History Addict's Sermon Series



To Stand Firm


An Exegetic Military Historiography

of

Ephesians 6:10-17

 

By John E. McKay

December 13, 2005

 

On the morning of September 11, 2001, our nation was suddenly and brutally attacked by terrorists, plunging us into a war that has to this day cost us over 2,000 of our best and brightest military men and women. Recently we have learned of the deaths of 10 more of our young men, Marines killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq.[1] The Iranian president stated in November of 2005 that Israel needed to be "wiped from the face of the earth,"[2] and news reports claim that Israel has begun working on a plan to preemptively strike the Iranian nuclear facilities by March of 2006.[3] North Korea has repeatedly claimed to be working on nuclear weapons and states it is their "right" to use them when and where they please.[4] Communist China has been working feverishly for a decade to build up what already was the largest army ever seen on this earth, and has made it very clear that they will militarily challenge the United States at some point in the near future.[5] At this very moment, there are eight major wars, and two dozen "minor conflicts,"[6] as if there is really such a thing, going on around the world.

 

This nation, the United States of America, was born in the forge of a world war, fought for its independence from foreign rule in three separate major conflicts, fought a devastating civil war in order to form us all together into a single nation, and just in the last century, has fought six major wars to spread democracy and individual freedoms from our shores to the far side of the world. 42 million men and women have served our military in all its braches, in these wars and countless other conflicts.

 

What are we, as Christians, supposed to think and do about all this death and destruction? What does the Bible have to say about war and fighting?

 

The usual and expected answer is that it condemns war and fighting as wrong and bad, and we are supposed to respond to provocations by figuratively "turning the other cheek," as Jesus taught.[7] Jesus further taught that "blessed are the peacemakers,"[8] and warned that those who lived by the sword would die by it.[9] But there are more difficult passages elsewhere in Jesus' teachings, where he denies he has come to bring peace, "but a sword,"[10] where he advises his disciples to purchase weapons for their own protection,[11] and where he is described returning to Earth in power and glory in the form of an avenging warrior, complete with sword,[12] just for a few examples.

 

Pulling back a bit to look at the Bible as a whole, we find an amazing number of military references:

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of these references to battle and strife are not the primary message of God, as revealed in the Bible, of course. Christ Himself is the embodiment of love. Christ taught us love for our fellow man. Christ taught us to always turn the other cheek whenever possible and prudent to personal insult and abuse, and to always go the extra mile when demanded by those who oppress us. He constantly warns that our enemy is not our flesh and blood brethren, but the powers and forces of evil.[15]

 

At the same time, Christ is also a warrior-king, promised to return one day, "in power and glory[16]," leading the armies of the saints in a final and decisive battle against evil. This is a role he will not only fulfill in the future, but has served in the past.

 

Christ appeared to Joshua[17] on the night before the battle of Jericho as the "commander of the Army of the Lord," drawn sword in hand, ready to do battle not necessarily for the sake of Joshua and Israel, but to do the righteous will of the Father.

 

When Christ later appears in human form, John the Baptist describes him as a divine warrior, baptizing his loyal forces "with the Holy Spirit and with fire[18]"and with His "winnowing fork in hand" to destroy His enemies "with unquenchable fire.[19]"

 

Finally, in Revelation, Christ reappears as a mounted warrior, with a "sharp sword" that destroys the enemies of God.[20]

 

This face of Christ is best seen in the writings of the Apostle Paul, who shows through his choice of phrase and metaphor that he was very familiar with the "lingo" of the Roman military world. He shows a deep understanding of military tactics, and incorporates not a little martial flavor in almost all his epistles.

 

Paul writes in a language meant to be casually familiar to his audience, who could unconsciously grasp the subtle meanings held within. For example, many pastors today use football metaphors in their sermons; a reference to "spiking the ball after a touchdown" would resonate as meaning a celebration after a victory to most congregations (particularly Southern ones), but would have been bewildering to a 1st century audience.

 

Ephesians 6:10-17, the "Full Armor of God" passage, is one that is very familiar to many Christians, but like a 1st century saint hearing a football metaphor, it contains many subtle references and underlying metaphors, that when transposed into a modern lingo, reveal a great depth to Paul's comments.

