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Grace Bible Church
Tree of Life
A Weekly Review
Week ending 063013
The Christian soldier and more military metaphors used in the New Testament.

In view of Paul’s constant contact with the Roman army, it was inevitable that God the Holy Spirit would give the apostle the necessary spiritual I.Q. to make analogies between the spiritual life of the Christian soldier and the military life of the Roman army. These military metaphors in the Bible are found in the Epistles of the apostle Paul. So in preparation for the Christian soldier fighting under the principles and experiences taught as in the major essay by Sun Tzu which is what we call the Art of War, let’s note some of the military metaphors the apostle Paul used.

A Metaphor is defined as a figure of speech in which one thing is likened to another to teach certain principles.

The first area of a Biblical metaphor is the selection and training of recruits, which we’ve already noted in 2TI 2:3-4. The Roman army would brand every man with a hot iron, and that was one of the most honorable things in Roman life, to have that brandmark.

A second metaphor is found in Gal 6 where this principle of brandmarks is mentioned by the apostle Paul brandmarks.

GAL 6:17, From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brandmarks of Jesus.

Paul had passed basic training and he now had the brand mark. And this brand mark was one of the highest honors a Roman could have. When he had that brand mark it said that he had gone through the toughest training in the ancient world.

Our third metaphor is blowing the trumpet or the bugle. It is another military metaphor used to describe the Christian way of life. For example, in 1CO 14:8 Paul says, For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle?

In other words, there are trumpet commands for assembly, put on your equipment, to fall in, for moving out and forming in line. In other words, there are trumpet commands for assembly. There are trumpet commands to put on your equipment. There are trumpet or bugle commands to fall in. There are trumpet commands for moving out and forming in line. All of these were done by trumpets.

Two categories of military commands in the Roman army were actually used.
a. Voice commands, where the voice could be heard.
b. Trumpet commands, which were used in combat where there was a great deal of noise.


The indistinct sound or not sounding a clear call is analogous in this passage to speaking in tongues which was a temporary spiritual gift not designed for teaching Bible doctrine. In this chapter, Paul is actually saying that tongues were an uncertain sound which does not communicate the battle of the Church-age.

1CO 14:6-9, But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what shall I profit you, unless I speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching? Yet {even} lifeless things, either flute or harp, in producing a sound, if they do not produce a distinction in the tones, how will it be known what is played on the flute or on the harp? For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle? So also you, unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.

This metaphor reveals the importance of the divine will and the divine direction given from the commands from headquarters in Heaven by our Lord Jesus Christ while He’s seated at the right hand of God. This is part of the fulfillment of ACT 2:34-35, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet.

This military metaphor talks about the importance of the accuracy of the communication and application of Bible doctrine. This fulfills the principle of doing a right thing in a right way, even as imperfect human beings. And that’s why God has a right way to do the right thing. The distinct sound therefore means the perception, metabolization, and application of doctrine resulting in the momentum by which we execute God’s plan.

The distinct sound means learning God’s procedures. And learning God’s procedures is especially hindered by the two great enemies of the Christian: Ignorance and arrogance. The energy of ignorance is arrogance comes from life in the cosmic system. And remember you, or your friends, your mate, your associates, your companions, are either living in the PPOG or in the cosmic system.

JAM 4:4, You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

1JO 2:15, Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

So the distinct sound talks about the accuracy of the plan of God.

2TI 2:15 is a distinct sounding passage, Be diligent to present yourself approved to god as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.

In LEV 22:21 we noted that the offering must be perfect to be accepted;

In DEU 32:4, His work is perfect,

In PSA 19:7, the doctrine of the Lord is perfect,

In ROM 12:2, the will of God is perfect,

In 1CO 13:10, the completed canon of scripture is perfect.

In JAM 1:25, we had the perfect law

In ACT 18:26, the way of God is accurate,

In 2TI 2:15, the pastor is instructed to handle accurately the word of truth.

The point is that the sound must be distinct and lead us to a point of fulfilling JOH 4:24, God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

The message must be accurate. The isagogics, the categories and the exegesis must be correct, also we call the principle of ICE. We live in a day and age when the accuracy and the perfection of the Word of God is being totally rejected. Believers think that if they are sincere that their sincerity is impressive to God.

