Armourbearers were military aides selected by kings and highly important military personal. They were chosen for their abilities and bravery. They were skilled in battle as well as dedicated and loyal.
The title of armourbearer is used today in our church culture however this position has become synonymous with more or less an assistant. I believe this title carried and still carries more weight than simply that of an assistant. I would like us to explore this position in the scriptures to get a better understanding of the duties and obligations of those that held this title and how it can still have value in our modern era.
Before we begin I would like to state that an amourbearer is not apart of God’s government and is not one of the ministry gifts (Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Teacher, Evangelist.) Someone holding this position may eventually mature into the gift that God has called them to. However, you are born as that gift (Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Teacher, Evangelist.). To hold the position of armourbearer has no bearing on what God has called you to be. I do not feel the position of armourbearer is a necessary postion that must be held in order to go into ministry. And I do not feel a minister needs an armourbear, but they can prove to be helpful if the position is occupied correctly. I do feel that all ministers need to be trained (as with any profession) and discipled.
Let’s get a basic understanding of the word armourbearer. It comes from two words nasa’ and kĕliy. According to Strong’s Concordance these two words mean:
Nasa: 1) to lift, bear up, carry, take
Kĕliy 1) article, vessel, implement, utensil
Many people think the responsibility of the armourbearer was to bear the armour of the king or a great military person. However, the armourbear did not carry the armour of the king. Let us look at the position described in the scriptures.
Let’s begin by looking at the story of David
1 Samuel 16:21 And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer.
David’s first role of importance was armourbearer for King Saul. This was not a small or unimportant position. Anyone standing next to the King was important. So this position holds great value, especially to the one who has an armourbearer. This position is probably more important to the one in need of an armourbearer than the one that holds the position. In David’s case this position was very important to his development to become king. Standing beside the king allowed him to see how the king conducted himself and ruled over the nation. Now normally the king’s son as oppose to the armourbearer would be next in line, but in this case it was the step necessary to prepare David for what the Lord had planned for David’s life. David could not have received this level of education simply watching sheep out in the pastures.
The second example we will look at is the story of David and Goliath. In 1 Samuel 17 we are given a physical description of Goliath. Please notice a detail that we tend to miss. It says Goliath had an armourbearer…
Notice the scripture says the one that carried a shield went before him. He stood between Goliath and whoever was going to come out and meet Goliath’s challenge. Why is this important? Because we have always placed the armourbearer’s position behind the warrior. Yes, they may be lesser in honor but their true position is in the forefront. Why is this? Because they were in many ways like the secret service is to the President of the United States. Their job was to defend their master even if it meant they would lose their life.
Amourbearers are to defend their masters, even at their own expense.
Let’s look at this scripture in 1 Samuel that describes the death of King Saul. There are several details I would like us to notice.
1 Samuel 31:4 Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. 5 And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. 6 Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together.
The first detail I would like to point out is Saul’s request. He asked his armourbearer to kill him. And he explained why he made this request, so that he would not die by the hands of his enemies and so that they wouldn’t abuse him. Even though the armourbearer did not follow through with this request, you see that Saul fully expected him to carry out these orders. In Judges Chapter 9 we see a case where King Abimelech made a similar request of his armourbearer and his armourbearer killed him. The armourbearer were expected to carry out the request of their master no matter how difficult or how extreme it might have seen.
Amourbearers are expected to be able to fully execute orders.
Another detail in this passage I found interesting is the armourbearer, even though he was not willing to kill King Saul, he did take his own life. He felt the need to die beside his master. It would have been a huge dishonor for him to escape unharmed and the one he was to defend was dead.
Amourbearers had to be willing to die with their master. In present time this would not refer to physical death. But they need to defend their master against rumors, lies, etc. If God has assigned you to this minister and has not released you, be faithful, defend its integrity, be willing to fight to the end for that ministry.
ROSE OF ISRAEL
The last detail I would like to point out is that Saul told him to draw his sword. The armourbearers did not simply carry the weapons of this master, they carried their own weapons. They were skilled warriors. They weren’t standing around during the heat of the battle waiting to be killed. They were actually engaged in battle. Let’s look at Jonathan and his armourbearer.
1 Samuel 14:1Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison, that is on the other side. But he told not his father. 6And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few. 7And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.
