“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.”

Literally:  “For the rest.”  Paul has now reached his last passage, and by this word quickens the attention of his readers and prepares them for a counsel that is eminently weighty in itself. 

Paul here is saying, “After instructing you about your great and high calling, and all the doctrines and precepts of the Gospel, it is now necessary for me to show you that enemies that will oppose you, and the strength which you will need resist to them.”

“my brethren”
These words from the KJV are rejected by most modern commentators because of lack of manuscripts evidence.

“be strong in the Lord”
Literally:  “be made powerful in {the} Lord”– Paul had now stated to the Ephesians their duties.. You must have strength of a spiritual kind, and such strength as the Lord Himself can daily furnish; and you must have this strength through an indwelling God, which is the power of His might working in you.
1.      He had considered the various relations of life which they sustained, and the obligations resulting from them.
2.      He was not unaware that, in the discharge of their duties, they would need strength from above.
3.      He knew that they had great and mighty foes, and that to meet them they needed to be clothed in the armor of the Christian soldier.
4.      He closes, therefore, by exhorting them to put on all the strength which they could to meet the enemies with which they had to contend; and in the commencement of his exhortation he reminds them that it was only by the strength of the Lord that they could hope for victory.

        BE STRONG: (Gr.-endounamousthe)—Literally: “Be empowered; be strengthened.”  Compare it as it is used here with 2:16 where the heavenly provision for strength is specified, and with 4:30 where we are cautioned against a course that will fritter away that provision.   The phrase, “in the Lord” indicates the relation to Christ in whom alone the strength can be experienced” (compare II Cor 12:9). To be “strong in the Lord,” is,
1.     To be strong or courageous in His cause;
2.     To feel that He is our strength, and to rely on Him and His promises.

Understand this vital point:
A Christian, above all people, needs resolution, and a daring courage, because…

1.      If he is overcome by fear, he is unfit to go into the field;
2.      If he is dispirited because of danger, he is surely not ready for the encounter!
Cowards win neither earth nor heaven. But where lies the Christian's strength? Verily, on the Lord, and not in himself; the strength of the whole host of saints lies in the Lord of hosts, and accordingly it ought to be the Christian's great care, in all difficulties and dangers, to strengthen his faith in the almighty power of God.

 “in the power of His might”
The might is Christ’s, but by faith it becomes our strength.  Christ is the source of that spiritual strength which He communicates to His people.  Strong trust, strong courage, strong endurance, strong hope, strong love, may all be had in Him, if only our fellowship with Him is maintained in uninterrupted vigor.

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

“Put on the whole armor of God”
Literally:  “Put on all the armor of God”–Life is a battlefield, not some scene of soft enjoyment and ease; so you must put on the armor of God, provided by Him, for your own protection, and for aggressive use also You cannot overcome the devil in your own strength and your own power. 

Spiritual Warfare--bw

    ARMOR:  (Gr.-panoplia)–The panoplia (armor) mentioned here refers to the armor of the heavy troops among the Roman Army; those who were to sustain the rudest attacks, who were to sap the foundations of walls, storm cities, etc., Their ordinary armor was the shield, the helmet, the sword, and the greaves or brazen boots. Paul will refer to all of these later in our study.        

Paul, the old Roman “army brat” is reverting to military terminology to get his point across to us.  He considers every Christian as having a warfare to maintain against numerous, powerful, and subtle foes; and that therefore they would need much strength, much courage, complete armor, and skill to use it     

“stand against the wiles of the devil.”
Literally:  “stand against the methods of the devil”–The different means, plans, schemes, and machinations which he uses to deceive, entrap, enslave, and ruin the souls of men. A man's method of sinning is Satan's method of ruining his soul.

Our chief enemy does not engage us in open warfare, but deals in wiles (methods) and stratagies which we must constantly be on watch against and prepared for with much care. The devil is the archenemy of every believer and the one we must constantly resist–“Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7)..   The way to victory over the Devil is to obey the commands to “put on the whole armor of God” and to stand.

WILES:  (Gr.-methodeia)This word rendered “wiles” (methodeia) means,“that which is traced out with method; that which is methodized; and then that which is well laid-art, skill, cunning.”  

         This word occurs in the N.T. only here and in Ephesians 4:14. It is appropriately here rendered “wiles,” meaning “cunning devices, arts, attempts to delude and destroy us.” The wiles of the devil are the various arts and stratagems which he employs to drag souls down”
         In this verse Paul is making another of his play upon two Greek words, the armor (panoplia) of God is needed and available to meet the wiles (methodeias) of the Devil.  It is only God’s armor that can withstand the strategy and onslaught of Satan who has all kinds of weapons to use against us.  The believer is to reckon the flesh dead and to yield to God.  Be strong in the Lord, that is the only place you and I get power to resist the wiles of the Devil.
         We can more easily encounter open force than we can possibly resist; and we need the weapons of Christian armor to meet the attempts to draw us into a snare, as much as to meet open force. The idea here is, that Satan does not carry on an open warfare. He does not meet the Christian soldier face to face.
1.      He carries on his own version of guerilla warfare, using “hit and run” tactics.
         a.      He advances covertly;
         b.      He makes his approaches in darkness;
        c.       He employs cunning rather than power, and..
2.      He seeks rather to deceive and betray rather than to vanquish by mere force.

