Chapter 23: Supremely Exalted

Philippians 2:9‑11  •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 9
“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.”
“Wherefore God also supremely-exalted Him, and bestowed-on Him the Name, the (Name) supreme-above every name, that in the Name JESUS every knee should-bow, of-(things) heavenly and earthly and infernal, and every tongue should publicly-confess that JESUS CHRIST (is) LORD, to (the) glory of God (the) Father.”
In the earlier verses of this chapter, we have seen how the Lord of Glory, (as someone has beautifully remarked), “laid aside His garments; and took a towel and girded Himself” (John 13:44He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. (John 13:4)). Now let us see the upward path:
1. Wherefore God also supremely-exalted Him,
2. And bestowed on Him the Name, The (Name) supreme-above every name,
3. That in the Name JESUS every knee should bow,
4. Of (things) heavenly
5. And earthly
6. And infernal,
7. And every tongue should publicly-confess that JESUS CHRIST (is) LORD, to the glory of God the Father.
“Wherefore” is the word with which His exaltation begins. It reminds us of our Lord’s own words, repeated twice: “He that humbleth himself, shall be exalted” (Luke 18:1414I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke 18:14)). And none ever humbled himself as the Lord of Glory: well is it indeed that He should be supremely-exalted! “HE humbled Himself,” (vs. 8) but, not, you will note, “He exalted Himself”. No, “GOD supremely-exalted Him.” Nor may we pass by that little word “also.” “Wherefore God also supremely-exalted Him.” In the Greek it is placed in a very emphatic position: as if to contrast God’s thoughts of His Son with man’s treatment of Him.
“Supremely-exalted” is one word in the Greek. The Spirit of God through Paul loves to add to many words the little word “huper,” (which corresponds to our word “super”), and we have translated it here, “supremely.” Examples of other words to which “huper” is added are: “supremely-above” in Eph. 1:2121Far 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) & 4:10; “super-intercede,” Rom. 8:2626Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (Romans 8:26); “super-conqueror,” Rom. 8:3737Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Romans 8:37); and there are a number of others. How well this word of “supreme-exaltation” fits the position due to such supreme-humiliation! It is the only place in the New Testament where it is found; as though the Spirit of God had reserved it for this special passage.
There were seven steps downward in our Lord’s humiliation; and there seem to be seven steps upward in His exaltation: (as shown in the arrangement above of this scripture): this is the first, “God also supremely-exalted Him.” The aorist tense is used, meaning one act: as though in it is included His resurrection up from the grave: His ascension up to heaven, and on up to the throne, at God’s right hand.
The second step is “He bestowed on Him the name, the (name) supreme-above every name. ‘Bestowed’ is used as a translation of a Greek word formed from the word always used for grace.” One would like to say, God “graced Him with the name,” but that might convey more the thought of graceful, than gracious, or free-giving. It is the same word used in chapter 1:29, when God bestowed on us not only the privilege of believing in Him, but also to suffer for His sake. (And let us remember if we suffer we shall also reign). The better reading is not “given him a name,” (vs. 9) but, “the Name.” It is a special name, “the name) supreme-above every name.” The word here translated “supreme-above” is again huper, that was joined to “exalted” in that first step upwards. We may ask, “What is ‘the name’?”. Some think it to be the mystic name JEHOVAH: others, that it may be “My new name” in Rev. 3:1212Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. (Revelation 3:12). But from what follows, “That in the name JESUS every knee should bow,” I cannot but think that JESUS is “the name, the (name) supreme above every name.” Let us remember that the name JESUS means JEHOVAH the-SAVIOR. And let us remember also Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Mr. Kelly writes: “The lowly name that was His as Nazarene on the earth must be honored everywhere. God’s glory is concerned in it. In the name of Jesus, or, in virtue of His name every knee shall bow.” It may be “in the name of JESUS,” (Col. 3:1717And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Colossians 3:17)) or, it may be, “in the name Jesus” (Col. 3:1717And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Colossians 3:17)); I confess I like the latter translation: but it might be either.
“Every knee should bow” (vs. 10). I write in a Moslem land, where all around are those who put the name “Mehommed” above the name JESUS: nor will they bow to that worthy name, for they will not acknowledge Him as GOD. But the day is coming when every one of them shall in virtue of the name JESUS bow his knees. And the Communists, who hate that precious name, whether dead or living, each one of them will also bow. And those knees that have only bowed to idols will, in the coming day, bow to that name supreme-above every name. Yes, and the infidels and the scoffers, it matters not how bold they are now: and “the fearful,” those who do not now bow for fear of the laugh of a fellow-mortal: each one of these shall surely bow. Notice, it does not bunch them together, and say “all the knees shall bow.” It looks at them each individually, “every knee shall bow” (Rom. 14:1111For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. (Romans 14:11)).
And the Spirit of God divides these into three classes: “the heavenly, the earthly, and the infernal” (or, those under the earth). Angels and demons, living and dead, saved and lost will all then publicly (for so the word would intimate) acknowledge Him as LORD. The word “LORD” is in an emphatic position, so the emphasis is on it: “JESUS CHRIST (is) LORD” (vs. 11).
“Of (things) heavenly and earthly and infernal”; the Greek may be either masculine or neuter: so it may read as we have put it: or, it may read as J.N.D. has it in the New Translation: “Of heavenly and earthly and infernal (beings)” (vs. 10). The former includes the latter, but goes out to a much wider circle: and the 148th Psalm and the 8th of Romans would seem to warrant us in including all creation in the homage due to “the name JESUS.”
“Praise the LORD from the earth, ye
dragons, and all deeps:
Fire, and hail; snow, and vapors;
Stormy wind fulfilling His word:
Mountains, and all hills;
Fruitful trees, and all cedars;
Beasts, and all cattle;
Creeping things, and flying fowl:
Kings of the earth, and all people;
Princes, and all judges of the earth:
Both young men, and maidens;
Old men, and children:
But not only must every knee bow: but every tongue shall confess Him LORD. For those who confess Him LORD now, it is salvation. (Rom. 10:99That 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)). But those who refuse Him now as LORD, shall surely one day acknowledge Him thus: but only to be cast into the lake of fire.
Our passage began, “God supremely-exalted Him.” It ends by telling us that this supreme-exaltation of the Son is “to the glory of God the Father” (vs. 11). He could say of all His earthly path of humiliation: “I have glorified Thee on the earth” (John 17:44I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. (John 17:4)). How blessed to see in His path of exaltation we find the same thing: and well we know that this is just as He would have it. “They went both of them together” (Gen. 22:88And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. (Genesis 22:8)) is true both of going to the cross and to the Glory.
Another has said, in writing of this portion: and I would borrow his words: “So ends our exposition of this amazing passage— oh, that one could have done it better, more worthily. The reader may well be constrained to throw this poor study on one side and to take up the inspired record itself and, on his knees, pore over the sacred words themselves; and then.... join, with deepest adoration, in the heavenly tribute of Rev. 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), ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.... Amen!”
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But, Beloved, let us not forget that these things have been written that you and I might have this mind in us, which was also in Christ Jesus: and that was the lowly, subject mind.
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Jesus, Thy Name Alone
O that Thy Name may be sounded
Afar over earth and sea,
Till the dead awaken and praise Thee,
And the dumb lips sing to Thee!
Sound forth as a song of triumph,
Wherever man’s foot has trod,
The despised, the derided message,
The foolishness of God.
JESUS, dishonored and dying,
A felon on either side
JESUS, the song of the drunkards,
JESUS, the Crucified!
Name of God’s tender comfort,
Name of His glorious power,
Name that is song and sweetness,
The strong everlasting tower.
JESUS the Lamb accepted,
JESUS the priest on His throne,
JESUS the King Who is coming
JESUS, Thy Name alone!
(C.P.C. From Hymns of Ter Steegan)
Christ Jesus
Made Himself
Of no reputation ...
Where for
God
also
hath highly exalted
Him.