Ephesians 4:7-16; Psa 68 – the Lord’s victory depicted in Israel’s victory, part 2.

Class Outline:

Thursday June 24, 2021


Read this this morning and wanted to share. Our world is heavily influenced by it. “Twitter requires no skill, intellect, nuance, research, facts, reporting, proper grammar, or common sense.” [ Jason Whitlock]


EPH 4:7-8

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore it says,


"When He ascended on high,

He led captive a host of captives,

And He gave gifts to men."


By His victory over Satan, sin, and death, Christ ascended as the wise Head of the body, the household of God, and distributes His manifold gifts. His appointments are made with an eye to the furtherance of the house in the purpose of the Father.


To illustrate Christ’s gifts to His church, Paul illustrates with PSA 68:18. He interprets the ancient verse as he cites it and weaves it into the texture of his message.


PSA 68:18

Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captive Thy captives;

Thou hast received gifts among men,

Even among the rebellious also, that the Lord God may dwell there.


Psa 68 is complex. The topic concerns the entry of God into his sanctuary, using the background and images of the conquest and settlement of the land and occupation of the land of Zion. It traces God’s triumphant march through the desert, His conquest over the kings of Canaan and finally his ascension to the holy mount to reign in majesty.


Paul’s quote of vs. 18 associates Christ’s ascension to heaven with the ascension of the ark up Zion’s hill.


A quick look at the psalm as a whole will develop the picture, and also help us to understand Paul’s use of vs. 18 in reference to the church, for we are the captives set free who ascended up the hill of God’s victory.


PSA 68:1-6, The call for the wicked to flee before God’s triumphant march and the righteous to exult in God’s deliverance of the oppressed.


vv. 7-18, the Exodus through the desert, the conquering of the PL, and the Lord’s choice of Mt. Zion from all the mountains.


PSA 68:7-10

O God, when Thou didst go forth before Thy people,

When Thou didst march through the wilderness,


8 The earth quaked;

The heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God [might refer to manna];

Sinai itself quaked at the presence of God, the God of Israel.

9 Thou didst shed abroad a plentiful rain, O God;

Thou didst confirm Thine inheritance, when it was parched.

10 Thy creatures settled in it [might refer to quail];

Thou didst provide in Thy goodness for the poor, O God.


The providence of God is emphasized as much as His conquering and leading.


Now the author refers in progression to the conquering of the Promised Land. The faithful women sing of it.


PSA 68:11-17

The Lord gives the command [the promise of the land];

The women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host:

12 "Kings of armies flee, they flee,

And she who remains at home will divide the spoil!"

13 When you lie down among the sheepfolds,

You are like the wings of a dove covered with silver,

And its pinions with glistening gold [adorned in tranquility under the shining sun?].

14 When the Almighty scattered the kings there,

It was snowing in Zalmon [an area or mountain. Snow might be a contrast to peace in the sun].


15 A mountain of God is the mountain of Bashan [biggest];

A mountain of many peaks is the mountain of Bashan [there are great mountains in the land, but God did not choose them; like David among his brothers.].

16 Why do you look with envy, O mountains with many peaks,

At the mountain which God has desired for His abode?

Surely, the Lord will dwell there forever.

17 The chariots of God are myriads, thousands upon thousands;

The Lord is among them as at Sinai, in holiness.


The chariots likely refer to angels, the heavenly host or angelic army in thousands upon thousands. I wondered, they all couldn’t possibly fit on the little hill, but then thought, omnipresent God couldn’t either. That doesn’t make Zion a symbol only. But Paul uses this scene as describing the ascent of Jesus Christ to heaven where He would also lead His captives, His saints.


2KI 6:17

Then Elisha prayed and said, "O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." And the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.


PSA 68:18

Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captive Thy captives;

Thou hast received gifts among men,

Even among the rebellious also, that the Lord God may dwell there.


vv. 19-31, Reiteration of the triumphant procession into Zion and the destruction of the enemies.


vv. 32-35, Praise the “rider of the highest heavens.”


The “rider of the highest heavens” is God obviously. The final line states that He gives strength and power to the people and they praise Him for it. What God does through Israel, through David, through Jesus Christ is so different from the world’s way. His ways are higher than ours. Though we have failed Him, He did not abandon us. He says to us, “I forgive you.”


This psalm, like so many other biblical passages, draws a sharp contrast between God’s ways and the ways of the world.


Those who make war in the world, always to conquer the land of others, to increase their hold of power and wealth, God will scatter. He describes them and their armies as beasts.


PSA 68:30

Rebuke the beasts in the reeds,

The herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples,

Trampling under foot the pieces of silver;

He has scattered the peoples who delight in war.


God wins His victory in the world through His own weakness and death as the Son of Man.


ISA 53:12

Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,

And He will divide the booty with the strong;

Because He poured out Himself to death,

And was numbered with the transgressors;


God’s omnipotence can establish a kingdom, make a New Jerusalem, fill it with angels, and make the heavens and earth brand new, but to fill that kingdom with men demands His sacrifice.


DAN 7:13-14

One like a Son of Man was coming,

And He came up to the Ancient of Days

And was presented before Him.

14 "And to Him was given dominion,

Glory and a kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language

Might serve Him.


Jesus refers to Himself as the Son of Man over 80 times throughout all four gospels. He was the One foretold by the prophet Daniel. The Father promised Him a dominion, glory, and a kingdom, and as the next line states:


DAN 7:14b

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed.


Jesus knew this and walked confidently through His ministry despite all the hatred that was spewed at Him for simply being who He was.