 

            (NIV)

6:13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

6:14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

6:15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

6:16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

6:17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 

In 6:13, Paul exhorts us all to put on this armor, so that when faced with the enemy, we can "stand." He immediately repeats this exhortation, slightly modified, so it is obviously a point he feels strongly about, perhaps the strongest point of all he wants to make in this passage. Let's come back to this consideration a bit later.

 

In 6:14 Paul repeats his command to "stand," this time adding to do so with the "belt of truth" and the "breastplate of righteousness" properly fitted. The "belt"(cingulum militarye) he refers to was usually made of a thick leather, used by the Roman soldiers primarily to mount their sword and dagger in sheath, though they did serve a secondary purpose as a heraldic device, with silver plated copper-alloy plates (phalerae) bearing embossed or inlaid insignia signifying their Legion and in some cases special awards they had been granted. They were worn as normally expected, around the waist, or in many cases as single or double baldrics (balteum) worn strapped diagonally across the chest. The baldric style tended to be more highly decorated than the waist style, and may have been worn by soldiers who were either specially designated or more devoted to their Legion, their commander or their emperor, as their insignia devices were larger and more readily seen, but this notion is not confirmed in surviving documents.

 

Paul referred to this piece of armor as the "belt of truth," bearing on it the insignia of real Truth personified, Jesus Christ. By figuratively strapping on this belt, the Christian warrior publicly states to whom his allegiance is given, and silently but visibly declares that he is a warrior sworn to the service of his Lord.

 

The "breastplate" (qwraka in the original Greek, or lorica segmentata to the Romans) of the Roman army was not a solid, medieval style piece of plate armor, but a tightly fitting corset made of overlapping curved strips of iron laid over a thin leather jerkin, and fastened together with leather thongs. It was worn over a padded doublet, and designed to serve as the best possible compromise between protection from edged weapons and missiles, and to give the soldier the maximum unrestricted range of motion and flexibility. The breastplate was not intended to be a complete covering of armor for the warrior, but just to be an improved defense for the chest, back, sides and vital organs.

 

An important point about this piece of armor is that it was only worn in battle, or when combat was expected to be imminent. Just like our soldiers today experience in Iraq, and soldiers of my own generation experienced in Vietnam, a heavy armored jacket retains far too much body heat, is too heavy and saps too much energy to be worn when not expecting an immediate action or engagement.

 

On a side note, a much older, and less effective type of "breastplate" is mentioned[21] in Isaiah 59:17[22], and used by Roman militias and local troops in the Middle East. It is what we would call today "chain mail" armor, consisting of hundreds or thousands of small iron or bronze rings interweaved and woven together with small rectangular metal "scales." It was effective against slashing attacks from a sword or dagger, but useless against crushing blows of a club, or missiles like arrows or thrown javelins.  This is shown graphically in 1 Kings 22:34[23], where an Aramean archer was able to kill Ahab with an arrow shot through his undoubtedly "state of the art" armor.

 

The breastplate armor protects the heart, the figurative seat of the soul of man, and the center of the life-sustaining organs. By placing a figurative shield of righteousness around these critical organs, the Christian warrior protects his figurative "heart" from the corrupting and corroding influences of evil. Romans 3:10 affirms that "there is no one righteous[24],"save the very one the armored breastplate represents, Christ Himself.[25] The shield of righteousness allows the Christian warrior to wade into the filth and muck of the spiritual battlefield, without suffering the loss of his own divinely provided heart of righteousness.

 

In 6:15, Paul exhorts to place on your feet the "readiness that comes from the gospel of peace." This has been compared frequently to the "greaves" that protected the lower shins and calves, but this is not accurate either to the parable or to the customary armor. At least since before the Persian Invasions (c. 490 b.c.), Greek hoplites (common soldiers) had indeed worn bronze greaves on occasion to protect their lower legs, but this practice did not carry over to the Roman legions. A relative few Centurions wore greaves as part of their "parade wear" uniforms, but this was more customary in Rome itself than in the outer parts of the Empire.

 

Paul instead is referring to the distinctive footwear of the Roman military, the caligae, a intricately hobnailed, heavy leather boot that laced well over the ankle, featured an elaborately cutout single-piece upper, and gave the soldiers a steady stance in combat and a sure footing on the march. The comparison of "readiness" to such footwear is Paul's way of stating how basic and essential a through knowledge of scripture is to the Christian warrior. Like the church today, the Roman armies fought as teams, with each soldier having to keep up his own part in the fight, at the risk of bringing down a whole section or even century if he failed. A misstep in the heat of battle might open a fatal hole in the solid phalanx line of the Legions, while an under-prepared Christian warrior has at the very least a weakened ability to confront evil and witness to the lost.

