Way of Life Literature
Publisher of Bible Study Materials
Way of Life Literature
Publisher of Bible Study Materials
Christ “led captivity captive.” The Psalmist describes the Messiah as a military victor who has conquered His enemies and spoiled them. In her song after the great victory over the Canaanites, Deborah said, “Arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive” (Jg. 5:12). Christ has defeated the devil and all his dark hosts. “... that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14). “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:15).
For millennia, conquering generals have conducted victory parades to show off their successes. These were held in ancient Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and elsewhere. The most famous were the Roman Triumphs. For example, in AD 71, Titus was granted a Triumph parade for his victory over Israel the previous year. The day of the triumph was a city holiday and the entire population turned out to view the spectacle. After sacrifices to the Roman gods, the massive victory parade began. Josephus, an eyewitness to the event, described it as “a river” of silver and gold and ivory and jewels. The parade started outside the city walls, entered through the Gate of Triumph, which was used only for military victory parades and emperor’s funerals, and ended at the temple of Jupiter. Vespasian and his sons Titus and Domitian rode in royal splendor, Vespasian and Titus in chariots, and Domitian astride a fine horse, all clothed in purple and crowned with laurels. They were preceded by trumpet fanfares. There were the Roman legions in all their glory, swords gleaming, standards held high, banners flying, the hobnail shoes of the legionnaires striking the pavement in military order, the cavalry mounted on prancing horses. There were musicians and exotic animals from far-flung places. There were images of the gods “being as well wonderful for their largeness, as made very artificially, and with great skill of the workmen [made with] very costly materials.” There were huge multi-story “wheeled dioramas, like portable stage sets,” with depictions of military exploits. Josephus, an eyewitness, said, “Upon many of them were laid carpets of gold. There was also wrought gold and ivory fastened about them all ... the workmanship of these representations was so magnificent and lively in the construction of the things, that it exhibited what had been done to such as did not see it, as if they had been there really present. [The men who accompanied these things were] adorned with purple garments, all over interwoven with gold ... having also about them such magnificent ornaments as were both extraordinary and surprising” (The Jewish Wars). There were the captives, the chief of which was Simon, one of the leaders of the Jewish rebellion, driven along the parade route by Roman soldiers, enduring the jeers of the crowd. There were wagons filled with booty. There were the articles taken from the Jewish temple: “the golden table [of shewbread], of the weight of many talents; the candlestick also, that was made of gold.” There were images of the goddess Victoria made of ivory and gold. The triumph concluded with a massive pagan feast provided by the emperor.
Jesus Christ will have the final Triumph in human history! What Josephus saw 2,000 years ago in Rome at its zenith is nothing compared with Christ’s glory. He will come from heaven on a prancing white steed that will put the famous military horses of history--the Bucephaluses, the Marengos, the Travellers, the Copenhagens, the Cincinnatis--to shame (Re. 19:11-12). He will ride upon the heavens of heavens in clouds of glory accompanied by the hosts of heaven, each angel and glorified saint shining as the stars (Ps. 68:33; Da. 12:3; Re. 1:7; 19:14; 2 Th. 1:7). He will conquer all foes and judge all nations. There will be “given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him” (Da. 7:14). “... all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him ... to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba” (Ps. 72:11, 15). The chief enemy will be incarcerated in the bottomless pit to await his final judgment (Re. 20:1-3). He will sit on a throne of glory in His capital city, which will be “beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth ... the city of the great King” (Ps. 48:2). All nations will learn of His ways and walk in His paths (Isa. 2:2-3). He will dwell in ivory palaces (Ps. 45:8). His bride will be clothed in gold (Ps. 45:8-9). There will be singers and players on instruments and damsels playing with timbrels (Ps. 68:25). All nations will sing praises to Him (Ps. 68:32). The whole earth will be filled with his glory (Ps. 72:19).
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