Answers to Correspondents: Led Captivity Captive; The Healing of Sick; ROM 3:30; Now the Lord is that Spirit; 1st Resurrection

Ephesians 1:8; James 5; Romans 3:30; 2 Corinthians 3
Q.-What is the meaning of led " captivity-captive" in Eph. 1:88Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; (Ephesians 1:8), and where did Jesus go while this body was in the grave, and for what," purpose did He go to these lower parts of the earth?
Ans.—Christ by his work upon the Cross has completely annulled Satan's power over man, and taken him captive who held man in captivity, and thus, as to those who are His, He has set them free from Satan's dominion and received gifts for them, thus delivered, by which they become the means of delivering others- In dying, Jesus commended His soul to His Father and went to Paradise, or the third heaven, of which Paul speaks in 2 Cor. 2, and thither he was shortly followed by the thief. Christ is now,in the Paradise, of God in His glorified body, and the souls of saints are with Him there. The lower parts of the earth simply means the grave. Before ascending on high Christ descended into the darkness of the grave and death, and His purpose hi going there was to deliver man from that state, of which till then Satan had the power.
Q.-Do you think the passage in James 5, as to the healing of sick, is still in force?
Ans.—As far as " the prayer of faith " is concerned we believe fully, and doubt not that God does still answer such prayer in healing without means the sick. We have known very marked instances ourselves of this. The directions given the 14th verse are not now practicable, for the simplest of all reasons; " elders of the church" can't be found. The Church here signifies the one assembly of all believers in any given locality, and the divinely appointed elders in such church or assembly. The man-made eiders of some particular religious body, called a church, in any place are not this. The Church is in ruins, through man's unfaithfulness, and elders, in the true, Scriptural sense, are not to be found! We stand in doubt of much that has gone on in Germany under the name of healing the sick by anointing with oil and prayer over them, nut that we doubt, as we have said, the efficacy of prayer in the case of the sick. "The prayer of faith" God always hears and answers.
Ames.—That which the Apostle means to teach here is that God is not limited in His dealings in grace to Jews, and that justification being solely on the principle of faith, whether it was a Jew or a Gentile that was in question, they were equally justified on this principle of faith. There is a shade of difference supplied in the " by " and the " through." One being the principle, and the other the ground. The Jew was to be justified on the principle of faith, and the Gentile, looked as having faith in the case supposed, was justified because of his faith, justification being on that principle.
Q.-What is the meaning of "Now the Lord is that Spirit," in 2 Cor. 3
Ans.—At present the vail is on the heart of the Jews, but in a future day they will turn to the Lord, and the vail being taken away, they will see that Jesus Christ is the Lord, this will be when Christ is manifested in the millennium; but now Christ is not manifested, He is known Spirit, as revealed by the Holy Ghost to faith. The vail is done away in Christ now, for faith, so that those who see Him see the Lord, i. e., Jehovah, and have His glory. revealed to them by the Spirit. Jehovah is the Spirit, and the Spirit is Jehovah. Christ is Jehovah, or the Lord, and thus in the divine unity " the Lord is that Spirit." You can't separate Christ from the Spirit. In seeing one you see the other. It is the mystery of the God-head, and is similar to the truth of the presence of the Father in the Son when on earth. " He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father," Christ says. Here it is the oneness of Christ with the Spirit, there it was of Christ with the Father.
Q.-Does the first resurrection include those saints that will be slain after the Church has gone to be with Christ? Is there any interval between the first resurrection and the judgment of the world at the coming of Christ; and is Satan cast down from heaven directly the Church is taken up?
Ans.—The first resurrection certainly includes those slain after the Church has gone. " Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection," though of course true of all saints, is spoken with special reference to those who have been thus slain. The first resurrection concludes, so to speak, with these; -see Rev. 20;4:5, G. It is the character of the resurrection that is here in question.. There would seem to be an interval of time between the conclusion of the first resurrection and the judgment of the world. An interval during which the marriage of the Lamb takes place, at which such saints, though not in the Bride, will be present as sharing in their Lord's joys, as subsequently they will do in His royal power. I gather from Rev. 12, that it is consequent upon the Church's rapture, as included in that of the man child, that the casting down of Satan takes place, and it would seem to be at once.