Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day,…And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:13-18).
The helmet has been a standard piece of military equipment for as long as men have fought in wars. A club, an arrow or bullet, striking the head will totally disable a soldier and render him incapable of combat. The first part of a soldier to be exposed is his head as he observes the enemy and assesses each situation.
It is not surprising then that the Holy Spirit would have believers “take the helmet of salvation” in the spiritual conflict with Satan.he helmet has been a standard piece of military equipment for as long as men have fought in wars. A club, an arrow or bullet, striking the head will totally disable a soldier and render him incapable of combat. The first part of a soldier to be exposed is his head as he observes the enemy and assesses each situation.
The word helmet in the Greek is literally “encircling the head,” which aptly describes what a helmet does; it encircles the head to provide protection against attack.
We are to take the WHOLE armour of God but the helmet is an important part. God has provided protection for believers in spiritual warfare. It should be the desire of every Christian to be a “good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3) but we can never effectively engage the enemy without the whole armour of God.
What is the Helmet of Salvation?
Is the helmet of salvation obtaining forgivenness of sins or being born again of the Spirit? Certainly not.
When Paul urged the Christians at Ephesus to take the helmet ot salvation he was speaking to people who were already “in Christ” (Ephesians 1:1); they had already been “quickened together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5) and “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13). So what does the helmet of salvation represent?
In Paul’s first epistle to the Thessalonians he states:
Let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:8-9).
This exhortation is immediately followed by the statement that God has not appointed believers to the wrath of the Day of the Lord (Tribulation) and a causal “for” (because) is inserted before the promise. This links the helmet of salvation with the following verse.
The reason for taking the helmet of salvation is because we are “not appointed to wrath” -ie. not appointed to pass into the Great Tribulation, and the helmet therefore can only be the Blessed Hope of the Rapture before the wrath of God falls on this evil world. The protection of our thinking and discernment is therefore found in
looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13).
The consequences of going into battle without our head protected are very serious indeed, for all our thoughts and judgments are at risk.
When a Christian fails to live his life in anticipation of the departure of the Church and of meeting the Lord “in the air” he leaves himself open to manifold false teachings. It is very often only when a Christian gets the teaching of the Lord’s return clear in his mind that other doctrines of the Word of God fall into place and make sense.
Take for instance the amillennialist who has little thought about the coming of the Lord and relegates the subject of Bible prophecy to the too hard basket. Think of all the doctrines so clearly seen in Scripture that he gets confused and distorted.
First he denies that Christ will reign on the earth and if that is the case, then there must be a “general resurrection” at the second coming of Christ. What about the Old Testament saints who rose with Christ 2,000 years ago? What about the “dead in Christ” from this Church age who must depart before the Tribulation caught up to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)?
What about the martyrs from the Tribulation who lay down their lives for refusing the mark of the Beast and who live and reign with Christ 1,000 years? (Revelation 20:4) or “the rest of the dead” who “lived not again until the thousand years were finished?”
To fail to have the “hope of salvation” burning in one’s heart can expose the mind of the believer to crooked thinking and denial of the great doctrine of the first and second resurrections.
There can be no General resurrection at the coming of Christ but if one is not “looking for that blessed hope” of the Christians, the Rapture of the Church before the Tribulation, and the “glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ,” there is little choice but to believe in a general Resurrection that destroys any hope of an earthly reign by Christ for 1,000 years. After all, if everybody is raised when Christ returns “immediately after the Tribulation” (Matthew 24:29) there will be nobody left on earth for Christ to reign over!
But what of the vast array of prophecies regarding Israel in Scripture? When persons refuse to have “the hope of salvation” uppermost in their thinking they may easily succumb to replacement theology which wipes out any future in God’s plan for Israel. Their thinking will be twisted and they will begin to look for “spiritual” interpretations of literal prophecies. Fanciful theories will flow from their vivid imagination and there are no boundaries to their thinking. Their mind becomes exposed to Satan’s agents who are “lying spirits” (2 Chronicles 18:21) instead of the Spirit of Truth.