 

A second, subtler allegory Paul carries in this passage is that of the "beautiful feet" of a herald bringing the good news of Christ to the world, referencing back to Isaiah 52:7.[26]

 

Ephesians 6:16 speaks of the "shield of faith," seemingly a purely defensive piece of armor, used to protect the user from attack. The last part of that verse has an interesting syntax, though,  "with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." The word Paul uses for "extinguish" is "sbesai," an aorist, active, infinitive verb that indicates an undefined length of action, not just a passive wall of protection for hiding behind. This reflects well what shields were used for in classical warfare.

 

The shields (scutum) of the Roman legions in Paul's day were large, heavy rectangular affairs (though some in certain Legions were oval in shape), always carried in the left hand, about two feet wide and four feet tall, made of wood with painted leather stretched over the front, and a round metal "boss" projecting out from the middle. The painted leather carried designs indicating which unit the individual soldier belonged to[27], and the round metal boss covered and protected the handgrip inside the shield. In classical age warfare, archers frequently used pitch-soaked arrows set aflame to ignite their opponents wooden fortifications and shields. Just before battle, these shields would be soaked with water, to "extinguish all the flaming arrows" of the enemy, just as Paul had written.

 

One commentary[28] on this passage states that Paul may have been referring to the "fiery arrows of lust" of the Greek & Roman god of passion (Eros/Cupid), as a warning against the sinful temptations of lust, though with the marital air Paul strikes in this entire passage, this probably wasn't foremost in his mind.

 

Behind these shields, the soldier was well protected from almost any enemy assault. They could absorb very heavy blows from an enemies heaviest warclub or battleaxe, direct strikes from almost any launched missile, were immune to the slashing of a sword, and could resist penetration from almost any pointed weapon.  More importantly, the shield could be linked together with other shields on the left and right, to form a near-impenetrable wall of protection, while the second and following ranks of soldiers would raise and link their shield overhead, forming something that looked just like a modern, mobile battle tank in the field, and performing nearly as lethally.

 

Not only were these shields highly effective defenses, they were, as Paul subtly points out, effective offensive weapons as well. A soldier could effectively use his right hand to employ his javelin (pilum) and later his sword (gladius) or dagger (pugio), while holding up his shield with his left hand to protect his own front and the soldier to his left. The shield itself could be used as an offensive weapon, as well. Slamming into the opponent with the rounded metal boss, while employing the whole body weight of the soldier behind it, was an effective way to disable an assaulting enemy soldier. The shields were heavy, but entirely portable, so that it could be used to enable the soldier to safely advance against the enemy on the battleground.

 

Paul's metaphoric use of a shield is the sole instance of such in the New Testament, but harkens back to a host of shield imagery in the Old Testament. God is referred to over 40 times as a "protecting shield"[29], whereas now faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, protects believers as a shield protects soldiers, and though Christ won the final victory against evil at Calvary, His shielding protection keeps believers safe from the final, ending shots of the war. To properly gird themselves for spiritual battle, the church must first understand that their very faith in Christ is in itself a defensive shield against any attack by the enemy, in this case, Satan and his minions. Although the evil one will try to convince the Christian warrior that he has been wounded by his flaming arrows of hate, it is just an illusion, just as a modern soldier in battle may suffer from any one of a number of debilitating psychological "wounds" that leave him physically unharmed, but mentally unable to fight anymore.

 

Most importantly, Paul's use of the shield metaphor here well represents the protection for the Christian warrior as he wades forth into battle, taking the battle into the face of the enemy to wrestle for the souls of the lost, as well protected on the offensive as they would be in a static defensive posture.

 

In 6:17, the believer is exhorted to put on "the helmet of salvation" and brandish "the sword of the Spirit." The helmet (galea) was an essential protection for the soldier, as an injury to the head would prove fatal that to any other part of the body would be merely irritating or disabling. Roman helmets were made of iron or copper alloys (some bronze and brass examples have been found, though they were likely non-combat intended parade helmets), almost all were merely a round bowl shape, with hinged cheekpieces fasted together under the chin with a leather cord, a heavy leather neck protector, an eyebrow ridge to protect from slashing attacks, and a ring on top to hold a crest. In Paul's day, there was no facepiece or visor attached to the helmet, leaving an unrestricted view for the soldier. Like the breastplate, the helmet was normally worn only when combat was imminent.

