Part 2: Breastplate Of Righteousness.
In this series on spiritual warfare, we are looking at each item in the Armor of God and how it relates to God’s Appointed Times and the Articles in the Temple.
After putting on the Belt of Truth which we spoke of in the last episode, we see that Paul tells us next to put on the Breastplate of Righteousness
(Ephesians 6 :14).
The breastplate protected the soldier’s heart and vital organs from a fatal wound. So too, the Breastplate of Righteousness guards our heart.
Let’s first look at what God’s Word tells us about our heart.
Proverb 4:23 tells us this, “Watch over your heart with all diligence,
for from it flows the springs of life.”
In our physical body the heart pumps our life giving blood. So too, with our spiritual heart, springs of life flow. If our physical heart stops it brings death and so too, if our spiritual heart stops, we die spiritually.
Paul tells us what guards our heart, peace.
Phillipians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Messiah Yeshua.”
We know what guards our hearts but how do we go about doing it? Philippians 4:8-9 tells us “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” We see that the heart and mind go together.
We also see this in Matthew 15:18-19 “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and those things defile the person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, acts of adultery, other immoral sexual acts, thefts, false testimonies, and slanderous statements.”
Our hearts cause us to sin with our mouths and with our thoughts.
Jeremiah 17:9 tells us this about the heart, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Our mouths will speak what’s in our hearts, good or evil and our hearts are the center for all things in our lives.
Proverbs 10:11 says this, “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.”
Psalm 119:11 also tells us how we can guard our hearts and our mouths .
“I have treasured Your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against You.”
Now that we have seen that our spiritual hearts play a key role in our spiritual lives, we want to take a look at righteousness and our hearts.
Psalm 11:7 says this about God. “For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; the upright will see His face.”
God is righteous and He wants us also to be righteous. So righteousness is simply put, being right with God. Sin separates us from God and when we sin we need a way to come back to God.
Isaiah 55:6-7 says, “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked abandon his way, and the unrighteous person his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him,
and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”
Romans 6:12-14 says this,“Therefore sin is not to reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the parts of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead, and your body’s parts as instruments of righteousness for God.”
Also Romans 6:17-19 says, “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and after being freed from sin, you became slaves to righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented the parts of your body as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your body’s parts as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.”
If the Breastplate of Righteousness is worn to protect our hearts then we must be able to walk in righteousness in our hearts.
Romans 10:10 tells us, “For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
Genesis 15:6 tells us this about Abraham, “Then he believed in the LORD; and He credited it to him as righteousness.”
We have seen that the heart is the central place for good or bad, righteousness and wickedness. But what brings about righteousness is when we believe in our hearts. It’s our convictions. It’s what we would die for.
Psalm15:2 gives us some insight into righteousness, “One who walks with integrity, practices righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart”
Righteousness takes believing in the truth. But we just cannot say it with words, but we must believe it and walk in it and that is integrity. We are who we say we are, and we believe in what we say we believe, no matter if we are alone or with other people. The Belt of Truth was the first item we put on in the Armor of God and we know that God is truth and His Word and Him are one.
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 “For consider your calling, brothers and sisters, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the insignificant things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no human may boast before God. But it is due to Him that you are in Messiah Yeshua, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that just as it is written, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
The breastplate worn by a soldier usually had a crest on it which was of the country he fought for. On our breastplate we wear the crest of whom we fight for, and that would be the kingdom of our Messiah Yeshua. We know that that would be the cross, which is the yoke of the kingdom.
But there are times when we fall out of righteousness. We sin in our hearts and we become separated from God.
The message of Rosh Hashanah, the Appointed Time of God, is just that.
Rosh Hashanah is ten days before Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year. Rosh Hasanah actually is a time to reflect on one’s heart. It is a time to search our soul, to consider our deeds and to repent. You actually begin thirty days before the appointed time of Rosh Hashanah. It is the time to prepare ourselves as we see here in Revelation 19:7-8, “Let’s rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, because the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has prepared herself.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
So what are the righteous acts of the saints? Yeshua tells this story in
Matthew 25:31-40,“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,you were doing it to me!’
This is the message of Rosh Hashanah.
So to prepare ourselves, we must examine ourselves as Paul tells us in
2 Corinthians 13:5,
“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Messiah Yeshua is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” 2 Peter 1:10-11 says “Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choice of you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Messiah Yeshua will be abundantly supplied to you.”
When we are righteous before God then we have Weapons of Righteousness.
This was Yeshua’s message from Matthew 3:2, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
This is the message of Rosh Hashanah.
The message to the church in Ephesus was quite clear in Revelation 2:4-5 “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore, remember from where you have fallen, and repent, and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and I will remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.”
This is the message of Rosh Hashanah.
1 Samuel 4:1-11 tells us about a battle that Israel fought with their enemy, and because of their sins they were defeated. “Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines. They encamped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines encamped at Aphek. The Philistines drew up in line against Israel, and when the battle spread, Israel was defeated before the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men on the field of battle. And when the people came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.” So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who is enthroned on the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. As soon as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel gave a mighty shout, so that the earth resounded. And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shouting, they said, “What does this great shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” And when they learned that the ark of the Lord had come to the camp, the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “A god has come into the camp.” And they said, “Woe to us! For nothing like this has happened before. Woe to us! Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with every sort of plague in the wilderness. Take courage, and be men, O Philistines, lest you become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been to you; be men and fight.” So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and they fled, every man to his home. And there was a very great slaughter, for thirty thousand foot soldiers of Israel fell. And the ark of God was captured, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.”
