Posted by: mattcolvin | December 30, 2011

The Armor of God in Isaiah 59

Friday, December 30: Isaiah 59:15-21.

Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him
That there was no justice.
16 He saw that there was no man,
And wondered that there was no intercessor;
Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him;
And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.
17 For He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
And a helmet of salvation on His head;
He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,
And was clad with zeal as a cloak.

This passage should immediately remind us of the “full armor of God” in Ephesians 6:13-17, but the comparison with Isaiah suggests that the genitive in πανοπλίαν τοῦ θεοῦ could be construed as a true possessive: this is God’s own armor which we are to put on.

It is noteworthy that “the garments of vengeance” and “zeal as a cloak” are conspicuously missing from the list in Ephesians 6, though the breastplate of righteousness and helmet of salvation are present. Perhaps zeal and vengeance were words more congenial to the Pharisees and Zealots of Paul’s day than to the followers of the One who told them to turn the other cheek and go the extra mile? And at any rate, the passage makes clear that this armor belongs to God acting in ways that men do not: “therefore His own arm…”

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