in Luke 11:23, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.”

The armor that we are to put on is not of our own or of the world, but that “of God,” or belonging to God, HO THEOS in the Genitive Singular. The unbeliever who does not receive the armor of God is lacking in this warfare and is defeated by it. So too will the believer be, who does not apply the armor that God in grace has given him to wield.

Therefore, Paul takes PANOPLIA from military speech, and lists six items of equipment, i.e., girdle, breastplate, shoes, shield, helmet, and sword. He has in view the actual equipment of the Roman soldier along with OT models. Since the enemy is spiritual, the whole PANOPLIA of God is needed. In repudiation to the ancient pagan gods, the background of this armor is a mythological one of God giving His own equipment, but the concept is real and spiritualized for us in this truth. Also in an ethical context, the apostle is describing a religious and moral battle, the Angelic Conflict. The weapons, however, are not moral qualities but Divine realities. The believer can triumph in this Angelic Conflict only through the Divine power of our Lord; the power of His might.

Next, we have the purpose or goal for why we are given the armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against.

In the Greek it begins with the Accusative Preposition of Purpose PROS that means, “to, in order to, for the purpose of, etc.” Then we have, “you will be able,” using the Article HO, “the,” that goes untranslated, and the Present, Middle, Infinitive of Purpose of DUNAMAI, δύναμαι that means, “be able, have power to do, have capacity for, etc.,” along with the Accusative Personal Pronoun HUMEIS, “you” in the Second Person Plural, referring to believers.

As noted above, in the NT, DUNAMAI is used to express inherent ability and capacity to accomplish something in deed, attitude, or thought. In other words, by receiving the power of God, vs. 10, you will be powerful, vs.11, in deed, attitude, or thought.

In this case, with this power, we will be able to, “stand against,” which is STENAI, the Constative Aorist, Active, Complementary Infinitive HISTEMI, ἵστημι that means, “stand, stand firm, place firmly, establish, set, or confirm,” along with the Preposition PROS, used this time for opposition to mean, “against.” HISTEMI is also used in vs. 13, 14. “Stand” is a military term for holding on to a position. Therefore, before any offensive can be launched, one must first of all maintain his own ground.

Therefore, it means to “stand firm, stand against, or stand your ground.” Paul especially employed it in this sense. In vs. 11 and 13 it means, “stand against” and “remain standing” in battle; in vs. 14, it means “stand ready.” The point is to stand in God’s strength with God’s armor in the midst of spiritual warfare. In vs. 14, with the Imperative, some believe it is the chief admonition of the passage.

In the day of battle, Roman soldiers were to stand their ground, not retreat. As long as they stood together on a flat, open field and did not break ranks, their legions were considered virtually invincible. Nevertheless, “stand firm” contains the idea of being successful in this spiritual battle of the Angelic Conflict, as in Rom 11:20, believers are urged to continue or to stand “by faith.”

Rom 11:20, “Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear.”

Paul also cautioned those who thought they were “standing firm” on their own, by their own human power and resource, lest they “fall,” 1 Cor 10:12-13.

1 Cor 10:12, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.” He goes on to say in, vs. 13, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

This reminds me of an anecdote once told about church attendance. It goes as follows:

  “A Pastor in a country parish heard that one of his parishioners was going about announcing that he would no longer be attending church services, stating that he could communicate just as easily with God at home or out in the fields with the natural settings as in his place of worship.

  One cold winter evening the pastor called on this reluctant member of his church for a friendly visit. The two men sat before the fireplace making small talk, but avoided the issue of church attendance. After some time, the Pastor took the tongs from the rack next to the fireplace and pulled a single coal from the fire. He placed the glowing ember on the hearth.
The two men watched as the coal quickly ceased burning and turned an ashen gray while the other coals in the fire continued to burn brightly.

  The Pastor remained silent, “I’ll be a church next Sunday,” said the parishioner.”

