Philippians 2:10
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
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(10) At (properly, in) the name of Jesus every knee should bow.—This is an instance of the significant practice, by which passages of the Old Testament speaking of God are, as a matter of course, applied in the New to our Lord Jesus Christ. “In the Name” is the phrase constantly used for worship of God. “I will lift up my hands in Thy Name” (Psalm 63:4). It denotes worship to Christ, not through Him.

Of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.—For “things” we may better substitute beings, for the reference is properly to personal beings; although in some sense “All the works of the Lord bless the Lord, praise Him and magnify Him for ever.” (Comp. here Revelation 5:13, “Every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth . . . heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever.” See also Ephesians 1:20-21, and Notes there.)

2:5-11 The example of our Lord Jesus Christ is set before us. We must resemble him in his life, if we would have the benefit of his death. Notice the two natures of Christ; his Divine nature, and human nature. Who being in the form of God, partaking the Divine nature, as the eternal and only-begotten Son of God, Joh 1:1, had not thought it a robbery to be equal with God, and to receive Divine worship from men. His human nature; herein he became like us in all things except sin. Thus low, of his own will, he stooped from the glory he had with the Father before the world was. Christ's two states, of humiliation and exaltation, are noticed. Christ not only took upon him the likeness and fashion, or form of a man, but of one in a low state; not appearing in splendour. His whole life was a life of poverty and suffering. But the lowest step was his dying the death of the cross, the death of a malefactor and a slave; exposed to public hatred and scorn. The exaltation was of Christ's human nature, in union with the Divine. At the name of Jesus, not the mere sound of the word, but the authority of Jesus, all should pay solemn homage. It is to the glory of God the Father, to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; for it is his will, that all men should honour the Son as they honour the Father, Joh 5:23. Here we see such motives to self-denying love as nothing else can supply. Do we thus love and obey the Son of God?That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow - The knee should bow, or bend, in token of honor, or worship; that is, all people should adore him. This cannot mean merely that at the mention of the name of Jesses we should bow; nor is there any evidence that God requires this. Why should we bow at the mention of that name, rather than at any of the other titles of the Redeemer? Is there any special sacredness or honor in it above the other names which he bears? And why should we how at his name rather than at the name of the Father! Besides, if any special homage is to be paid to the name of the Saviour under the authority of this passage - and this is the only one on which the authority of this custom is based - it should be by bowing the knee, not the head. But the truth is, this authorizes and requires neither; and the custom of bowing at the name of Jesus, in some churches, has arisen entirely from a misinterpretation of this passage. There is no other place in the Bible to which an appeal is made to authorize the custom; compare Neal's History of the Puritans, chapter 5. Ninth 5. The meaning here is, not that a special act of respect or adoration should be shown wherever the name "Jesus" occurs in reading the Scriptures, or whenever it is mentioned, but that he was so exalted that it would be proper that all in heaven and on earth should worship him, and that the time would come when he would be thus everywhere acknowledged as Lord. The bowing of the knee properly expresses homage, respect, adoration (compare the notes at Romans 11:4); and it cannot be done to the Saviour by those who are in heaven, unless it be divine.

Of things in heaven - ἐπουρανίων epouraniōn - rather of beings in heaven, the word "things" being improperly supplied by our translators. The word may be in the neuter plural; but it may be also in the masculine plural, and denote beings rather than things. Things do not bow the knee; and the reference here is undoubtedly to angels, and to the "spirits of the just made perfect" in heaven. If Jesus is worshipped there, he is divine; for there is no idolatry eta creature in heaven. In this whole passage there is probably an allusion to Isaiah 45:23; see it illustrated in the notes at Romans 14:11. In the great divisions here specified - of those in heaven, on the earth, and under the earth - the apostle intends, doubtless, to denote the universe. The same mode of designating the universe occurs in Revelation 5:13; Exodus 20:4; compare Psalm 96:11-12. This mode of expression is equivalent to saying, "all that is above, around, and beneath us," and arises from what appears to us. The division is natural and obvious - that which is above us in the heavens, that which is on the earth where we dwell, and all that is beneath us.

And things in earth - Rather, "beings on earth," to wit, people; for they only are capable of rendering homage.

And things under the earth - Beings under the earth. The whole universe shall confess that he is Lord. This embraces, doubtless, those who have departed from this life, and perhaps includes also fallen angels. The meaning is, that riley shall all acknowledge him as universal Lord; all how to his sovereign will; all be subject to his control; all recognize him as divine. The fallen and the lost will do this; for they will be constrained to yield an unwilling homage to him by submitting to the sentence from his lips that shall consign them to woe; and thus the whole universe shall acknowledge the exalted dignity of the Son of God. But this does not mean that they will all be saved, for the guilty and the lost may be compelled to acknowledge his power, and submit to his decree as the sovereign of the universe. There is the free and cheerful homage of the heart which they who worship him in heaven will render; and there is the constrained homage which they must yield who are compelled to acknowledge his authority.

