Colossians 2:17-18


Dear All

I was biking down the road early this morning and as I reviewed some chapters from II Corinthians, out of the blue I saw something in one of the verses that I learned a few years back that I had never seen before. It amazes me how Scripture never becomes old hat but always is fresh and alive, offering new insights all of the time.

Speaking of past verses, I have a question from one of last week’s verses. I must admit that I refer to commentaries as a last resort more as a reference tool for comparison. So here’s my question.

Last week we learned that He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them. What is that referring to? How and when were these principalities displayed publicly? It’s probably obvious but this old brain just can’t wrap its synapses around it. Any ideas anyone has? I could look it up a commentary but I like to explore it first by our impressions. I would love some thoughts but if there are no replies, at some point often it’ll hit me and I’ll get it.

Colossians has been surprisingly wonderful to memorize. Here are some new thoughts in this week’s verses:

Colossians 2:17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.
Colossians 2: 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, (ESV)

Colossians 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Colossians 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, (KJV)

God’s Word is like no other book. I’m so thankful for it!


Here’s something from my fav commentary “ Col. 2:16–17 Paul warns the Colossians against trading their freedom in Christ for a set of useless, man-made, legalistic rules (cf. Gal. 5:1). Legalism is powerless to save or to restrain sin.
Col. 2:16 food and drink. The false teachers sought to impose some sort of dietary regulations, probably based on those of the Mosaic law (cf. Lev. 11). Since they were under the New Covenant, the Colossians (like all Christians) were not obligated to observe the OT dietary restrictions (cf. Mark 7:14–19; Acts 10:9–15; Rom. 14:17; 1 Cor. 8:8; 1 Tim. 4:1–5; Heb. 9:9–10). festival. The annual religious celebrations of the Jewish calendar (e.g., Passover, Pentecost, or Tabernacles (Booths); cf. Lev. 23). new moon. The monthly sacrifice offered on the first day of each month (Num. 10:10 28:11–14; Ps. 81:3). Sabbath. The weekly celebration of the seventh day, which pictured God’s rest from creation. The NT clearly teaches that Christians are not required to keep it (see notes on Acts 20:7; Rom. 14:5–6).
Col. 2:17 shadow . . . substance. The ceremonial aspects of the OT law (dietary regulations, festivals, sacrifices) were mere shadows pointing to Christ. Since Christ, the reality has come; the shadows have no value. Cf. Heb. 8:5 10:1.
Col. 2:18 disqualify you. Paul warns the Colossians not to allow the false teachers to cheat or defraud them of their temporal blessings or eternal reward (cf. 2 John 8) by luring them into irrational mysticism. asceticism. Since the false teachers took great delight in it, their “self-abasement” was actually pride, which God hates (Prov. 6:16–17). worship of angels. The beginning of a heresy that was to plague the region around Colossae for several centuries and far beyond—a practice the Bible clearly prohibits (Matt. 4:10; Rev. 19:10 22:8–9). visions. Like virtually all cults and false religions, the Colossian false teachers based their teaching on visions and revelations they had supposedly received. Their claims were false, since Jesus Christ is God’s final and complete (see notes on Col. 2:3–4) revelation to mankind (Heb. 1:1–2). sensuous mind. See note on Rom. 8:6. This describes the unregenerate and is further defined in Eph. 4:17–19.“


Hi brother Tim!

My initial thoughts are that the public display of victory refers to subsitutionary death that Jesus took in our place and conquering the sting of sin that is death in resurrection. The principalities and powers lead us to sin which resulted in the ultimate sting of sin, death. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. Through Jesus we are not slaves to sin or the resulting death as Jesus died for our sake. Death has lost its sting! The principalities are without power over us in destroying us through sin for death. Jesus rose from death and came to life and proved that He holds the keys of death. I think in conquerng death through resurrection, the principalities were shown to be disarmed publicly as we can all hope for imperishable bodies in Christ. Christ always was, is and will be the most powerful in all creation in heaven and earth but proved it publicly on the day of resurrection.

Heb 2:14 For as much 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;


I love Proverbs 25:2 – “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” Likewise, consulting with the author of Scripture is so much better than asking someone else the meaning, no matter what level of education they have. And although Paul probably had one image in mind in this verse, the Holy Spirit may have layer upon layer of understanding the workings and nature of God. The Scripture I associated this verse to, by the way, is from Mark 3, especially verse 27. I thought Jesus proved over and over to multitudes that he had bound the strong man, and that unclean spirits were compelled to throw themselves at his feet. So way to go, Lakshmi, tying it to the work on the cross and resurrection, where Jesus so completely defeated the enemy that he has no power over us. (Cough, cough, except for the power I give him…)


Hello Brother Tim and all in this group. First let me say that I have longed for these conversations and the fellowship we share. My phone was stolen about a month ago and it was only this week that God released the finances to get another one. I know God used the phone situation to get my attention and return to my first love of His Word. As you mentioned in this post, commentaries can be helpful tools but I was starting to depend more on the teaching of others than the revelation given by my dear friend and counselor, Holy Spirit. Glory to God that He doesn’t allow us to fall from Grace, He always corrects us because He is for us. Full dependence on Him is so very vital, especially now, the hour in which the deceiver is turned up, God is drawing us deeper, He is protecting His children.

