According to the Apostle’s Creed (see also 1 Peter 4:6 and Ephesians 4:9), the first thing Christ does after his crucifixion is to visit the realm of the dead.
In anticipation of his resurrection, however, he does not intend to stay as their guest. Rather, he comes to liberate those destined to share in his eternal life.
In this magnificent aria by Handel, the Angel of the Lord pounds on the gates of hell to announce the arrival of a Victor who comes to spoil the kingdom of death:
Be unbarred, ye gates of Avernus, and let your dismal darkness be dispelled by the radiance of the eternal God! Yield, dread gates, yield to the King of Glory, for yours is the first submission to His victorious might!
Since that first submission of the dismal darkness, Christ has led his people to victory after victory. May this Easter be an occasion of renewed spiritual triumph for each of us!
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