We throw out these Christian adages to encourage one another in the midst of our spiritual warfare – and they’re all important. They all have their place. Before we ever step into battle, however, we need to understand our defensive armor and our offensive weapons. Satan’s fiery darts will take us out in no time if we aren’t prepared before we ever step on the battle ground.
Ephesians 6:14-19 details an entire list of garments required before we step into the battle. Many people compare this list to the pieces of armor worn by a Roman soldier. I don’t think this is accurate, however. Instead, the armor listed in Ephesians 6 correlates with the garments worn by the priest in the Old Testament. The Old Testament is always our best tool to help us understand the New Testament – not cultural surroundings, even first century Roman culture.
The primary correlation lies in a comparison of the duties of the priest with the offensive weapons in spiritual warfare. The priests were “to stand before Yahweh to serve Him, and to pronounce blessings in His name” (Deuteronomy 10:8). In other words, they stood before God to minister on behalf of the people as they burned the incense. Incense stood for the prayers of the people (Revelation 5:8, 8:3). Also, they stood to pronounce blessings – or to speak the Word of God – to the people. In the spiritual warfare passage of Ephesians 6, we have two very similar offensive weapons. They are “the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word” and “Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request” (Ephesians 6:17-18).
I’ve created two handouts that go into much of the significance and symbolism of the priest’s garments, including what they can teach us about modern day spiritual warfare. I’m including them for you below. Even these, however, barely scratch the surface of all we can learn from the garments and duties of the high priest when engaging in spiritual warfare!
Let me give credit where credit is due. I didn’t first make the correlation between the armor and priests’ garments. I’ve based my research on this video by Mark Biltz; he covers it very generally. I built upon that general foundation to find specific, significant connections and relationships between the garments and the armor.