Continuing the study about the name that is above every name, the name at which every knee shall bow…to do this topic justice the hymn Paul sites in Philippians 2:5-11 must be examined.
As I said in the previous article Philippians 2:5-11 seems to “seal the deal” , seems to leave no doubt that the name that is exalted is suppose to be “Jesus”. Let’s take a closer look at this hymn.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Paul is actually quoting from Isaiah 45:23 which says, “To me (YHWH) every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.” Just prior to that YHWH says…
“Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other…”
Say what? YHWH is stating emphatically, and I paraphrase, “There is no other God and there is no other name by which men can be saved.”
So what do we do with this? How do we reconcile what Paul is saying about Jesus.
From the last article The Name Above Every Name we noted that the translation of the word LORD (written in all capital letters) in the Old testament is actually the personal name YHWH.
Let’s compare Paul’s reworking of Isaiah 45:23 against the actual scripture…
10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
To me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear allegiance.
As a side note, notice that in Philippians Paul writes “every tongue will confess” but in the Hebrew scriptures Isaiah writes “every tongue shall swear allegiance.” So, keep tracking with me here. Most of the time the writers of the new testament are quoting the Greek Septuagint. In other word they are not quoting the Hebrew scriptures in the new testament. That is why sometimes the OT quotes in the NT read slightly differently. I do not know whether that is the case here…but…
Any who, in the Septuagint the personal name of YHWH was often translated as “Adonai” or “Lord” in English. Paul’s slight of hand may get past those who do not know that Paul is quoting YHVH’s own words about Himself from Isaiah 45 and now attributing them to Jesus. Quite frankly in some religious circles Paul’s rewriting of the scripture would be considered nothing short of blasphemy! As He inserts “Jesus” name into the position that is held only by YHVH. With one fell swoop of the pen, Paul proclaims that Jesus is YHVH and that the name of Jesus has replaced the name of YHVH.
He dares to do this even in light of YHVH’s own proclamation in…
“This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation. Exodus 3:15
You shall fear only YHVH your God and worship Him and swear by His name only. Deut 6:13
YHVH is, according to the meaning of His own personal name, no cosmic charlatan, he performs no slight of hand to confuse His people, He is YHVH the ever existent one who never changes.
To conclude the matter, one should ask themselves and search out the answer to this very important question:
Who gave Paul the authority to perform this slight of hand with God’s holy scriptures? (Deuteronomy 4:2)
So, my usual disclaimer is in order here, I am no Biblical or Hebrew Scholar…as always, I encourage you to search out these things for yourself. Dig deeper into God’s holy word, deeper than you ever have. You might be surprised at what you discover for yourself.