“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in 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).
The “wherefore” in our text connects all that Paul has written before about the humility and humiliation of the Lord Jesus Christ with His exaltation. What He suffered on our behalf is one of the reasons why the name of Jesus is above all names. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour” (Hebrew 2:9) … “For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:5-6).
Paul makes it abundantly clear that the name of Jesus is the most important name in Heaven, on Earth and in Hell. No other name holds such honour and glory because it is a name above all others. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
“Every knee”, atheist, agnostic and heathen too, will have to bow before the “Lord of glory” (James 2:1, 1 Corinthians 2:8). They will freely acknowledge that He is the Almighty God, Creator, Sustainer, Messiah and Redeemer. Every member of those cults which deny His divinity will see Him “highly exalted” as He sits on His Throne as “Lord of lords, and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14). While they lived, they stripped Him of His divinity through their theology, but when they stand before the “great white throne” (Revelation 20:11), they will have no choice but to admit that He is “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15).
Every man, woman and devil will kneel before the Lord Jesus Christ. “Every tongue” will declare that His name is “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Sadly their confession of faith will be too late to save them. Everyone and everything will be under Him on that glorious day. “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:21). Salvation is only granted to those on earth who confess that He is Lord. At this moment the name of Jesus is used as a curse word and is dishonoured by evil men and false religion, but how devastating in is going to be for them when they appear before Him! “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
Some may argue that while all this is true regarding the Lord Jesus Christ, it would be a step to far to say that He is indeed God. They say that He may be Lord but that does not automatically mean He is divine. By simply reading Philippians 2:9-11 alongside Isaiah 45:22-23 such objections are blown clear out of the murky water of unsound theology. “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” If all will have to bow their knee and confess Christ as Lord, then it must mean that He is God.
The words “Jesus Christ is Lord” can have no other meaning than ‘Jesus Christ is Jehovah’. The apostle Paul knew exactly what he was doing when he quoted from Isaiah, therefore the text cannot be a reference to making Jesus personal Lord since “things under the earth” cannot do this, therefore it can only mean that He is Almighty God, the Supreme Ruler of all creation. “Things under the earth” include all the lost and the fallen angels, each must give Him homage even if it is only out of fear and terror rather than love. “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19). We are presented with the fact that Jesus is the supreme Lord of Heaven and Earth. Something those in Hell acknowledge without question. “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:11-12) … “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:13) … “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18).
There is a big difference in calling Jesus “Lord” and truly believing and living as though He is. Some think that saying Jesus is Lord means automatic salvation, but there is more to it than that. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9). There has to be true faith in the heart rather than using the words as a ticket to escape Hell, and how many only use His name as a kind of fire insurance! Only someone who has truly repented and has been drawn by the Holy Spirit can know Christ as Lord. “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost” (1 Corinthians 12:3). The word ”Lord” (Gk. ‘kurios’) means ‘owner’ and ‘master’. It is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew ‘Adonai’, which in turn is the name the Jews used as a substitute for ‘Jehovah’. The word is used in the New Testament for ‘God’, therefore to refuse Christ the fullest meaning of this name is to dishonour Him. Do we see why the cults and false religions never confess that Jesus is the Almighty God?
To confess the divinity of Jesus honours and brings glory to the Father, not to do so makes that person His enemy. Jesus is the focus of our worship and praise. We must acknowledge His Lordship and adore Him as Almighty God. One day all who have denied Him will declare themselves to be the biggest fools of all. “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1).