Now do you see the necessity of being constantly armed to meet him whenever the attack is made? A man who has to contend with a visible enemy may feel safe if he can prepare to meet him in the open field. But far different is the case if the enemy is invisible; if he sneaks up on us slyly and stealthily; if he practices war only by ambushes and by surprises, then we must always be prepared to resist. This is the kind of enemy that we have to contend with, and almost all the Christian struggle is a warfare against stratagems and wiles. Like those in our early southwest said about the apache Indians–“You only see an apache when he wants you to see him, and then it’s too late,” because they were famous for attacking from ambush and surprise; so also it is with our spiritual archenemy, he does not openly appear but attacks from ambush..
1.      He approaches us not in repulsive forms, (not as men have pictured him in a red suit, with horns and a long tail and cloven hooves, and carrying a pitchfork), but comes to recommend some seemingly plausible doctrine, to lay before us some temptation that shall not immediately repel us.
2.      He presents the world in some alluring fashion or deal and invites one to pleasures that seem to be harmless; and leads us in indulgence, until we have gone so far that we cannot retreat.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood”
Literally:  “our wrestling is not against flesh and blood”–The enemy is spiritual, and so therefore the warfare is spiritual. 

What Paul is talking about here are ranks of demons, fallen angels.  These are what we are up against.  That is why it is important for the Christian soldier to recognize that he does not fight an enemy who is flesh and blood.  The term, “flesh and blood” is a Hebraism for men, or human beings.

        WRESTLE:  (Gr.-palē)–This speaks of hand-to-hand combat with the spiritual forces of wickedness.  This Greek word denotes the wrestling done in the ancient Corinthian and Olympic games (see I Cor. 9:25ff); but it also has a military application– a struggle, fight, combat. Here it refers to the struggle or combat which the Christian is to maintain-the Christian warfare.

We are in a spiritual battle.  The devil has his minions arranged in battle array, rank upon rank.  We wrestle (palē) against them.  The KJV translation of verse 12 is really not as strong as it should be.  It should actually read, “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against powers, against the world rulers of this darkness (and these are all spiritual) against the spiritual hosts of evil in heavenly places.”  This is our warfare, and it is in progress NOW–24/7!

“not against flesh and blood”
Paul is not saying that these Ephesian believers did not have enemies among men that opposed them, for they were exposed often to fiery persecution; nor that they had nothing to contend with in the carnal and corrupt tendencies of their own nature, which was true of them then as it is now; but that their main controversy was with the invisible spirits of wickedness that sought to destroy them.

“but against principalities, …powers, …rulers of the darkness of this world”
There is a demonic world around us and it is displaying itself at this present hour.

When we group Job 1, Zechariah 3, II Chronicles 18 and Revelation 12, we discover that Satan, though fallen and an enemy of God and His people, still has access to the presence of God.  Satan stands before God as the accuser of God’s people, for the purpose of bringing about their eternal ruin.  How hopeless would be our lot were it not for the fact that we have an Advocate with the Father (I John 2:1).  Understand this all important point:  the Devil has his minions arrayed and organized in battle array, rank upon rank. 

See (Col. 1:16)

Then there are RULERS OF THE DARKNESS OF THIS WORLD: They are those demons who have charge of Satan’s worldly business; those evil spirits who rule this world in and through the spiritual darkness that prevails in it. The emperors of the darkness of this state of things. The rulers that preside over the regions of ignorance and sin with which the earth abounds. Darkness is an emblem of ignorance, misery, and sin; and no description could be more accurate than that of representing these malignant spirits as ruling over a dark world.

                  WORLD:  (Gr.-kosmos)–Literally:  “world, world order, universe; world inhabitants.”   

        PRINCIPALITIES: (Gr.-archas)–These are those demons who have the oversight over nations; chief rulers; beings of the first rank and order in their own kingdom. They would correspond to the rank of generals.  One of these is mentioned in Daniel 10. 

        POWERS: (Gr.-exousias)–These also are demons, who are authorities, derived from, and constituted by the above. Those who had power, or to whom the name of powers was given. Milton represents Satan as addressing the fallen angels in similar language.

