THE NAME WHICH IS ABOVE EVERY NAME – Philippines 2


Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name; that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:9‭-‬11 ASV

The exaltation here is contrasted not with the pre-existent eternal Godhead of Christ, but with the humiliation of his incarnation, the one new element in it being in this, that “He is exalted in the very nature in which he died.”

Thus human nature has been elevated and made to sit on the right hand of God in the person of Christ.

The name which is above every name …This name is the completed title, The Lord Jesus Christ.

The name in view here “is Lord, [KURIOS], the Old Testament name for God.

In light of Philippians 2:11, the supreme name is that of `Lord.’

The root meaning of this term ([KURIOS]) was used in Septuagint (LXX) to translate the divine name Yahweh.

The word “Lord” denotes rulership based upon competent and authoritative power.

The identity of the expression Lord Jesus Christ with the sacred unpronounceable name of GOD as known to the Jews was commented upon thus by Taylor:

God changed the ineffable name into a name utterable by man, and desirable by the world; the majesty is all arrayed in robes of mercy.

The tetragrammaton, adorable mystery of the patriarchs, is made firm for pronunciation and expression when it becomes the name of the Lord’s Christ.

Because of John 17th chapter, this strongly inclines to the name as “The Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ himself first revealed the sacred compound title Jesus Christ in John 17:3, the very night in which he declared himself to be the Christ.

In the name of Jesus … It is wrong to read this “at the name of Jesus,” giving rise to the superstitious practice of genuflecting at every mention of the name “Jesus.” “In the name of” means “by the authority of,” and one thing in view here is that prayers shall be universally offered in the sacred name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This great title by which Jesus came to be known in the early church was [KURIOS]:

(1) It began by meaning master or owner.

(2) It became the official title of the Roman emperors;

(3) it became the title of the heathen gods; and it was the title used to translate the sacred four-letter unpronounceable name of God in the Old Testament.

So then when Jesus was called KURIOS, it meant he was the Master and Owner of Life, the King of kings, the true Lord in a way which heathen gods could never be; he was nothing less than Divine.

As to the meaning of things in heaven … earth … under the earth, etc., such actions as knees bending and tongues confessing are universally associated with human beings.

Therefore, unless it can be proved that these words are highly poetical, the view which refers these designations to persons (and not things) deserves the preference.

It is also possible that this as a reference to “angels, men and devils” could be correct. However construed, the words speak of the absolute and total supremacy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The use of “should” in this place does not imply any uncertainty.

As regards the present life only, the teaching of this place details what people ought to do, “should” do, and not what they will do; for it is a fact that many live and die without confessing the Saviour.

However, there are overtones of eternity in the passage, and with reference to the ultimate future, all people, high and low, good or bad, saved or unsaved “shall” surely confess Christ to the glory of God the Father. See Revelation 6:15-17.

Here is the great truth that comforted and sustained the weary prisoner chained to a Roman guard; this was the reason why martyrs died with the blessed name of Jesus on their lips; and here is the basic conviction of the redeemed of all ages, namely, that Jesus Christ our Lord is supreme, our only Lord, seated at the right hand of God.

However, we cannot agree with some scholars who take “Jesus is Lord” to be the total creed, and the first-creed, of the early church.

Of course, such a view is tailor-made to fit the foolish notion that the religion of Christ grew, developed or evolved.

It did no such thing.

True Christianity was revealed in its entirety by Christ; and, while true enough that the apostles required some time fully to understand and practice his teachings, none of the apostles ever went beyond the basic revelation by Jesus Christ himself.

In this context, everything mentioned in this Philippian letter was commonly accepted Christian doctrine.

Even the profound teaching of the pre-incarnation glory and Godhead of Christ as related to his humiliation, death and ultimate glorification – all of this was a part of the basic fundamental creed of the first Christians.

How else could Paul have referred to such things, not as new doctrine but as a well-known, long-received argument favoring their humility?

Remember it was only 30 years since Christ was crucified when Paul wrote this letter.

The writings of Paul are the effective refutation of any notion that the Christians did not generally refer to Jesus as Lord until long after the resurrection.

Christ himself thus referred to himself in Matthew 7:21 and many other places in the New Testament.

What do these verses contain?

The answer is that they contain most of the distinctive articles of the Christian creed.

They teach the divinity of Christ, his pre-existence, his equality with God the Father, his incarnation and true humanity, his voluntary death on the cross, the certainty of his ultimate triumph over evil and the permanence of his ultimate reign.

Then how foolish in the light of these statements are the views of scholars who attempt to dismiss the distinct doctrines of Christianity as late developments in the history of an historically conditioned and slowly evolving church.

There was no evolution of these doctrines … the doctrines themselves were always known (from Christ himself).

Christianity is Christ – this Christ; and these things were believed about him from the beginning!

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Philippians 4:19‭-‬20 RSV

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