Finally, in classical Greek, this term was also used for “raising up an offering to a god,” and to describe the “setting up” of kings. Therefore, we could say, to “raise up an offering to our God, against the schemes of the devil.” In other words, when you stand firm against the flesh, sin, the world, or Satan you are actually making an offering of your life to God, which is Divine Good Production, the fruit of the Spirit. And as you know, all believers have been established as royalty, being in union with Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 2:9. Therefore, this armor, giving us power to stand, is the function of our Royal Priesthood and Royal Ambassadorship. And when we do stand, we are functioning in our royalty as members of the body of Jesus Christ, producing Divine good.

Conclusion, This passage reminds us that Christ has already triumphed over the powers of darkness, Eph 1:21; 3:10; 4:8, giving us new life and freeing us from the fear of angelic powers, Eph 2:2; but we have not yet experienced the full fruits of Christ’s victory, for their powers still exist, though they are defeated, Eph 4:27; 5:16. Therefore, we will continually battle the powers of evil until Christ’s return, Rom 6:1-14; Col 3:3-5.

Now we begin to understand the thing we are able to stand firm against, which is “the schemes of the devil,” that is the Accusative of HO METHODEIA with the Genitive of Possession of HO DIABOLOS.

The Accusative of the noun METHODEIA, μεθοδεία in the Plural means, “methods, strategies, schemes, craftiness, deceitful planning, and procedures.” In the unfavorable sense, it denotes a “trick, stratagem, or wiles,” with intent to lure, deceive, and ensnare. The noun was not used prior to the NT. It is used in reference to Satan’s deliberate, skillful, and malicious plan and development of a “strategy” of error to circumvent, distort, confuse, and deceive believers so they might be lured away from the true faith.

It is only found here and in Eph 4:11, which we have previously noted.

Eph 4:14, “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.”

The NT tells us that their schemes include at least the following: tempting to immorality, 1 Cor 7:5; attempting to deceive, 2 Cor 2:11; 11:13-14; taking advantage of bitterness, Eph 4:27; and hindering ministry, 1 Thes 2:18.

The devil,” is from the Adjective, DIABOLOS διάβολος and is not a name but a title or definition of who Satan is. It can mean, “slanderous, false accuser, the adversary,” and is somewhat transliterated for “the devil.” It comes from the Noun DIABOLE that means, “to set against, false accusations, slander.” It is used in the LXX for the Hebrew word SATAN, the adversary of God, Job 1:6-7, 9, 12; Zech 3:1-3. Devil is used about 35 times in Scripture, while Satan is used about 52 times.

Comparing 2 Cor 2:11, we are to stand firm against Satan, “so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes, (NOEMA – mind, thoughts, devices, purpose, etc.).

The strategies of the devil include the various arts and stratagems which he employs to drag souls down. The devil does not always attack through obvious head-on assaults, but employs cunning and wily stratagems designed to catch believers unawares. Paul has already pointed out some of the ways Satan works. He tries to gain a foothold by tempting us to speak falsehood, Eph 4:25, have uncontrolled anger, Eph 4:26, steal Eph 4:28, or share unwholesome talk, Eph 4:29. These are all former ways of life, the ways we once walked before God made us alive with Christ, Eph 2:1-5.

Satan makes things look attractive and desirable and distort the truth, camouflaging the evil, as he did with Adam and woman in the Garden, Gen 3. It is easy to encounter open forces than it is the cunning. That is why we need the weapons of Christian armor to meet the attempts to draw us into a snare, as much as to meet open force.

Yet, Satan does not carry on an open warfare. He does not meet the Christian soldier face to face. He advances covertly; makes his approaches in darkness; employs cunning rather than power, and seeks rather to deceive and betray than to vanquish by mere force.

That is why the believer must be constantly armed to meet him whenever the attack is made. Someone who contends with a visible enemy may feel safe, especially when he prepares to meet him in the open field. But far different is the case if the enemy is invisible; if he sneaks up on you slyly and stealthily; if he practices war only by ambushes and by surprises.

Such is the enemy we have to contend with. And almost all of our Christian struggle is a warfare against schemes and stratagems. Satan does not openly appear. He approaches us not in repulsive forms, but comes to recommend some plausible doctrine, to set before us some temptation that does not immediately repel us. He presents the world in an alluring aspect and invites us to its pleasures that seem to be harmless, yet leads us in indulgence, until we have gone so far that we cannot retreat.

