Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Name Above Every Name

Reading: Philippians 2  
Philippians 2 is one of my favorite chapters in Scripture because of the clarity with which it spells out the Gospel (how Christ redeemed us), while simultaneously drawing lines from the Gospel to how we are to think and live. Last Sunday we saw the wonderful truth of drawing lines from Ephesians; in Philippians Paul makes the connections even more succinctly. In this same text that draws these lines with such clarity, we also have one of the most glorious truths of the Gospel made explicit.
5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11 NIV)
Verse 5 tells us that we are to think the same way Christ did when He came seeking and saving the lost (as described in vv 6-8). Christ was the demonstrated humility perfectly laying down his very rights as God, living poor and subject to the same conditions we mortals live under. Then verses 9-11, show how the Father multiplied and restored back to Him what He laid down. For Jesus that means being given the name that is above every name!
What is that name that is above every name? Is it the name Jesus? Or, is it the name YHWH? Or, as I will suggest, is it the declaration that Jesus is YHWH—that every tongue will declare that Jesus Messiah is indeed YHWH God to the glory of God the Father? In order to see what I am suggesting we only have to look at the text Paul is quoting from in Isaiah. As you read, keep in mind that LORD is written where the Hebrew is YHWH, the name by which God revealed Himself to Israel (see also Isaiah 42:8).
21…Was it not I, the LORD (YHWH)? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. 22"Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. 23By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. 24They will say of me, 'In the LORD (YHWH) alone are deliverance and strength. '" All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. 25But all the descendants of Israel will find deliverance in the LORD (YHWH) and will make their boast in him. (Isaiah 45:21-25)
YHWH is very jealous that His name and glory not be given to another, to an idol, to a false savior. But the Father has been very pleased to have the man Jesus (because the Son humbled Himself and became man), who is the Messiah (Christ), exalted to the highest place in the universe and given a name above every name (I can only think of One name that high) that at the name of Jesus (the man who was crucified for our sin) every knee in heaven and earth would bow and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord. Lord (kurios) is YHWH's name translated in the Greek Old Testament (LXX) in Isaiah 45:14-16 as the One speaking in Isaiah 45:21-25. The Greek word for Lord, kurios, is used in Isaiah 42:8 LXX for the Hebrew YHWH (I am kurios—the Lord), that is my name! Now we are to declare that Jesus Christ is YHWH! To declare Jesus Christ as Lord, while paraphrasing Isaiah 45:23, is nothing other than to declare Jesus Christ as YHWH! That is giving Him the name that is above every name!
The next time someone knocks on your door and suggests that we are not to worship Jesus but only Jehovah (just a variation on YHWH by adding vowels differently—YeHoWaH rather than YaHWeH), remember that every knee will eventually bow and every tongue will eventually declare that Jesus Christ is Jehovah (YHWH) to the glory of God the Father! So start proclaiming it now!
Love the Gospel, Live the Gospel, Advance the Gospel,