Judges 5:12

Judges 5:12  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 12
UG 5:12{The history of the expression "lead thy captivity captive," first found in this scripture, strikingly illustrates the remark of a well-known writer, that "he that does not see Christ everywhere in the Old Testament, sees Him nowhere." It is here addressed to Barak. "Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam." After the victory over Sisera, the Holy Spirit put a song of celebration into the lips of Deborah and Barak, in which they are made to recall the former state of Israel, the gathering of the people, and the circumstances of the conflict. The words occupying our attention take the form of an exhortation in the prospect of the struggle, urging Barak to grapple with, and to bring into captivity, the power which had been holding Israel captive. Passing onward to Psa. 68, we read, " Thou halt ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men [or rather, as in the margin, in the man]; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them." (v. 18) Here the conflict is over (see vv. 1, 2, 12); but the words are not, as in Judges, an exhortation, but a description-a description of the victorious issue of the conflict in the ascension and exaltation of Christ as Man. But there is more, as another has remarked, for. "'He has led captive the power of the enemy who ruined all-conferred blessing, and as Man, and in His human nature, He has received gifts even for rebellious Israel, that Jehovah Elohim might dwell among them." We learn, therefore, that the divine energy of the Spirit, that wrought in and through Deborah and Barak for the overthrow of the enemies of Israel, was but a foreshadowing of that divine power which was displayed in and through Christ in His conflict with the power of Satan in His death on the cross (compare Col. 2:1515And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:15)), and which will be exhibited through Him when He returns for the deliverance of His people Israel in a later day. The psalm, though all is based upon and flows out from the virtue of His death, refers to the latter; but if we now turn to Ephesians-the last place where the expression is found-the reference is to the former-His overcoming the, whole power of Satan. " When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men," etc. (Chapter 4:8) That is, He has brought to naught the power that held us captive; and Satan, as the enemy who has been worsted and overcome, now only waits for the execution of his sentence. (See Rev. 20:1,2,101And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, (Revelation 20:1‑2)
10And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)
) Not only so; but we, freed from our captivity (compare Heb. 2:14,1514Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (Hebrews 2:14‑15)), are brought into the' enjoyment of the present fruits of the victory in the gifts bestowed by the victorious and ascended Christ. (Eph. 4:7-147But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Ephesians 4:7‑14)) The effect for Israel will be that their Lord God will once more dwell among them in power and blessing; while believers now have already entered upon the blessings won for them in the provision made " for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ," and can joyfully anticipate the full result in the future glory of the victory.
E. D.