I have not been keeping up with memorization, will be heeding Brother Tim’s earlier suggestion of setting a specific time or routine for memorization from this point forward. I am realizing that anybody can be busy…yet we need to strive to be effective. We must handle the Word of God with seriousness (Titus 2:7) meaning that we would demand careful consideration and application of what we read. Memorization is the first step towards effectiveness, I cannot apply what I haven’t taken the time to learn.

As I meditate on this scripture(Col. 2:15) and consider your question Brother Tim, I am led by the Spirit to the following scriptures and real life evidence.

The disarmament of these powers and authorities is the triumphant result of Jesus’ earthly ministry. It was a progressive process, and by no means comfortable. Jesus confronted the very strongholds of pride, legalism, greed, every form of immorality rooted in our sin-nature. The powers of darkness use our opinions and thoughts to stand against God’s Word, these principalities only have temporary feelings and emotions as their foundation, yet the Truth will always cause us to overcome. The Truth often hurts, but it always works.

In the Book of Matthew, Chapter 21, we see a series of events that lead to this declaration By Paul in Colossians 2:15. First Jesus is praised as the one who saves as He enters Jerusalem. Jesus is simply riding along on the path His Father laid for Him, in the way He is told to come. He knows that the awareness of the scriptures that the Jews, chief priests and elders have is actually working in His favor toward establishing His Kingdom and Authority even if they don’t want to accept it.

Now we are at verses 12-17 where Jesus re-establishes the purpose of His Father’s House. In righteous indignation He moves through the temple, interrupting every act of disobedience and idolatry, forcibly stopping every distraction. He is actually securing the House of Worship for the true sons, the disciples (that’s us), knowing that a place for His people to come and Worship in Spirit and in Truth is absolutely necessary for the establishment of His Kingdom on earth. We establish on earth that which is already settled in the heavens by the words we speak. (He inhabits our praise… The only thing that goes into eternity is our worship). All of this is necessary to destroy the strongholds that are in direct opposition to God’s Word. It is then re-enforced through the perfect praise of the children. They are innocent, have no selfish agenda…and even they are shouting Hosanna.

In verses 18-22 Jesus gives His disciples an even clearer vision of His authority to destroy anything that is not bringing glory to the Father. It is established in Genesis that we are commanded to be fruitful and multiply. The fig tree is a representation of what it looks like to be living contrary to the Word of God, it’s alive but not operating in the fullness of what it was created for…to bear fruit…Jesus destroys the stronghold of compromise and at the same time He is building up the disciples to see what is possible.

After this we see a series of Jesus’ teachings and preaching in the Temple. He speaks to the people in a way that they must receive that which they don’t want to believe. He uses parables and the truth which brings conviction and awe. It’s one situation after another where the agents of darkness are exposed, shamed and stripped of their power.

John 14:30-31 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.

After reading this… I am thinking that the initial end of the powers of darkness was when Jesus resisted every temptation the devil brought to Jesus in the wilderness…this was when it was established that the devil had nothing in Jesus. Unlike Adam, He is the Son of God and never gave His authority to the serpent…

Our own lives are the same way. Every time we overcome evil with good, we are reinforcing what’s already been achieved in Jesus death and resurrection. As believers, we know the battle between good and evil is already done. Our God is the victor. Love wins. We are soldiers sent into the previously disputed territory, commissioned to enforce this victory and establish heavenly rule and reign on earth. If it looks like we’re losing, God gets the Glory everytime we do not accept failure, sickness or disease as our destiny.

Much Love to all… Prayerfully this wasn’t too much. Lord help me to be less wordy. To God be the Glory! Jesus is coming! Pray for Israel! Amen!

Meditation: maybe the verse is referring to the point of resurrection and then ascension. The powers and authorities are disarmed and disgraced when God’s people wholeheartedly believe…


Thanks all of you that replied. I really love to get feedback from you as it makes my brain fill in the gaps.

Before I proceed, I need to first say, Yay Catherine - I missed you. I almost had enough gumption to write and ask you where you were!! I’m glad we heard from you again.

OK - back to my original question. I have assumed somewhat, what has been addressed by the replies. However, what I am still grappling with is the mention that He “made a public example of them”. Now maybe it’s my hangup with the way my version verbalizes it but I think of a public example was more like what Jesus did for us on the cross - He was a public example of His love - for all to see is what I conjure in my mind as a public showing. But where are the principalities disarmed publicly?

Catherine’s example of Jesus at the temple overturning the money changers tables is what I could envision but He is not disarming the powers there.

The RSV is puublic example, the NIV is a public spectacle, the ESV is open shame, the KJV is made a show of them openly. They all seem to indicate - see, right there, see it? Does that make sense? Help…

Carol, you sure have a good way of phrasing why I wanted to discuss it rather than just run to a book. The Proverb is one I will remember. Great one.

By the way, you need to do something about that cough! Remember what helped it in the past. Yes, when you took a big dose of Ephesians 6!

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@Catherine I have missed you and your warm-hearted, Jesus-based wisdom!

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I love how much exploration of the scriptures this question has sparked. Sometimes I think that my expectation for direct correlation and hard evidence throughout the Scriptures is somewhat unhealthy residue from my old ways of thinking when I was an atheist and completely rejected anything spiritual…that being said, I love everybody’s input and so love the Word of God…it’s alive! God speaks to us each differently and through this we gain a clearer perspective and begin to see the nature of God through a cleaner lens. What a blessing you all are.