10. at the name—rather as Greek, "in the name."

bow—rather, "bend," in token of worship. Referring to Isa 45:23; quoted also in Ro 14:11. To worship "in the name of Jesus," is to worship Jesus Himself (compare Php 2:11; Pr 18:10), or God in Christ (Joh 16:23; Eph 3:14). Compare "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord (that is, whosoever shall call on the Lord in His revealed character) shall be saved" (Ro 10:13; 1Co 1:2); "all that call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord" (compare 2Ti 2:22); "call on the Lord"; Ac 7:59, "calling upon … and saying, Lord Jesus" (Ac 9:14, 21; 22:16).

of things in heaven—angels. They worship Him not only as God, but as the ascended God-man, "Jesus" (Eph 1:21; Heb 1:6; 1Pe 3:22).

in earth—men; among whom He tabernacled for a time.

under the earth—the dead; among whom He was numbered once (Ro 14:9, 11; Eph 4:9, 10; Re 5:13). The demons and the lost may be included indirectly, as even they give homage, though one of fear, not love, to Jesus (Mr 3:11; Lu 8:31; Jas 2:19, see on [2385]Php 2:11).

At the name of Jesus; in the old translation by bishops in Queen Elizabeth’s time, (and some say in the manuscripts of this), it is in the name. However, in ours now, it is not appositively, at the name Jesus; but constructively, of Jesus, intimating, that the power, glory, and majesty of him who hath that name, unto which every knee is bowed, is that name which is above every name; which would not hold true, if the name were taken for the very word

Jesus, that (as before) being common to others in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, yea, and English. Besides, neither in letters, nor syllables, nor sound, nor time, hath that word any thing above other words.

Every knee should bow: bowing of the knee is meant metonymically, and metaphorically, because some of those hereafter named, from whom the homage is due, have neither knees nor tongues, yet must, either willingly or by constraint, yield subjection and obedience to the sovereign authority of Christ, here and hereafter, Matthew 11:27 28:18 John 5:22,23 Ac 3:15; all creatures being made subject to him, Hebrews 2:8. Some of the papists, searching for their subterraneous, fictitious purgatory, would restrain it to men, but that would straiten and diminish the august glory of Christ, exalted above every name, who had, even here in his humiliation, homage from unclean spirits, Mark 5:6,7,10,12 Lu 8:31 Jam 2:19; how much more when at his tribunal his consummate glory shall be manifest to all! Which the apostle hath ultimately a reference to, according to the evangelist, Matthew 16:27 24:30. Then shall his equality with his Father, and his superlative glory as Mediator, be manifested to all, good and bad, angels as well as men, who shall be subjected to his sovereign Majesty, as the Lord God omnipotent; the good willingly, and the bad by constraint, Isaiah 45:23 Acts 17:31 Romans 2:16 14:10,11 2 Corinthians 5:10.

Of things in heaven; good angels, from whom he had homage and service here, Psalm 97:7 Matthew 2:13 4:11 Luke 1:30,31 2:13 Hebrews 1:6 at his resurrection, and ascension, Matthew 28:6 Acts 1:11 much more in his glory, Matthew 24:31 25:31 Ephesians 1:21,22 Col 1:16 2:10 2 Thessalonians 1:7 and the spirits of just men made perfect, Hebrews 12:22,23 Re 4:6, &c.; Revelation 5:9,10.

And things in earth; good men willingly, Psalm 110:3 Acts 10:33 1Jo 5:3; and bad by force, Psalm 2:9 Luke 19:27 Hebrews 2:14.

