Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Study of Philippians 2:5-11 (Part 3)


 Philippians 2:9-11 

“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him…” (Phil. 2:9). Humility brings exaltation. “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” declares 1 Peter 5:6. Exaltation after humiliation is a common theme in Scripture (cf. Matthew 23:12).

Jesus was exalted because of His submission to the Father by self-humiliation in becoming man, obedient to the point of death. There is no question that exaltation was the fruit of His humility. “For this reason” is the Greek preposition dia, and used here in the sense of a result of an action. It connects the preceding humiliation with the resulting action of exaltation marking a change of direction and action. Now there is a shift to God the Father who takes the initiative and become the source of the action, and Christ becomes the recipient. It centers upon what “God” did. It also speaks of a consequence which is a natural outcome of Jesus’ humility. The verb “exalted” is the Greek word, hyperphroneo, and is found only here in Scripture. The word is an indicative aorist in the Greek, which is a mood of certainty and an aorist which happened in the point of time or is a historical fact. It is a compound word meaning to super exalt, exalt above, or exalt supremely. The evidence of exaltation is threefold: (1) The resurrection of Christ. (2) The ascension into heaven. (3) Being seated at the right hand of God. Christ was exalted in fulfillment of God’s word: “Behold, my servant shall prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted” (Isaiah 52:13). This act of exaltation is a response of vindication and approval.[1] Hawthorne notes that this “this is not described in stages as was his humiliation-descent. Rather,…God [is] in one dramatic act lifting Christ from the depths to the heights.”[2] It is a one time act with continual results.
How God exalted Jesus: He “bestowed on Him the name which is above every name” (Phil 2:9b). The word “bestowed” is the word charizomai, means “to give or bestow a thing willingly.”[3] The root word is grace. Therefore, this is an act of grace—not merit. He was graciously given “the name which is above every name.” Names in Scripture have special significance. A name describes an essence or person.  Pentecost clarifies: “Name is used here in its Old Testament sense where the name represents the total person. It bespeaks the office, the rank, and the dignity attached to the person because of his position.”[4]  It is a name “which is above every name.” It points to Christ being given the highest honor and supreme power. His name is given to distinguish His name from all others, and given a title that outranks all other titles.
So that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow…” (Phil 2:10). This declares the purpose of Jesus’ exaltation. “So that” is a conjunction of purpose and indicates the result or goal. The purpose and goal is clearly universal adoration to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is interesting that Paul uses just the earthly name—Jesus. While Paul usually joins the earthly name of Jesus with a title, such as Lord or Christ; he does not always do so (cf. 1 Cor 12:3; 2 Cor. 4:1, 1 Thess. 4:14).  Paul is careful to tie the earthly name or Jesus’ humanity with the exalted position. O'Brien notes that the name Jesus, “In such a context… serves to emphasize the reality of His humanity: it is the real human being”[5] who is spoken of by Paul. For Paul, He is the man Christ Jesus, now exalted and at the right hand of God.

Notice also that this exaltation is a sign of triumph.  This is denoted in the phrases, “every knee will bow” (Phil. 2:10) and “every tongue will confess” (Phil. 2:11). He triumphs over his enemies, and they will acknowledge Him as Lord by an act of reverence and submission. Robertson notes this will be: “Not perfunctory genuflections, whenever the name of Jesus is mentioned, but universal acknowledgment of the majesty and power of Jesus who carries his human name and nature to heaven.”[6] This will be universal acknowledgement. The word “every” used twice in the text is connected and further defined as “those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” Revelation 5:13 declares: “And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.’ ” The clear implication is that there will be no exceptions. All the living, dead, and angelic creatures, will acknowledge Jesus as Lord. The emphasis is on the universality of the authority and Lordship of Jesus Christ. However, we must not take it that all will be saved by this act. In warfare of the time, when Rome defeated their enemies, many were brought before Caesar and made to confess the power, authority, and superiority of their captors, but this did not pardon or make them citizens.[7]  It is the doctrine of Scripture that Christ in dying for men, and because He did die for them, has won for Himself eternal renown” observes Eadie.[8]

The timing of this is not specifically indicated in our text. Various groups will acknowledge that Jesus is Lord at different times in three key judgments: First, the church will do so at the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Cor. 3:11-15). Second, those living on the earth and Old Testament saints resurrected at the first resurrection of prophecy will be judged (Rev. 19:11-21). Third, at the end of the Millennium in the Great White Throne judgment is when everyone on the earth and all resurrected unbelievers will bow the knee to Jesus Christ (Rev. 20:7-15).

[1]  O’Brien, PHILIPPIANS, 234.
[2]  Hawthorne, WBC: PHILIPPIANS, 91.
[3]  Zodhiates, WORD STUDY DICTIONARY: NT, 1468.
[4]  Pentecost, THE JOY OF LIVING, 77.
[5]  O’Brien, NIGTC: PHILIPPIANS, 242.
[6]  A.T. Robertson, WORD PICTURES, IV, 446.
[7]  Baker, Charles, UNDERSTANDING THE BODY OF CHRIST, 85-86.
[8]  Eadie, John, THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE PHILIPPIANS,  electronic media, Google Books.

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