Satan and his demons are seen as supernatural powers that control not only the world but the, “present evil age” cf. Gal 1:4. By Jesus casting out demons and healing the sick, He signified the overthrow of Satan’s stronghold, cf. Mark 3:23ff.; Luke 10:17, that would be won at the Cross.

There are many titles by which the Devil is known in both Testaments that cumulatively establish his existence and evil character. The NT includes:

  • Devil, DIABOLOS – slanderer, Mat 4:1.
  • Satan, SATANOS – adversary, Mat 4:10.
  • Adversary, ANTIDIKOS – opponent, 1 Peter 5:8.
  • Abaddon and Apollyon, Rev 9:11, both meaning destruction, the destroyer, the accuser of our brethren, Rev 12:10.
  • Beelzebub – ruler of devils/demons, Mat 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15.
  • Belial, (meaning worthless or wickedness), 2 Cor 6:15.
  • An enemy, Mat 13:28, 39.
  • The evil/wicked one, Mat 13:19, 38; John 17:15; 1 John 2:13; 5:19.
  • A murderer . . . a liar, and the father of it, John 8:44.
  • The god of this world, 2 Cor 4:4.
  • The prince of the power of the air, Eph 2:2.
  • The prince/ruler of this world, John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11.
  • The spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience, Eph 2:2.
  • The tempter, Mat 4:3; 1 Thes 3:5.
  • An angel of light, 2 Cor 11:14.
  • False teacher / minister of righteousness, 2 Cor 11:15.
  • The accuser, Rev 12:10.
  • The serpent, Gen 3:1, 14; 2 Cor 11:3; Rev 12:9; 20:2.
  • The dragon, Rev 12:3, 7, 9.

The various titles and designations for Satan affirm the reality of his existence and reveal his multi-faceted character and the numerous aspects of his work. A name or nickname often reveals something about the person’s background, characteristics, or activities, so too with Satan. He is a powerful, intelligent, clever creature, and we must never forget or underestimate the reality of our enemy.

His knowledge and facility with Scripture, albeit to deceive men, further illustrates his intellect; as during the three temptations of Jesus Christ, Mat 4:5-6.

Satan’s emotion is seen in his desire to exalt himself above the rule of God, Isa 14:12-14, the “five I will’s.”

The existence of Satan is not determined by the opinions of men. The only source of information is the Bible. There are many who deny the existence of Satan. They claim that what we call Satan is only a “principle of evil,” or an “evil” that is intangible like disease germs that float around in the atmosphere and attack people’s hearts under certain conditions. That is why Satan tries to discredit the Word of God. He is not a “principle of evil,” he is a real person.

1 Peter 5:8, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

The Bible is very clear and positive in its teaching regarding the existence of a person of evil with a personality called the devil, Job 1:6; Mat 13:39; 25:4; John 13:2; Acts 5:3; 2 Cor 11:3, 14; 1 Tim 3:6; Rev 12:9.

Job 1:6, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.”

Mat 13:19, 39, “Then comes the wicked one . . . . The enemy that sowed them is the devil.”

John 13:2, “The devil having now put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him.”

Rev 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”

The NT evidence for Satan’s existence is extensive. Every NT writer and nineteen of the books make reference to him, cf. Mat 4:10; 12:26; Mark 1:13; 3:23, 26; 4:15; Luke 11:18; 22:3; John 13:27, etc.. Christ Himself makes reference to Satan 25 times. The fact of Satan’s existence finds ultimate support in the veracity of Christ’s words.

Therefore, acknowledging Satan’s reality, taking his opposition seriously, noting his strategy, and assuming to always be at war with him, is not a lapse into a dualistic concept of two gods, one good, one evil, fighting it out. No, Satan is a creature, superhuman but not Divine; he has much knowledge and power, but he is neither omniscient nor omnipotent; he can move around in ways that humans cannot, but he is not omnipresent; and he is an already defeated rebel, having no more power than God allows him and being destined for the Lake of Fire, Rev 20:10.

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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#18-005, 18-006, 18-007
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If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.

Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I Welcome You to the Eternal Family of God !!!

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