Vol. 17, No. 21 – May 27, 2018
Vs. 16, (continued).
Eph 6:16, “In addition to all (the first three pieces of armor), taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.”
The thing that has been put on fire is “arrows”, or “missiles”, or “darts,” which is the Greek noun BELOS, βέλος that means, “dart, arrow, javelin, etc.” It is only used here in the NT; a hapaxlegomena. It comes from BALLO, “to throw.” It is a projectile such as an arrow, javelin, or dart hurled deliberately and with purpose. If we were writing this letter today, we would probably use the word, “bullet” or “explosive shells,” a projectile sent by an explosion or fire. Missile is also a good imagery here. But back when the Bible was written, they did not have bullets, but they did have arrows, darts, and javelins. Therefore, the “flaming arrows,” refer to arrows tipped with tow, pitch, or such material that were set on fire before they were discharged. Sometimes they were missiles fitted with combustibles.
The one who is hurling these flaming arrows at us is “the evil one,” which is HO PONEROS. PONEROS, πονηρός is an Adjective, and with the article HO, it acts like a noun or pronoun. It means, “painful, serious, grievous, bad, wicked, evil, or depraved.” It means evil in a moral or spiritual sense, wicked, malicious, and mischievous. But here, it is a title for Satan to describe his personage, as well as his actions. We noted this word for Satan and his attacks back in vs. 13, “the evil day.” Here it tells us of the one who shoots the “bullets” at us. Therefore, the flaming arrows represent the temptations with which Satan attacks the saints. And, it is these temptations that we will extinguish when we put on the “Shield of Faith.”
Using the order of words in the Greek for this passage, it reads as follows, “Besides all, having taken up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to with all of the arrows of the wicked one, those having been set on fire, quench.”
When Paul wrote Ephesians, the PUROO BELOS was among the deadliest weapons developed for warfare. He used it figuratively for satanic temptations. We draw attention to several particulars in which this figure is specially instructive and warning.
- Even when the flaming arrow did not hit the body and was caught by the shield, it hurled the flames all over the shield and around it with the intent to cause fear or a panic. Likewise, Satan’s temptations, though initially handled in your soul, (caught or deflected), by faith, are designed to weaken your resolve to fight the battle raising doubt, fear, worry, or anxiety about your spiritual walk, leaving you vulnerable to future attacks.
- The flaming arrow spreads its destructive intent, as Satan’s temptations are designed to affect your entire soul, it sets the soul on fire in a negative way. In other words, when temptation is thrown at you, it is designed by Satan to ignite a spark of sin or human good in your soul that consumes the entire soul.
- The arrow was designed to hit one specific area and penetrate deeply to cause the greatest amount of damage to that area. Likewise, Satan tempts us in a one specific area at a time, trying to hit your most vulnerable area to cause you to sin or get involved in a system of human good works.
- The arrow is one of suddenness with which Satan attacks us. Satan’s temptations were designed to come swiftly and suddenly, and from directions we were not expecting. In other words, many times we do not see his attacks coming. This is the “shock and awe” effect of this weapon. That is why we always need to be at the ready, walking in faith, so that no matter what comes or from where; we are able to handle it in faith.
- The arrow was designed so that once it penetrated the intended target, it could not be easily removed without causing further damage. Likewise, Satan’s temptations are designed to stick in your soul, so that you cannot change your ways and repent back to God. Satan wants to keep you in his clutches.
- The flaming arrow disperses its destructive force. Likewise, Satan’s temptations are designed to cause widespread sinning, human good, or evil in your life. If one sin is allowed to catch fire, it will ignite other sins in your soul causes a chain reaction of sinning or human good in your life.
- The flaming arrows causing panic in the soldier because their shield was blazing fiercely, could lead them to throw down their shield and be vulnerable to the next arrow that was hurled at them. Likewise, Satan’s temptations are designed for the Christian soldier to throw down his shield of faith and become vulnerable to the other attacks or temptations that may come. That is what Satan is trying to do to you. He sends one temptation to get you to throw off your faith in God and His Word, so that he can throw something else at you leading to sin or human good.
