The Full Armor of Elohim

The Full Armor of Elohim
James Scott Trimm

In the Hebrew text of 1stMaccabees there are six additional verses embedded in the midst of 1Maccabees 7:33 (more correctly additional material which naturally breaks down into six verses) including three verses which parallel 2Maccabees 15:1-3. Especially interesting is the 6th of these verses which speaks of the full armor in referring to the Jews in Nicanor occupied Jerusalem, says:

And they put on the full armor,
and not chain mail and lances
but rather prayers and supplications.
(1Macc. 7:33a6 HRV)

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 armor 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 Armor 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,
(1Thes. 5:5-9)

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…
(Prov. 6:23)

Your word is a lamp to my feet,
and a light to my path.
(Psalm 119:105)

To the Torah and to the testimony;
if they speak not according to this word,
it is because there is no light in them.
(Isaiah 8:20)

…for a Torah shall proceed from me,
and I will make my judgment to rest
for a light of the people.
(Isaiah 51:4)

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.
(1Jn. 1:6)

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 Armor of Elohim

Paul’s most detailed treatment of the Armor is in Ephesians Chapter 6:

10 Henceforth, my brothers, be strong in our Adon and
in the might of his power,
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
principalities and with authorities and with the possessors
of this dark world and with the evil spirits that are under
13 Because of this, put on all the armor of Eloah that you
may be able to 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 breastplate of righteousness
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 have 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 the spirit, 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 Elohim”.

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 4Maccabees 13:16:

Therefore put on the full armor of authority over the passions,
which belongs to the mind that fears Eloah.
(4Macc. 13:16 from the Aramaic)

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 the armor.

The Four Strategies of HaSatan

In the Aramaic of Ephesians 6:11 there is a wordplay in the original Aramaic between the words TZEN’TA (“strategies”) and ZAYNA (“armor”). There is in the armor of Elohim a built in contrast between the four strategies of HaSatan illustrated in the Tanak, and the four fixed items of armor in the armor of Elohim.

The Helmet of Salvation
(Is. 59:17; Wisdom 5:18)

Isaiah mentions the “helmet of salvation” (Is. 59:17) while Wisdom mentions the “helmet of judgment that is not false” (Wisdom 5:18). They are the same because in Hebrew “salvation” and “deliverance” are the same word (“Yeshua”) and YHWH’s deliverance on the last day is based on his judgment that is not false.

The ancient Hebrew warrior’s head and ears were protected by his helmet. The helmet of salvation protects us from HaSatan’s strategy of “accusation”. This is the strategy we see illustrated in the Tanak in Zecheriah 3:1-5 where HaSatan is accusing Yahushua the High Priest.

In Revelation 12:10 we read:

“…the accuser of our brothers… who accused them
day and night before our Eloah.”
(Rev. 12:10)

The strategy of accusation includes both “slander” and “lashon hara”. “Lashon HaRa” (the evil tongue) is the sin of harming another person with words, even when they are true. Those who would never harm a person with a stick, but would not hesitate to harm them with words.

The Torah tells us:

You shall not go up and down as a talebearer
among your people; neither shall you stand idly
by the blood of your neighbor: I am YHWH.
(Lev. 19:16)

When HaSatan comes before the throne of Elohim with accusation, there can be little doubt that the accusations are true (why would he even try to lie to the All-Knowing One). The Torah requires two witnesses for a case to brought. Thus HaSatan is always on the look out for a collaborating witness. When we engage in Lashon HaRa we place ourselves in the position of becoming HaSatan’s collaborating witness.

One of the terms used as a title for HaSatan in the Aramaic “New Testament” is “‘Akel Kartza”.

‘Akel Kartza is a compound term.

‘AKEL means “to devour” or “to consume”.

KARTZA means “hunch of bread; carping; pulling to pieces; accusation; disparagement, biting words, biting, current destruction.”

The ‘Akel Kartza uses biting words and accusation to consume and devour and to destroy. He is a slanderous backbiter.

The ‘Akel Kartza and his minions use lies, slander, Lashon HaRa and accusation to attack believers and nibble away and disparage the Body of Messiah.

