When Christ Ascended

“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?)” (Ephesians 4:8-9)

This verse has been controversial but is nonetheless very important. The context is taken from Psalm 68:17-20: “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: . . . Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: . . . our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.”

The psalmist is apparently describing the Lord among His heavenly hosts, riding home as a mighty king returning with the spoils of battle. Evidently this battle prize consisted of His own people who had been held captive in an alien land but who now had been captured from the enemy by the returning King. To do this, the King (none other than the Lord Jesus Himself) “ascended up on high,” leading them to His own throne in the heavens.

But first He had to descend to the earth, and then even to “the lower parts of the earth.” This unusual phrase must refer to the great pit in the center of the earth confining the souls of the dead—the place called Hades.

One of Christ’s purposes on Earth was “to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61:1). That is exactly what He did when He died on the cross for the sins of these very captives, then, in the Spirit, descended into Hades to set them free.

He returned with the very “keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18), alive forevermore. The souls of those who had died in faith came with Him, finally ascending with Him into “paradise,” in “the third heaven” (note Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:2, 4) to wait with Him for His future return to reclaim the whole earth. HMM

The Latest
NEWS
More Problems with Iconic Milankovitch Paper
Secular scientists have a difficult time explaining an Ice Age, even though there is strong geological evidence that one occurred. In fact, creation...

NEWS
More Evidence Lucy Was Just an Ape
Certain evolutionary scientists have talked of Lucy since the 1970s as a supposed ape-like ancestor of humans. It’s probably the world’s...

NEWS
Sixtymile Formation Part of Genesis Flood
For many decades, creation scientists have included the Sixtymile Formation in Grand Canyon as part of the Sauk Megasequence that marks the onset of...

DISCOVERY CENTER
T. rex is here!
Wanna come face-to-face with this toothy tyrannosaur? Visit the ICR Discovery Center for Science and Earth History when it opens in 2019! The Discovery...

TESTIMONIALS
Timeless Truth
My name is Chris Kinman, and I am the Director of the ICR Discovery Center for Science and Earth History. It is exciting for me to look back on ICR’s...