And things under the earth; either the dead, who are hid in the earth, and shall be raised by the power of Christ, in, or upon them, Acts 24:15: or, devils, and wicked souls; for though devils move in the air by God’s permission, Ephesians 2:2; yet hell is the place prepared for them, and the wicked, Matthew 7:23 25:41 Luke 8:31 2 Peter 2:4 Judges 1:6. Upon Christ’s exaltation, all things above, and in the world, are subjected to his dominion. If it be said: On the earth, and under it, they rebel; I answer: They are bound to obey, Matthew 4:9,10, and will be forced to submit to the penalty for disobedience. Christ doth at present exercise a sovereignty over bad men and devils, in limiting and punishing them as he pleaseth, Job 1:11,12 Lu 4:34,35 Lu 8:32 19:27 2 Peter 2:6 Revelation 2:10. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,.... Which is to be understood, not of the outward act of bowing the knee upon hearing the name, and the syllables of the mere name Jesus pronounced; for in the bare name there can be nothing which can command such a peculiar respect; it was a name common with the Jews: Joshua is so called in Hebrews 4:8; and the name of Elymas the sorcerer was Barjesus: that is, the son of Jesus, Acts 13:6; Now, how monstrously ridiculous and stupid would it be, for a man, upon hearing these passages, and upon the pronouncing of this word, to bow the knee? Moreover, the words ought not to be rendered at, but "in the name of Jesus"; that is, in and by reason of the power, authority, and dignity of Jesus, as exalted at God's right hand, every creature is to be subject to him: add to this, that there are several creatures included in the following account, who, in a corporeal sense, have not knees to bow with, as angels, the souls of men departed, and devils; and therefore an external corporeal bowing of the knee cannot be meant. The Jews indeed, upon hearing the name Jehovah pronounced by the high priest, in the holy of holies, used to bow: they say (n),

"that the priests, and the people, that stand in the court, when they hear Shemhamphorash (i.e. the name "Jehovah") pronounced by the high priest, , "bowed", and worshipped, and fell upon their faces, and said, blessed be the name of the glory of his kingdom, for ever and ever:

though it can hardly be thought there is any reference to this here. But inasmuch as this action is a token of reverence, worship; and subjection, it is used for those things themselves; and the sense is, that Christ is exalted as before described, that every creature may give him reverence, worship, and adoration, submit and be subject to him, as all do, and shall, either freely or forcedly. Some really and heartily trust in his name, are baptized in his name, and ascribe honour, and glory, and blessing to him from their whole hearts; and others feignedly, and whether they will or not, are subject to him, and sooner or later shall acknowledge his authority over them: and he shall be owned to be Lord

of things in heaven: the angels there, and the souls of departed saints, with those who are already clothed with their bodies:

and things in earth; both good men, and bad men:

and things under the earth; or "in the abyss", as the Ethiopic version renders it; meaning either the devils in the bottomless pit; or rather the dead bodies of men in the grave, which shall come forth and stand before the judgment seat of Christ,

(n) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 66. 1. Maimon. Yom Haccippurim, c. 2. sect. 7.

That at the name of Jesus {k} every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

(k) All creatures will at length be subject to Christ.

Php 2:10 f. Ἵνα] This exaltation, Php 2:9, was to have, in accordance with the divine purpose, general adoration and confession as its result,—a continuation of the contrast with the previous state of self-renunciation and humiliation. In the mode of expression there may be detected a reminiscence of Isaiah 45:23 (Romans 14:11).

