The Name above Every Name

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” (Philippians 2:9)

There are three primary names for God used in the Old Testament: Elohim, Jehovah, and Adonai. In the New Testament, both Jehovah and Adonai are translated as “Lord” (Greek kurios) and applied to Christ. This word is also applied occasionally to human “lords,” but is specifically used as a name or title of God or Christ no less than 663 times.

His human name, of course, was Jesus (“Jehovah is Savior”), but this name is used by itself only 22 times in the epistles—always with special emphasis on His humanity. Although it was the common name used repeatedly in the gospel narratives, it is significant that the disciples and other believers almost always addressed Him personally as “Lord,” never simply as “Jesus.” Unbelievers and demons, on the other hand, never addressed Him as “Lord.”

The name “Christ” means “anointed one” and is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Messiah. Thus, “Christ” is His divine title as God’s “anointed” prophet, priest, and king; “Jesus” is His human name, as our example and Savior; “Lord” is His title of spiritual relationship to those whom He has saved. All three names are of paramount importance; thus, Peter said: “God hath made that same Jesus . . . both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). His “full name,” so to speak, is therefore “the Lord Jesus Christ.” This complete name is used over 100 times; “Christ” and “Lord” are used even more.

In the great testimony of His coming exaltation, Paul says He has been given “the name” (the definite article is in the original) above every name. At this “name of Jesus” (with the “of” indicating the possessive—that is, “the name now belonging to the man Jesus who died on the cross”), every knee must bow, and every tongue must someday confess “that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:10-11). HMM

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