In Phil 2:9-11, we read, “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, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
In Ex 3:15, we read, “God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yehovah, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you. This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations.”
In Isaiah 42:8, we read, “I am Yehovah, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise unto graven images.”
Have you ever heard it said, there is power in the name of Jesus? Have you ever wondered how there can be power in the name of Jesus when His name was not Jesus, it was Yeshua? And what about Ex 3:15, 20:3, and Isaiah 42:8? Did God suddenly change His mind, and now He has decided to share His glory? Is forever, not forever, and now Yehovah has stepped down from the throne and given everything over to Jesus, so from now on, God’s name will be Jesus even though Yehovah says His name is and will be forever. Yehovah?
Because we Christians tend to cherry-pick the verses we like and reject those we dont like, Phil 2:9-11 is the source of many confusing and man-made doctrines. The most prevailing of them all is the idea that if we say “in Jesus’s name,” what we ask in prayer, or what we command, has to happen because of Phil 2:9-11. We all know this can’t be true, first of all, because His name was not Jesus; it was Yeshua. Second of all, because of Ex 3:15, 20:3, and Isaiah 42:8.
So how then are we to understand Phil 2:9-11?
Verse 9 starts with the word; therefore, telling us what is about to come is connected to what has just been said. If we want to understand verses 9-11, we first have to understand 1-8. In verses 1-8, Paul speaks of Christ’s humility and how we have to imitate Christ in everything we do. He then emphasizes how Christ was obedient to the Father, obedient unto death, and because of His obedience, He was given a name above every other name. In verses 12-13, Paul says that just as Christ was obedient, so are we to obedient and work on our salvation.
Why was Christ obedient? His obedience is the cornerstone of our Christian faith; we believe He obeyed the law of Moses, and because of His obedience, He was able to atone for our sins. Following Moses’s law would require Yeshua to obey Ex 3:15 and 20:3, which says God’s name is Yehovah, and we are only to worship Him. Therefore, it would be an impossibility for Yeshua to teach His disciples to worship Him instead of Yehovah or to pray to Him instead of Yehovah. So when Paul, in Phil 2, says we are to imitate Christ, then it means we are to worship, pray to and exalt Yehovah and the name of Yehovah just like He did.
So this is what Paul is saying here in Phil 2, just as Yeshua prayed to, focused on, and worshiped Yehovah, so are we to worship, pray to and focus on Yehovah.
But how are we to understand “the name above all names” in Phil 2:9-11?
The Greek word used here for the name can mean both the actual name, but it can also mean character and reputation. In this case, it can not refer to the actual name because of Ex 3:15, 3:20, and Isaiah 42:8. Instead, it refers to character and reputation, which makes sense if you read Phil 2:1-13. So let us attempt to read 1-13 with the knowledge we now have: Because of His character (being obedient) and because of what he did (obeyed the law), everyone in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, every knee should bow, and every tongue confesses Yeshua is Lord. Said another way, because of Yeshua’s obedience, and because He taught everyone to obey, everyone will obey or suffer the consequences of their disobedience. (Matt 7:21-23)
This makes much more sense than saying the name of Jesus or Yeshua has suddenly replaced the name of Yehovah. And now we know Ex 3:15, 3:20, and Isaiah 42:8 still stands. Our God has a name, and it is the name of Yehovah. Yehovah, our God, does not share His glory with anyone, not even His Son Yeshua.
But why is this important, and how does this help us in our everyday life as Christians?
In Prov 3:5-6, Rom 10:13-14, Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21, the Bible gives us valuable promises for what will happen if we call upon the name of our God. But if we dont know who to call upon, how then will we partake of these promises?
In Joel 2:32, Rom 10:13-14, Acts 2:21, the Bible says if we call upon the name of Yehovah, we will be saved. What does it mean to call upon? It means to say the name of Yehovah. So what Joel 2:32, Rom 10:13-14, and Acts 2:21 are saying to us is this; if you say the name of Yehovah, you will be saved.
Prov 3:5-6, it says if we trust in Yehovah, and we meditate on His name, He will ensure our success and make our paths straight. Trusting in, and meditating on, are two sides of the same coin in Prov 3:5-6. Prov 3:5-6 is saying to is this; when you need in your life, do not focus your thoughts on your need. Instead, choose to focus your thoughts on the name of Yehovah and trust that the name will meet your need. So if you are in heed of healing, choose to focus your mind on the name of Yehovah and choose to believe the name Yehovah will heal you.
There is so much power in the name of Yehovah that just thinking of His name will save you, deliver you, heal you and comfort you. We see this in Numbers 6:27 when it says the priests in the temple are to say the name Yehovah and by saying the name, the people standing in front of them are blessed.
Without exception, the name of our God, the name of Yehovah, is powerful and able to save. It can save, heal, deliver and provide. It is a comfort and a refuge for your thoughts and protection for your emotions. The Bible says in Prov 18:10, the name of Yehovah is a strong tower and a refuge for those who obey Moses. Prov 3:6 says if we meditate on the name of Yehovah, He will make our paths straight. So the next time your mind is flooded with stress, anxiety, you dont know what to do or whatever it might be trying to steal your peace, meditate upon His name, take shelter in His name, the mighty name of Yehovah.
There is power in the name of our God, Yehovah, but you can only access this power if you are righteous and justified. You can only become righteous if you repent and turn back to the law of Moses. You can only be justified if you believe Yeshua died for your adultery, freeing you AND Yehovah from the curse of Numbers 5, the law of jealousy. So do the right thing today, repent and believe so you can be righteous and justified able to tap into the power source of the name of Yehovah, your God.