In His Ascension Christ Led us Captive and gave us as Gifts to Build up the Body

Psa. 68:18 You have ascended on high; You have led captive those taken captive; You have received gifts among men, even the rebellious ones also, that Jehovah may dwell among them.

In Psa. 68 we see the many wonderful things that Christ did in His ascension; He ascended on high, He led captive those taken captive (Christ led us captive, the believers), He received gifts from the Father, He gave gifts to the Body, and all this is for His dwelling place, the church.

Hallelujah for the divine facts in the word of God!

Christ is the center of God’s move; when Christ came, God moved in Him, and He was the tabernacle of God with man. Now Christ has been enlarged, and God’s move on earth today is in the church, of which Christ is the center.

When we take Christ as our center, enjoying Him and standing in His victory, we can say one with Moses and the psalmist, Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered, and let those who hate Him flee before Him!

In His death Christ was under intense attack from the enemy, but He arose, His enemies were defeated, and those who hated Him had to flee before Him.

Satan and his rebellious angels, with all the evil rulers and principalities in the heavens, all these were defeated and put to open shame by Christ, who triumphed over them through the cross.

Christ has won the victory, and we as His people – who did not participate in this monumental battle but “stayed at home”, that is, we remained in Him, resting – we divide the spoil.

After war there’s always spoils for those who win the victory; after the victory was decisively won by Christ, we as His armies enjoy and divide the spoil. The spoil signifies all the gains of the accomplishment, consummation, attainment, and obtainment of Christ as the reapings of the victory of His death, resurrection, and ascension.

On one hand we rest and enjoy God’s provision and care for His elect, and on the other, we enjoy the spoils.

And these spoils are nothing else but the Triune God with all His accomplishments, that is, the Triune God with all the items of His complete, full, and all-inclusive salvation. Hallelujah!

As God’s elect, we enjoy God in all that He is, has done, and is doing for us, and we are beneficiaries of His judicial redemption and His organic salvation; as we enjoy this portion, we also announce it as glad tidings to others. Hallelujah!

Today we want to go further in Psa. 68 and see the accomplishments of Christ in His ascension for the building up of the Body of Christ.

In His Ascension Christ Led us Captive in His train of Vanquished Foes

Psalm 68 reveals Christ’s ascension. “You have ascended on high” — this refers to the highest peak in the universe (v. 18; Eph. 4:8a; cf. Isa. 14:13). "You have led captive those taken captive” (Psa. 68:18). Those taken captive refers to the redeemed saints, who were taken captive by Satan and imprisoned before being saved by Christ’s death and resurrection. Christ defeated Satan and captured his captives (including us); then like a general leading his captives, Christ in His ascension to the heavens led us to the Father (cf. 2 Cor. 2:12-14). The Amplified New Testament renders He led captive those taken captive in Ephesians 4:8 as “He led a train of vanquished foes”; in Christ’s ascension there was a procession of these vanquished foes, led as captives from a war, for the celebration of Christ’s victory. Crystallisation-Study of Numbers (1), outline 12In His ascension Christ has ascended on high (Psa. 68:18; Eph. 4:8; cf. 14:13); this refers to the highest peak in the universe. Christ didn’t just defeat Satan and put him to shame, triumphing over him through the cross, but He also ascended to the highest peak in the universe.

And He has led captive those taken captive; these taken captive refers to the redeemed saints, who were taken captive by Satan and imprisoned before being saved by Christ’s death and resurrection.

Because of the fall of Adam, all men are born in sin, captives to Satan; we are born as captives, not as free men, and when Christ came, He took captives those taken captive by Satan.

Christ defeated Satan and captured his captives (including us), and then, like a general leading his captives, Christ led us captives and gave us as gifts to the Father (see 2 Cor. 2:12-14).

Christ was like a triumphant General who overcame His fiercest enemy, Satan, and took his captives (those who are redeemed and believe into the Lord) and brought them into a triumphant procession as He ascended to the heavens to the Father.

He captured us; the reason we are here in the church life is because Christ captured us. He led us to the Father; we may not know when this happened to us, but this is a divine fact.

The Amplified New Testament renders “He led captive those taken captive” in Eph. 4:8a as “He led a train of vanquished foes”; this indicates that, in His ascension, Christ led a procession of these vanquished foes; Christ led us captive from a war for the celebration of His victory.

When Christ was ascended, we ascended with Him (Eph. 2:6); He led us in a train of vanquished foes to the Father and gave us to the Father as gifts, and then the Father gave us back to the Son as gifts, and the Son gave us as gifts to the Body.

Eph. 4:8, 11-12 ...“Having ascended to the height, He led captive those taken captive and gave gifts to men.” ....And He Himself gave some as apostles and some as prophets and some as evangelists and some as shepherds and teachers, For the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ,In our experience we need to follow Christ in His train of vanquished foes.

Paul testified that, though he didn’t have rest in his spirit when he came to Troas for the gospel for he didn’t find Titus his brother, and so he went to Macedonia, he gave praises to God for He always leads us in the triumph in the Christ.

Praise the Lord, for He always leads us in the triumph in the Christ, and He manifests the savor of the knowledge of Him through us in every place.

To apply this in our experience, we need to let the Lord defeat us all the time; we should not prevail in our struggles with the Lord, but let Him win.

The defeats we suffer in our life are due to the fact that we want to defeat Christ; whenever we do not go along with Christ but “defeat Him” in our experience, we experience defeat.

