Name Above All Names
In a sense the best summary of the message of the Bible and the most fundamental truth in this universe is simply this: Jesus Christ is Lord.
Most theologians agree that “the name” that Paul refers to in verse 9 can only be “Lord” (Philippians 2:11). Here, the Greek word for “Lord” is kyrios, which is also used as the translation of God’s divine name, Yahweh, over 6,000 times in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament)—the name that is rendered in most English Bibles today as Lord. Paul’s implied use of God’s divine name emphasizes Jesus’ divinity, just after he has reminded us about Jesus’ humiliation during His time on earth.
Comprising four consonants (YHWH), Yahweh is basically unpronounceable in Hebrew—and purposefully so, for Jews did not dare take this divine name of God upon their lips. Yet Yahweh, the indescribable God, came to earth as the incarnate Christ and revealed Himself to men and women. He humbly went to the cross, and then He was raised to the highest place—His rightful place—and given this name “above every name.” Says one commentator, “He hath changed the ineffable name, into a name utterable by man and desirable by all the world.” In the one who bears this name, God’s majesty “is all arrayed in robes of mercy.”
Old Testament prophecy reinforces this idea again and again. In Isaiah 45, God gives a description that applies exclusively to Himself: “There is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me” (Isaiah 45:21). Paul, once an aggressive opponent of Christ and His followers, applies this very description to Christ, making an impressive declaration of His deity. He points out that Jesus has been publicly exalted to the position that was rightfully His even before He came to earth to suffer humiliation on our behalf. He is now seated at the Father’s right hand. His majesty is there for all who know Him as Savior to see. His identity is unclouded and undoubted.
God is the only Savior—and Jesus is that Savior, of whom it was said, “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Years after Paul had first had his eyes opened to the truth about who Jesus is, we can still catch a sense of awed reverence and love in his words to the Philippians. Jesus Christ is LORD. He possesses the name above all names. Paul never allowed familiarity with this truth to breed complacency about it. Neither must we. Pause now and allow each word to prompt you to an awed praise of this man: Jesus, the Savior of His people… Christ, the long-promised King… is LORD, the indescribable, revealed God. And you get to call Him “brother” (Hebrews 2:11).
Vision of the Son of Man
9I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”
12Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
17When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. 19Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. 20As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
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