Vol. 17, No. 11 – March 18, 2018
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.
- The Enemy, vs. 11-12.
Eph 6:12, “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.”
In Eph 2:2, we read, “…according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience”
There, we see that Satan is a prince of the demons also known as the fallen angels, cf. Mat 12:24; 9:34; Luke 11:14-18.
Mat 9:34, “But the Pharisees were saying, ‘He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons’.”
As such, Satan is a king, and as a king he has a kingdom. Our Lord said in Mat 12:24-30, “If Satan cast out Satan he is divided against himself; how shall then his ‘kingdom’ stand?”
We also see in Scripture that Satan is the “ruler of this world,” John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11, and the “whole world lies in the power of the evil one,” 1 John 5:19.
Therefore, this world is his kingdom or dominion, and it is doubtless of the fact that the world of “evil spirits / demons / fallen angels,” is organized, and that Satan is at its head, as he is also called, “the god of this world,” 2 Cor 4:4.
2 Cor 4:4, “In whose case the god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
Being “the god of this world,” also implies that he is the object of the world’s worship, while at the same time it indicates he is the master mind and leader moving the evil spirit of his godless activities in this world.
Now, what we see in Eph 6:12, is one of the listings in Scripture that describes with some nuance the evil forces that Satan rules and leads, which are also antagonistic towards Christians, and therefore part of the enemy we battle against on a daily basis. This verse tells us about Satan’s kingdom that works in conjunction with Him to currently rule this earth.
It begins with the Conjunction HOTI, “that, because, since, for,” in the causative force that should be translated “because.” This introduces the reason why we need to “put on the full armor of God;” because of the spiritual warfare we are a part of.
“Our struggle is not against,” begins with the Greek negative OUK, “not.” It is used as a negative for a statement of fact and goes with the Indicative mood of the verb EIMI, “is,” that is also in the Present tense and Active voice. EIMI tells us this is a continuous ongoing struggle that we, believers, are actively involved in. With this we have the emphatic Personal Pronoun HEMEIS, in the Dative, 1st Person, Plural for “our” that includes all believers, including Paul.
Next, we have the Subject Nominative Singular of PALE, πάλη that means, “wrestling, struggle for victory, or hand-to-hand combat.” PALE is only used here in the NT. It refers to the sport of wrestling well known in ancient times. Brought to prominence by the Greek athletic games, this competition required each wrestler to throw his opponent to the ground. According to Thayer, the overcomer’s hand pinned the defeated’s neck to the ground, and victory was declared. It denotes the struggle between individual combatants, one-on-one fighting, in distinction from an entire military campaign that would be noted in the word, STRATEIA. Therefore, Paul used it metaphorically to depict the Christian’s struggle in overcoming our enemy, Satan and his cosmic system.
In Ephesians, the imagery is military warfare between soldiers. Yet, PALE is a wrestling term. Therefore, it gives us the imagery of close, hand-to-hand fighting or combat. This tells us that the Devil and his cosmic system are not firing laser guided missiles at us from a distance. No, they are up close and personal, hand-to-hand. This is also seen in the word, “against,” which is PROS in the Greek that literally means, “face-to-face.” Therefore, this is a face-to-face conflict for victory.
Jesus told Peter in Luke 22:31-32a, “… Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail ….”
Satan wanted to get up close and personal with Peter, as he also did with Job, Job 1-2, as his cosmic system also does with you too.
As you know, Peter failed when Satan sifted him at the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of our Lord, but our Lord knew that Peter would grow stronger as a result, so that in the future, he would be victorious when wrestling with Satan and also help others in their struggles with the Angelic Conflict, Luke 22:32b.
Luke 22:32b, “… and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Another interesting fact about the meaning of PALE, is that in the ancient days of Greek wrestling, when the loser was determined, his eyes where gouged out with the result of blindness for the remainder of his life. With this imagery in view, our wrestling against the powers of darkness is no less desperate and fateful.
Therefore, this tells us about the reality of the fight we believers are in. In other words, if we do not put on the full armor of God so that we can be victorious in this struggle with the cosmic system, we will be defeated, and our spiritual eyes will be gouged out, which means we will be blinded by Satan for the rest of our lives here on earth.
John 12:40, “He, (Satan), has blinded their eyes, and he hardened their heart; lest they see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and be converted, and I heal them.”
Rom 11:7, “What then? Israel has not obtained that which he seeks for; but the election has obtained it, and the rest were blinded.”
2 Cor 4:4, “In whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
1 John 2:11, “But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”
Wisdom of Solomon 2:21, “Such things they did imagine, and were deceived: for their own wickedness has blinded them.” (KJV Apocrypha)
For the believer to be blinded by Satan means he does not understand that he is not walking with Christ and is rejecting the things of God. He is blind to his negative volition towards God and His Word, and is blind to the fact that he is instead walking inside of Satan’s cosmic system. This is the deception that Satan tries to bring into the life of the believer. This is the meaning of the “hardening of your heart,” “scare tissue on your soul,” and “black out of your soul.” This is the meaning of the vanity, futility, darkened, excluded from the life, ignorance, hardness, callousness, sensuality, impurity, with all greediness in Eph 4:17-19, and you don’t even realize it. This is the consequence of not going forward in God’s plan daily. And, if you are not going forward, you do not even know it, because your spiritual eyes have been gouged out by Satan and his cosmic system.
Yet, because of the grace and love of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus came and went to the Cross to heal those who have been blinded by Satan, Mat 11:5; 15:31; Mark 10:51; Luke 4:18; cf. John 10:21. For the unbeliever the healing occurs upon their belief in Jesus Christ as their Savior. For the believer the healing comes by their faith in God’s Word, beginning with the Rebound Technique of 1 John 1:9, and then with the resultant filling of the Holy Spirit, the consistent intake and application of Bible Doctrine. Therefore, we see the vital importance of putting on the “full armor of God,” so that we do not end up blinded by Satan and his cosmic system.