The ‘Akel Kartza is ever in our midst seeking to destroy and always seeking a willing ear for his slanderous biting words.

Kefa tells us that in the first century “untaught and unstable” persons were “twisting” Paul’s words to make it appear he was teaching things he did not teach (2Kefa 3:15-16). Paul also tells us that he was “slanderously reported” as saying and teaching things that he had not said or taught (Rom. 3:8). When Paul arrived in Jerusalem in Acts 21 he was immediately approached regarding these slanderous reports of his teaching (Acts 21:20-21).

This was HaSatan’s tactic in the first century and it is still his tactic today. He is still using the same playbook.

Today ‘Akel Kartza has unstable minions twisting words and giving slanderous reports to attack many teachers in the Messianic/Nazarene movement. The levels of slanderous reports from unlearned and unstable persons seems to be reaching an all time high.

We should not be surprised by this. The Scripture warns us that in the last days HaSatan will wage a special war against the “remnant” a group who “keep the commandments of Eloah and have the testimony of Yeshua” (Rev. 12:17).

Those who advocate Yeshua as Messiah and Torah Observance are therefore special targets of Akel Kartza and “slanderous reports” from “unstable” persons.

As believers we must be careful not to entertain the ‘Akel Kartza by entertaining Lashon HaRa (evil speech).

Happy are they which are persecuted
for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Happy are you when men shall revile you,
and persecute you, and shall say all evil against you
falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be glad,
for great is your reward in heaven,
for persecuted they the prophets .
-Matt. 5:10-12 HRV

The Breastplate of Righteousness
(Is. 59:17; Wisdom 5:18)

The “Breastplate of righteousness” is mentioned in Is. 59:17 and Wisdom 5:19. The Hebrew word for “breastplate” is SHIRYON (Strong’s 8302). This word more accurately refers to “chain mail”. Ancient Hebrew chain mail was made of tiny interlinked chains of brass. Since brass chains can easily become corroded and brittle. It was important that an ancient Hebrew warrior keep his chain mail clean, polished and shiny, otherwise it would develop weak spots and be susceptible to enemy attacks. This is just like our righteousness, we must keep our righteousness polished and shiny, otherwise it becomes weak and subject to attack by the enemy.

The Torah says:

And it will be righteousness for us
if we are careful to observe all
this commandment before YHWH our Elohim,
just as He commanded us.
(Deut. 6:25)

…if he walks in My statutes and My ordinances
so as to deal faithfully– he is righteous…
(Ezek. 18:9)

…it is those who obey the Torah who will be
declared righteous.
(Rom. 2:13– WOW! You mean Paul said THAT?!?!)

Wearing the breastplate of righteousness means to be careful to observe all the commandments before YHWH our Elohim. We must keep our chain mail of Torah righteousness clean, polished and shiny so as not to give the enemy a weak point to attack.

Our chain mail of Torah righteousness defends us against HaSatan’s attack of temptation. “Temptation” is the strategy of HaSatan illustrated in the Tanak in 1Chron. 21:1. In this passage of the Tanak, David is tempted to take a census of Israel. Paul tells us:

Because of this also, I could not endure
until I had sent to know your faith,
lest the tempter had tempted you
and our labor had been in vain.
(1Thes. 3:5)

If we are careful to observe Torah, we will be protected from the temptation of HaSatan.

The Belt of Truth
(Is. 11:5)

The belt of truth is taken from Isaiah 11:5. Ancient Hebrews wore loose fitting tunic like garments with skirt like bottoms. Belts were used to hold the loose fitting garment together. Hebrew warriors would gird up the skirt of their garment and tuck it under the belt to free up their legs for battle, preventing them from getting tripped up in their loose fitting garment. In the same way truth keeps us from getting tripped up by error.

our righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,
and your Torah is truth.
(Psalm 119:142)

You are near, O YHWH,
and all your commandments are truth.
(Psalm 119:151)

This definition explains many phrases in the New Testament:

“Obey the truth” (Gal. 3:1)

“But he that does truth…” (Jn. 3:20)

And I rejoice that I found your children walking in the truth,
as we have received a commandment from the Father.
(2Jn. 1:4)

The Tanak definition of truth gives whole new meaning to Yeshua’s words:

For this I have been born, and for this I have
come into the world, to bear witness of the truth.
Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.
(John 18:37-38)

Yeshua came to bear witness of the Torah, those who hear the Torah hear his voice. This leads us to another important saying from Yeshua:

Then Yeshua said to those Jews who believed on him,
you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed.
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make
you free.
(John 8:31-32)

Paul, however, speaks of those “who changed the truth of Elohim into a lie” (Rom. 1:25) Now if Messiah came to bear witness of the truth then what has HaSatan to bear witness to?