The burning arrows represent every type of assault devised by the evil one, not just temptation to impure or unloving conduct, but also false teaching, human good, persecution, doubt, despair, etc. Faith is the power which enables you to resist them all and triumph over such attacks.
“Flaming arrows” are also featured in the OT in Psa 7:13; Prov 26:18. These both speak of Satan’s attempts through the reversionist, who because of his unrepentant heart becomes part of Satan’s cosmic system, to hurl temptations at believers.
Psa 7:13, “He has also prepared for himself deadly weapons; he makes his arrows fiery shafts.”
Prov 26:18, “Like a madman who throws Firebrands, arrows and death.”
Because the Greek and Roman gods of passion, called Eros and Cupid, respectively, were said to strike with flaming arrows, some of Paul’s readers may have thought specifically of the temptation of sexual lust here. Yet, it is intended to cover more than just that danger, cf. Psa 11:2; 57:4; 58:3-7; 64:3; cf. Psa 120:1-4; Prov 25:18.
Psa 11:2, “For, behold, the wicked bend the bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string to shoot in darkness at the upright in heart.”
Psa 57:4, “My soul is among lions; I must lie among those who breathe forth fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows and their tongue a sharp sword.”
Psa 64:3, “Who have sharpened their tongue like a sword. They aimed bitter speech as their arrow.”
Psa 58:3-7, “The wicked are estranged from the womb; these who speak lies go astray from birth. 4They have venom like the venom of a serpent; like a deaf cobra that stops up its ear, 5So that it does not hear the voice of charmers, or a skillful caster of spells. 6O God, shatter their teeth in their mouth; break out the fangs of the young lions, O LORD. 7Let them flow away like water that runs off; when he aims his arrows, let them be as headless shafts.”
Notice that the arrows are defined as “words” that come from the mouths of evil men. Therefore, we see that the temptations that Satan hurls at us are many times those from the tongue: gossip, maligning, slandering, lying, insults, false witness, false flattery, enticements, etc. The arrows of Satan are not only sharp and penetrating, but what makes them more destructive is that they are fiery, designed to cause the maximum amount of damage to our souls.
Therefore, to combat these evil words that are sharp and penetrating to our souls, we need the righteous Word of God resident within our souls to apply in faith to the various forms of temptations. To combat an emphatic foe, we must put up the Shield of Faith, which will be found more than capable of not only halting their penetration, but of quenching their dispersing heat. The Christian’s shield effectively counteracts the danger of such diabolical missiles not merely by stopping or deflecting them, but by actually quenching the flames to prevent them from spreading further damage or destruction.
And our Lord is the one who gives us the victory over these temptations through His Word and Spirit being functional within our souls, Psa 76:3f.
Psa 76:3, “There He broke the flaming arrows, the shield and the sword and the weapons of war. Selah.”
Satan shoots these “flaming arrows,” at our hearts and minds: lies, blasphemous thoughts, hateful thoughts about others, doubts, burning desires for sin, etc. If we do not by faith quench these arrows, they will light a fire within and we will disobey God. And we never know when Satan will shoot an arrow at us, so we must always walk by faith and use the shield of faith.
We have a shield to protect us from the attacks of the enemy when we put on Christ, believing the promises of God. The combination of Bible doctrine in your soul plus the trigger called faith, becomes the basis of protecting you against Satan’s super weapons. The great overall principle of this verse is that there is no power which belongs to Satan that is great enough to destroy those believers who are holding up the shield of faith. You must carry the shield with you wherever you go. Believers should never be without the shield of faith.
When the demon armies start throwing these fiery darts at you, you have had enough Bible doctrine through the function of GAP, you have accumulated doctrine in the soul, you have built an altar in the soul, you have put on the full armor from God, and the result is that you are able to meet all of the attacks of the unseen enemy, the demon army.
