He that Descended… Also Ascended

Ephesians 4:8-10 …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? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 

‘Gave gifts unto men’ – Psalm 68:18 reads, “Thou have received gifts for men.” The Hebrew here suggests that the gifts which He gave were received in man; that is, by virtue of His incarnation, He received these gifts to give to human beings. They are really gifts of God to people. Eight gifts of God: [1] Christ (John 3:16; 4:10); called the heavenly and unspeakable gift (2Cor. 9:15; Heb. 6:4). [2] The Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33, 38-39; 5:32; 8:20; 11:17). [3] Salvation (Rom. 5:15-18; Eph. 2:8-9). [4] Eternal life (Rom. 6:23). [5] Grace (3:7; 4:7). [6] Spiritual gifts (Rom. 12:6; 1Cor. 1:7; 12:4-11, 28-31; 1Tim. 4:14; 2Tim. 1:6; Heb. 2:4; 1Pet. 4:10). [7] Ministers (4:11). [8] All good things (Matt. 7:11; Luke 11:13; Php. 4:17; Jas. 1:17).

‘He also descended first.’ Before He ascended to heaven, He descended to hell (Ps. 16:10; Matt. 12:40). He descended, not only from deity to humanity and from humanity to infamy and death (Php. 2:5-11), but also into the lower parts of the earth – into hell itself to conquer hell and liberate captive souls from satan (4:8-10; Ps. 16:10; 68:18; Matt. 12:40; Heb. 2:14-15).

‘Lower parts of the earth’ – Proof that hell is located in the lower parts of the earth, not on the surface of the earth as the grave (Matt. 12:40; Ps. 16:10; 63:9; Job 11:8; Deut. 32:22; Isa. 14:9; 66:22-24; Pro. 9:18; 15:24; Ezek. 31:14-18; 32:18-24). Hell, here is contrasted with the highest heaven as being the lowest and deepest part of the earth. It could not possibly refer to the grave on the surface of the earth.

‘That he might fill all things’ – That He might be the fountain of all spiritual, physical, and material gifts to human beings, dispensing them to all people liberally according to their needs and wants (Jas. 1:5-8, 17; Matt. 7:11; 21:22; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-15; 15:7, 16; Ps. 34:9-10; 84:11).

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