This is a good article by James Trimm. He uses some Hebrew phrases you may not be familiar with:
Elohim = God (plural form)
Eloah = God (singular form)
Tanak = Old Testament
YHVH = Yahweh
ALL THE ARMOUR OF ELOHIM (Part 1)
By James Trimm
We live in a Hellenistic (Greek based) culture. This culture has
unfortunately colored our understandings of the Scriptures, often in
ways we do not realize. The Hellenistic Roman culture has had a major
impact on our own. The commentaries on the Scriptures that we read
are all to often unduly influenced by Hellenistic, Roman cultural
views. Many books even portray Paul as a Hellenist (he was, in fact an
anti-Hellenist). Such is the case with the commentaries on the "Full
amour of Elohim" (Eph. 6). Open up many of the main line
commentaries and they will tell you how Paul wrote Ephesians in prison
and was enormously impressed with the armor of the Roman soldiers.
The commentaries will then discuss each element of the armor in terms
of Roman armor and seek to draw allegorical implications from the
nuances of Roman armor. There is just one problem with this. Paul
is not talking about Roman armor at all; he is talking about ancient
Hebrew armor! In fact, Paul does not even come up with the idea of
the full armor of Elohim on his own; he draws it from the Apocryphal
books of Wisdom of Solomon and 4th Maccabees, and to a lesser extent
the canonical Book of Isaiah.
Paul mentions the full armor in three places.
THE ARMOUR OF LIGHT
In Romans 13:12 he calls it "the armor of light":
12 Henceforth, the night is passed and the day is near.
Thus, let us lay aside from us the works of darkness
and let us put on the armor of light.
13 And let us walk in a manner as in the day,
not in reveling nor in drunkenness
nor in a defiled bed nor in envy and in strife.
(Rom. 13:12-13 HRV)
In 1Thes. 5:5-9 he again associates the armor with "light" and with
our status as "sons of light":
5 For you are all sons of light and sons of the day. And you are not
sons of the night or sons of darkness.
6 Therefore, let us not sleep as others, but let us be watchful and wise,
7 For those who are asleep sleep in the night, and those who are
drunk are drunk in the night.
8 But we who are sons of the day [should] be watchful in our mind and
be clothed with the breastplate of faith and of love and put on the
helmet of the hope of life,
Throughout the New Testament there are extended metaphors revolving
around light and darkness. Believers are called "sons of light" (Lk.
16:8; Jn. 12:36; Eph. 5:8; 1Thes. 5:5 see comments to Jn. 12:36). The
full armor of Elohim is also called the "armor of light" (Rom. 13:12).
The New Testament speaks of those "who walk in darkness" (Jn. 8:12;
12:35; 1Jn. 1:6; 2:11).
But what does this idiomatic use of the terms light and darkness mean?
For the answer let us turn to the Tanak:
For the commandment is a lamp;
and the Torah is light...
Your word is a lamp to my feet,
and a light to my path.
To the Torah and to the testimony;
if they speak not according to this word,
it is because there is no light in them.
...for a Torah shall proceed from me,
and I will make my judgment to rest
for a light of the people.
So according to the Tanak the Torah is a light for our paths. Those
that walk in the Torah walk in the light. This is why the New
Testament speaks of those who walk in darkness (Jn. 8:12; 12:35; 1Jn.
1:6; 2:11). These are those who do not walk by the light of Torah. Of
these John writes:
And if we say that we have fellowship with him,
and walk in darkness,
we are liars and we do not walk in truth.
Notice that John equates "walking in truth" with walking in the light.
According to the Tanak, "the Torah is truth" (Ps. 119:142) thus if
"walking in the light" means "walking in truth" then both phrases
refer to walking in the Torah.
When we, as sons of light, put on the "armor of light", we are
putting on Torah as a garment!
ALL THE ARMOUR OF ELOHIM
Paul's most detailed treatment of the Armor is in Ephesians Chapter 6:
10 Henceforth, my brothers, be strong in our Master and in the might of
11 and put on all the armor of Eloah, so that you may be able to
stand against the strategies of 'Akel Kartza,
12 because your struggle is not with flesh and blood, but with
and with authorities and with the possessors of this dark world and
with the evil spirits that are under heaven.
13 Because of this, put on all the armor of Eloah that you may be
meet the evil one, and being prepared in everything, you may stand firm.
14 Stand therefore, and gird up your loins with truth and put on the
15 And bind on your feet the preparation of the good news of shalom.
16 And with these, take to you the shield of faith, by which you will
power to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And put on the helmet of salvation and take hold of the sword
of the spirit, which is the word of Eloah.
18 And with all prayers, and with all petitions, pray at all times in
and in prayer, be watchful in every season while praying continually and
making supplication on behalf of all the set-apart-ones,
(Eph. 6:10-18 HRV)
Paul is clearly drawing from Wisdom of Solomon:
15: But the righteous live for evermore;
their reward also is with YHWH,
and the care of them is with the Most High.
16: Therefore shall they receive a glorious kingdom,
and a beautiful crown from the hand of YHWH:
for with his right hand shall he cover them,
and with his arm shall he protect them.
17: He shall take to him in his zeal all the armor,
and shall armor with him all his creation.
For the desolation of the detestable ones.
18: He shall put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and judgment that is not false instead of an helmet.
19: He shall take holiness for an invincible shield.
20: His severe wrath shall he sharpen for a sword,
and the world shall fight with him against the foolish.
(Wisdom of Solomon 5:15-20 HRV)
Here Solomon not only discusses "all the armor [of Elohim]" but
implies that YHWH shall arm us with his armor. It is this suggestion
that prompts Paul's concept of believers wearing "all the armor of
We as believers wear the armor of Elohim because we have a covenant
with YHWH and one of the ancient Hebrew customs associated with
entering a covenant with someone involved exchanging garments and
swords with them (as in 1Sam. 18:4). We therefore are given the
armor of Elohim to wear ourselves.
The concept of believer's wearing this armor is also found in
Therefore put on the full armor of authority over the passions,
which belongs to the mind that fears Eloah.
(4Macc. 13:16 HRV)
The Torah defines the "fear of YHWH" as being Torah Observant:
"?that he may learn to fear YHWH his Elohim,
to keep all the words of this Torah and these statutes,
to do them."
(Deut. 17:19 HRV)
"that they may learn, and fear YHWH your Elohim,
and observe to do all the words of this Torah."
(Deut. 31:12 HRV)
You may have heard the Channukah story of the martyrdom of Hanna and
her seven sons, who refused to forsake YHWH and embrace Hellenism.
4Maccabees tells us that she overcame seeing her seven sons tortured
and killed before being tortured and killed herself (2Macc. 7;4Macc
8-13), because she was wearing this armor.
(to be continued)
NOTE: Quotes from Wisdom of Solomon and 4th Maccabees in this series
are taken from my preliminary work on an HRV version of the Apocrypha,
based mainly on Hebrew and Aramaic rather than Greek manuscripts.
In Part 2 We will discuss each of the six items of armor in detail,
and how they each counter HaSatan's strategies as revealed in the Tanak.
In Part 3 We will discuss why the armor is of special importance for
believers during the Tribulation period.