Just as the shield would break the arrow’s force and cause them to fall harmlessly to the ground, so does your faith in God and His Word resident within your soul cause the attacks or temptations of Satan to be null and void within your soul, because truly God is your shield, Psa 18:2, 30, 35; 28:7; 33:20; 35:2;59:11;91:4; 115:9-11; 144:1; Prov 30:5; cf. Gen 15:1; Psa 18:2.
Psa 18:30, “As for God, His way is blameless; the word of the LORD is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.”
Psa 28:7, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him.”
Prov 30:5, “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.”
Just as the soldier could not afford to be without his protective shield at any time, the follower of Christ, the Christian soldier, cannot for one moment afford to be without faith, to be without God.
Psa 144:1, “Blessed be the LORD, my rock, Who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.”
The shield of faith is the confident trust in and receptiveness to Christ and his power that protects the whole person who claims it is, “an objective, Divinely given reality.” Faith takes hold of God’s resources in the midst of the onslaughts of evil and produces the firm resolve which douses anything the enemy throws at you, Mat 8:5-13; 1 Thes 5:8-9; 1 Peter 5:8-9.
In Mat 8, we see the example of the Roman centurion who came to Jesus asking Him to heal his servant. Jesus said in vs. 10, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.” And He replied to the centurion in vs. 13. “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed that very moment.”
1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”
Psa 7:10, “My shield is with God, Who saves the upright in heart.”
Rom 10:17, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”
Eph 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.”
Eph 6:17, “And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
In this verse, we have the last two, fifth and sixth, pieces of armament from God that allow us to “stand firm against the schemes of the devil;” the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. We will begin with the “helmet of salvation.”
In the NASB translation, “helmet of salvation” is capitalized to indicate that it is a quote from the OT. In this case, it is from Isa 59:17, which also speaks about the “breastplate of righteousness,” as we have noted above.
Isa 59:17, “He (the Lord) 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.”
The humanity of our Lord put on the armor of God, so that He could go to the Cross to defeat Satan, sin, and death, thereby providing salvation for the entire world. For those who believe in His saving work, they too can put on the armor of God including the knowledge of their own personal salvation through Christ and all that entails, as we will note below.
We begin with the exegesis of this verse. The first word is “and,” which is the Coordinating Adjunctive use of the Conjunction KAI that can be translated, “and, even, or also,” Here, it emphatically links the helmet and sword with the other piece of armament provided by God in the “Full Armor of God.” We translate it “also.”
“Take,” is the Verb DECHOMAI, δέχομαι in the Aorist, Middle Deponent, Imperative, 2nd Person, Plural, for “you all take.” It can mean, “take, receive, accept, approve, etc.”
In vs. 11, we had “put on,” ENDUO, “dress, clothe oneself, put on,” for the full armor of God.
In vs. 13, we had, “take up,” ANALAMBANO, “take up, take on board,” for the full armor of God.
In vs. 14, we had, “put on,” ENDUO once again, for the Breastplate of Righteousness.
In vs. 16, we had, “taking up” ANALAMBANO once again, for the Shield of Faith.
In vs. 17, we have, “take” DECHOMAI a synonym of ANALAMBANO that can mean to “take or receive.” If we had a passive construction we would translate it “receive,” but we have a Middle Deponent with an Active sense, so we translate it, “take.”
DECHOMAI is used extensively in the NT and Greek literature. It essentially means “to receive, to accept”; from that there are many shades of meaning. In our passage it means, “to take hold of or seize” the Helmet of Salvation.
The Constative Aorist tense is used to view the entirety of the action of taking the helmet of salvation and putting it on for combat inside the Angelic Conflict. Under the constative principle, we have the helmet of salvation which includes the 40+ things we receive at the moment of our salvation. We are to use them, and all that is associated with salvation, to protect our souls from the attacks of Satan’s cosmic system.
The Middle Deponent voice has an active meaning. The believer takes the helmet for himself.
The Imperative mood is for yet another command to take the armor of God. This is a command to believers only, as they, and only they, have already received salvation and only the believer can wield salvation.