The moral of the story is this: You may think that because you call yourself a believer that God is with you, but if you have sin in your life it separates you from Him. Their enemy at first was afraid, but they kept up the fight and won. This is how it is with the devil. He may see you doing good. He may see you reading your Bible. He may see you going to church, but he also knows that you have unrepented sin. Remember, he is the accuser of the brethren. To fight the spiritual battle we must come humbly before God and repent.
This is the message of Rosh Hashanah.
The prophet Hosea speaks in his time to the people in Hosea 14:1-3,
“O Israel, return to the Lord, your God, for you have been crushed by your sins. Bring your petition. Come to the Lord and say, “O Lord, take away our sins; be gracious to us and receive us, and we will offer you the sacrifice of praise. Assyria cannot save us, nor can our strength in battle; never again will we call the idols we have made ‘our gods’; for in you alone, O Lord, the fatherless find mercy.”
This is the message of Rosh Hashanah.
Rosh Hashanah or the Day of Trumpets is that time to draw close to God by humbling yourself and repenting of your sins. Of course this is something that should be done daily, but the season of repentance draws our attention by the sounding of the shofar or trumpet that the day of the Lord draws near. The Fall Feasts are a picture of the second coming of Yeshua. The sounding of the trumpet alerted the people that the king was coming. It also was sounded when the enemy was coming.
Revelation 12:12 tells us, “For this reason, rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you with great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”
With our spiritual adversary, he is always looking to whom he may devour, (1Peter 5:8).
The devil today is winning the hearts of many people. The spiritual battle has become intense. Deception, lies and every temptation under the sun has increased. People have fallen away from the one true God, and secular humanism has become the religion of the day. If we are separated from God because of sin, we are left open for the enemy of our soul to devour us. Peter tells us that we must be vigilant when it comes to our spiritual enemy. The battle never ceases between us and him and we must be prepared to fight for the faith.
Jude writes, “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write to you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all time handed down to the saints.”
In 1 Timothy 6:12, Paul tells Timothy this, “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
Yeshua is a mighty warrior as Psalm 4:3-4 tells us, “Strap Your sword on Your thigh, Mighty One, In Your splendor and majesty! And in Your majesty ride on victoriously, For the cause of truth, humility, and righteousness; let Your right hand teach You awesome things.”
And Revelation 19:11-16 tells us, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many crowns; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written: “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.””
This is the message of Rosh Hashanah.
The Altar of Incense
In the Yom Kippur service we saw the high priest would take incense from the Altar of Incense and add it to the coals of the sin offering to create a cloud that stood between Him and the Altar of Presence. The Altar of Incense represents the prayers of the saints.
Revelation 5:8 -10 gives us insight into this important article of the Temple.
“When He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the scroll and to break its seals; for You were slaughtered, and You purchased people for God with Your blood from every tribe, language, people, and nation and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
This Scripture opens up a window into the Throne room of God and we see the praises that went up for Yeshua for His victory over death and the grave.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:55-57, “Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Messiah Yeshua.”
Revelation 5 shows us that before they fell down before the Lamb they had a bowl of incense, for the Lamb would be sitting on His throne in the same place as the Ark of Presence in the Temple. Remember, Moses was to construct the Tabernacle from what he saw in heaven, (Hebrews 8:5). We see here the importance of this altar standing right before the Ark. But also the incense was the prayers of the saint. Our prayers come before the Lord night and day. The incense was burned on the altar not only once a year at Yom Kippur, but twice a day at the morning and evening sacrifices, which today relates to the morning and evening times of prayer.
The Altar of Incense was most holy for it sat in front of the Holy of Holies, the Ark of Presence. It shows us how important our prayers are to God.
Now as Revelation 5 tells us we are a kingdom of priests and we enter into the most holiest place when we come before God with our prayers
1Peter 2:9 tells us “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:18 that the battle must be fought with prayer, not just with our Weapons of Righteousness, which is the Armor of God, but also with prayer. “With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be alert with all perseverance and every request for all the saints.”
We are told to pray without ceasing, (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Prayer is another one of our weapons in the fight against the enemy of our soul.
Philippians 4:6.says this, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
The spiritual battle is fought on our knees as we come before the cross of Yeshua. The cross was the place that Yeshua won the victory, and that is the place that we too, will win the victory.
Repentance, prayer and righteousness are all the messages of Rosh Hashanah.
James 5:16 says, “ Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. A prayer of a righteous person, when it is brought about, can accomplish much.” Blow the trumpet and sound the alarm on My holy Mountain. (Joel 2:1)
Today if you have fallen from righteousness, repent, and be restored, and put on righteousness as your armor. Guard your heart and pray; and re enter the spiritual battle Psalm 60:12 tells us of our victory, “Through our God we will do valiantly, and it is He who will trample down our enemies.”