What “We Do Not Wrestle Against Flesh And Blood” Really Means

By Theodore Shoebat

In mostly any discussion in between Christians about the Crusades, somebody usually objects that the Crusades were unbiblical because of Ephesians 6:12:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places

Well I have done a video dealing with this very issue, showing that Ephesians 6:12 does not in any refute the concept of Christian holy war, but in fact, supports it:

It must be remembered that all of the Church’s battles are spiritual, even if they do involve physical fighting. And the purposes of these wars are not to kill, but to advance God over evil. While Paul said that we do not fight against flesh and blood, when forty Jewish bandits came to kill him, he did not quote Ephesians 6:12 and say, “oh don’t worry about it, my war is not carnal.” No. St. Paul had a Roman garrison of over 400 warriors guard him with arms:

And when it was day, some of the Jews banded together and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. Now there were more than forty who had formed this conspiracy. They came to the chief priests and elders, and said, “We have bound ourselves under a great oath that we will eat nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 Now you, therefore, together with the council, suggest to the commander that he be brought down to you tomorrow, as though you were going to make further inquiries concerning him; but we are ready to kill him before he comes near.”

So when Paul’s sister’s son heard of their ambush, he went and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17 Then Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, “Take this young man to the commander, for he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him and brought him to the commander and said, “Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to bring this young man to you. He has something to say to you.”

Then the commander took him by the hand, went aside, and asked privately, “What is it that you have to tell me?”

And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask that you bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire more fully about him. But do not yield to them, for more than forty of them lie in wait for him, men who have bound themselves by an oath that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him; and now they are ready, waiting for the promise from you.”

So the commander let the young man depart, and commanded him, “Tell no one that you have revealed these things to me.”

And he called for two centurions, saying, “Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at the third hour of the night; and provide mounts to set Paul on, and bring him safely to Felix the governor.”

When he was being guarded by men armed with physical weapons and armor, St. Paul at the same time was bearing the full armor of God, protecting himself from spiritual threat that wanted to kill him. Even at that moment, when he had armed men protect him, Paul was in a spiritual war. Christian armies, then, can fight in physical battles that are spiritual wars. The Christians who fought the Muslims and the pagans in the ancient world, were indeed a part of a spiritual war, and they partook in it through physical means.

If Paul can use an army to defend himself on a religious conflict, then the Church can certainly use armies to defend itself religious wars against Muslims, pagans, and other heretics.

Paul’s statement in Ephesians 6 does not signify pacifism, but the spiritual war between light and darkness, that in many times is done through physical arms, not for the purpose of shedding blood and cutting flesh, but for the fulfillment of a spiritual victory over satanic forces. Just because something is spiritual, does mean that a physical involvement is excluded. The Crucifixion was spiritual, but it consisted of much physical phenomena, of nails, of a lance, a crown of thorns, scourges, and a cross.

When Paul had an armed guard protect him, he was fighting the forces of darkness, by protecting himself from people under the influence control of the demonic. Our war is not declared against flesh and blood, since its purpose is not to plunder and murder, but to defend the righteous and purge the world of evil and tyranny. At times the Church must fight against spiritual darkness with the pen of Orthodoxy, and at others, with the sword.

In his epistle to the Corinthians, St. Paul writes:

For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:20

Here Paul tells us to commit ourselves to a spiritual action with both spirit and body. This indicates that in spiritual actions, we must never forget the physical element. To walk in the spirit, is to emulate God, in His virtues and in His justice. Therefore, when the Crusaders executed righteous vengeance on the Muslim jihadists, they were emulating the justice of God, and were glorifying God with both body and spirit, utilizing the Sword of the Spirit, because they were fighting against a satanic religion, and the physical sword, since they were fighting against mortal bodies under the influence of demonic power.

One thing is for certain, a Crusade is not a war against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.



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