And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
— Colossians 2:15
Have you ever wondered what kind of celebration took place in Heaven after Jesus’ defeat of the devil? Well, it is possible for us to know exactly how Heaven celebrated because Paul gives us a glimpse into that heavenly gala event in Colossians 2:15. It says, “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”
This is an extremely graphic verse! It is a picture painted for us by the Holy Spirit — a glorious, vivid illustration of what happened the day Jesus defeated death, hell, and the grave!
The word “spoiled” is the Greek word apekduomai, which means to strip off or to put off as one would put off his garments. This word could depict the disarming of an enemy — literally stripping his weaponry and artillery from him and leaving him without any weapons with which to respond. One scholar has noted that it refers to stripping one to the point of complete nakedness. By using this word, the Holy Spirit tells us that when Jesus arose from the dead, He thoroughly plundered the enemy!
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Furthermore, when Jesus’ sacking and plundering of hell’s powers was complete and His mission was accomplished, Paul tells us that He rubbed this defeat in the devil’s face by throwing the biggest party the universe had ever seen! Colossians 2:15 says, “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”
The word “shew” is taken from the word deigmatidzo, and it literally means to display or to expose something. It was used in classical Greek writing to denote the display of captives, weaponry, and trophies that were seized during war on foreign soil. Once the war was finished and the battle was won, the reigning emperor would return home and victoriously display and expose the treasures, trophies, weaponry, and captives that he had seized during his military conquest. This was a grand moment of celebration for the victor — but it was a humiliating experience for the defunct foe.
But wait — there is still more to Colossians 2:15 that you must understand. Paul goes on to tell us that “…he made a shew of them openly.…” The word “openly” is taken from the Greek word parresia, which is used throughout the books of the New Testament to denote boldness, confidence, or something that is done blatantly or even publicly. By using the word parresia, Paul declares that when this heavenly party and celebration of Jesus’ victory commenced, it was no quiet affair! On the contrary — He boldly, confidently, loudly, blatantly, and publicly exposed and displayed this now-defunct foe to the heavenly hosts! It was the greatest celebration in history!
In fact, Paul goes on to say, “…he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” The phrase “triumphing over them in it” is a major key to this verse. This phrase comes from the Greek word triambeuo, which is a technical word used to describe the general or emperor who was returning home from a grand victory in the enemy’s territory. The word “triumph” (triambeuo) was a specific word used to describe a glorious triumphal parade!
When news reached the city that the enemy had been defeated, plans for a triumphal parade went into action. By the time the gates of the city were opened wide to receive this emperor who was now returning home in triumph, his people were ready to celebrate his victory! As the gates swung open and this mighty warrior rode through, the celebration began!
Sitting astride a large, beautiful, white stallion; draped in his kingly, regal garments; and wearing his bright, shining crown upon his head, the returning emperor would lead the entire city in a procession of celebration and victory. It was called his “triumphal parade.” As he rode down the main avenue of the city with his head held high and a look of elation on his face, the city would begin rejoicing. “He’s back! He’s back! Our king has won a massive victory!” the people would cry as they broke into jubilant dancing and singing, joyously twirling around in circles. This was indeed a time to rejoice!
In order to flaunt his great victory, the returning victor would parade behind him the foreign king — the defeated foe, taken in captivity and bound in heavy chains of bondage. Behind this now-defunct enemy would walk the defeated ruling men and leaders, bound and chained along with their ruined king. Further back in the procession were oxcarts loaded to overflowing with booty taken by force from the enemy’s homeland. Once these goods had belonged to the enemy, but now they belonged to the conquering king!
As the returning, victorious emperor rode down the avenue, he’d strut with pride, flaunting his defeated foes. In other words, he’d “make a shew of them openly.” He wanted everyone to see the fabulous goods he had stolen from his enemy’s hand — proof that the conquered foe had been completely “spoiled.”
But the most exciting moment of the entire celebration occurred when the emperor sang a song of victory. As he rode that horse through the gate, leading his triumphal parade, he would open his mouth and begin to sing as loudly as he could sing! With all his might, he would sing something like this: “The enemy is defeated; the foe is conquered; let it be known that I am still the king!” This song would throw the crowd into a frenzy. This was the voice and the song they had been waiting for! The king had returned, and he was still king!
Then, after riding down the main avenue, revealing his booty, and singing his song of victory, the victor would stop in front of a large set of stairs that led upward to a huge, ornate throne. His military conquest had proven that he was still the holder of authority. Therefore, he proudly walked up those steps, turned toward the great crowd who was watching, and lowered himself down to sit in his rightful place — the throne.
Since all this is the background to Colossians 2:15, the verse could be interpreted to read:
“He completely stripped principalities and powers and left them utterly naked; nothing was left at their disposal with which to retaliate. He boldly, confidently, loudly, blatantly, and publicly exposed and displayed this now-defunct foe, leading a gallant triumphal parade in celebration of the enemy’s defeat and His victory!”
Does all this mean that this actual type of celebration took place in Heaven after Jesus’ defeat of the devil? There is no explicit biblical account that records the type of celebration that occurred the day Jesus was raised from the dead, but Paul’s words in Colossians 2:15 certainly indicate that Heaven threw quite a party that day. Jesus’ victory over the devil was the greatest victory ever known! It would be entirely expected that Heaven would celebrate that victory with the Son of God.
So if you feel like shouting when you think about what Jesus did to the devil, go ahead and shout! If thinking of Jesus’ victory makes you want to jump up and down, dance, or twirl around in circles, then go for it! There’s nothing strange about this behavior at all — you have something to rejoice about! When you start rejoicing about Jesus’ victory over the devil, you join the throngs of Heaven who also wildly celebrate Jesus’ victory and Satan’s defeat!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I am stopping everything I’m doing right now to praise You for Your victory over Satan! Thank You for stripping him bare and for leaving him with nothing in his hands with which to retaliate. Thinking of what You did makes me want to shout — so right now I’m going to shout! Realizing what You did makes me want to jump with joy — so right now I’m going to leap up and down in praise to You! I’m excited about what You did, and I’m not ashamed to show how I feel about it. I praise and worship You for the great victory You gained!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I am free from Satan’s grip on my life because Jesus stripped him bare and left nothing in his hands that he could use against me! Jesus defeated and disarmed Satan; then He gave me authority over the devil and all his works. Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world. That means in Jesus Christ I am fully empowered to enforce Satan’s defeat!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. What did you learn from today’s Sparkling Gem that you never knew before?
2. How does this new insight into Jesus’ victory over the devil shape your view of your own ability to walk in victory through every situation of life?
3. How long has it been since you spent some time thanking Jesus for what He did for you through His death and resurrection? After reading this today, don’t you think you ought to take a few minutes to really praise Him for His glorious victory and Satan’s defeat?