The scriptures tell us:

He [the devil] was a murderer from the beginning,
and abode not the truth in him. When he speaks a lie,
he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
(John 8:44)

…HaSatan, who deceives the whole world…
(Rev. 12:9)

When HaSatan speaks a lie, he is merely speaking his native language.

The Torah is truth and keeps us from being tripped up by Torahlessness (lawlessness). The Torah is a guide that keeps us free from error. The belt of Torah truth protects us from HaSatan’s strategy of deception. This strategy of deception is illustrated in the Tanak in Gen. 3:1-6 in which the serpent deceived Hava (Eve) Rev. 12:9 tells us HaSatan deceives the whole world. Yeshua said that HaSatan is the father of lies (Jn. 8:44). The belt of Torah Truth is our protection against HaSatan’s deception.

The Shoes of the Goodnews of Shalom
(Is. 52:7)

Isaiah never actually mentions “shoes” but he does have this to say about the feet of Messiah:

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet
of him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace;
that brings good tidings of good, that publishes salvation;
that said unto Zion, Your Elohim reigns!
(Is. 52:7)

For an ancient Hebrew warrior shoes were important. Although not actually part of the armor, shoes protected a warrior’s feet from the oppression of sharp jagged rocks. Such sharp rocks could easily distract a warrior from the actual battle he was carrying on with the enemy.

The shoes protect us from HaSatan’s strategy of oppression. The strategy of oppression is illustrated in the Tanak in the book of Job in which HaSatan is allowed to oppress Job. In Acts 10:38 we read that Yeshua “healed those who were oppressed by evil”. The Apocryphal book of 4th Maccabees deals with martyrs who were oppressed under Antiochus Epiphanies. 4th Maccabees is a handbook on using the armor, especially in dealing with oppression. 4th Maccabees opens saying:

The word of philosophy that I am about to discuss before you:
If the true mind of shalom (peace) is sovereign to the fear
of Elohim. I am an upright advisor to you, that you should
pay earnest attention in philosophy.
(4Macc. 1:1 – from the Aramaic)

4th Maccabees then discusses the martyrdom of Eleazer saying:

No city besieged ever held out against
mighty vassals coming against its walls
and its various parts like this. He was
dressed in all the armor. For while his
soul was suffering, consumed by torture,
and by tribulation, and by burning, he
conquered the tribulation because of his
mind was fighting with the shield of truth.
(4Macc. 7:4 – From the Aramaic)

Finally 4th Maccabees discusses the martyrdom of Hanna and her seven sons saying:

Therefore put on the full armor of authority over the passions,
which belongs to the mind that fears Eloah.
(4Macc. 13:16 – From the Aramaic)

The Goodnews (“The Gospel”) is the “word of truth” (Col. 1:5) which is to be obeyed (2Thes. 1:8).The Gospel is the message Yeshua taught (Mt. 4:23) in fact it is a message he taught in the Temple ( Lk. 20:1).According to Mt. 4:12-17 this message was the “light” of Is. 8:23-9:1(9:1-2) and if we look at Is. 8:20, we see that this “light” is the Torah. Also according to Matthew 12:17-21, this message is the Torah as quoted in Is. 42:1-4.(Note that the Greek text of Mt. 12:21 ends the quote from Is. 42:4 before the phrase about Torah, however DuTillet Hebrew Matthew contains the whole quote. If we diligently search the Tanak we will find that the Torah is his “Word” (Is. 2:3; Deut. 17:19; 27:1-3; 27:26; 31:12; 32:45-46; 2Kn. 23:24; Neh. 8:9) and the Torah is truth (Ps. 119:142, 151). Obviously then the “word of truth” which must be obeyed is the Torah.

