The title of this post may have caught a few people off guard; everyone knows that God has given Jesus the name above all other names and I wholeheartedly agree. Philippians 2:9-10 says the following:-
"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth...."
Nevertheless I stand by what I said in the title of this post but before the torches and pitchforks come out please hear me out. Perhaps I should start off by saying that although I think Paul’s words have been misunderstood by many, I think that we all can agree that God has given this special name that is above all other names to Jesus. The question therefore is not meant to cause doubt as to whom Jesus is but as will be revealed later, point us to the deeper revelation that Paul was trying to convey in his letter. Secondly, I would also like to state that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in Jesus’ name (Luke 24:47), our identification in baptism is with Jesus (Acts 2:38) and there is certainly power and authority “in the name of Jesus” (Acts 3:6). Jesus is the anointed one of God, He is our Savior and King and so much more; I affirm all of that 100 percent and have no qualms about using His name. So let’s get back to what Paul was saying in Philippians 2 then and why it is important but instead of starting there we are going to have to backtrack a bit first into the Old Testament. Let's start with Isaiah:-
I am the LORD, that is my name; and my glory I will not give to another – Isaiah 42:8
God’s name was and is so special and holy to the Jews that they would not even say it or write it out, the name Yahweh in scripture gets substituted with the word LORD in capital letters, some people like to write G-d as well these days. Of course this is an incredibly simplistic version of a longer story behind the name of God but the point and my proposition is this, that the name above all names in scripture is Yahweh or YHWH if you prefer. Consider some of the scriptures below:-
O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together. – Psalm 34:3
Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise! You are the Lord God. – Nehemiah 9:5-6
Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and the heaven. – Psalm 148: 13
Even Jesus got in on this in Matthew 6:9 where in the ‘Lord’s prayer’ He says “Hallowed be Your name" which is a fancy way of saying your name alone is holy, consecrated or set apart. There is indeed one name under heaven by which men are saved (Acts 4:12) and indeed, the name Y’shua itself tells us that, for it quite literally means “Yahweh is salvation”.
Yahweh's name given to Jesus
We already know from Isaiah 42:8 what God’s name is and that He will not share His glory with another. So consider the implications of John's words in chapter 17:11 of his gospel:-
"I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are."
This is the same Jesus of whom God said “My name is in Him” (Exodus 23:21). It is the same Jesus whom the Psalmist speaks of when he said, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord (Psalm 118:26)."
This Jesus who died and rose again “has by inheritance obtained a name more excellent than the angels” (Hebrews 1:4), so that God could say to Him, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever” (Hebrews 1:8). Do you see how incredible Paul’s statement in Philippians 2 really is? He is not saying that God has simply honored Jesus’ birth name and put it on a pedestal. There are a ton of people named Jesus running around Mexico right now as well as plenty of Joshua’s right here where I live (Joshua and Jesus both come from Yeshua, they were just changed in our bibles to avoid possible confusion).
Rather, God has given Jesus His own name, meaning that Jesus is not just Lord but that He is LORD! He is wholly God along with the Father and together they are two thirds of the Trinity*. Jesus is everything we can comprehend and more.
*On a related but side note, the Holy Spirit is also called Yahweh in scripture (Corinthians 3:17). A friend pointed out to me after reading the original draft of this article that this is why we baptize people in the Name (singular rather than plural) of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit).