The Name of Jesus

Philippians 2: 9-11 says:

“For this reason God highly exalted Him [Jesus/Joshua]
and gave Him the name
that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus [Joshua]
every knee will bow—
of those who are in heaven and on earth
and under the earth—
11 and every tongue should confess
that Jesus [Joshua] Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”

This passage of Scripture is often used by Christians to say that the name Jesus/Joshua/ Yehoshua/ Yeshua is the name which is above every name. But is that what the text above is actually saying?

To better understand this text we need to go into the Old Testament when God revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush.

Ex. 3: 13-14 says: “Moses said to God, ‘Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them? God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ [YHWH/YAHWEH] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (NIV)

Then Psalm 8: 1 says: “Lord [YAHWEH], our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (NIV)

Isaiah 45: 18-23 says the following;

“For You, Lord [YAHWEH],
are the Most High over all the earth;
You are exalted above all the gods (Psalm 97: 9, NIV)

For this is what the Lord [YAHWEH] says—
God is the Creator of the heavens.
He formed the earth and made it.
He established it;
He did not create it to be empty,
but formed it to be inhabited—
“I am Yahweh,
and there is no other.
19 I have not spoken in secret,
somewhere in a land of darkness.
I did not say to the descendants of Jacob:
Seek Me in a wasteland.
I, Yahweh, speak truthfully;
I say what is right.

20 “Come, gather together,
and draw near, you fugitives of the nations.
Those who carry their wooden idols,
and pray to a god who cannot save,
have no knowledge.
21 Speak up and present your case—
yes, let them take counsel together.
Who predicted this long ago?
Who announced it from ancient times?
Was it not I, Yahweh?
There is no other God but Me,
a righteous God and Savior;
there is no one except Me.
22 Turn to Me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth.
For I am God,
and there is no other.
23 By Myself I have sworn;
Truth has gone from My mouth,
a word that will not be revoked:
Every knee will bow to Me [YAHWEH],
every tongue will swear allegiance. (HCSB)

From these verses of Scripture we see that it is God’s name (YHWH/YAHWEH) which is majestic in all the earth, supreme above all other names and unto which every knee will bow and every tongue swear allegiance.

How then should we truly understand Philippians 2: 9-11 which says that God gave Jesus the name that is above every name and that at the name of Jesus/Joshua every knee will bow
of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth?

Is the name Yehoshua/Yeshua/Joshua which means “YAHWEH is salvation” above the actual name YAHWEH?

Yehoshua/Yeshua/Joshua was a very common name when Christ was on earth.

Did those other people who were also named Yehoshua/Yeshua/Joshua have a name which is above the name YAHWEH?

Did Moses’ aide Yehoshua/Yeshua/Joshua (the first person recorded in the Bible as having that name) have a name which is above the name YAHWEH?

In fact they are many people today who are still named Yehoshua/Yeshua/Joshua/Jesus. Are their names above the name YAHWEH?

Of course not! The Bible emphatically says that the name YAHWEH is in and of itself the name
that is above every name and the person bearing that name is the One to whom every knee shall bow.

What then does Philippians 2: 9-11really mean?

Jesus himself gave the answer in his high priestly prayer recorded in John 17: 1-3 & vs.11 which reads as follows:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus [Joshua] Christ, whom you have sent…  I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name [YAHWEH], the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.”

Here Jesus [Joshua] the Messiah says that his name is YAHWEH!

He said the same thing in John 8: 58-59 where he used the Divine name of God in reference in himself. Speaking to the Jews Jesus said “before Abraham was born, I am!” The Greek word for “I Am” which Jesus used was “egō eimi” which is the equivalent of the Hebrew YHWH/YAHWEH as translated in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. The Jews took up stones to stone him because they considered him to be a blasphemer for making such a claim about himself.

Thus Philippians 2: 9-11 should really be understood in the following way:

“For this reason God highly exalted Him [Jesus/Joshua]
and gave Him the name [YAHWEH]
that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus [i.e. YAHWEH]
every knee will bow—
of those who are in heaven and on earth
and under the earth—
11 and every tongue should confess
that Jesus [Joshua] Christ is Lord [Kurious which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Adonai (LORD) which is the Hebrew reference to YAHWEH]
to the glory of God the Father.”

Jesus/Joshua the Messiah (Christ) is YAHWEH!

Conclusion

Jesus/Joshua is his earthly/human name which was and still is very common (see Mat. 1: 21)

His Divine & Heavenly name, however, is YAHWEH (see John 17: 1-3)

That’s the name which is above every name and He (Jesus) because of his Divine name (YHAWH, identifying him as God) is the person to whom every knee shall bow in submission.

Jesus is indeed the God-Man!

 

*Roger Marshall is executive director of Project PROBE Ministries, a Barbados based Christian apologetics organisation.

©2017

 

 

 

 

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