Beware spoilers below for Monster Hunter Rise!
When people mention the word “armor,” what visions enter your mind? Do you see tanks moving through a battlefield like in World War II, or cases protecting various electronic devices? Maybe you envision a gallant knight riding his noble steed into battle. In all of these contexts, armor shares a particular distinction: it protects something. The armor of a tank protects the soldiers inside of it from heavy fire. My smartphone “armor” protects it from the repeated drops due to my clumsiness. The knight’s armor protected him from various medieval weaponry.
In Monster Hunter Rise, the latest game in Capcom’s long-running Monster Hunter series, your hunter takes on increasingly strong beasts to protect a village and the citizens who interact with it. In doing so, the hunter must also craft increasingly strong armor to survive the encounters they may face. Similarly, the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6 told Christians to don the Armor of God as a protective measure. Like Monster Hunter armor, the Armor of God protects us from various spiritual encounters in our lives.
It’s time to Rise up!
Monster Hunter Rise is a new game in the Monster Hunter series that Capcom released in 2021. This game details the efforts of the player to hunt down a variety of monsters out in the wild and stop them from attacking Kamura Village. The monsters in the game present a range from small, primarily peaceful creatures like the Gargwa to large, terrifying creatures like the Diablos.
The player must craft armor from pieces of the monsters that they have hunted. The new armor offers increased protection, new skills, and protection from various monsters’ elemental attacks. For example, the Wroggi Armor protects from fire-based attacks and can allow the player to carry more ammo for the bow gun weapon or increase the rate at which poison builds up in a monster. The different armor aspects allow the player to customize their loadout to face whatever threat may be coming their way. Each piece of armor has properties that may be desirable to the hunter for a particular hunt.
Hunters, prepare your armor!
Monster Hunter Rise categorizes armor into five separate pieces—the helmet, mail, vambraces, coil, and greaves, each protecting a different part of the body—plus a weapon. The game classes the weapons into 14 different weapon types, such as the insect glaive, double blades, or bow gun. All of these pieces together will contribute to how well the hunter will fare against the monster they have chosen to fight.
For example, if a hunter wants to fight a Rathalos, the mighty dragon pictured above, the hunter would need to have armor, such as the aforementioned Wroggi armor, that would cover against fire and poison damage while offering solid overall protection. The hunter would also need to procure a weapon that would either have increased elemental damage against the Rathalos or give the Rathalos a harmful status condition. I show an equipment loadout that a hunter might choose to hunt in the picture below.
The Armor of God described in scripture has some noteworthy similarities to the armor imagined and created for Monster Hunter Rise. In both cases, the armor has a purpose: to aid in the fight against great powers. In Monster Hunter Rise, these powers are, of course, monsters. Christians, meanwhile, fight “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 ESV). Paul then describes the armor itself in detail:
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints
In this passage, the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus detailing how to protect themselves against evil philosophies and dark spiritual forces. Paul created a metaphor comparing the tools the Christian has to a soldier’s armor. During this time, many people would have visualized images of a Roman Soldier when Paul was detailing the pieces of the armor of God. Like the armor in Monster Hunter, the Armor of God has distinct parts with distinct purposes; Paul listed six parts of armor total, with each piece having a specific characteristic corresponding to the Christian faith. The armor also seems to be divided into two sections, pieces we are to have fastened already, followed by the pieces that we must “take up.”
The pieces of armor we are to have already fastened before we make our stand include the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and the shoes of the readiness of the gospel of peace. The wording here insinuates that God readies these pieces for us. The belt of truth is first and shows us that God’s truth is foundational for our Christianity. In his commentary of Ephesians 6, Matthew Henry states that the belt of truth is supposed to be the girdle to which all of the other pieces of armor are connected. The truth is foundational. Without the truth, we will not be able to elucidate the other pieces of the armor of God successfully.
The breastplate of righteousness shows us that we must guard our hearts with the righteousness God has given to us in the Bible. Christ’s righteousness offers us the protection of our hearts and souls from the slings and arrows of the evil spirits we face. When we walk upright in God’s righteousness, our hearts thus stand covered.
Finally, we must have fastened the shoes of the readiness of the gospel of peace. In this context, the shoes or greaves of a soldier’s armor protect from traps encountered in the road. These traps’ purpose is to prevent the soldier from continuing the march they are on, thus rendering them incapable of fighting the enemy. The shoes of the readiness of the gospel of peace protect the Christian from stumbling and being incapable of marching forward with the gospel of Jesus.
Grab Your Gear
Next, we find the three pieces of armor that we are to “take up.” First, we are to take up the shield of faith. Faith is defined in Hebrews 11:1 as “the evidence of things not seen, and the substance of things hoped for.” Faith means that we trust in God’s promises even when we can’t see the fruition of said promises yet. This trust we put in God will shield us from the wounding arrows of Satan. Faith does not mean believing despite contrary evidence, nor does it require us to stop reasoning. It is a belief in the word of an all-powerful God in this context.
The helmet of salvation is the hope of the salvation we receive as Christians. Salvation blesses us with the knowledge that God is with us, always. God will not abandon us. This hope we have protects our heads and can keep us thinking clearly on this promise of God. Satan will tell us that God will leave us or that we aren’t good enough for God to save us. Our hope lies with our salvation, and we know that God will be by us. We don’t need to listen to the lies of the evil one.
Finally, we take up the sword of the Spirit. Paul defines this in verse as the word of God or the Holy Bible. This piece is the only weapon we have in the Armor of God, and it’s the only one we need. The scriptures are useful for attacking against the lies and deceptions of the evil one; evil philosophies and temptations crumble before persuasive arguments using the Scriptures. Satan’s lies against us are just that: lies. Satan does not base his lies entirely on truth, and thus they will fall apart when confronted with the truth.
Unlike video game armor, though, the Armor of God does not need updating. In Monster Hunter Rise, we start with a low-level armor that we must continuously update for the situation. We have to mix and match the armor to best face down the enemy monsters. With Christ, we already have access to the strongest armor in the spiritual battles we face. The Armor of God does not require strengthening or additions to become more effective; it does not need tailoring or tweaking to work in different situations. We must wear the Armor of God at all times, in all circumstances. We don’t need to fear the tactics of Satan because of the armor God has provided to us.
My brothers and sisters, I continue to pray for you. I hope you continue to trust in God and have faith in His promises in the trials yet to come. I urge you to take up the Armor of God with me so that we may defend ourselves against the lies of the evil one.