It is common knowledge in the church that the Lord conquered death, which means hell, and that afterward he ascended into heaven in glory. What the church does not know, though, is that the Lord conquered death or hell by means of battles that are tests, and in so doing also glorified his human nature; and that his suffering on the cross was the last battle or trial by which he effected the conquest and glorification.
This is treated of in many passages in the prophets and David, but not so frequently in the Gospels. In the Gospels the trials that he was subject to from his childhood are summed up in his trials in the wilderness, in his later trials by the Devil, and in the final trials he suffered in Gethsemane and on the cross.
On his trials in the wilderness and later by the Devil, see Matthew 4:1–11, Mark 1:12, 13, and Luke 4:1–13. By these, however, are meant all his trials, even to the last. He did not disclose anything more about them to his disciples, for it says in Isaiah,
He was oppressed, but did not open his mouth, like a lamb being led to slaughter. Like a sheep before its shearers he kept silence and did not open his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)
On his trials in Gethsemane, see Matthew 26:36–44, Mark 14:32–41, and Luke 22:39–46; and on his trials on the cross, see Matthew 27:33–56, Mark 15:22–38, Luke 23:33–49, and John 19:17–37. Trials are nothing more nor less than battles against the hells. On the trials or battles of the Lord, see the booklet The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Teachings (published in London) Sections 201, 302; and on trials in general see Sections 189–200 of the same work.
The Lord himself tells us in John that he completely defeated the hells by his suffering on the cross:
Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. (John 12:31)
The Lord said this when his suffering on the cross was at hand. And again,
The ruler of this world is judged. (John 16:11)
Take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
And in Luke,
Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” (Luke 10:18)
The world, the ruler of this world, Satan, and the Devil mean hell. The Lord tells us in John that he also completely glorified his human nature by his suffering on the cross:
After Judas went out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Humanity is glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and glorify him immediately.” (John 13:31, 32)
Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, so that your Son may also glorify you. (John 17:1, 5)
“Now my soul is troubled.” And he said, “Father, glorify your name.” And a voice came from heaven, saying, “I both have glorified it and will glorify it again.” (John 12:27, 28)
Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer this and enter into his glory? (Luke 24:26)
These sayings were about his suffering. Glorification is the complete union of the divine nature and the human nature, so it says “God will also glorify him in himself.”
from The Lord, Sections 12, 13