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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Parnell

The Identity of God and the Name of Jesus (Philippians 2:10-11)

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. —Philippians 2:10-11

When Paul says that “Jesus Christ is Lord” he is alluding to some verses in the Old Testament, the book of Isaiah, chapter 45. So to get what he’s saying let’s take a closer look. Isaiah 45:22-23 —

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; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’

There Is No Other

Isaiah 45 is this end-time vision of the LORD receiving universal worship. All the ends of the earth will bow before him. Part of this universal worship is the affirmation of the LORD’s sovereign, unique identity. This bowing before the LORD is a recognition that he alone is the one true God. This is repeated throughout this section: the LORD says “besides me there is no other” and besides me there is no god” . . . “I am the LORD, and there is no other” (Isaiah 43:11; 44:6, 8; 45:5-6, 14, 18).

The theme of this section in Isaiah (that Paul quotes from) is the LORD’s unique divine identity, it is about his name, who he is.

Who God Is

The Bible unpacks for us who God is. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the Creator of all things, the Redeemer of Israel, the Sovereign one who is slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

The LORD is the one true God and there is no other. And so as the one true God, the LORD, says “To me every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess.” This bowing before and confessing the LORD is based upon his identity, because of who he is everything will honor him.

It’s At the Name of Jesus

And in Philippians 2, Paul takes this phrase “every knee and every tongue” and he inserts “at the name of Jesus.” This kind of universal worship, we see in Isaiah 45, belongs only to the LORD Almighty. And Paul is here saying that it is at the name of Jesus that this kind of worship will happen.

So it’s clear: Paul is declaring Jesus as the unique divine identity. Jesus is LORD, that is the name bestowed upon him. God exalting Jesus is him saying, “Jesus is the LORD Almighty.” Jesus is who God is. . . .

If you want to know who God is, look at Jesus.


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