Now, in Eph 6:12, we have OUK PROS, which first tells us what our struggle “is not against.” This is followed by the words, “flesh and blood.” In the Greek, it is reversed, HAIMA KAI SARX, “blood and flesh.” It indicates the literal, but also the figurative of natural life, human life, mortal nature, or physical life. In other words, our warfare is not against the people of this world. In fact, we are told to love our neighbors many times in Scripture, Lev 19:18; Mat 5:43; 19:19; 22:39; Rom 13:8-10; Gal 5:14; James 2:8, etc. Therefore, regardless of religious, ethnic, or socio-economic status, we are to express love to all of mankind, even our enemies, Prov 25:24; Mat 5:44; Rom 12:20.
Unfortunately, too many people, including too many Christians, make other members of the human race as the objects of their hatred and we fight against each other. But God says our enemy is not man but Satan and his fallen angelic forces in the rest of this verse.
Yet, you might have wondered, “Paul, what do you mean, we do not wrestle with flesh and blood? You have been beaten with rods, imprisoned, left for dead, shipwrecked, endangered countless times, and more. What do you mean our battle is not physical?”
Yes, we might suffer at the hands of man, but we always have to keep in mind the true battle that is going on behind the scenes. We have to keep in mind the spiritual warfare that we are engaged in. That is what allowed Jesus to say, while He was hanging on the Cross with insults being hurled at Him, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” Luke 23:34.
Therefore, we know from the apostle Paul that behind our daily battles is another battle. There is an unseen, cosmic, and spiritual battle in which we are engaged.
Paul tells us this with the contrasting Conjunction ALLA that means, “but, yet, or rather” and the Preposition PROS, “against,” used four times in the description of our true enemy we are wrestling with every day. It is broken down into four categories: “the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness…” The enemy includes: 1) Rulers, 2) Powers, 3) World forces of this darkness, and 4) Spiritual forces of wickedness.
The number four in Scripture represents God’s creative works, creation, material things, and material completeness. It is the world number and especially the city number. This tells us that these are created beings who rule the world and its individual cities. The number 4 = 2 + 2, and the number 2 has the context of “division,” as these four scopes of demonic authorities are divided from God and are trying to divide man from having a relationship with God.
The number four is also made up of three plus one. As we see the listing in Eph 6:12, we have three titles for the leaders of the fallen angelic forces and one for the general population of fallen angels. Three meaning “divine perfection” and one “unity,” tells us that this is a perfect order of demonic angelic forces that are in an evil unity conspiring against God and His family.
As such, our “wrestling opponents” are spiritual and supernatural foes of evil, as we see in the last phrase, “in the heavenly places,” EN HO EPOURANIOS in the Dative case. The Adjective EPOURANIOS, ἐπουράνιος comes from the root Noun HOURANOS that means, “heaven.” So, EPOURANIOS means, “heavenly or celestial.” If used as a substantive, it can mean, “the gods above.” But here it is used to emphasize the location of our opponent, their abode or dwelling place which currently includes first, second, and third heaven; our atmosphere, the stellar universe, and God’s throne room outside of our universe, respectfully, cf. 2 Cor 12:2.
Jesus also used EPOURANIOS in John 3:12, to contrast “heavenly things” with “earthly things,” “If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”
This raises a question, if we are “flesh and blood,” how do we fight an enemy that is spiritual and supernatural? Well, we certainly cannot fight it, nor win it, by using our flesh and blood, i.e., earthly things. In other words, we cannot fight this battle with our human strength, our human intellect, our human resources like money and wealth, or guns and military weapons. Even the atom bomb cannot defeat this enemy!
Yet, there is a way we can defeat them and be victorious. Because of our salvation won in Christ, we have been elevated from the earthly to the heavenly, and therefore are first qualified to be entered into this battle, Eph 2:6; 2 Tim 4:18; cf. Eph 6:12. That means we are “fair game” in this spiritual warfare and are fair competition. In other words, we are capable of competing in this match because we have something in common, spiritual assets and resources, 1 Cor 2:13, 15; 15:44; Gal 6:1; Eph 1:3; Col 1:9; 3:16; 1 Tim 4:14; 1 Peter 2:5. And our assets and resources are far superior to our enemies.
Eph 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
Col 1:9, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”
At the same time, God has made available to the believer all the spiritual assets necessary to be victorious experientially in this wrestling match. That is why we must put on the “full armor of God,” 1 Cor 2:13-15; Rom 12:1.
1 Cor 2:13, “Which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.”
1 Cor 2:15, “He who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.”
Rom 12:1, “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”
Yet, if we do not put on the armor of God, we will remain as if we were unsaved and not have the spiritual assets necessary to be victorious, with the result of being perpetually spiritually blinded by Satan, 1 Cor 2:14; 3:1.
1 Cor 3:1, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.”
1 Cor 2:14, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”
Therefore, we are fighting against a spiritual and supernatural foe: The rulers, powers, world forces of this darkness, and spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenlies. To fight, we have to be equipped with spiritual and supernatural power that only God and His Word through the filling of the Holy “Spirit” can supply.
And remember, we are not just shadowboxing in this spiritual warfare. The enemies are real. That is why Paul stated in 1 Cor 9:24-27, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”
And thanks be to God that He has qualified us to fight on a level playing field, and provided for us the necessary spiritual power to not just compete, but to win and overcome by His grace.
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
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 !!!