Ephesians 4:7-8 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he said, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
‘Every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.’ Proof of different measures of grace (Rom. 12:3). Different measures of the Spirit: Mosaic portion (Num. 11:17, 25). Mosaic portion divided into 71 portions (Num. 11:16-17, 25-29). Elijah portion (2Kin. 2:9). Double portion (2Kin. 2:9-10). Elijah portion on John the Baptist (Luke 1:15-17). Earnest of the Spirit (2Cor. 1:22; 5:5; 1Jn. 4:13; Php. 1:19). The Spirit “without measure” (John 3:34; Isa. 11:2; 42:1; 61:1; Luke 4:16-21; Acts 10:38); Spirit baptism or baptismal measure (Matt. 3:11; 20:22-23; Luke 3:16; John 1:31-34; Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-21; 8:15-24; 10:44-48; 11:14-18; 15:7-11; 19:1-7; Gal. 3:14); the fulness of God (Eph. 3:19; Rom. 15:29); the rivers of living water (John 7:37-39); and the full anointing of the Spirit and enduement of power from on high (Luke 24:49; John 14:12-15).
‘When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.’ The first and last Old Testament prophecy is fulfilled in Ephesians (4:8; Ps. 68:18). This was at the ascension, 40 days after His resurrection (Acts 1:3-11; Luke 24:51; Mark 16:19). Three things which Christ did in His ascension: He liberated the righteous immortal souls from captivity in the lower parts of the earth (4:8; Ps. 68:18). He took these captives captive to heaven (4:8; Ps. 68:18). He gave gifts to men (4:8, 11).
‘High’ [Greek: hupsos] rendered “height” in Ephesians 3:18 and Revelation 21:16.
‘He led captivity captive’ – The captives that were taken to heaven with Christ were the saints who had died from Abel to Christ, and who were held captive by satan in paradise under the earth until Christ conquered death, hell, and the grave liberating them (Heb. 2:14-15; Luke 16:23). He got these captives in the lower parts of the earth (4:8-10; Matt. 12:40). They were still alive in soul and spirit since their physical death, but held captive, which proves the immortality of the soul. He could not have led captive, extinct souls. Now when a Christian dies, he does not go into the lower parts of the earth to be held captive but goes to where paradise is now (2Cor. 12:4) to live and await the resurrection of the body (2Cor. 5:8; Php. 1:21-24; Heb. 12:22-23; Rev. 6:9-11). ‘Captivity’ – He led a host of captives to heaven, like an earthly conqueror. Some were the many that were resurrected after Christ (Matt. 27:52-53), and the rest were the immortal souls that were not resurrected, but merely liberated from captivity to satan (Heb. 2:14-15; 12:23).