         The earth-dark, and wretched, and ignorant, and sinful-is just such a dominion as they would choose, or as they would cause; and the degradation and woe of the heathen world are just such as foul and malignant spirits would delight in. It is a wide and a powerful empire. It has been consolidated by ages. It is sustained by all the authority of law; by all the omnipotence of the perverted religious principle; by all the reverence for antiquity; by all the power of selfish, corrupt, and base passions. No empire has been so extended, or has continued so long, as that empire of darkness; and nothing on earth is so difficult to destroy. Yet Paul says that it was on that kingdom they were to make war. Against that, the kingdom of the Redeemer was to be set up; and that was to be overcome by the spiritual weapons which He specifies.
         When he speaks of the Christian warfare here, Paul is referring to the contest with the powers of this dark kingdom. He regards each and every Christian as a soldier to wage war on it in whatever way he could, and wherever he could attack it. The contest, therefore, was not primarily with men, or with the internal corrupt propensities of the soul; it was with this vast and dark kingdom that had been set up over mankind.  It is a warfare on a large scale with the entire kingdom of darkness over the world.  


“against the rulers of the darkness of this world”
Literally:  “against the world’s rulers, of the darkness of this age”–The demons that preside over the regions of ignorance and sin with which the earth abounds.

Perhaps these are principalities and powers that remain mostly in their kingdom of darkness–probably meaning ignorance or subterfuge.

        WORLD RULERS:  (Gr.-kosmokratōr)–The context obviously points to personal evil spirits, exercising rule, in some real sense, over the world.  “World-rulers” denotes the extent of the dominion of these invisible enemies.  The term is applied only to the rulers of the most widely extended tracts, and there is no part of this earth to which their influence does not extend, and where their dark rule does not show itself (comp. Luke 4:6).

 The question is, what does the “world” (kosmos) mean here? See 2:22 and note. “The world” does not necessarily mean the Universe, nor the earth and sea, but humanity that is fallen and in rebellion against God. As such, it is the realm of these powers of evil. Their head is the usurping, but permitted, Cæsar of this empire, which is not so much local as moral; and his subordinate spirits are accordingly “imperial rulers” within it, for him.—The Gr. word (kosmokratôr) appears in Rabbinic literature.  It is used sometimes used there as an eloquent term for “king,” but we may be sure of a more special meaning in a passage like this one.

        DARKNESS:  (Gr.-skotos)–Darkness, sin, evil.  This “darkness” is (as our version renders it), “the darkness of this present world,” as a world overshadowed by sin, and so kept, wholly or partially, from the light of God.

         “This darkness” is the present order of things on earth, in its aspect as a scene of sin. As such it is dark, with the shadows of delusion, woe, and death. See Luke 22:53 (a suggestive parallel) another reference may be under Eph. 4:18.  Darkness is an emblem of ignorance, misery, and sin; and no description could be more accurate than that of representing these malignant spirits as ruling over a dark world. This earth,  dark, and wretched and ignorant, and sinful as it is, is just such a dominion as they would choose, or as they would cause; and the degradation and woe of the pagan world are just such as foul and malignant spirits would delight in.
1.      It is a wide and a powerful empire.
2.      It has been consolidated by ages.
3.      It is sustained…
         a.      By all the authority of law;
         b.     By all the omnipotence of the perverted religious principle;
         c.      By all the reverence for antiquity;
         d.     By all the power of selfish, corrupt, and base passions.

No empire has been so extended, or has continued so long, as that empire of darkness; and nothing on earth is so difficult to destroy.  These either rule in the dark air, where God permits them to be for the punishment of men (2:22), or  they rule in the dark places of the earth, the dark minds of men, and have their rule over them by reason of the darkness that is in them; in which respect the devil is called the god of this world (II or. 4:4), and the prince of it (John 14:30).  So that the dark world here seems to be opposed to children of light (Eph. 5:8).

“against spiritual wickedness in high {places}.”
Literally: “against the spiritual things of evil in the heavenlies.”–In celestial, or heavenly places.

SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS:  (Gr.-pneumagika tēs panirias)–Literally, “spiritual things of evil.” The allusion is undoubtedly to evil spirits, and to their influences on earth. 

         The spiritual wickedness are the angels of the ilk of those who kept not their first estate; who fell from the heavenly places but are ever longing after and striving to regain them; and which have their station in the regions of the underworld. These are the demons in the heavenlies who have charge of religions.  Satan has a well-organized group, and his organization is manipulating in this world right now. We contend with these fallen spirits for the heavenly things which are promised to us; and we strive against them, that we may not be deprived of those we have.
         The heartbreak, the heartache, the suffering, the tragedies of life are the works of Satan in the background.  He is the cause of the great problems that are in the world today.
Today, demonism is a popular subject and is plainly exhibited.  We have the Church of Satan in many of our cities.  Demonism is running rampant in America, and the world in general. 
        All over this country, people (especially teenagers and young people in those propaganda centers we call public schools and state universities) are being ensnared and led into all kinds of demonism.  Unfortunately, one of the most popular demonic snares is the Ouija Board.  This game is right out of the pit (the abyss) of hell itself.  It operates solely on demonic power.  These spiritual forces are working in the world, evil forces working against the Church, against the believer, against God, and against Christ.  NEVER try to ignore such things.  It is happening, and you and I alone are no match for it.

