Jehovah`s Witness/Ephesians 4
I would now like to give the Jehovah's Witness view on Mr. Richard's post regarding Ephesians 4.
Mr. Richard said this: "Ephesians 4:9 expands on verse 8. Verse 8 speaks of Jesus ascending to heaven and taking many captives with him. Where were they being held? Verse 9 is clear that he first had to descend to the lower regions of the earth? So, if he just went to a grave, what captives did he take with him?"
Ephesians 4:7-10 "Now undeserved kindness was given to each one of us according to how the Christ measured out the free gift. 8 For it says: “When he ascended on high he carried away captives; he gave gifts in men.” 9 Now what does the expression “he ascended” mean but that he also descended into the lower regions, that is, the earth? 10 The very one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might give fullness to all things."
The question is.....Does the Bible in Ephesians verse 8 & 9 support what Mr. Richard has impeccably stated that his beliefs and teachings are?
Well the answer is No! The Bible DOES NOT support what Mr. Richard's belief teaches!
Anyone who wants their worship to be acceptable to God MUST worship God with TRUTH! (John 4:23,24). Not man's truth, but that of God's which is laid out in the pages of the Bible (2 Tim 3:16,17).
Let's examine and you will see for yourself
First of all, in verse 7 we see that Paul a prisoner in the Lord (Eph. 4:1) is writing to the congregation in Ephesus (Eph. 1:1) about how it was due to undeserved kindness that each one of them received the free gift. What is the free gift that was given? It was the gift of the holy spirit.
Eph. 4:11 "And he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelizers, some as shepherds and teachers,"
To clarify that even more:
1 Cor. 12:4, 7-11 "Now there are different gifts, but there is the same spirit;" 7 But the manifestation of the spirit is given to each one for a beneficial purpose. 8 For to one is given speech of wisdom through the spirit, to another speech of knowledge according to the same spirit, 9 to another faith by the same spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one spirit, 10 to yet another operations of powerful works, to another prophesying, to another discernment of inspired expressions, to another different tongues, and to another interpretation of tongues. 11 But all these operations are performed by the very same spirit, distributing to each one respectively just as it wills."
Moving on to verse 8. Here we see Paul is quoting from the Hebrew scriptures, he says "For it says: “When he ascended on high he carried away captives; he gave gifts in men.”
Psalms 68:18 "You ascended on high; You carried away captives; You took gifts in the form of men, Yes, even stubborn ones, to reside among them, O Jah God."
Here in Psalm 68, David is writing a melody or song, if you read that chapter you will find David also includes about how Jehovah delivered the Israelites from Egypt.
Ps. 68:6,7 "God gives those who are alone a home to dwell in; He leads prisoners out into prosperity. But the stubborn must live in a parched land. 7 O God, when you led your people, When you marched through the desert,"
Back to Paul, he talks about the free gift of the holy spirit that men received which enabled them to be prophets, apostles, etc, then he quotes Psalms regarding these gifts in men that also speaks about how God "leads prisoners out into prosperity." So that brings us to who are these captives and prisoners?
Let's read scriptures that will shed light on exactly who these captives really are.
Luke 4:14,15 "Now Jesus returned in the power of the spirit into Gal′i·lee.......he began to teach in their synagogues, and he was held in honor by all."
Luke 4:17-21 "So the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him, and he opened the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18 “Jehovah’s spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor. He sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and a recovery of sight to the blind, to send the crushed ones away free, 19 to preach Jehovah’s acceptable year.”
20 With that he rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were intently fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them: “Today this scripture that you just heard is fulfilled.”
Here Jesus is quoting Isaiah 61:1,2 "The spirit of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah is upon me, Because Jehovah anointed me to declare good news to the meek., He sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the wide opening of the eyes to the prisoners,
2 To proclaim the year of Jehovah’s goodwill, And the day of vengeance of our God, To comfort all who mourn"
Acts 26:17,18 "And I will rescue you from this people and from the nations, to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God,
so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those sanctified by their faith in me.’
So the Bible helps us to clearly see that these captives were not people who were in Sheol with Jesus or that Jesus took captives when he was in Sheol back to heaven with him after his resurrection. But they were people who were rescued from the nations and from the authority of Satan! Jesus carried away captives by declaring the good news to them and they listened and obeyed.
In Prayer to his Father, Jesus acknowledged that these men were given to him by his Father.
John 17:6-8 "“I have made your name manifest to the men whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have observed your word. 7 Now they have come to know that all the things you gave me are from you; 8 because I have given them the sayings that you gave me, and they have accepted them and have certainly come to know that I came as your representative, and they have believed that you sent me."
In verse 9 of Ephesians Paul is simply helping us to see that Jesus came down from heaven to the earth itself and went back to heaven. This has nothing to do with him going to Hades/Sheol and carrying captives back to heaven at all!
Even some non JW commentary has this understanding:
Barnes Commentary on Ephesians 4:8
When he ascended up on high - To heaven. The Psalm is, "Thou hast ascended on high;" compare Ephesians 1:22-23.,
He led captivity captive - The meaning of this in the Psalm is, that he triumphed over his foes. The margin is, "a multitude of captives." But this, I think, is not quite the idea. It is language derived from a conqueror, who not only makes captives, but who makes captives of those who were then prisoners, and who conducts them as a part of his triumphal procession. He not only subdues his enemy, but he leads his captives in triumph. The allusion is to the public triumphs of conquerors, especially as celebrated among the Romans, in which captives were led in chains (Tacitus, Ann. xii. 38), and to the custom in such triumphs of distributing presents among the soldiers, compare also Judges 5:30, where it appears that this was also an early custom in other nations. Burder, in Res. Alt u. neu Morgenland, in loc. When Christ ascended to heaven, he triumphed ever all his foes. It was a complete victory over the malice of the great enemy of God, and over those who had sought his life. But he did more. He rescued those who were the captives of Satan, and led them in triumph. Man was held by Satan as a prisoner. His chains were around him. Christ rescued the captive prisoner, and designed to make him a part of his triumphal procession into heaven, that thus the victory might be complete - triumphing not only over the great foe himself, but swelling his procession with the attending hosts of those who "had been" the captives of Satan, now rescued and redeemed.,
And gave gifts unto men - Such as he specifies in Ephesians 4:11.
I'll talk about Jonah in a separate post