In this story Jonathan, the son of King Saul, and his armourbearer were camped with the Israelites when Jonathan decided to go fight against the Philistines. As you see in verse 6 Jonathan had so much faith in God that he was convinced that the number of soldiers God could use to defeat the Philistines did not matter. What I would like you to notice is that Jonathan did not make the decision to fight on his own. He consulted his armourbearer. He valued his opinion. Even though the armourbearer served Jonathan, he was not a servant. Servants will not die for their masters. It is a much deeper bond than servitude. Why? Because the master is entrusting their life to the armourbearer.
The master entrusts his life to the armourbearer.
Please notice the rest of this story…
14And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armourbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow. 15And there was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quake: so it was a very great trembling.
Verse 14 says that these two men killed twenty men. Mind you they were fighting against soldiers, trained military personal. That was no small feat. And then it says in verse 15 that the earth shook. God was with them and as a result of their faith in God an earth quake occurred. That was a miracle.
Two are better than one. The armourbearer fights alongside the master so that he does not have to fight alone. This is because the master is too valuable to be taken or killed by the enemy. So the armourbearer is to protect those areas that the master cannot.
How does this translate to present day? The armourbearer is to help and physically assist the minister of God. But their importance and duty does not stop there. There is a real sense of loyalty needed to the minister of God as well as to the minister of God’s vision (must I say being loyalty does not include covering up or doing anything ungodly or illegal?)
Armourbearers are to be loyal to the vision, accomplishing and defending it at all cost.
And last but definitely not least, the armourbearers position is to be in front of the man of God.
They are to protect and lead the charge. That includes dotting the “I’s” and crossing the “t’s” so that the minister of God is never caught off guard. As well as defending their reputation, because no one should know them better in ministry than the armourbearer, as well as any other area the enemy may attempt to destroy God’s minister.
Mind you the armourbearer is called to an attitude of submission. When you look at that word, sub means below, beneath, subordinate and mission means task. The armourbearer is to place their desires beneath the goal of the minister. They are to submit to the minister’s vision.
Many love to see ministers fall, but I truly believe if the armourbearer was in their correct position, a lot of attacks could be avoided. They do not need assistance as much as they need someone that will have their back. Someone that will see the traps and attacks in advance and can warn and also intercept these attacks of Satan in his effort to either kill, destroy or at the very least discredit these important ministers of God.
The armourbearers true position is not behind the minister of God but in front.
AND if the armourbearers primary job is to be engaged in warfare their duties would include praying for the man of God and lifting him up spiritually, especially when it’s most critical, while they are ministering. Pray before the services, pray during the services and pray over them after the services when ministers are most susceptible to attacks. I do not have the time to tell you the number of stories of ministers being attacked by the enemy upon ending a powerful service. These attacks range from sexual advances, being offered money or presented with ill intended opportunities, to even being approached by witches with the intent of casting spells. I am friends with a minister who was approached by druids while ministering overseas, and thank God the pastor of the church quickly intercepted the conversation knowing that the druids were seeking to collect some keep sake from the minister in order to chant over it. I also have a close friend that found himself in a season during his ministry that after he would have deliverance services and cast out demons, once the service was dismissed and everyone left and he would leave the church to go home, he would find himself attacked while going to his car by random strangers. When ministers preach they are engaged in spiritual warfare. They need to be protected, just like the Kings and important military personal, these individuals are important to God’s kingdom.
Not only should armourbearers be covering the minister of God in prayer, I fully believe they should also be engaged in the laying on of hands process. The armourbearer did not hold the shield while their master fought, they fought alongside them. Paul said in Ephesians 6:12 that we wrestle not against flesh and blood. If we are warring against demons then there is no place were ministers are more engaged in the heat of the battle than during alter call, whether the call is for salvation, healing, deliverance or you name it. That is not the time for them to be wiping the minister’s brow or catching someone slain in the spirit. They too should be wrestling alongside the minister. The same anointing that rested on Jonathan rested on his armourbearer. Even though it is the minister of God’s anointing, the armourbearer can operate in that anointing. They are called to help shoulder the load, to bear up, to carry.
When we begin to see this in the church world I believe we will truly begin to see more mature, more seasoned, more effective ministers and ministries being birthed. We need more Jonathans and his armourbearer in today’s church. Then we will see God shake up the place.