 

Paul refers here to an earlier reference to the helmet as a "hope of salvation[30]," and deliberately picks the single most essential piece of armor to attach that metaphoric relationship. A saved Christian cannot be spiritually harmed, no action by the evil one can possible penetrate that armored protection. However, to be an effective warrior, the Christian must acknowledge and internalize deeply that promise, to fearlessly close in tight with the enemy in a struggle not for one's own life, but in the continuous battle for the souls of the unsaved. A helmet is purely defensive for the wearer, but through its passive protection, the soldier may live to fight day after day, battle after battle.

 

The metaphorical sword, "which is the word of God" was a wide, 20 to 24 inch long double edged single-handed weapon, known as a gladius, that was used in a slashing manner during close-in hand to hand combat. Interestingly, Paul uses the word macairan (usually transliterated "machaira") for "sword" in the original Koine Greek, which refers to a very specific kind of shorter (18inches long), slightly backwards-curved, single-edged battle sword than the Roman gladius, which was used to great effect during the Persian incursions.[31] Most references, however, explain that Paul's term was a generic Koine word for any kind of sword in his day.

 

The Roman sword (and earlier Greek variations) was used only when the longer-range missiles (javelins and arrows) and long-shafted pikes (pilum) had been expended, and the battlefield was reduced to literally an arms-length range. In most of the Classical-age armies, these "primary" swords (almost always backed up with a shorter, lighter dagger for secondary offense) were stubby, sturdy, wide-bladed, short-hilted double-edged weapons intended for cutting and slashing attacks, not for thrusting. This is not a delicate dance between two fencers, ending with a polite bow and a decision made by judges based on points earned, this is a short and violent brawl between two mighty armies, where the decision is made quickly and with ruthless certainty. Paul clearly states that the "Word of God" was intended to be used in direct confrontation with the lost and the forces of evil, face-to-face, in the muddy and torn fields of spiritual conflict, it is not a long-range weapon to be lobbed blindly at some point beyond visual range while hiding in safety from any counter-attack.

 

Paul may well have an intended double-meaning in his choice for "spiritual weaponry here, as the Word of God is oft referred to as having a deep, cutting affect on the listener, exactly as the namesake weapon has on its victims. The author of Hebrews echoes this, stating that God's word pierces the body like a sword, flaying away all the layers until the innermost thoughts and intentions of the heart are laid bare.[32]

 

Finally, let us return to the beginning of this passage, and study the most powerful, and perhaps least understood, of Paul's metaphorical writings. In 6:13 Paul says to put on the whole of your provided armor and accouterments, "so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." (NIV) Jerome stated that the "day of evil" may signify "the present day," but went on to say that the better interpretation is a reference to that final day of confrontation and judgment.  He also ruminated that still another explanation was that the Ephesians were being counseled to prepare themselves for a future day of persecution, equipping themselves with the tools they needed before the day came to employ them.[33] Some current scholars hold that the "evil day" reference might be a generic one to any time of persecution, but others think it applies specifically to the period of overwhelming persecution the Jews expect prior to the end of the age.[34]

 

The other, and much more concise part of the verse,  "you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand," (NIV) shows that Paul was not only a trained soldier, he had such a military-oriented mindset that he wrote this obscure reference without any attempt to expound upon its meaning. In here, he is referring to both a Roman standard (signa) and its bearer (signifier). The standards were tall poles topped with the insignia and symbols of the unit,[35] that was both a showpiece of the glory and honors given to that unit for service in battle, and a rallying point for the soldiers on the battlefield. A more modern equivalent is the regimental colors, or battle flags, that American armies have carried since the very beginning of this nation. Today, these are simply symbolic representatives of the unit that holds them, but during the American Civil War, like in ancient Rome, they were both this symbol and a crucial avenue of communications on the battlefield.

