In doing some research into the meaning of each piece of the armor mentioned in Ephesians 6, I have stumbled across something very interesting relating to the shield of faith that I would like to share with you. Most people and most expositors of the Bible say this shield strictly describes the large Roman shield covered with leather and soaked with water to put out the fire tipped arrows of the enemy in battle. This is literally what is being referred to in Ephesians 6:16, but there is another aspect to this shield I think is exciting.
The actual Greek word for shield is thureou which comes from the word thura which means a door or a gate. Please allow me to quote what Spiros Zodhiates Th.D says about this word in The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament:
A door referring to a stone for closing the entrance of a cave. In later Greek, it came to refer to a shield in the form of a large oblong-shaped door that acted as a cover for the entrance of a cave. In Ephesians 6:16, used symbolically of shielding like a door.
As I read this, I immediately thought of what is recorded in Luke 24:-3:
Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
2And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.
3And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
King James Version (KJV)
Although the word translated stone is not the same as shield , the practical application of the word is the same. The tomb (cave) where the body of Jesus was laid was sealed with a large stone and Roman guards were positioned in front of the stone to guard against the disciples of Jesus coming to steal the body. When Mary and the other women came to the sepulchre early in the morning, they found the stone rolled away. The stone had been placed over the opening of the cave to protect what was within it. Imagine the shock when the women came and found that stone rolled away.
According to the Gospel of John, the women initially thought the Romans had stolen the body but in Luke it is recorded that two angels told the women that Jesus had been raised from the dead as He had promised. In other words, it was GOD who rolled that stone away and not the Romans. It was GOD who raised Jesus from the dead and not the Romans who stole his body.
My point here is that I find it very interesting that the word for shield in Ephesians 6:16, as it relates to faith, is actually a word that means door, and specifically a door that covers and protects a cave. Is not the ultimate act of faith to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead? Is this not what Romans 10:9 speaks of?
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (KJV)
Believing in our heart equals having faith. The two things that allow us to be saved are confessing with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing in our heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. This faith protects us from the fiery darts of the wicked one and brings us salvation. This faith is not only a leather shield that extinguishes the fiery darts but also the stone that protects the cave of our heart from doubts and fears.
Thank you for allowing me to share this tidbit of exciting information that was burning a hole in my pocket. I love the Word of God and I love the symbolism found in the Word of God. I love both the literal (water soaked leather shield) and the figurative (stone rolled over the opening to the cave) aspects of faith. Have a wonderful day and remember to take up that shield and in all ways be protected!