It is with the Goodnews (Torah) of Shalom (peace) that we are able to overcome the oppression of HaSatan. Through the Torah we can have the true mind of shalom and overcome oppression.

The Shield of Faith
(Wisdom 5:19; 4Macc. 7:4)

The shield of faith the first of the two mobile items of armor. As such it can be used to defend against attack. In Wisdom of Solomon 5:19 it is called the “shield of holiness”. “Holiness” is set-apart-ness and our set apartness comes from our faith. The Psalmist writes:

Remove the false way from me,
and graciously grant me your Torah.
I have chosen the way of faith;
I have placed your ordinance before me.
(Ps. 119:29-30)

The Torah therefore is the way of faith. The Torah is a shield which can protect us from any of the four strategies of HaSatan. In 2nd and 4th Maccabees we read the story of the martyr Eleazar (2Macc. 6:1-29; 4Macc. 7) Eleazer was a prominent Jew under the Helene rule. A day came when all of the Jews were to show their loyalty by eating meat
offered to idols at a public feast. Eleazar was not willing to do so, but because of his prominence, the authorities offered to allow him to sneak kosher meat into the feast and eat it instead, thus only appearing to eat meat offered up to idols. Eleazer refused, knowing that this would appear to endorse idolatry, despite the fact that the meat would be kosher. As a result Eleazar was tortured and executed. (This was the basis for Paul’s argument in 1Cor. 10:28). 4Maccabees tells us that Eleazer was able to stand fast his ground and not give into the torture or the threat of death because he had the armor and
the shield:

No city besieged ever held out against
mighty vassals coming against its walls
and its various parts like this. He was
dressed in all the armor. For while his
soul was suffering, consumed by torture,
and by tribulation, and by burning, he
conquered the tribulation because of his
mind was fighting with the shield of truth.
(4Macc. 7:4 – From the Aramaic)

The Sword of the Spirit Which is the Word
(Wisdom 5:19-20; 18:16)

The Wisdom of Solomon says:

“His severe wrath shall he sharpen for a sword,…”
(Wisdom 5:20)

Your all powerful Word leaped from heaven,
from the royal throne,
into the midst of the land that was doomed,
a stern warrior carrying the sharp sword
of your authentic command…
(Wisdom 18:15-16)

Paul writes in Hebrews:

For the living and strong Word of Elohim
is sharper than a two-edged sword and
penetrating until it separates the n’shoma
(upper-soul) and the ruach (spirit) also dividing
the limbs and piercing the bones which are
in them discerning the thoughts and
understanding of the heart.”
(Heb. 4:12 – HRV)

What does the Tanak say that the “Word of God” is?

Hear the word of YHWH… give ear to the Torah
of our Elohim,…
(Isaiah 1:10)

…For the Torah will go out from Zion;
and the Word of YHWH from Jerusalem.
(Isaiah 2:3)

Note that just as “Zion” and “Jerusalem” are synonyms in this poetic parallelism, so are “Torah” and the “Word of YHWH”. If we diligently search the Tanak we will find that the Torah is his “Word” (Is. 1:10; 2:3; Deut. 17:19; 27:1-3; 27:26; 31:12; 32:45-46; 2Kn. 23:24; Neh. 8:9)

The Sword of the Word is our only offensive weapon in our fight against HaSatan is the Torah. The Talmud says:

Whoever reads the Shema upon his bed is as though he holds
a two edged sword in his hand (to ward off evil spirits); as it
is said “Let the high praises of Elohim be in their mouth,
and a two edged sword in their hand” (Ps. 149:6)
(b.Ber. 5a)

As many of you know, we were victims of the Texas Snow-pocalypse just a few days ago. The full story of how we survived the Texas Snow-pocalypose is in a blog I wrote here..

We took a big financial hit and are still recovering. We had to (ironically) replace a lot of groceries, our power bill is past due and with rent due in just three days!

As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.

Donations can be sent by paypal to

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471; Hurst, TX 76053

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