 

In Paul's day, and up through history to the Civil War era, there were no devices that could carry a commanders verbal or written orders on the battlefield, that his men could easily make out in the smoke and din of combat. The standard or color bearer would be chosen from the bravest, most loyal, and steadiest of the men in the unit, as this was both an exceptionally high honor, and the gravest of all responsibilities. All the rest of the men would be trained to recognize their own standard or flag[36] and would keep an eye on it during the fight. The commander would stand close by his standard or flag, would direct it to go where he needed the unit during the battle, and the men would follow it wherever it went on the field. The importance of this was such that usually two or three other men would be designated before the battle as those who would immediately take over if the designated bearer was killed or incapacitated. It was absolutely crucial that these bearers stay close and true to their commanders, for if they panicked and ran, they would take the entire unit along with them.

 

The downfall of this highly honored and prized position was that the bearers could not carry any weapons, as both the Roman standards and American battle flags were heavy, unwieldy, and required both hands to maneuver.  The bearer could not defend himself, either, and thus had to stand in the thickest point of battle helpless and unarmed. The standards and flags were highly prized among the enemies they fought; to capture one usually brought great acclaim and fortune to the soldier who pulled it off.

 

Paul has this in mind when he exhorts his readers to simply stand in place once they have done all they can; the banner we are carrying is that of Christ, our battlefield commander who has given us all of the arms and protections we need to resist the worst of our evil foe, and that by our show of standing our ground in the midst of strife and turmoil, we will rally both the faithful elect and the unsaved lost to our sides, increasing the legions of our Lord Jesus Christ multifold against the forces of Satan.

 

Paul apparently considered this point to be one of the most important. In 9 of the 14 Pauline epistles, there are a total of 24 separate exhortations to "stand" or fearlessly hold your position in the face of opposition. The most important quality for any warrior, military or Christian, to cultivate is that of courage. Not courage in your own strength or abilities, but a courage rooted in reliance on the saving providence of our Lord and a confidence in the weapons and armor He has given each of us.

 

 


 

Bibliography

 

Delbruck, Hans. History of the Art of War, vol. 1, Warfare in Antiquity. Translated by Walter J. Renfroe Jr. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990.

 

Edwards , Mark J., Ed. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament vol. 8. Dowers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999.

 

Fuller, J.F.C. A Military History of the Western World, vol. 1, From the Earliest Times to the Battle of Lepanto. New York: Da Capo, 1954.

 

Gilliver, Kate, et. al. Rome At War: Caesar and His Legacy. Oxford, UK: Osprey, 2005.

 

Grant, Michael. Readings in the Classical Historians. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1992.

 

Herzog, Chaim and Mordechai Gichon. Battles of the Bible. London: Greenhill Books, 2002.

 

Hanson, Victor Davis. The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1989.

 

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA. InterVarsity Press Background Commentary: New Testament. Electronic edition. Dowers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005.

 

-. . InterVarsity Press Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. Electronic edition. Dowers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005.

 

Jones, Archer. The Art of War in the Western World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987.

 

Josephus. The Works of Josephus. Translated by William Whiston. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1987.

 

Keener, Craig S. InterVarsity Press Bible Background Commentary. Electronic edition. Dowers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005.

 

Lendon, J.E. Soldiers & Ghosts: A History of Battle in Classical Antiquity. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.

 

May, Elmer, et. al. Ancient & Medieval Warfare. The West Point Military History Series, ed. Thomas Griess. Wayne, NJ: Avery, 1984.

 

Montagu, John D. Battles of the Greek & Roman Worlds: A Chronological Compendium of 667 Battles to 31 BC. London: Greenhill Books, 2000.

 

Sheldon, Rose Mary 1948- "The Military History of Ancient Israel."

 The Journal of Military History, Volume 69, Number 1, January 2005, pp. 197-204.

 

Summers, Ray. Essentials of New Testament Greek. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1995.


 



[1] CNN, December 3, 2005, http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/12/03/marines.killed/

[2] The Guardian Unlimited, October 27, 2005, http://www.guardian.co.uk/iran/story/0,12858,1601413,00.html

[3] The Sunday Times (UK), December 11, 2005, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-1920074,00.html

[4] "North Korea and Nuclear Weapons: The Declassified U.S. Record," National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 87, Edited by Robert A. Wampler, April 25, 2003

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB87/

[5] http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/china/

[6] According to GlobalSecurity (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/)

[7] Matt. 5:39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

[8] Matt. 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

[9] Matt. 26:52  "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

[10] Matt. 10:34  "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

[11] Luke 22:36  He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.

