UNDER THE EARTH
Question: What does the phrase under the earth in Philippians 2:10 mean? Is it the same as your explanation for 1 Peter 3:19 in the first issue of this magazine? (Wong, Chekiang)
Answer: Hades (of which Paradise is a part) is under the earth. We have the following verses to prove it: Acts 2:31 compared to Matthew 12:40; Numbers 16:30-33. Tartarus (hell in 2 Pet. 2:4) means the deepest pit. Naturally, it is also under the earth. The bottomless pit is also under the earth (Rev. 9:1-2). So Philippians 2:10 means that the Lord Jesus is the Lord over everything in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, for there is a spirit world under the earth.
Question: How to explain Ephesians 4:8-10? (Wong, Chekiang)
Answer: In the preceding verse Paul was speaking of the gift of the Lord Jesus. Now he wants to show that the Lord is the Giver of the gift, and the gifts are for men. "When He ascended up on high, He led the one who captures men captive" (original text). Who was the Lord Jesus’ captive? The one who captures men is Satan (Heb. 2:14; Col. 2:15). When the believers died, they would have been imprisoned by the devil. This is the meaning of captivity. Therefore, the devil is called "the one who captures men." But when the Lord Jesus resurrected and ascended, He captured the men-capturing Satan, thus enabling the saints, though in Hades, to escape from the power of the devil. (This is why (1) the gates of Hades shall not prevail against the church, (2) the keys of Hades are in the Lord’s hand, and (3) Hades becomes Paradise to the saints (Luke 23:43)). Matthew 27:52-53 is a proof of this. "And gave gifts to men." Before Christ resurrected and ascended, He did not give gifts to men. He first warred, then He won the victory. These gifts are the gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Ephesians 4:11. He died, He won the victory, and He gave gifts to men. But from where did He "ascend"? He first "descended into the lower parts of the earth." He died, descended into Hades, and overcame Satan and the power of death; then He ascended. "He who descended, He is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens." The One who descended is also the One who ascended. What was the purpose for Him to do all these things? It is for the purpose that He would "fill all things." When He descended, He gained all under the earth; when He ascended, He gained the heavens. The meaning of the whole passage is that since the Lord Jesus died, resurrected, ascended, overcame the enemy, and filled all things, He is able to give gifts to men. These words are a quote of Psalm 68:18-19. He had to ascend on high to take the enemy captive before He could give gifts to men. (In Psalm 68:18, "the rebellious" refers to the Jews. Because this second part of the verse has nothing to do with the Gentiles, the apostle only quoted the first half of this verse). In Ephesians 4:9 and 10 the apostle proves that the Lord Jesus is that One who ascended and who took captives.
Question: Jehovah promised David that He would establish his kingdom forever, that his throne would be established forever, and so forth (2 Sam. 7). God simply wanted to fulfill this word in Christ (Acts 13:23; Matt. 2:5-6). Later, David gave the seal of the kingdom to his son, Solomon, who succeeded him on his throne as the bona fide king (1 Kings 1 --2). If this were the case, his throne should have continued until Christ, according to the Lord’s promise. However, as we see in Jeremiah 22:30, because Jeconiah committed sins, Jehovah cut off his seed and did not allow him to be king to sit upon the throne of David! How then could his descendant, Jesus, sit upon the throne of David?
Answer: This matter shows that the Lord Jesus had to be born through the virgin Mary. It does not mean that Jeconiah did not have any sons. Jeremiah 22 merely says that his sons cannot be king. Matthew 1:12 even says that he begot Salathiel. Matthew 1:16 says, "...Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ." Christ was not born of Joseph. Joseph was the descendant of Jeconiah (Matt. 1:12-16), but the Lord Jesus was not the descendant of Joseph. Hence, He was not the descendant of Jeconiah and could therefore sit upon the throne of David. If, according to the modernists, the Lord Jesus had been born of Joseph, then they would not have the right to call Him Christ.
Question: According to 1 Chronicles 3:15-16, 2 Kings 24:17, and 2 Chronicles 36:10, is Zedekiah Jehoiakim’s uncle or brother?
Answer: Zedekiah was Jehoiakim’s uncle (2 Kings 24:17). Wordsworth said that in the original text of 2 Chronicles 36:10, the words his brother could be translated "his father’s brother," that is, his uncle. Concerning 1 Chronicles 3:15-16, we should know the way in which the writer wrote the genealogy. Zedekiah was Josiah’s third son (v. 15). But why was Zedekiah also the son of his nephew Jeconiah? (Verse 16 should be translated, "Jehoiakim’s son is Jeconiah. Jeconiah’s son is Zedekiah.") It is because the sons here are like the Chinese succession of rulers: a person appoints his uncle to succeed him as the ruler, so the uncle becomes his son. Here is a record of the genealogy of all the legal rulers. Zedekiah succeeded Jeconiah as king, so his name was recorded twice. If this is not the explanation, how can it be possible that the same person is recorded wrongly from one verse to the next! If we understand the style of the Bible, we will have fewer doubts.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 07: The Christian (5), Chapter 16, by Watchman Nee)