At the Name of Jesus

 •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 11
God has given Christ the place of universal and absolute supremacy. Hence it says, “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” (Phil. 2:10-1110That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10‑11)). By this is meant that it is God’s will that every creature in the universe shall sooner or later acknowledge the supremacy and lordship of the exalted and glorified Jesus. If the confession of the mouth proceeds from a living faith in Christ, it will be salvation for all who make it (see Rom. 10:8-138But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9That 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. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:8‑13)). But all outside of this blessed class—all unrepentant men, all the angels who have been preserved in their created perfection, all the angels who have fallen, and all demons and infernal beings—will own or be compelled by power to own the authority and lordship of the glorified Jesus. God will not suffer a single sentient creature to be outwardly rebellious toward His beloved Son. They may hate Him in their hearts, but they will be made to bow the knee to the once humbled and now glorified Jesus. Their lips will have to confess that He, Jesus Christ, is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Every Knee Shall Bow
Let us then examine the actual words of this scripture. It says, “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” Things in heaven will include all celestial existences—all the heavenly hosts, and things on earth will plainly indicate men. The only difficulty lies in the phrase “under the earth.” The word itself (for it is one word in Greek) points admittedly to that which is subterranean. But in classical usage, it went further and comprised evil spirits, and when it is recalled that, during the sojourn of our blessed Lord in this world, demons were compelled to own His authority and even to confess His name and that, as James teaches, they “believe, and tremble,” there is a strong assurance that they are in view in this scripture. There is another scripture which, though apparently of the same significance, is yet quite different. In Revelation 5:1313And 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 honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. (Revelation 5:13) we read, “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 honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.” The term “under the earth” here is not the same as in Philippians; it means every animate thing under the surface of the earth. It thus looks onward to the fulfillment of the last verse of Psalm 150, “Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord,” and anticipates the praise of the whole creation.
But when will this universal acknowledgment of the authority of Christ, together with the confession of His lordship, take place? It is not a question here of His deity, although this is never to be forgotten, but rather of the place which God has accorded to Him as the Man who became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Together with His exaltation in this character, the decree has been issued that all created intelligences must bow to and own His sovereignty. In seeking to answer the question, we may take the three circles of beings in their order.
Things in Heaven
First, let us consider things in heaven. In Hebrews 1:66And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. (Hebrews 1:6) we read, “Let all the angels of God worship Him”; this is in connection with the introduction of the first-begotten into the world. In Revelation 5:1212Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. (Revelation 5:12) we are permitted to hear ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of angels “saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” Their acknowledgment of His supremacy will be constant and perpetual; commencing with the moment of His exaltation, it will go on forever.
Things on Earth
The submission of the second circle—that of things on earth—will be more gradual. It began on the day of Pentecost, for Peter’s testimony on that day was that God had made that same Jesus, whom the Jews had crucified, both Lord and Christ. Everyone who, through grace, received this testimony did, in effect, bow the knee to Christ. So with everyone converted since that day, right on until the close of the day of grace. After the church has been removed, there will still be a mighty work of grace (Rev. 7), and during the millennium the glorious prediction of Psalm 72:1111Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him. (Psalm 72:11) will be fulfilled: “Yea, all kings shall fall down before Him: all nations shall serve Him.” During this reign of righteousness, man will not dare, whatever the thoughts of their hearts, to rebel against the sovereign rule of Christ, except at the cost of instant destruction. Outwardly, therefore, all will be in professed submission to His government. And is it not a delight to contemplate this prospect, when the once humbled and rejected Christ will be universally exalted, even upon this earth? The scene that once witnessed His shame and ignominy will then behold His exaltation and glory, and from millions of hearts will go up the glad confession that it is His rightful due, as they sing, “Blessed be His glorious name forever: and let the whole earth be filled with His glory; Amen, and Amen” (Psa. 72:1919And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen. (Psalm 72:19)).
Things Under the Earth
In regard to the last circle, we have fewer positive scriptures to guide us, although the fact is stated over and over again, that no being in the universe will be exempt from subjugation to His authority. (See, for example, Ephesians 1:20-2220Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21Far 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: 22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, (Ephesians 1:20‑22) and 1 Corinthians 15:24-2824Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:24‑28).) The time when “the angels which kept not their first estate” will be dealt with is distinctly stated to be at “the judgment of the great day” (Jude 66And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. (Jude 6)). And we learn from Revelation 20 that the devil himself will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, immediately before the great white throne, where all the dead, small and great, will receive their everlasting reward. Demons are not here mentioned, but there can be no doubt that they are included in the judgment of their leader and chief. The final judgment, therefore, whether of the fallen angels, of Satan himself, or of the multitudes of the unconverted dead, will take place at the close of all God’s dealings with this world.
Before this last session of judgment commences, the earth and the heaven will have fled away from the face of Him who will sit upon the great white throne, for this final scene of the establishment of God’s holy claims is preparatory to the introduction of the new heavens and the new earth, where righteousness will dwell. God’s purposes concerning the glory of His beloved Son will then have been accomplished.
Even the exaltation and glory of Christ has an object. It is, as we read, “to the glory of God the Father.” If His eternal counsels concerning Christ and His redeemed have flowed forth from His own heart, they will in their accomplishment redound to His own displayed glory before the eyes of the whole universe. It is for the believer to anticipate this, and surely the contemplation of this glorious end of all God’s ways will so fill his heart with adoration that he will exclaim in the inspired words of the apostle, “Of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:3636For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)).
E. Dennett (adapted)