[12] Rev. 19:11  I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.

Rev. 19:12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.

Rev. 19:13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.

Rev. 19:14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.

Rev. 19:15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.

Rev. 19:16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

[13] tw$aDbVx hDwhy

[14] lEarVcy twkrAoAm yEhlTa

[15] Ephesians 6:12

[16] Mark 13:26

[17] Josh. 5:13  Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?"

Josh. 5:14  "Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, "What message does my Lord have for his servant?"

Josh. 5:15  The commander of the LORD's army replied, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.

[18] Matthew3:11

[19] Matthew 3:12

[20] Revelation 19:11-21

[21] Referring to it as a breastplate of "righteousness," as Paul harkens back to much later.

[22] "He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak."

[23] "But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the sections of his armor."

[24] Rom. 3:10 As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one;"

[25] Rom. 3:21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

Rom. 3:22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.

[26] Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"

[27] An individual Roman soldier would be in the ranks of a century, which numbered about 80 men, and was commanded by the rough equivalent of a modern infantry captain, called a Centurion. Six centuries would form one cohort; 10 cohorts combined to form one legion, or just under 5,000 men.

[28] InterVarsity Press Background Commentary: New Testament. Electronic edition. Dowers Grove, IL:InterVarsity Press, 2005.

[29] Gen. 15:1 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward."

Deut. 33:29 Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will trample down their high places."

2Sam. 1:21 "O mountains of Gilboa, may you have neither dew nor rain, nor fields that yield offerings [of grain]. For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, the shield of Saulno longer rubbed with oil.

2Sam. 22:3 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior from violent men you save me.

2Sam. 22:31 "As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.

2Sam. 22:36 You give me your shield of victory; you stoop down to make me great.

Psa. 3:3 But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.

Psa. 5:12 For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Psa. 7:10 My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.

Psa. 18:2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psa. 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.

Psa. 18:35 You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great.

Psa. 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

Psa. 33:20 We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.

Psa. 35:2 Take up shield and buckler; arise and come to my aid.

Psa. 59:11 But do not kill them, O Lord our shield, or my people will forget. In your might make them wander about, and bring them down.

Psa. 84:9 Look upon our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one.

Psa. 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

Psa. 89:18 Indeed, our shield belongs to the LORD, our king to the Holy One of Israel.

Psa. 91:4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Psa. 115:9 O house of Israel, trust in the LORD he is their help and shield.

Psa. 115:10 O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD he is their help and shield.

Psa. 115:11 You who fear him, trust in the LORD he is their help and shield.

Psa. 119:114 You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.

Psa. 144:2 He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.

Prov. 2:7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,

Prov. 30:5 "Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

Is. 31:5 Like birds hovering overhead, the LORD Almighty will shield Jerusalem; he will shield it and deliver it, he will pass over' it and will rescue it."

Nah. 2:5 He summons his picked troops, yet they stumble on their way. They dash to the city wall; the protective shield is put in place.

Zech. 9:15 and the LORD Almighty will shield them. They will destroy and overcome with slingstones. They will drink and roar as with wine; they will be full like a bowl used for sprinkling the corners of the altar.

Zech. 12:8 On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD going before them.

[30] 1Th. 5:8 But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

[31] There may be a small pun or joke in the Gospel of John, which is the only gospel to name the servant whose ear Peter cut off at Gethsemane. He states the servant's name is "Malchus"(Malcob), which in some references is the name of a small, curved sword, and which also is an interesting variation of "Machaira" (Macairan) or standard battle sword: (John 18:10, NIV) "Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servants name was Malchus.)"

[32] Heb. 4:12  For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

[33] Jerome. "Commentarius in Epistolam S. Pauli ad Ephesios." Sancti Evsebii Hieronymi Opera Omnia. Patrologiae Cursus Completus; Series Latina, vol 26. Edited by J.-P. Migne. Paris:Migne, 1845. Quoted in "The Epistle to the Ephesians. " Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament vol. 8. Edited by Mark J. Edwards. Dowers Grove, IL:InterVarsity Press, 1999. p. 209.

[34] InterVarsity Press Bible Background Commentary. Electronic edition. Dowers Grove, IL:InterVarsity Press, 2005.

[35] Every cohort, century and legion had its own.

[36] This is still formally done today in the U.S. military, during a "trooping the colors" parade ground ceremony.




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