Denial of Dispensations
For a Christian to interpret the Bible without the helmet of “the hope of salvation” will lead to a denial of the dispensational structure of the Bible. The clear lines of demarcation between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant will become fuzzed. Scriptures that applied to Israel and the Gentile nations will be applied to the Church. The behaviour permitted under the Old Covenant will be condoned and there will be little understanding of the power of the Gospel under the New Covenant.
There will be a total misunderstanding of the past history of the world or of the future. The roles of the Jew, the Gentile and the Church, will merge and can even lead to Anti-semitism and thus bring down the curse of God upon their head.
There are solemn warnings by the Lord Jesus about failing to “watch” for His coming and surely these alone should prompt every believer to take the helmet of the “hope of salvation.”
The prophetic meaning of the seven churches of Asia recorded in Revelation Chapters 2 and 3 likens the Reformation period of Church history to the Church at Sardis. Reformation Theology is amillennial. The Reformers followed the theology of Augustin of Hippo and spiritualized the scriptures. It wasn’t until the next stage of Christendom, the Philiadelphian Church period from 1700 to 1900, that the hope of the Lord’s return burned brightly and the great missionary movements spread the Gospel into all the world.
To the Church at Sardis the Lord said,
If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee (Revelation 3:3).
But to the Church at Philadelphia the Lord said
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown (Revelation 3:10-11).
It was in the two centuries from 1700 to 1900, that the truth of the rapture of the Church and the premillennial return of Christ was restored to the Church resulting in the greatest era of evangelism the world has ever seen. God raised up the British Empire to open doors into Asia, Africa and the Islands of the seas. The “word of My patience” was preached as believers watched and patiently waited for the coming of the Lord. Much of the baggage that the Reformation churches brought across from Roman Catholicism was abandoned. Infant baptism, State control of the church, ecclesiastical garb, a General Resurrection and amillennial teaching etc were abandoned as Christians began to look for “that blessed hope and the glorious appearing” of the Lord Jesus.
The relics of Reformation theology continue today and will do so until the rapture of the Church, and those who are truly saved in those churches will be taken by surprise and lose rewards when the Bride of Christ is caught up to the Judgment seat of Christ where she will be rewarded for faithful service on earth.
Amillennialists teach that Christians will stand before the Great White throne where the Lord is seen as One from whose face the earth and “the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them” (Revelation 20:11).
At the Great White throne judgment the Lord is acting as a judge in a crimnal court and He banishes all who appear before Him to the lake of fire. At this throne the unsaved answer for their sins but the believer’s sins have already been judged at the cross when Jesus took the wrath of God for our sins.
At the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Bema, Christ will appear as a judge to give rewards for faithful service just as a judge at the Olympic Games would award gold, silver, and bronze medals. All service that is “wood, hay and stubble” will be worthless but that which is of any value to Christ, “gold silver and precious stones,” (1 Corinthians 3:8-15) will abide so that when we come with Christ at His glorious appearing, we will be adorned with the “righteousness(es) of the saints” ie. the righteous acts of the saints (Revelation 19:8). On that day Christ will be “glorified in His saints and to be admired in all them that believe” (2 Thessalonians 1:10).
While the Tribulation is raging on earth, the Bride of Christ will be adorned in heaven with rewards so that when the seven years of Tribulation will have passed, she will have “made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7) to go on display to the glory and praise of the heavenly Bridegroom.
The “helmet of salvation” is also a comforting hope in the time of great trouble. Again and again the New Testament warns that the end of the age will see awful violence, debauchery, apostasy and demonic activity. Without the hope of the Rapture before the Day of the Lord’s wrath the Christian could become fearful and depressed.
Jesus said that mens’ hearts will fail them for fear of the things coming on the earth, but with the protection of the helmet of salvation the Christian will see the calamities as a sign that the day of our Departure is drawing near and fearful thoughts will depart. It will also stir believers to be more diligent about gathering together with the saints “as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).
Any soldier going into battle without a helmet, especially in ancient times, would fail to be bold; he will be more concerned for his own safety in the conflict than taking the offensive and obtaining the victory. He would be fearing that at any moment he could be struck down by the enemy. Among all the weapons available to the believer the helmet protects our mind (our understanding of God’s Word) and enables us to efficiently use the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.
Let us put on, “for an helmet, the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8).