This command comes after a string of Participles used regarding the first four pieces of armor that emphasized the command in vs. 13, to, “take up the whole armor of God.” Now that we are concluding the original command, the Imperative is brought back in.
The first thing the believer is commanded to take is, “the helmet,” HO PERIKEPHALAIA, περικεφαλαία, which is a Noun in the direct object Accusative case that means, “protective armor covering the head or a helmet.” It is only used here and in 1 Thes 5:8, regarding the same armament.
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.”
“Hope,” is the Greek word ELIPIS that means, “hope or expectation.” In 1 Thes 5, we have added emphasis to the helmet of salvation. We are to be confident in our salvation and have a great expectation of what it means, both in time and eternity. We will discuss this further below.
The Greek word for “helmet,” PERIKEPHALAIA, is made up from the Preposition PERI, “around or about,” and the root word KEPHALE that means, “head or authority.” So, we see a sense of authority, leadership, or rulership wrapped around the head, i.e., associated with this helmet.
As you know, the head is the most fragile and the most important part of the body. It is the place where your soul resides and you do your thinking. The head controls the entire body. The head is the leader or ruler of your body and soul, just as Jesus Christ is the head of His body, the Church, Eph 5:23.
In our verse, we see that our head needs protection. It needs a form of a helmet to protect it from the schemes of the devil. In reality, the protection for our head is Jesus Christ and His Word, summed up in the word “salvation,” as we will see below.
In the ancient world, the PERIKEPHALAIA (comma out) was generally a bronze or iron cap with leather attachments, or of leather strengthened with metallic plates, 1 Sam 17:5, 38; 2 Chron 26:14, and had a long flap to cover the cheeks and ears. It generally offered some protection to the neck, cheeks, and chin. On marches, it was slung on a strap. But when the enemy was near, it was put on. Therefore, “putting on the helmet” marked the beginning of battle. Because we are in the battle of the Angelic Conflict, and the main skirmish of this warfare is the control of your soul, the head must absolutely be protected, so that sin and Satan do not control it.
The most ornamental part of ancient armor, yet hardly less important than the breastplate or the shield, was the helmet. This means that the helmet in particular, was adorned or decorated. This is analogous to adorning our souls with Bible Doctrine, the Word of God, and in particular, the Doctrine of Salvation. Without the Word of God being resident within your soul, you will be a casualty on the battle field of the Angelic Conflict. The unbeliever is already a casualty positionally, because they are without Christ and without His Word in their soul, but can be saved at any time. Likewise, the believer in reversionism or without Bible Doctrine in his soul, is easily defeated and a causality experientially, and can rebound and recover at any time.
Therefore, the helmet is used figuratively to express the idea of “protection” or “safety” in its only two occurrences in the NT, as we are in the battle of the Angelic Conflict. The helmet represents the opportunity for a certain hope, (confident expectation), with no chance of disappointment, Rom 5:5.
Rom 5:5, “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
The strength of the soldier’s helmet was based on the strength of the bronze, iron, or leather it was made from. The believer’s strength of the helmet is “of salvation,” HO SOTERIOS, σωτήριος, which is an Adjective in the substantive Genitive singular that means, “delivering, saving, salvation, etc.” It was used to denote the act of “saving, delivering, or preserving,” but here, it means the salvation itself. In ancient Greek, it was used “in the sense of an acutely dynamic act in which gods or men snatch others by force from serious peril, and denotes “deliverance” from judicial condemnation.” (Theolog-ical Dictionary of the NT). In the NT, it is always used for spiritual salvation.
Its root word is the Verb SOZO that means, “save, keep safe, preserve, rescue, make well, etc.” It is used in Luke 2:30; 3:6; Acts 28:28; Titus 2:11.
The righteous man Simeon said regarding the infant Jesus in Luke 2:29-32, “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; 30For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 31which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, and the glory of Your people Israel.”
John the Baptist, quoting Isa 40:3-5, preached in Luke 3:4-6, “As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘make ready the way of the lord, make his paths straight. 5every ravine will be filled, and every mountain and hill will be brought low; the crooked will become straight, and the rough roads smooth; 6and all flesh will see the salvation of God.’”