However, accuracy is the issue, of the day especially in the Church-age. And so the distinct sound is the issue.

And therefore, if your pastor is not accurate in what he teaches than you will not have the accurate information needed to live in the PPOG.

LUK 6:40, A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.

The pastor must be accurate and precise in his doctrinal communication.

The next military metaphor is found in 1TH 5:14 which has to has to do with Christian degeneracy or apostasy, 1TH 5:14. Paul actually used this metaphor from the military to explain degeneracy.

1TH 5:12-14, But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men.

The word unruly is the adjective ataktos which has within it the word which we get our word tactics from. With the negative in front of it means those believers who have no tactics. And by no tactics I mean no maneuvers, or methods, or plans, or procedure or system. These are usually the emotional types.

Ataktos, which means having no tactics, also came to mean no discipline, disorderly, out of ranks, inordinate, and rebellious towards those in positions of authority. In this context it has to do with those who rebel against the authority in verse 12 and who are those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and therefore, your pastor-teacher.

This is a technical military word for being undisciplined. Notice how you are suppose to handle these situations as Paul taught us to.

2TH 3:11-14, For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good. And if anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that man and do not associate with him, so that he may be put to shame.

Please notice the instructions Paul gives to us concerning those who sow discord and have no discipline, or are disorderly, out of ranks, and rebellious towards those in positions of authority, namely in context, the pastor-teacher.

Let’s look at some principles concerning the Christian soldier and the importance of separation.

Separation demands understanding permanent priorities, 1JO 2:15-17. Your permanent priority is your daily function inside the PPOG while avoiding at all costs any prolonged stay in the cosmic system.

1JO 2:15-16, Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

Separation from unbelievers inside the cosmic system is taught in 2CO 6:14-17.

2CO 6:14-17, Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.

Every time you hook up with something or someone in the cosmic system, you are in partnership with the cosmic system. This is why you are given the order: “Therefore, come out from among them.”

Separation is important in social life, JER 15:16-17; 1PE 4:3-4. The believer is to separate from a superficial social life, a fun crowd. The party crowd always has a false scale of values. They emphasize the details of life as most important.

The believer is to separate from the fast crowd.

JER 15:16-17, Thy words were found and I ate them, And Thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Thy name, O   Lord God of hosts. I did not sit in the circle of merrymakers, Nor did I exult. Because of Thy hand {upon me} I sat alone, For Thou didst fill me with indignation.

1PE 4:3-4, For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. And in all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they malign you;

  1. Biblical separation is involved in true Christian love, EPH 5:1-3.

When you truly love someone, you will operate in passages like PRO 27:5-6, Better is open rebuke Than love that is concealed.

PRO 27:6, Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

We are to separate from those who teach false doctrines.

ROM 16:17, Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.

And why must you turn away from them?

ROM 16:18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.

2JO 1:8-11, Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.

In this passage we are plainly commanded to mark and avoid those who teach false doctrine. A question arises here. Which doctrines are to be used as the basis for this separation? The answer is any apostolic doctrine clearly presented in the Bible as a basis for fellowship and separation.

PHI 3:17-19, Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.

We are also to separate from apostate last-days Christianity, 2TI 3:5.

2TI 3:5, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these.

The Bible commands Christians to separate even from those who give evidence of having been born again, yet who refuse to follow the teachings of the apostles in matters of practice and Christian living. Yes, there is a time when we are to separate even from our own brethren.

1CO 5:11, Actually I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler-- not even to eat with such a one.

This is a reference to believers who leave the ranks because of prolonged carnality resulting in cosmic involvement or Christian degeneracy. Josephus, the great Jewish historian says that this word means a disorderly retreat and therefore a reference to going AWOL. Now, notice the last part of the sentence.

These are all military terms. First of all, to encourage, which is the pres-mid-imp of the verb paramutheomai which means to speak or to address one by way of admonition and incentive, to encourage, to build up.

1TH 5:14, And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men.

The word for help is pres-mid-imp of antecho which means to hold to something firmly, to aid someone, to endure, to hold to a person firmly, especially when they are going through something personally.

