“When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you received gifts from men, even from the rebellious – that you, O Lord God, might dwell there.” Psalm 68:18, NIV. Apostle Paul applied this verse to Jesus Christ. Paul, in Ephesians 4:7, 8, states, “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ appointed it. This is why it says: ‘When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.'” This translation also agrees with the Septuagint, the original Christian Bible, which says: “You ascended on high, You led captivity captive; You received gifts for mankind, Truly for the disobedient, so they may dwell there. The Lord God is blessed.” Psalm 67:19, Septuagint. The Masoretes, from about 6th to 7th centuries Common Era, were tasked to decipher the Hebrew text and create a uniform “Old Covenant” text which upholds the Jewish tradition. Accordingly, they reworded and rearranged some parts of the Bible in use before the seventh century AD. The Septuagint and Paul’s translation uphold the original text.
In biblical times, the victorious kings and generals would bring back with them captives as proof of their victory. Commonly, they would give gifts to men and receive gifts from men. The early Christians attributed this verse to Jesus Christ, who was the God’s gift to humankind. God, in Jesus Christ, gave the gift of eternal life and the righteousness from God to the rebellious humanity. God gave us the perfect and eternal life of Jesus Christ, and He made us righteous in Jesus. Ephesians 2:8; Romans 6:23; 1 John 3:1. Jesus defeated the God’s enemy, Satan, and rescued the humankind who was captive in the kingdom of sin and darkness. Jesus began His mission here on earth by saying, “‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor’.” Luke 4:18, 19, NIV.
Jesus overthrew the prince of this world, on the cross at Golgotha. Then He, on the morning of His resurrection, ‘ascended to on the high.’ He ascended to the Father to have His victory accepted and receive “all authority.” “‘Tell my brothers, I am returning to my Father and your Father…’.” John 20:16, 17, NIV. What captives did He lead in His train? Read the next blog.