Lesson 90

The Church, Militant, Triumphant

"And he shall rule them [the nations] with a rod of iron, as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers [pieces] . . ."
Revelation 2:27 and Psalm 2:9

The church during the Gospel Age is spoken of as being "militant." This does not mean that they should go to war with swords, guns, tanks, etc. God’s people are to battle in an entirely different manner as their warfare is against the temptations of the world, of human desires, and the deceitfulness of Satan.

The church does not fight for their "rights." It was a terrible mistake when, in the Middle Ages, the church battled with swords and spears against nations and heretics (those who do not conform to the accepted beliefs or doctrines).

While Jesus and the apostles were on earth they did not interfere in any way with earthly powers. On the contrary, they taught the church to obey the laws of the land and to respect those in authority because of their office even if they were not personally worthy of this respect (Matthew 22:21; Romans 13:1). Jesus and his apostles were all law-abiding, although they were separate from and took no part in the governments of this world.

Ephesians 6:11-17 describes the "armor" the church militant is to wear. The Christian does battle by wielding the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, the truth. He tells of the good news of the coming kingdom and has the spirit of service to others.

The breastplate of righteousness symbolizes our Savior’s death. It is a covering for us provided through the merit of Jesus’ sacrifice. Our hearts would fail from discouragement without it.

The sandals of peace symbolize our full consecration to the Lord. They will help us over the rough places without compromising the truth.

The shield of faith is our trust in God and in his truth. It helps us withstand the "arrows" of Satan and his cohorts (followers).

We put on the helmet which symbolizes knowledge, an intelligent hope of salvation. We need this as the Adversary (Satan) will try everything in his power to take us away from the truth. We carry the sword of the Spirit which helps us defend the doctrines of Christ from the snare of error. We can own this sword only by careful and constant study of God’s word and by being ready to use it in defense of the truth.

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