Ephesians 6:10-18 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

When Paul wrote the above Scriptures, he was looking back to Isaiah 59:17 “For He put on tzedakah (righteousness) as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation upon His head; and He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.” Isaiah was speaking of Yeshua (Jesus) and his garments as our High Priest, not as a Roman soldier. Because Isaiah never knew nor saw what a Roman soldier looked like, since he lived some 600 years before Rome even existed!

Let’s take a closer look at the Armor of God:

A. The Belt of Truth
There were at least three different types of belts (girdles) used by the military when Paul was writing.
a. A leather apron design to protect the lower abdomen.
b. A belt used to hold a sword and dagger.
c. A belt designating a high official or officer in the army.
Isaiah 11:1-5 also references a belt: “Righteousness shall be the belt of his loins, and faithfulness the belt of his waist.” This belt is the distinctive sign of the Messiah. If Paul is alluding to this passage, he might especially be referencing the third type of belt.

B. Breastplate of Righteousness
Once again there were a variety of types of breastplates, but the nobleman wore a scale or chain mail that covered the chest and hips. It is the finest protection available. To be clothed in righteousness indicates noble power that can act in the city gates on behalf of the poor as a righteous judge. Jesus is the righteous judge who protects the oppressed and stands up for the downtrodden. By clothing ourselves in his protection, we emulate his rule and demonstrate his nobility in our actions toward the weak among us.

C. Feet Shod with the Gospel of Peace
When Jesus walked, he was sure footed. He did not stumble but stood his ground against the evil one. (Think about his temptation in wilderness) The wicked do not know what makes them stumble but the righteous walks forward into the light. (See Prov. 24:16; Prov. 4:18) In Christ, our feet stand sure footed against the chaos of this world through sin and rebellion. In Christ, we stand our ground and bring harmony and shalom to all things.

D. Shield of Faith
All through the Old Testament we can find references to God as a shield. (Gen 15:1; Deut. 33:29; 2Sam. 22:3; Proverbs 30:5) He is the one who takes the fiery darts of the enemy. All we have to do is rest in His faithfulness.

E. Helmet of Salvation
Isaiah 59:17 For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, And was clad with zeal as a cloak.
God’s helmet of salvation was given to His son and is a sign that he (Jesus) is the victorious ruler. Much like a crown, it indicates his glory and authority. This helmet of victory is God’s victory handed to us so through His son so that we are “more than conquerors”. (Rom. 8:33-39)

F. Sword of the Spirit
the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (This is is in reference to Psalms 149:1-9)

Accessories for a Torah Scroll:
When the actual Torah Scroll (hand written parchment) is completed it is adorned with numerous accessories, and together they form the Torah Scroll as we see it in Synagogues. Those accessories are:

lions-torah-belt-l1232The Gartel:
(Gartel – Yiddish for belt) The Gartel is the sash (or belt) used to tie the Torah scroll so that the Torah remains closed and secured under its velvet covering. When a Torah is found to be non-Kosher (e.g., a letter has faded) and awaits correction, its Gartel is tied around its velvet covering, on the outside, as a reminder that it is out of commission.

breat plateThe Breast Plate:
In many communities the Torah has a decorative ornamental breast plate. The breast plate is typically made of silver and engraved with Jewish symbols or scriptures. It is sometimes attached to a fine silver chain, and when the Torah is closed and covered the breast plate hangs from the Atzei Chayim over the front of the Mantel.

 

 

 

Atzei ChayimThe Atzei Chayim:
(Atzei Chayim – Hebrew, pl., trees of life) The Atzei Chayim are the two wooden shafts attached to either end of the Torah scroll, around which it is rolled. Each shaft is made long enough to extend beyond the top and bottom of the scroll, and is used as a handle with which to hold the Torah and to scroll from portion to portion. (Also referred to as the feet)

 

 

MantelThe Mantel:
(Yiddish, cloak) A valuable treasure is not left exposed and vulnerable. We cover the Torah with multiple coverings, dressing it in a “cloak” before restoring it to its honorable place in the Ark and drawing the curtain. The mantel is an ornate covering that both protects (Like a shield) and beautifies the Torah, typically made of velvet and embroidered with golden thread, silk, and ornamental beads. In Sephardic communities the Torah is encased in a wooden or metal casing rather than a cloth Mantel.

 

 

Torah crownThe Kesser:
(Hebrew, crown) The Torah is our most precious possession, and we lovingly display that. We adorn it with a crown, typically silver, as a symbol of our endearment and veneration. The Kesser rests on top of the wooden shafts, which extend above the scroll.

 

 

 

YadThe Yad:
(Yad -Hebrew, hand) The Yad is the pointer that the reader of the Torah uses to help others follow the written words as he reads. Usually made of silver, the end of this rod is commonly shaped like a hand with its index finger extended. A chain attached to its other end can be used to drape it over the Torah when put away. (The rod is a stick used for correction – Job 9:34; and instruction – Psalms 23:4; and a scepter of a king –Gen. 49:10, Is. 14:5, Jud. 5:14)

 

 

Yeshua is the TorahThe TORAH scroll is dressed as a priest, with a belt, a breast plate, a shield and a crown. Jesus is our High Priest. On the cross, above Jesus’ head, was placed a sign that said, The KING of the Jews.” (Luke 23:38) God will place a crown on top of Jesus’ head. (Zach. 6:10-12; Rev. 6:1-2) A crown is symbolic of a king. Jesus is going to return as the King of all, Gentiles and Jews alike.

 

When Paul speaks of the armor of God in Ephesians 6:13-17, I believe he was describing elements of the TORAH in reference to the armor of God. In context with Isaiah 59:15-17, Yeshua (Jesus) is the one being described as having the full armor of God. So in essence, these verses are telling us to put on Yeshua and his fullness. The Roman soldier analogy is a myth produced by those who do not understand the Jewishness of the Scriptures.
But what is even more amazing is that even though the Torah scroll has been copied over the centuries, it is still just as the original was in the Apostles’ day! And if a mistake was made while copying, then the copy was thrown away. It HAD to be perfect! This is another picture of Jesus, our PERFECT King and Savior!

Simchat TorahThe Jews dance with the Torah on Simchat Torah. (Rejoicing of the Torah) This is a celebration marking the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings, and the beginning of a new cycle. The actual carrying of the scrolls is shared among all the congregants. Even in synagogues where women are traditionally segregated, on Simchat Torah they are welcomed into the main sanctuary, to touch and kiss the Torah scrolls. And children also join in the processions. As we touch the TORAH we imagine that we are dancing with the Lord – Allowing him to “Point the way” for us through the Torah Scroll. (See Psalms 30:11 and 1Sam. 18:6)

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