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Ephesians 4:8: Spoils of Victory

Ephesians 4:8
[8] Therefore it says,

“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.” (ESV)

What kind of trophies do you have? Perhaps you won a poetry contest?  Maybe you were on a championship football team?  Or like me, you have a 23rd place ribbon in basket weaving!  Well, with victory comes trophies.  In Bible days, it was referred to as the spoils of victory.  After an army went out to war, they would come home with gold, people, or other possessions.  I want you to consider that as we look at this passage in Ephesians 4:8.

Paul is talking about Jesus.  Jesus ascended on high.  He had defeated death and sin on the cross.  He led a host of captives.  The captives were the ones bound by sin.  That would have been us.  And as the victorious king he has given gifts to us.  What gifts?  Spiritual gifts.  Do you remember that earlier in this book Paul told us that we have blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus.  And he has also given us other spiritual gifts.

Now, the interesting thing to me is that Paul references an Old Testament Psalm here.  He starts the verse off by saying, "Therefore it says . . ." Which should get you to thinking, "Therefore WHAT says?"  Here is the Psalm Paul is referencing:

Psalm 68:18

[18] You ascended on high,
leading a host of captives in your train
and receiving gifts among men,
even among the rebellious, that the LORD God may dwell there. (ESV)

I am continually amazed at the Bible. Roughly 1000 years after the Psalmist wrote these prophetic words, they were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. 

Be encouraged today.  You are a trophy of God's victory in Christ Jesus. He rescued you from the kingdom of darkness, adopted you as his son, and has given you gifts. Praise him!


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