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Read Introduction to Colossians


“Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”


“Having disarmed principalities and powers”

“Disarmed” = to strip off, to put off, disrobe. Metaphorically this word may refer to the stripping away of weapons and hence the removal of authority and power“Principalities and powers” refer to demonic control. Jesus jettisoned demonic forces on the cross. He stripped them of their jurisdiction. The Lord once and for all broke their power. Paul uses this same verb in Colossians 2:11, where he challenged Christians to put off the body of flesh. Paul closely connected “discarding the principalities” and “putting off the flesh.”

The New Testament uses “principalities” of supra-mundane beings who exercise rule: such as good angels (Ephesians 3:10) and evil angels (Romans 8:38; here). Jude 6 refers to the authoritative power of fallen angels. “Principalities” is a term of dignity (dignitaries), whereas “powers” is a term of executive authority. “Powers” is the administrative authority to do anything. This word combines the two ideas of right and might. Therefore, “principalities and powers” refer to demons or fallen angels operating under Satan.


Jesus stripped demons of their power by the cross; God expects us to deal with Satanic attacks by the cross.


Jesus ousted evil powers on the cross. God expects us to use the spiritual weapon of the cross to defeat “principalities and powers” in our lives (Eph. 6:12f).