Vol. 7, No. 1
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The above phrase is taken from Paul's exalting statement from what we know as the second chapter of the Book of Philippians. He wrote, "Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9-11). That God has highly exalted him is one of the fundamental facts of Christianity. In fact, the key to Christianity would have to be one of the seven "I AM" statements found in the Gospel of John, where Jesus claimed, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). The words "highly exalted" are translated from one Greek word huperypsoo, which occurs only here in the Greek New Testament and means, "to exalt to the highest rank and power, raise to supreme majesty" (Thayer's 641). In his Expanded Translation of the New Testament, Kenneth S. Wuest translated it as "God also supereminently exalted Him to the highest rank and power" (Wuest 463).
Hulen L. Jackson, in his book "Who is Jesus?" documented at least sixty-four names or phrases that depict Jesus' past and present relationships with God and man. A few of these are: Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45), Advocate (1 John 2:1), Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8), Bridegroom (Matthew 9:15), The Bright and Morning Star (Revelation 22:16), Christ (Matthew 1:16), David (Ezekiel 37:24-28), Lamb of God (John 1:29), Lord (Romans 1:3), Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2) and the Word (John 1:1-3, 14), et. al. In our text, however, Paul stated that God had given Jesus "the name" which is above every name. "The title, THE NAME, is a very common Hebrew title, denoting office, rank, and dignity. The expression, 'The Name of God' in the Old Testament, denotes the divine Presence, the divine Majesty, especially as the object of adoration and praise" (Wuest, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament: II, 71). In our study, we shall briefly notice "THE NAME" of Jesus as it: (1) fulfilled prophecy, (2) suggested (suggests) perfection and (3) is preeminent.
The name Jesus means the Lord saves or Jehovah-Savior. In a word, the name of Jesus summarizes the entirety of God's Word. For the Bible from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21 emphasizes the glorification of God (i.e. the Godhead) and the redemption of man through Jesus Christ. Genesis begins with the phrase, "In the beginning God" (1:1) or in the Hebrew, "Elohim" which is the plural form of God, therefore God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The last Book in the sacred canon, the Book of Revelation ends with the words, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all Amen" (22:21). Therefore, God's Word begins and ends with Jesus Christ--God (John 1:1-3; Hebrews 1:8).
The Old Testament contains no less than three hundred and thirty prophecies concerning Jesus and his redemptive work. The first is found in the third chapter of Genesis where God spoke to the serpent, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel" (Genesis 3:15). Her "Seed" is rightly translated in the New King James with a capital letter, for "Seed" in this text refers not to Cain, as Eve surmised (Genesis 4:1), but rather the second Person in the Godhead (cf. Genesis 22:18; Psalm 89:4; Acts 3:25; Galatians 3:16-19, et. al.). In the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Walter C. Kaiser commented:
Commencing with Gen. 3:15, the word 'seed' is regularly used as a collective noun in the singular (never plural)...the word designates the whole line of descendants as a unit, yet it is deliberately flexible enough to denote one person who epitomizes the whole group (i.e. the man of promise and ultimately Christ) (Kaiser, I, 253).
Additionally, Isaiah's writings stand in the forefront of those great prophecies regarding the names of Jesus. For example, Isaiah told the wicked king Ahaz, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14, emp. added). Matthew, by inspiration, unmistakably applied this passage to Christ (Matthew 1:21-23). Two chapters later Isaiah wrote, "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6, emp. added).
The title "Son of God" claims deity for its owner and therefore perfection (Notice: John 5:19-23; 1 Peter 2:22; Hebrews 4:15). Others, in addition to Jesus, referred to him as the "Son of God." For example, when Satan tempted Jesus, he said twice, "If (literally "Since") you are the Son of God" (Matthew 4:3, 6). The angel told Mary, "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest...that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:32, 35).
The title Jesus most frequently used of himself was "The Son of Man." He uses it no less than eighty times. And while it asserts very strongly the humanity of Jesus (cf. John 1:14; 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; 2 John 7), it more importantly stresses the perfection of Jesus. Historian Philip Schaff observed:
Not merely a son of man like all other descendants of Adam, but the Son of man; the Man in the highest sense; the ideal, the universal, the absolute Man; the second Adam, descended from heaven; the Head of a new and superior order of the race, the King of Israel, and the Messiah (Schaff, Phillip, The Person of Christ, 79-80).
The Great prophet Ezekiel was called "son of man" ninety-three times but never was called "the son of man."
When noted historian H.G. Wells was asked which person had left the most permanent impression on history, he answered, "If one judged a person's greatness by historical standards, by this test Jesus stands first." Historian Kenneth Scott Latourette wrote, "...measured by his effect on history, Jesus is the most influential life ever lived on this planet" (McDowel, Josh, More Than A Carpenter, 7, 8). Jesus Christ is the embodiment and focus of the Christian faith. He stated, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). An angel of the Lord exclaimed, "You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). Peter courageously proclaimed, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). With a name of such importance and reverence, we with honor and humility wear it as our only creed and confession (Acts 11:26, 26:28: 1 Peter 4:16).