Did Jesus take some of the dead with him to heaven?


Good morning, sir,

In Ephesians 4:8, "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men," Do you have a lesson on this? Does it mean that Jesus took some of the dead to heaven with him?


"And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:1-7).

There was a time when all of us were held captive by sin. But with the resurrection of Christ, we were offered a way to be freed from sin's hold on us. "But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness" (Romans 6:17-18). Jesus redeemed us (bought us back) from Satan's control but we were not given complete freedom. We are now slaves to the one who paid the price. "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me" (Galatians 2:20). True, compared to the captivity of sin, our current life is a great freedom but we must always remember that we still owe our Lord our obedience.

In Ephesians 4:8, Paul is quoting Psalms 63:18.

"You have ascended on high, You have led captive Your captives; You have received gifts among men, even among the rebellious also, that the LORD God may dwell there. Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation. Selah. God is to us a God of deliverances; and to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death" (Psalms 68:18-20).

The depiction of Christ here is that of a warrior king who has conquered a nation and led away some of its inhabitants as booty. Notice that the prophecy is that Christ's raid would even bring in some of the rebellious so that the Lord may dwell there.

Jesus hinted at this when he said, "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it" (Matthew 16:18). Gates are defensive structures. Satan's realm is composed of the spiritually dead -- called Hades here. Satan will not be able to keep Christ's army (the church) out of his realm and he will be plundered and Christ's kingdom will be enlarged.

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