“Therefore, He says, ‘When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive’” (Ephesians 4:8; cf. Psalm 68:18).
Through His incarnation, death, and resurrection, Jesus has captured humanity’s vicious captors and taken them into captivity. He has destroyed “him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release(d) those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15).
By His descending into the lower parts of the earth (Ephesians 4:10), Jesus completely flipped the script of human history. He conquered sin, then took death and Hades—the vicious results of sin—captive. By victoriously capturing their keys (Revelation 1:18), He now has the authority to righteously cast Death and Hades into the lake of fire to receive the eternal condemnation of the second death (Revelation 20:14).
Because He has taken captivity captive, Satan’s death blow was but a bruise on His heel; yet—as promised in the Garden of Eden—it has resulted in a mortal wound to Satan’s head (Genesis 3:15).
Because He has taken captivity captive, death is swallowed up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54). Death no longer has its vicious sting and haunting dread. Hades’ “victory” is but momentary (1 Corinthians 15:55), for the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25) has prevailed.
Because He has taken captivity captive, “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
Because He has taken captivity captive, “let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God; yes, let them rejoice exceedingly” (Psalm 68:3).