American Atheist

Unfortunately the Church has largely lost sight of this spiritual battle.  Too many feel that since we have a lovely church building and are attracting crowds and if the finances are coming in, that everything is going nicely.  However, there are some questions that need to be answered:
1.      Are the members of the church being built up in Christ?
2.      Is the Word of God being taught, as the Word of God?
3.      Is there a spirit of love and cooperation among the members.
4.      Is gossip reduced to a minimum?
5.      Where there is a spirit of criticism and of bitterness and of hatred, the Spirit of God cannot work.
If a church which has been supporting itself begins to get into debt, this is an indication that something is wrong.  It  means that the battle is being lost in the spiritual realm.

HIGH PLACES:  (Gr.-epouraniois)-Literally: “heavenlies.” In the most sublime stations; in the regions of the air. But who are these of whom Paul is speaking. This is the fifth time this phrase is used in this Epistle.  The other places besides this are: 1:3, 20; 2:6; 3:10. In 1:3 and 2:6 it is translated as, “in heavenly places.”

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God”
Literally:  “Because of this, take up the whole armor of God”–Paul now repeats the command that he gave back in v. 11.  Paul is again referring to the complete armor which God has provided for you in the gospel of His Son.

Because you have such enemies to contend with, take to yourself, (assume) the whole armor of God as provided and prepared for you.  If you put on this armor and use it, you shall be defended from Satan’s attacks. “Take to yourself the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand in the evil day;” implying to stand in the evil day; and that without the help of divine armor we cannot stand in that day. The sanctifying graces of God's Spirit are this armor.

         WHEREFORE:  (dia touto)—Literally:  “because of this.”  Because you have such enemies to contend with, take unto you—assume, as provided and prepared for you, the whole armor of God; which armor if you put on and use, you shall be both invulnerable and immortal.

         We are to put on the whole armor of God, not “hang it on.”  In the Tower of London there are statues on which is hung armor—hung, because the statues are not alive.  Sometimes men, “Dead in trespasses and sins,” hang on the armor of God and try to produce the graces of the Spirit in their lives, both of which belong only to the born-again child of God.  To put on the whole armor of God requires life.  The instruction included in these verses becomes a believer’s responsibility to follow.

“that ye may be able to withstand”
Literally:  “That you may be able to resist.”  That you may not only stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free, but also distress your spiritual foes; and continuing in your ranks, maintain your ground against them, never putting off your armor, but standing always ready prepared to repel any new attack.

         I have never been enthusiastic about a group of defeated Christians singing, “Onward Christian soldiers marking as to war.”  I believe it is more scriptural for the believers to sing, “Stand up, Stand up for Jesus, ye Soldiers of the Cross.”  Just to be able to stand in an evil day is a victory for the believer.  To go into a church and hear them sing, “Onward Christian Soldiers, Marking as to War,” and then to look around and see that most of the troops are AWOL is quite disheartening.

         “in the evil day”|
        Probably this phrase is a general phrase, like, “the day of adversity,” or “the day of battle,” indicating a day that comes often.  In fact, any day that the evil one, or his minions, comes upon us in force is “the evil day,” and our ignorance when those times will come makes it necessary for us to be constantly on our guard.

“having done all, to stand.
Literally:  “having worked out all things, to stand”– This is the literal translation of this phrase, referring not only to the preparation for battle, but the battle itself

         The command to “be strong in the Lord,” (v. 10) seems to be  associated with our “having done all.”   We are not called to simply do as well as our neighbors, nor even as a whole to do well.  We are called to do all—to leave nothing undone that can contribute to the success of the battle, then, and only then, can we stand, or stand firm.

             DONE ALL:    (Gr.-katergasamenoi)–Literally:  “to work out, effect, or produce; and then to work up, to make an end of, to vanquish.” Robinson, Lex. The idea seems to be, that they were to overcome or vanquish all their foes, and thus to stand firm. The whole language here is taken from war; and the idea is, that every foe was to be subdued—no matter how numerous or formidable they might be. Safety and triumph could be looked for only when every enemy was slain.  Having “accomplished all things,” namely, necessary to the fight, and becoming a good soldier.

        TO STAND: (Gr.-stenai)—A military term of a centurion placing his men in position to face forward toward the enemy.  After the fight (wrestle) is over to stand as victor in the contest.

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