When the Lord ascended on high He gave gifts to men.
Ascended from where?
The next two verses are a parenthetical statement that tell us…
Therefore it says,
“WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH,
HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES,
AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”
(Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?
He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)
When Jesus died, He descended to the lower part of the earth.
Hear what the Word says…
for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
1 Peter 3:18-20
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
The Lord descended.
The Lord preached unto the spirits in prison…kept in a place…I think those are from Genesis 6.
This is not a “preaching” unto salvation. This is a proclamation of victory over death.
He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.
I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
He ascended and is seated at the right hand of Father on the throne.
He has released His gifts in us.