Hey, Where's Your Cloak?
Ephesians 6:11-17"Put on God's whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against (all) the strategies and the deceits of the devil. For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. Therefore put on God's complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God. And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace. Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God."
G-d's armor: belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with preparation of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and sword of the Spirit.
Rav. Saul / Apostle Paul drew upon his knowledge of Torah, specifically Yesha'yahu / Isaiah 59:17, when he wrote about the armor of G-d. Yesha'yahu/Isaiah 59:17 states, "For [the Lord] put on righteousness as a breastplate or coat of mail, and salvation as a helmet upon His head; He put on garments of vengeance for clothing and was clad with zeal [and furious divine jealousy] as a cloak."
The garments of vengeance belong to Messiah alone according to D'Varim/Deuteronomy 32:35, Hebrews 10:30 and Romans 12:19.
Rav. Saul / Apostle Paul didn't include the cloak of zeal and yet, we are commanded by Messiah to put on the whole armor of G-d.
Zeal is enthusiastic devotion to a cause, ideal, or goal and tireless diligence in its furtherance. But there can also be a dark side to zeal which Rav. Saul / Apostle Paul had experienced called ignorance and hate.
In his own words written in Acts 22:3-4, "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia but reared in this city. At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated according to the strictest care in the Law of our fathers, being ardent [even a zealot] for God, as all of you are today. [Yes] I harrassed (troubled, molested, and persecuted) this Way [of the Lord] to the death." Again in Galatians 1:14 he wrote, "And [you have heard how] I outstripped many of the men of my own generation among the people of my race in [my advancement in study and observance of the laws of] Judaism, so extremely enthusiastic and zealous I was for the traditions of my ancestors."
Rav. Saul / Apostle Paul had studied so hard and worked so diligently to be the best in the knowledge and observance of the traditions of Judaism. But he lacked the personal knowledge and relationship with G-d Himself. As a result, Saul/Paul had participated in the murder of believers while acting in great zeal for the wrong thing.
But we have been admonished to don the whole armor of G-d. And if we are to put on the whole armor of G-d, we must include the cloak of zeal. So we need to learn from what happened to Saul/Paul but we must also take upon ourselves the cloak.
What is the cloak of zeal to do? It is to help us, as Believers, to operate in G-d's own divine jealousy over His plan so that we exercise His authority to trample down the adversary. It also enables us to serve our brethren. We do this by becoming empowered by His Spirit.
An example of the zeal of the L-rd at work in the Torah is the story of Phinehas, a High Priest of Isra'el. The children of Israel had begun to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab and join themselves to the god of Baal of Peor and the anger of the L-rd arose toward Israel. He told Moshe to hang the leaders of G-d's people to turn away His anger. And while the children of Israel were weeping at the door of the Tent of Meeting, one of the Hebrews came and brought one of the daughters of Moab. When Phinehas saw, he took a spear and thrust both of them through.
It may seem like a harsh thing Phinehas did but G-d gave His approval. Why? Because Phinehas was jealous over G-d's command, to keep it. While the entire congregation of Israel did nothing, Phinehas acted in zeal on the Word of the L-rd.
In Colossians 4 there's the mention of a servant of Messiah Yeshua by the name, Epaphras. His zeal for his brethren resulted in much of his time being dedicated to interceding for them. The cloak of zeal gave him steadfast, diligent and tireless devotion to the cause of Messiah.
And then there's the best example of all, Messiah Yeshua, Himself. It is recorded in Yochanan/John 2 that Yeshua went up to Yerushalayim and found in the temple those who were selling oxen, sheep and doves. He made a whip of cords and drove them all out of the temple and overturned the tables.
I often wonder what would happen if someone stood up and did that with the dvd, cd and book stands in the Churches today. Oops, that might be one of those "sacred cows." Or would G-d reward the zeal that would protect His House?
It is written that the talmidim (disciples) remembered what was written as recorded in Tehillim / Psalms 69:9, "For zeal for Your house has eaten me up, and the reproaches and insults of those who reproach and insult You have fallen upon me."
How are we to put the cloak of zeal to work in our lives? The secret is in the statement, "Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves."
For years I sought the meaning of this statement. What could possibly be the wisdom of a serpent?
The wisdom of a serpent is to protect its head at all costs. It could lose its tail and survive but it would die if its head were to be lost. And this is how we must be in the body of Moshiach! We must protect the Head of the Body Who is Messiah Yeshua! We are to protect His Honor! We are to protect His Word! We are to guard His Spirit!
The cloak of zeal will cause us to take appropriate action when we see disrespect and dishonor of the L-rd. We must allow our actions to show the truth about the L-rd at all times and we do this by wearing the cloak of zeal. The cloak of zeal should also spur and drive us to the service of others. Isn't it amazing? The cloak of zeal helps us to keep the commandments of loving G-d and loving one another.
G-d's ultimate goal is to uphold and display the glory of His Name. He created us for His glory. He called Israel for His glory. G-d defeated Pharoah to show His glory. G-d restored Israel from exile for His glory. When Yeshua came, He sought the glory of His Father in all He did.
Yeshua left us with the admonition to shine our light so that others might see our good works and give glory to our Father. Yeshua also said that He answers prayer so G-d will be glorified. (Yochanan/John 14:13) G-d plans to fill the earth with the knowledge of His glory. G-d's zeal is for His own glory...and the cloak of zeal we wear should be for His glory too. Life is not about us really, it's all about Him! So be wise as a serpent and as harmless as a dove. Go forth in the whole (entire) armor of G-d!
Hey, where's your cloak?
“Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified Bible."