He led the captives.
“When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train;” Psalm 68:18, NIV. David refers, prophetically, to the enthronement of Jesus Christ as the King of kings and Lord of lords on the day of His resurrection, the Almighty. Psalm 47. The Bible does not identify the “captives.” Jesus ascended ‘on high’ and sat down to rule as the King of kings on the day of his resurrection. John 20:17. He did then also receive all authority. Mathew 28:16 – 19. The Bible also tells us that when Jesus died on the cross,” graves were opened,” and many came to life. Mathew 27:50 – 53. The authors of the New Testament do not tell us whether these were the “captives” Jesus led in His train.
John, in the Revelation, tells us that when he, at Jesus’s invitation, went to heaven, he observed: “At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it… Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.” Revelation 4:2, 4, NIV. The “white robes” represent the righteousness of Jesus Christ. All who surrender their old self and accept the righteous life of Jesus Christ receive the white robes of His righteousness. The “gold crown” signifies our victory in Jesus Christ. In Him, we are “more than conquerors.” Romans 8:37.
Some maintain that the twenty-four elders are the “exalted heavenly beings, members of God’s counsel.” However, God is Sovereign, the preexistent One. He created all; therefore, he does not need counselors. “Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding? Isaiah 40:13, 14, NIV. Therefore, if the twenty-four elders represent the redeemed ones, they could not be God’s counselors regardless of how exalted they are. It would not be wrong to conclude that these, whether literal or symbolic, were the “captives” Jesus presented as a proof of His victory.