Ephesians 4:8 Therefore he said, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 (Now that he ascended, what does it mean but that he first also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same person also that ascended up far above the whole sky, that he might fill all things.) 11 And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
When it says, “He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth”, it is referring to Jesus Christ descent into Sheol, where Jesus first spent some time in Paradise before descending into the pit of Sheol. There in the pit of Sheol Jesus preached to fallen angels, held in chains, who had been disobedient in the days of Noah (1 Peter 3:18 – 20 & 2 Peter 2:4). Jesus Christ then ascended from Sheol, victorious over all his enemies, including death and the law of sin and death.
In the ancient world, it was a common thing to do, when a king won a major victory over his enemies, to take the enemy in chains and make a public spectacle of them, by parading them through the land right up to the city gates. Then the victorious king would give gifts to his people. The king would not only give gifts of wealth to his people; he would also give many of his top generals and captains to the people as civic and community leaders.
After this parade, the disarmed enemy king, would often be unchained and allowed to return to his own kingdom as a puppet ruler. To make sure that the defeated king stayed subject to the victorious king, the victorious king would station some well-armed troops of his own in the puppet king’s kingdom. These troops, although not living in their own land, in the name of the victorious king, they held all power and authority over the puppet king and his subjects.
What does it mean to disarm a defeated king and his powers? This does not mean a total disarmament. For modern day Iraq, it meant no weapons of mass destruction. For Germany in 1918, it meant no battle ships, no subs, no tanks or planes. In the ancient world, it often meant no blacksmiths to make weapons of steel (1 Samuel 13:19 – 20). For Satan, to be disarmed means that he is no longer able to use the Law to condemn those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1 – 2).
Jesus Christ, having won the victory, goes about celebrating his victory, and establishing his rule and authority over Satan, the defeated king of this world, in much the same way as an earthly king would have done 2,000 years ago.
For over 4,000 years, Satan, the king of this world, his principalities and powers, had held mankind captive by the law of sin and death. But on the cross, Jesus Christ disarmed all the powers of darkness, by nailing the Law to the cross. Having disarmed the powers of darkness, which had held mankind captive; Jesus then takes captivity (Satan and the principalities and powers of darkness) captive and makes a public spectacle of them).
Colossians 2: 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he has quickened together with him, having forgiven all your trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances of the law that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. 15 Having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them publicly, triumphing over them in it.
Then, just like the earthly kings, Jesus Christ gives gifts to his people, gifts of men to the Church. Some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelist, some pastors and teachers; while the disarmed Satan has been returned to rule over his kingdom, the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2).
Then, just like the earthly kings, Jesus Christ gives gifts to his people, gifts of men to the Church. Some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelist, some pastors and teachers; while the disarmed Satan has been returned to rule over his kingdom, the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2). What of Jesus Christ’s heavily armed troops that he has stationed in Satan’s kingdom, to make sure Satan and his demons remain subject to the will of God the Father? We the disciples of Jesus Christ are his heavily armed troops, given the task of seeing that Satan and his demons remain subject to the will of God.
Luke 10:17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject unto us through your name. 18 And he said unto them, I saw Satan as lightning fall from the sky. 19 See, I give unto you power to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in the sky.
We, as the disciples of Jesus Christ, may live in this world, but we are not of this world. We are of the kingdom of God, and Jesus our King has given us all power and authority over Satan, his devils and demons. Although we are subjects of the kingdom of God we are currently stationed in this world. When we confront Satan, in the name of Jesus Christ, we have the power to shoot him down in flames. When we confront devils and demons, we have the power to trample them under our feet, and nothing, by any means, will hurt us.
The soul of Jesus Christ descended into Sheol.
According to the Scriptures, Jesus Christ, in pouring out his blood, first poured out his soul unto death (Leviticus 17:10 & Isaiah 53:12).
Then Jesus Christ (the soul of Jesus Christ) descended into Sheol, before he ascended into the highest sky (Psalm 16:10 & Ephesians 4:8 – 10).
Before the descent of his soul down into Sheol, this is what Jesus said to one of the criminals who were crucified with Him.
Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to him, "Surely, I say to you, this day you will be with me in Paradise."
So, Jesus Christ (that is the soul of Jesus Christ) descended into Sheol (1 Peter 3:18 – 20 & 2 Peter 2:4), spending at least some of the first day in Paradise, with the man who was crucified with him. Three days later, the soul of Jesus Christ ascends from Sheol to the grave, where the spirit, soul and body of Jesus come back together again. Then Jesus Christ rises from the grave and speaks to Mary.
John 20:17 Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.'"
So Jesus Christ (his soul) spent three days in Sheol.
The body of Jesus Christ was placed in a tomb.
Luke 23:50 There was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; a good and righteous man. 51 (He had not consented to the counsel and their deed,) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who was also waiting for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went unto Pilate, and begged for the body of Jesus. 53 He then took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was cut out of rock, where no man had ever been laid before.
Although the body of Jesus Christ was laid in a tomb, unlike the body of others, his body did not return to dust. After three days the body of Jesus did not even smell, for the body of Christ did not see corruption (Psalm 16:10).
The spirit of Jesus was returned to God who gave it.
Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, he said, “Father, ‘into your hands I commit my spirit.’” Having said this, he breathed His last.
On the cross, through his blood Jesus Christ poured out his soul unto the death of his mortal body; and breathed out his spirit which returned to God who gave it.
Written by Kenneth Allan Clark and printed and published by
VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL. P.O. BOX 144 WYNNUM QLD 4178 AUSTRALIA.
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Scripture taken from the “Clarks English Translation” © Copyright 2011 by Victorious Christian Ministries International. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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