1TH 5:14, And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men.

be patient is the pres-act-imp of makrothumeo which means to persevere patiently and bravely, not to lose heart, literally, to let God take care of the situation. So in the military metaphor believers return to the ranks through rebound and recovery, 1JO 1:9. And advancing under discipline is the consistent function of cognition of Bible doctrine.

Christian moral degeneracy is also described in another military metaphor, GAL 1:6, I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;

Deserting is the pres-mid-ind of metatithemi which means to go AWOL, absent without leave, it even refers to changing sides, to fall away or to desert.

GAL 1:6, I am amazed that you have so quickly gone AWOL from Him, [God the Father], Who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel;

This speaks of the believer who withdraws for anyone of a number of reasons. Remember that the apostle Paul warned us about the fact that in the latter days many of God's people would go AWOL and withdraw and fall away from the truth in 1TI 4:1.

1TI 4:1, But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

In Paul’s day they withdrew and went AWOL from Paul because of the pressure to stay with doctrine,

2TI 1:11-18, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chains; but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me, and found me. the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day-- and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus.

The Biblical definition of withdrawal and going AWOL is rejection of metabolized doctrine circulating in the soul.

Paul tells us that this will happen in 2Ti 4.

2TI 4:3-4, For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; And will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.

The apostle Paul also tells us what to expect from believers who withdraw and go AWOL and how to handle them.

2TI 4:14-18, Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching. At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me, in order that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was delivered out of the lion's mouth. The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. 

Many believers also withdraw from doctrine when the doctrine gets difficult, as noted in the Gospels.

JOH 6:66, As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew [went AWOL], and were not walking with him anymore.

  1. Going AWOL is an act of reversing or turning in the opposite way, or a state of being so turned. As believers we were designed to live in God's plan for our life or the PPOG. However, in going AWOL, we turn the other way and cannot be distinguished from our pre-salvation status.
  2. Going AWOL is the act of regressing to a former state, habit, belief, or practice.
  3. Going AWOL is a reversal of your priorities, your attitudes, your affections.

That’s why it can also change your lifestyle and personality. Inside the cosmic system you completely change your personality. No personality ever remains the same, it changes constantly....for better or for worse.

  1. Going AWOL is the status of the believer who fails to execute the PPOG for the Church-age.
  2. Going AWOL is maximum control of the old sin nature over the life of the believer. And this results in the believer functioning under the dictates of the sin nature exactly as he did as an unbeliever.


  1. Going AWOL is lack of spiritual growth, failure to attain the three stages of spiritual adulthood.


  1. Going AWOL is the believer's retrogression because of negative volition toward the mystery doctrine of the Church-age, which both defines and reveals god's plan, will, and purpose for your life.



  1. Going AWOL is characterized by negative volition to doctrine, being influenced by evil, and results in perpetual carnality causing a life of perpetual discipline.


  1. Going AWOL is a technical theological term used for rejecting absolute truth, and drawing into your mind or accepting relative truth.



The next passage where Paul used a military metaphor is found in PHI 4:6-7, which is the guard mount or the garrison and security of a fortified post. Therefore Paul uses a Greek word which describes the security system, a frontal system and a disciplined system for setting up a security perimeter.



PHI 4:6-7, Be anxious for nothing [stop worrying about anything], but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.



Now, it is the word guard which is a military word. Guard is the fut-act-ind of phroureo which means to stand guard, to protect by a military guard, either to prevent hostile invasion, or to keep the inhabitants of a besieged city from flight. I like that definition because it means to protect the thoughts that are in your soul and the negative which are trying to come in. So it has a two-fold meaning;



It means not only to prevent hostile invasion but it also means to keep the inhabitants who are under attack from running away or from going AWOL. This military metaphor speaks of the protection that the soldiers of TLJC have from enemies without, and troubles within.



2CO 7:5, For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within.



When a believer or a soldier for TLJC has conflicts from without and fears from within, the peace of God will function as a guard mount or garrison and security of a fortified post. In our passage, using prayer as a part of the mechanics for the faith rest drill as a PSD, the Philippians overcame the emotional complex of sins, the fear, the worry, the anxiety through the garrison or the guard mount, which was the peace of God.


Another military metaphors includes the triumphal procession in COL 2:14-15. An analogy is made between operation footstool and a Roman triumphal procession in COL 2:15.



