Jesus is Yahweh

This is one of those theological reflections that I’ve come across in my studies that I wanted to pass along.

In the selection from Philippians 2, “Paul states that the purpose of Christ’s exaltation is that ‘every knee should bow … and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord'” is a clear allusion to Isaiah 45, which Carson and Beale state is “one of the most powerful OT affirmations of the uniqueness of God of Israel in the context of his redeeming work.” (“Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament,” pg. 837). They ago on to say, “this use of Isaiah is especially significant because of its profound implications for Paul’s conception of Christ. Whether or not Paul composed the Christ Hymn, it patently expresses his own conviction that the worship of Jesus Christ does not compromise Israel’s monotheistic faith. On the contrary, Jesus Christ the righteous Savior bears the name of the one Lord, Yahweh, ‘to the glory of God the Father.'”

Philippians 2

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The passage below, from Isaiah 45:18-25, is a prophecy of the one true church — the clear allusion, “Assemble yourselves and come, you survivors of the nations.”

Isaiah 45

For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens
(he is God!),
who formed the earth and made it
(he established it;
he did not create it empty,
he formed it to be inhabited!):

“I am the LORD, and there is no other. I did not speak in secret,
in a land of darkness;

I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,
‘Seek me in vain.’
I the LORD speak the truth;
I declare what is right.

“Assemble yourselves and come;
draw near together,
you survivors of the nations!

They have no knowledge
who carry about their wooden idols,
and keep on praying to a god
that cannot save.
Declare and present your case;
let them take counsel together!
Who told this long ago?
Who declared it of old?
Was it not I, the LORD?
And there is no other god besides me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is none besides me.

Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
By myself I have sworn;
from my mouth has gone out in
righteousness
a word that shall not return:
‘To me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear allegiance.’

“Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me,
are righteousness and strength;

to him shall come and be ashamed
all who were incensed against him.
In the LORD all the offspring of Israel
shall be justified and shall glory.”

There are a couple of things to note: (from J. Alec Motyer, “Isaiah,” Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 290-291):

First, God is the Creator who had a worldwide people in mind when he created the earth. Four verbs sum up his work: he initiated (created), moulded into shape (fashioned, as a potter would) until all was completed (made) and he imparted stability to the whole (founded). When the Lord planned the world he also willed a worldwide people (formed … to be inhabited). It stands to reason therefore that this Creator will have a concern for all his creatures.

Secondly, the world vision of verses 14–17 is to be understood in the light of revelation. In quiet rebuke of the allegation (15) that he ‘hides himself’, the Lord asserts that he never spoke in secret (lit. ‘under cover’): his word was openly available; nor in a land of darkness where one might lose one’s way: his word was intrinsically plain and straightforward; and it led them straight to himself: his word was not in vain, [it was] solid ground not shifting sand.  What he said was truth and right: the former is ‘righteousness’, conformity to the absolute norm of divine truth; the latter is ‘plain, straightforward’, without deviance or duplicity. The link with Verse 15, seen in the contrast between hides and not … in secret, makes 19 a comment on the matter of the Gentile hope: if Israel had heeded the word spoken to them, they would have known that their God, the Creator, had plans for the whole inhabited world. Such was, for example, plain in the Abrahamic promise (Gn. 12:2-3; 22:18) and in the vision of a worldwide Davidic kingdom (9:6–7)

Thirdly, verses 2-–25 describe how this universal gathering will actually come about. The general invitation to gather … from the nations is supported by drawing a contrast between the gods of wood and the only God, between gods that cannot save and a righteous God and a Savior. This distinction rests on proof: who foretold this …? Consequently, since the only God has proved his reality by prediction and fulfillment and has affirmed himself to be a savior, the general invitation can be particularized as an invitation to be saved. This invitation, in turn, rests on the integrity of the word of God: this one, saving God has gone on oath that all the earth will own him. Not all will be saved, but the worldwide Israel will share the divine nature [translated as ‘justified’ in the ESV, v. 25b].

God’s word does not need a Magisterium to interpret it. He does not speak “under cover”. His word was intrinsically plain and straightforward; it leads straight to himself.

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