Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Powers Have Been Broken

For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8)

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (Hebrews 2:14-15)

Therefore He says:
“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”
Now this, “He ascended” — what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. (Ephesians 4:8-10)

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:13-15)
Today is Holy Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. It is also called the Great Sabbath, in recognition of the day that the body of Jesus Messiah rested in the grave. But there was more going on than that. Though the body of Jesus lay in the tomb, His spirit descended into the place of the dead, where He asserted the victory of the cross. This is known, particularly in the eastern Church, as the “harrowing of hell.”

The works of the devil have been destroyed. The power of death itself has been broken. That which held the souls of men captive has now itself been brought into captivity. Those who were formerly held captive, who died in faith before the Son of God became flesh and dwelt among us, have been delivered from Hades (the place of the dead) into the splendor of heaven.

Jesus has disarmed the principalities and powers — broken their power! — and paraded them around in public spectacle as defeated foes. The victory has been announced and the end of the age has already begun. “The darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining” (1 John 2:8).

(See also The Triumphal Procession)

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