Col 2:14-15, Having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and he has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the Cross. When he had disarmed the rulers [archons - generals]



The military metaphor we want to focus in on comes from the phrase, He made a public display over them.


A custom in the ancient world after winning a war was to bring the captives back after they were captured and after they were neutralized. The aorist tense is an iterative aorist which means at a certain point of time, God will make a show of all the fallen angels and demons openly. This was called a triumphal procession or a march through the city of Rome.



The point is that there is such a great analogy between the Christian soldier and the natural soldier.


In fact, the soldier is trained so much to do the same thing over and over and over again through  .repetition so that if he gets into a stressful situation and he cannot think immediately, he will automatically do what he has been trained to do under pressure. In this way, even if you're not thinking clearly, you will automatically do what is right through the discipline which comes from repetition.



This is security for you because, when you get under pressure, you will think the right thing, do the right thing, and apply the right doctrine because you have repeatedly learned to do the right thing under normal circumstances. And the more doctrinal things you can do automatically, the greater your life will be. If you make good decisions from a position of strength in normal times, you will be able to do so in time of pressure and disaster.


The difference between fear and courage is the ability to concentrate under pressure. By concentration, I do not mean on the problem but on the doctrine that you have previously learned. If you have trouble concentrating under normal situations, you will have trouble concentrating under pressure situations. If you don’t think doctrine under normal circumstances, you will be filled with fear during abnormal circumstances. But, those of you who take the course under normal circumstances have a chance to learn how to handle disaster. This does not necessarily mean that you will. There are many who will sit through the course but will not metabolize the lesson or if they do, they will fail to apply it at the appropriate time.



In combat, a man has to be trained for the job and that takes time. He has to know how to do his job under normal conditions before he is given the job under abnormal conditions. It’s the training that makes him victorious not his lack of fear or his courage. Soldiers are also clothe by the military they represent so the Christian soldier is said to be clothe by TLJC.



MAT 6:25-33, “For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, {as to} what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, {as to} what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and {yet} your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a {single} cubit to his life's span? And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is {alive} today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, {will He} not much more {do so for} you, O men of little faith? Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”



That takes care of being clothed in the natural realm! In the spiritual realm, GAL 3:27, For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Every believer has been enlisted in the spiritual army of God and is  a spiritual soldier of Jesus Christ. A soldier is also told who to go to war with and he understands who his enemies are so the Christian soldier has his warfare appointed to him and his enemies are made known to him by the scriptures! Basically our enemies are said to be the world, the flesh and the devil.



For example, we are told that the devil makes war against the Lamb and His followers, in REV 17:14, These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.



The world is the enemy of the Christian soldier insofar as the things of the world, the pleasures or the profits of the world take the believer away from the plan of God. And do this is revealed by the nine principles of warfare, the first is called the principle of objective.



  1. The principle of objective.


And as we noted on Sunday, all of you have been assigned by God and have been chosen by God to glorify His Son, TLJC.



JOH 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and {that} your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you.”



  1. he principle of offensive action. Offensive action is the only means by which a decision is gained in warfare.


When successful, the offensive brings victory; whereas the defense can only avoid defeat.

  1. The principle of mass.


The term "mass" is used in the military to define combat power. The concept of mass includes the numbers, the weapons, the tactical skill, the fighting ability, the determination, the discipline, the morale, the leadership which are all part of the power in the military principle of mass. In other words, mass takes into account all the assets and the weaponry that the soldiers have. And this is how success is accomplished.



Success in warfare is attained by the employment of mass in a main effort at the proper time at the proper place for the accomplishment of a definite purpose.


So notice four things in this explanation:
There must be a main effort.
There is a proper time.
A proper place.
A definite purpose.



The main effort is loving God with all of your strength. The proper time is only when you are filled with the Holy Spirit where you have redeemed the time. The proper place is inside the PPOG. And the definite purpose is the glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ. This can only be accomplished by using the weapons and the power that God has made available.



  1. The principle of economy of force. The economy of force is the application of the principle of mass. Economy of force is the means by which military mass is deployed or arranged in a main effort.



  1. The principle of movement.


The term movement is a technical, military category referring to the maneuver of combat arms and their support units.


Movement for the believer is based upon the believer understanding God's plan for his life.

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