In the Psalms, David described Jehovah’s victorious procession from Sinai to the holy temple site in Jerusalem—war chariots of God, captives, singers and musicians, and congregated throngs blessing the Holy One of Israel.—Ps. 68:17, 18, 24-26.
TRIUMPHAL PROCESSIONS AMONG THE NATIONS
Egypt, Assyria and other nations commemorated their military victories with triumphal processions. In the days of the Roman republic, one of the highest honors the Senate could bestow on a conquering general was to allow him to celebrate his victory with a formal and costly procession of triumph in which no detail of pomp and glory was overlooked.
The Roman procession moved slowly along Via Triumphalis and up the winding ascent to the Temple of Jupiter atop the Capitoline Hill. Musicians playing and singing songs of victory were at the front, followed by young men leading the sacrificial cattle. Then came open carts loaded with booty, and tremendous floats illustrating battle scenes or the destruction of cities and temples, and perhaps topped with a figure of the vanquished commander. The captive kings, princes and generals taken in the war, with their children and attendants, were led along in chains, often stripped naked, to their humiliation and shame.
Next came the general’s chariot, decorated in ivory and gold, wreathed with laurel, and drawn by four white horses, or, on occasion, by elephants, lions, tigers or deer. The conqueror’s children sat at his feet or rode in a separate chariot behind him. Roman consuls and magistrates followed on foot, then the lieutenants and military tribunes with the victorious army—all bedecked with garlands of laurel and gifts, and singing songs of praise to their leader. In the vanguard were the priests and their attendants bringing along the chief victim for sacrifice, a white ox.
As the procession passed through the city the populace threw flowers before the victor’s chariot, and burning incense on temple altars perfumed the way. This sweet odor signified honors, promotion, wealth and a more secure life for the victorious soldiers, but death to the unpardoned captives who would be executed at the end of the procession. This fact throws light on Paul’s spiritual application of the illustration at 2 Corinthians 2:14-16.
Triumphal arches were built in honor of some generals. Titus’ arch in Rome still commemorates the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. Titus celebrated his victory over Jerusalem by a triumphal procession, accompanied by his father, Emperor Vespasian. Some arches served as city gates, but for the most part their function was only monumental. The design of the arches may have represented the yoke of submission under which captives were forced to march.
CHRISTIANS SHARE IN TRIUMPHAL PROCESSION
It was from such examples and general knowledge of the times that Paul drew his metaphor when writing to the Corinthians: “Thanks be to God who always leads us in a triumphal procession in company with the Christ.” (2 Cor. 2:14-16) The picture presents Paul and fellow Christians as devoted subjects of God, “in company with the Christ,” as sons, ranking officers, and victorious soldiers, all following in God’s train and being led by him in a grand triumphal procession along a perfumed route.
At Colossians 2:15, the situation is quite different. Here the (Satanic) enemy governments and authorities are described as the captives and prisoners in the triumphal procession. These Jehovah the Conqueror strips naked and exhibits in open public as defeated ones, the ones conquered “by means of it,” that is, by means of “the torture stake” mentioned in the previous verse. Christ’s death on the torture stake, not only provided the basis for removing “the handwritten document,” the Law covenant, but also made it possible for Christians to be freed from bondage to the Satanic powers of darkness.
The principal seaport of NW Asia Minor from which Paul departed on his first visit to Macedonia, and to which he later returned on occasions. It was located about twenty miles (32 kilometers) S of the Hellespont (Dardanelles) and somewhat more than half that distance S of the traditional site of ancient Troy. In fact, Troas drew its name from Troad, the term applied to that part of Mysia that surrounded Troy.
The city of Troas was first built during the latter part of the fourth century B.C.E. by Antigonus, one of the generals of Alexander the Great. In 133 B.C.E. it came under Roman control,and thereafter the region of Mysia became part of the Roman province of Asia. Julius Caesar for a time considered transferring the seat of the Roman government to Troas. Emperor Augustus further favored the city by making it a colonia, independent of the provincial governor of Asia, and by exempting its citizens from both land and poll taxes.
On Paul’s second journey, probably in the spring of 50 C.E., and after passing through Phrygia and Galatia, the apostle and his companions came to Troas, for “the spirit of Jesus did not permit them” to go into Bithynia. (Acts 16:6-8) Here in Troas, Paul had an unusual vision, one of a man calling to him: “Step over into Macedonia and help us.” Immediately it was concluded “that God had summoned us to declare the good news to them.” The occurrence of “us” in this text (and “we” in the following verses) must mean that, here in Troas, Luke first joined Paul’s party and made the voyage with them across the Aegean to Neapolis.—Acts 16:9-12.
After leaving Ephesus on his third journey, Paul stopped in Troas and there preached the good news about the Christ, for, as he says, “a door was opened to me in the Lord.” But after an undisclosed period of time, the apostle became concerned that Titus had not arrived, and so he departed for Macedonia, hoping to find him there.—Acts 20:1; 2 Cor. 2:12, 13.
Evidently Paul spent that winter in Greece before returning again to Troas in the spring of 56 C.E. (Acts 20:2-6) This time Paul stayed seven days ministering and spiritually building up the Christian brothers in Troas. When assembled with them the night before leaving, and while Paul “prolonged his speech until midnight,” a young man named Eutychus, who was seated at the third-story window, fell asleep about midnight and tumbled to his death. The apostle miraculously brought the boy back to life and continued conversing to the assembly until daybreak.—Acts 20:6-12.
It is likely that Paul visited Troas again after being released in 61 C.E. from house arrest in Rome. Paul wrote to Timothy during the apostle’s second imprisonment in Rome, about the year 65 C.E., asking that Timothy bring a cloak and certain scrolls and parchments that Paul had left with Carpus in Troas. It seems very unlikely that such a request would have been made some nine years later, as the case would be, if Paul’s last visit to Carpus’ home was on his third journey in 56 C.E.—2 Tim. 4:13.
A co-worker of the apostle Paul; an Ephesian Gentile Christian. (Acts 21:29) Trophimus became a Christian perhaps during Paul’s extended Ephesian ministry on his third missionary journey. Afterward Trophimus was one of Paul’s traveling companions on the return leg of the trip through Macedonia into Asia Minor