In Ephesians 4, Paul quotes Psalm 68 when He describes Jesus as having ascended on high, leading captivity captive in the process.
Who was the “captivity” He led? Those captive to death – in other words, every human being who had died. God had pronounced the sentence of death for sin in the garden of Eden. Every human being who sinned, therefore had to die. Every human being (except Jesus) did sin, and thus died. All were thus held captive by death. Their resting place was Sheol (or, as the Greeks called it, Hades).
This group then is the captivity that Jesus led captive into heaven. They did not go with Him immediately, however, as Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15:23-24 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. Though “captivity” had not yet made it to heaven when Paul was writing letters, they made it not too long afterwards. Those who have died since have proceeded directly to heaven. Thus you and I will go directly to heaven. There is no longer any Sheol or Hades. This earth is now as low as you can go in this creation (because we live in the new heavens and new earth that Isaiah, John, and Peter promised).
Those who had been captive to death would now be captive to heaven…because of the generosity of Him who led them!
(If you are unaware of the Bible’s teaching that we all go to heaven at death, see Everyone Is Going to Heaven.)
The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.