Paul preached in Acts 28:28, “Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.”
Paul also wrote in Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.”
We have noted the cognate nouns SOTERIA, σωτηρία; SOTER, σωτῆρ; in Eph 1:13; 2:5, 8; 5:23.
Eph 1:13, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”
Eph 2:5, “Even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”
Eph 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
Eph 5:23, “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.”
And in our passage, Paul notes that we are to take this helmet of salvation and put it on to fight the evil temptations of Satan and his cosmic system, especially those that tempt you to not trust in the salvation God has given to you.
The book of Psalms uses the word “salvation” more than any other; over 60 times. Isaiah is second, with over 25 usages. The other books use it only a handful of times.
In addition, in the LXX, (Septuagint), it is used as a substantive to refer to the “peace / thank offering,” Lev 3:1-16, which the translators of the Septuagint understood it as a “salvation offering.”
In Eph 6:17, the context tells us that these saints were already “saved,” in the sense that they were justified. The salvation spoken of here must therefore be salvation from the power of sin in this present life, salvation from the onslaught of Satan and his cosmic system. To have salvation from the onslaught of Satan and his schemes, the believer must remember his salvation founded in Christ.
Satan wants to attack your mind, your thinking, the way you think, the same way he defeated Eve in the Garden, Gen 3; 2 Cor 11:1-3.
2 Cor 11:3, “But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”
The helmet refers to the mind controlled by God. It is too bad that many Christians have the idea that the intellect is not important, when in reality, it plays a vital role in Christian growth, service, and victory. When God controls the mind, Satan cannot lead the believer astray. The Christian who studies his Bible and learns the meaning of Bible doctrines is not going to be led astray very easily.
Therefore, we need to be “taught in Him as the truth is in Jesus,” Eph 4:21. We are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” 2 Peter 3:18. Wherever Paul ministered, he taught the new believers the truths of the Word of God, and this helmet protected them from Satan’s lies and deceptions.
What ultimately protects believers is that God has already rescued us from bondage to the prince of the power of the air and seated us with Christ in the heavenly realms, Cf. Eph 2:1-10. Thinking of our salvation in terms of a fait accompli, we gain confidence in our everyday walk in Christ. Christ, in providing salvation, has already defeated Satan, sin, and death. Then, by giving us this salvation, we have been given the victory over Satan, sin, and death. By appropriating this salvation as our helmet, we have every reason to be confident of the outcome of the battle, and every confidence that we can win the tactical battles within our soul. When we put on the helmet of salvation, we cannot lose the tactical battle for our thinking, we cannot sin, 1 John 3:1-11.
What adorns and protects the Christian, which enables him to hold up his head with confidence and joy, is the fact that he is saved. He is one of the redeemed, translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. If we were still under condemnation, if still estranged from God, a foreigner, and alien, without God and without Christ, we could have no courage to enter into this conflict. Yet, it is because we are a fellow citizen of the saints, a child of God, a partaker of the salvation of the Gospel, that we can face even the most potent enemies (temptations) with confidence, knowing that we will become more than a conqueror “through Him that loved us,” Rom 8:37.
As such, we are to put on the hope that we have in Christ. To resist the Devil, we must be assured of our eternal salvation. We need to go to God daily and be reminded of the great object of our faith: Christ. Our hope is in Him. If you are trusting in Him, then do not listen to the Devil’s lies. Say to the evil one, “I have been saved from sin’s penalty, I am being saved from sin’s power, and I will one day be saved from sin’s presence.” Say to him, “I am alive with Christ, redeemed, forgiven, reconciled, raised with Christ, and seated with Christ.” Put your helmet on, and do not let the evil one get to your head.
Titus 2:11-14, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; 14who gave Himself for us, in order that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”
The putting on of the helmet means trusting in your given salvation, and as a result committing yourself fully to the commencing struggle against the sinister powers which seek to prevent salvation.
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#18-055 & 18-056
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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 !!!