God is Building an Army
The remnant will ultimately be responsible for defeating the enemy of God, who is Satan and his army of angels. This victory can only be won under the direction of the Lord, which requires complete faith and trust in Him. In this life the remnant is learning how to stand in loyal obedience in the face of Satan, who currently rules this world.
The following passage in Ephesians is in a chiasm that almost overwhelms us with the evil nature of the enemy, but God is explaining HOW He has equipped His remnant to stand firm against this onslaught. I suggest you carefully consider the relationship between the parallel lines and the focus of the chiastic center before reading my thoughts below.
A. Put on the full armor of God
B. So that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
C. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
D. But against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness,
C. Against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
B. Therefore, take up the full armor of God,
A. So that you will be able to resist in the evil day. Eph 6:11-13
I began to explore this passage with the chiastic center that is labeled D. God is asking us to stand against the most powerful enemy we could ever imagine. We must never underestimate the “rulers” and the “powers” and the “world forces of darkness”. Moving out to the two lines labeled C, we are further instructed about this enemy, which is not “flesh and blood” (although it can operate through the flesh and blood of people), but it is “the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places”. Yet, God has made it possible for His people to stand against this wicked force as we see in lines A and B.
Lines A and B in each of the parallel constructions are related as a unit. We put on the full armor of God (repeated in the two A lines) for a specific purpose (identified in the two B lines). However, the two B lines are not exact repetitions. Instead, there is an expansion on the purpose of putting on the full armor of God. First we learn that this armor enables us to “stand firm against the schemes of the devil”, which evokes a picture of our current lives and the work we are doing today as servants of the Lord. Then, in the second B line, we are exhorted to “resist in the evil day”, which is a phrase that is compatible with “the Day of the Lord” that represents a future time. That is, we must grow in our ability to “stand firm” now so we will be fully prepared to “resist the devil” in what is known as the Great Tribulation.
What, then, is the armor of God that empowers us both in our lives today and also in the time of tribulation to come? The passage that follows this chiasm tells us that the armor of God is truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, the hope of salvation, and especially the Word of God that is the sword of the Spirit.
In next month’s newsletter article, I will share with you what I have discovered about the two future battles in which God’s army will confront our enemy.