When we have a controversy with the Lord and we prevail, we refuse to be His captives; but if we let the Lord defeat us and say Amen to His word, we become His captives, and we enjoy Him with all His riches. We should tell the Lord,

Lord Jesus, make us Your captive! Never let us win, Lord – defeat us all the time! Save us from defeating You and thus suffering defeat ourselves. Lead us in the triumph in the Christ as His vanquished foes, and manifest the savor of the knowledge of Christ through us in every place! Amen, Lord Jesus, we yield to You; we were Satan’s captives, but You have defeated him, and we are now Your captives. We come to You, Lord, and we enthrone You in our being; You are our King, our Lord, and our General, and we are one with You in all that You are and have done.

Christ Gave us as Gifts to the Body for the Building up of the Dwelling Place of God

Psalm 68 reveals Christ’s receiving the gifts. "You have received gifts among men, / Even the rebellious ones also” — we have been captured by Christ, presented by Christ to the Father, and then given to Christ by the Father as gifts (v. 18). The gifts received by Christ have become the gifted believers, whom He gave to His Body for its building up (Eph. 4:7-12). Crystallisation-Study of Numbers (1), outline 12After defeating Satan and capturing us, the ex-captives of Satan, Christ brought us to give us as gifts to the Father; the Father, in turn, gave us to Christ as gifts, and Christ gave us as gifts to the Body.

Christ has received gifts among men, even the rebellious ones also (Psa. 68:18); we have been captured by Christ, presented by Christ to the Father, and then we were given to Christ by the Father as gifts.

The gifts received by Christ have become the gifted believers, whom He gave to His Body for its building up (see Eph. 4:7-12).

After ascending to the height, Christ Himself gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as shepherds and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints unto the building up of the Body of Christ.

Christ gave each and every one of us as a gift to the Body; we may think we are a little finger and may not have such a great function like the shoulder does, but we are vitally necessary in the Body as a gift.

We may not have the high measure of the gifted members, but we all have to function as apostles (sent ones), prophets (those who speak for God), evangelists (those who live out and announce the gospel), and shepherds and teachers (whose who care for others and feed them with the truth in the word of God).

We should not believe the enemy’s lie that we’re not a gift or that we have not been gifted; every saved person is a gifted believer, and we all need to be perfected by the gifted members to function in the same way that they do.

And all this is for the building up of the church as the dwelling place of God.

The gifts as the gifted persons, the believers in Christ, are built together to be the dwelling place of God, so that God may dwell among them; this dwelling place signifies the church, the Body of Christ (Psa. 68:18; Eph. 4:11-12).

Psalm 68 reveals the building up of the dwelling place of God. “That Jehovah God may dwell among them”—the gifts as the gifted persons, the believers in Christ, are built together to be the dwelling place for God; this dwelling place signifies the church, the Body of Christ (v. 18; Eph. 4:11-12). “A Father to the orphans and a Judge for the widows / Is God in His holy habitation. / God causes the solitary to dwell in a household; / He brings the prisoners forth into prosperity”—God’s dwelling place is also the habitation of the believers (the needy, the solitary, and the bound ones) (Psa. 68:5-6a; Eph. 2:22). The “mountain on which God desires to dwell” (Psa. 68:16) is Mount Zion, the highest peak in the universe (cf. Rev. 14:1). Crystallisation-Study of Numbers (1), outline 12Hallelujah, we were taken captive by Christ and given as gifts to the Body for the building up of the church as the dwelling place of God! Hallelujah, Christ led us captive and made us gifts to His Body!

And the church, God’s dwelling place, is also the dwelling place of the believers, who in this psalm are likened to the orphans, the widows, the solitary, and the prisoners (see Psa. 68:5-6).

In the church life God is a Father to the orphans, a Judge (protector) for the widows; He causes the solitary to dwell in a household, and He brings the prisoners forth into prosperity.

We were orphaned from God because of sin, but He became our real Father through regeneration. We are like widows who are being wronged by others, but God is our protector.

We were individualistic and solitary, but in the church life we dwell in a household. We were prisoners to sin, Satan, death, the world, and the flesh, but God brings us into the enjoyment of the all-inclusive Christ as our real prosperity.

All this takes place in the church life, and the church life is on the mountain on which God desires to dwell (Psa. 68:16), Mount Zion, which is the highest peak in the universe (cf. Rev. 14:1). Hallelujah!

Thank You Lord for not only rescuing us from Satan’s captivity but also making us gifts to the Body for the building up of the Body in all the local churches. Hallelujah, all the saved believers are gifts to the Body, and each one’s function is necessary in the Body of Christ. Thank You Lord for all that You are to us in the church, Your dwelling place. You are a Father to the orphans and a Judge to the widows in Your holy habitation. You cause the solitary to dwell in a household and You bring the prisoners into prosperity. We praise You Lord, and we thank You for bringing us into the church life where You dwell among us!

References and Hymns on this Topic
  • Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by Ed Marks for this week, and portions from, Life-study of the Psalms, msg. 27 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallisation-Study of Numbers (1), week 12, Christ as the Center of God’s Move on the Earth from His Incarnation through His Ascension to His Second Coming.
  • Hymns on this topic:
    # Lo, on high Christ hath ascended, / Leading captives in His train; / These as gifts He has perfected / That the Lord may dwell with them. / Brothers, sisters, we are those, / We’re those transformed, vanquished foes! / Hallelujah, hallelujah, / Hallelujah, Amen! (Hymns #1100)
    # Lord, You are the General / Leading us triumphantly; / We Your little captives, Lord, / Showing forth Your victory. / Take me captive, Lord, / Never let me win; / Defeat me all the time / And conquer me within. (Song on, Lord, You are the General)
    # Conquer me, / Subdue me, / That I’d no longer be Your enemy. / Defeat me at any cost / That my own will would be lost. / Your desires make my own. / Never let me win. / I’m willing, / Defeat me. / Put the world and sins beneath my feet. / Within me is rebellion. / Defeat it, conquer and subdue it. / Carry me away as Your captive. (Song on, To live a life in the Holy of Holies)

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