Colossians 2:15

SUMMARY

God “triumphed over” His enemies in heavenly places.  Through the death of Christ He disarmed them.  They remain enemies, but they are now powerless.

Before Christ died His enemies accused the believers “before our God day and night” (Rev. 12:10).  By accusing the believers, Satan effectively accused God of unfair judgment.  It therefore was a war of words.  This does not mean it was easy.  Revelation calls it “war” and according to Daniel only the archangels Michael and Gabriel stood “firmly … against these forces” (Dan 10:21).  Since Satan and his angels waged war by accusing God’s followers, their weapons were the sins and guilt of the believers.

The cross made an end to this war through public display.  On the one hand Christ was “displayed publicly” (Rom. 3:25) before the eyes of the universe.  The Cross shows that Christ “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death” (Philippians 2:8).  The Father “triumphed over them through” Christ, not by the mere fact that Christ died on the Cross, but by Christ remaining faithful to God’s principles, while suffering to death through the most intense form of physical and mental torture.  It was a display of Christ’s character.

On the other hand the cross publicly displayed His enemies as evil murderers.  It was the madness of the evil angels that drove the Jews to kill Him.

The cross therefore demonstrated both sides of the war in heaven for what they really are.  This displayed the fairness of God’s judgment.  It showed that God is “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).  In other words, the cross showed that it is just for God to justify guilty people simply on the basis of “faith in Jesus”.

In that way the cross “disarmed” His enemies.  It took away their ability to accuse.  The cross made an end to the war of words in heaven, but Satan continues the war on earth.

2:15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

When – at the cross (2:14)

Rulers and authorities – Since God had to triumph over them, these “rulers and authorities” are His enemies.  As discussed in 2:9-10, the “rulers and authorities” are supernatural beings.  Christ’s death did not publicly display these rulers to human eyes, for in the cross human eyes only saw defeat and weakness.  It was a “public display” to heavenly beings.

Disarmed – this verse shows that, through the cross, God did three things to the “rulers and authorities“; He “disarmed’ them, He made a “public display’ of them and He “triumphed over them”.  This was all done “through Him” (Christ).  The means was the death of Christ.  By the death of Christ He “triumphed over them” by disarming them.  In other words, He took away their weapons.  What were their weapons?

This is related to the discussion in 1:20-22 of the “war in heaven”:

there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels” (Rev. 12:7)

The “war in heaven” was a war of words.  Before Christ died the supernatural rulers and authorities accused the believers “before our God day and night” (Rev.12:10).  Their weapons therefore were the sins and guilt of the believers.  Satan accused the believers, but effectively he accused God of unfair judgment.

The cross “disarmed” them.  It took away their ability to accuse.  To explain:

On the one hand Christ was “displayed publicly” (Rom. 3:25) before the eyes of the universe.  The Cross shows that Christ “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death” (Philippians 2:8).  The Father “triumphed over them through” Christ, not by the mere fact that Christ died on the Cross, but by Christ remaining faithful to God’s principles, while suffering to death through the most intense form of physical and mental torture.  On the cross He could not see the future and He lost His continual contact with the Father.  He cried: “My God, My God, Why have You forsaken me?” (Mat. 27:46; Mark 15:34)  But still He did not use supernatural power to relieve His pain:

Philippians 2:5  … Christ Jesus, 2:6 who, although He existed in the form of God … 7 … emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant … 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth

On the other hand the cross was a public display of His enemies: the “rulers and authorities” that accused the believers “before our God day and night”.  The cross publicly displayed the real nature of the “rulers and authorities” as evil murderers of the Innocent because it was the madness of the evil angels that instigated the Jews to kill Him.

The cross therefore demonstrated both sides of the war in heaven for what they really are. “This was to demonstrate His (the Father’s) righteousness” (Rom. 3:25, 26) “so that He (the Father) would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).  Stated differently, the question is how it is just for God to justify guilty people simply on the basis of “faith in Jesus”.  The cross verified the fairness of God’s judgment.  The public display demonstrated God to be just when He justifies repentant sinners.  For that reason the rulers and authorities are now unable to accuse the believers (Rev. 12:10).  The gospel of Jesus Christ “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:15).

The cross made an end to the war of words in heaven, but as Revelation 12 indicates, Satan continues the war on earth:

… rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time” (Rev. 12:12 ).

Colossians Table of Contents

Next: 2:16

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