The ἐν τῷ ὀνόμ. ., emphatically prefixed, affirms that, in the name of Jesus, i.e. in what is involved in that most glorious name “Jesus Christ,” and is present to the conception of the subjects as they bend their knees, is to be found the moving ground of this latter action (comp. Psalm 63:5; 1 Kings 18:24; 1 Chronicles 16:10, al.; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 3:17; 1 Peter 4:14; 1 Peter 4:16; Jam 5:14). The bowing of the knee represents adoration, of which it is the symbol (Isaiah 45:23; Romans 14:11; Romans 11:4; Ephesians 3:14; Ephesians 3 Esdr. 8:73; 3Ma 2:1; and in Greek writers from Homer onward), and the subject to be adored is, according to the context (ἐν τῷ ὀνόμ. ., and comp. Php 2:11), none other than Jesus, the adoring worship of whom has its warrant in the fellowship of the divine government and of the divine δόξα to which He is exalted (comp. the habitual ἐπικαλεῖσθαι τὸ ὄνομα κυρίου,, Romans 10:12 f.; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Timothy 2:22; Acts 7:59; Acts 9:14; Acts 9:21; Acts 22:16), but has also at the same time its peculiar character, not absolute, but relative, i.e. conditioned by the relation of the exalted Son to the Father (see Lücke, de invocat. Jes. Ch. Gott. 1843, p. 7 f.; comp. Ernesti, Urspr. d. Sünde, I. p. 218),—a peculiarity which did not escape the observation of Pliny (Ep. x. 97: “Christo quasi Deo”), and was, although only very casually and imperfectly, expressed by him. This adoration (comp. Php 2:11, εἰς δόξαν Θεοῦ πατρός) does not infringe that strict monotheism, which could ascribe absolute deity to the Father only (John 17:3; Ephesians 4:5; 1 Corinthians 12:6; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Timothy 6:15 f.); the Father only is ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων Θεός, Romans 9:5 (comp. Ignat. Tars. interpol. 5), ὁ Θεός absolutely, God also of Christ (see on Ephesians 1:17), the Θεὸς ὁ παντοκράτωρ (2 Corinthians 6:18; Revelation 1:8; Revelation 4:8, al.); and the Son, although of like nature, as σύνθρονος and partaker of His δόξα, is subordinate to Him (1 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Corinthians 15:27 f.), as in turn the Spirit is to the Son (2 Corinthians 3:18); the honour which is to be paid to the Son (Revelation 5:8 ff.) has its principle (John 5:22 f.) and aim (Php 2:11) in the Father, and therefore the former is to be honoured as the Father, and God in Christ fills and moves the consciousness of him who prays to Christ. According to van Hengel, it is not the adoration of Jesus which is here intended, but that of God under application of the name of Jesus; and de Wette also thinks it probable that Paul only intended to state that every prayer should be made in the name of Jesus as the Mediator (κύριος). Comp. also Hofmann: “the praying to God, determined in the person praying by the consciousness of his relation to Jesus as regulating his action.” Instead of this we should rather say: the praying to Jesus, determined by the consciousness of the relation of Jesus to God (of the Son to the Father), as regulating the action of the person praying. All modes of explaining away the adoration as offered to Jesus Himself are at variance not only with the context generally, which has to do with the honour of Jesus, making Him the object of the adoration, but also with the word ἐπουρανίων which follows, because the mediatorship of Jesus, which is implied in the atonement, does not affect the angels as its objects (comp., on the contrary, Hebrews 1:4; Hebrews 1:6). The two sentences may not be separated from one another (in opposition to Hofmann); but, on the contrary, it must be maintained that the personal object, to whom the bowing of the knee as well as the confession with the tongue applies, is Jesus. Linguistically erroneous is the view which makes ἐν τῷ ὀνόμ. equivalent to εἰς τὸ ὄνομα, for the glorification of His dignity (Heinrichs, Flatt, and others), or as a paraphrase for ἐν Ἰησοῦ (Estius; Rheinwald leaves either of the two to be chosen); while others, by the interpretation. “quoties auditur nomen,[119] brought out a sense which is altogether without analogy in the N. T. See, in opposition to this, Calvin: “quasi vox (the word Jesus) esset magica, quae totam in sono vim haberet inclusam.”

ἐπουρανίων κ.τ.λ.] every knee of heavenly beings (those to be found in heaven), and those on earth, and those under the earth, is to bow, none is to remain unbent; that is, every one from these three classes shall bow his knees (plural). ἐπουρ. includes the angels (Ephesians 1:20Php 2:10. ἐν τῷ ὀνόμ. . Perhaps the best explanation is that of Weiffenb. (op. cit., p. 51), “On the ground of this name (κύριος),” i.e., because of what it means for every worshipper. Of course, the worship is rendered to Him as Lord. Abbott (Notes on St. Paul’s Epistles, p. 93) compares Psalm 63:4, “Thus will I bless Thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in Thy name”. Cf. also Psalm 20:5; Psalm 54:1. This name, which declares the true character and dignity of Jesus Christ, is both the basis and the object of worship. See the somewhat parallel use of εἰς τὸ ὀν. in Inscrr[1] (Dsm[2], BS[3], pp. 144–145). For the history of the phrase and its Semitic basis consult Die biblische “im Namen,” by J. Böhmer (Giessen, 1898).—ἐπουρ. κ. ἐπιγ. κ. καταχθ. Aptly Thdrt[4], ἐπουρανίους καλεῖ τὰς ἀοράτους δυνάμεις, ἐπιγείους δὲ τοὺς ἔτι ζῶντας ἀνθρώπους καὶ καταξθονίους τοὺς τεθνεῶτας.—ἐπουρ. The heavenly spirits. “Paul regards the higher world as divided into a series of ascending spheres” (Beysch., N.T. Th. [E.Tr.], ii., 100).—καταχθ. It is needless to think of these in connexion with the Descent into Hades, although this subject had an extraordinary place in the minds of the early Christians (cf. Bruston, La Descente du Christ aux Enfers, Paris, 1897). Here simply = a general term for the dead. Often in sepulchral Inscrr[5] For the division of all beings into three regions Everling compares Ignat. ad Trall., 9, ἀληθῶς ἐσταυρώθη καὶ ἀπέθανεν, βλεπόντων τῶν ἐπουρανίων καὶ ἐπ γείων καὶ ὑποχθονίων (see his Paulinische Angelologie u. Dämonologie, Gött., 1888, pp. 83–84).

[1]nscrr. Inscriptions.

[2] Deissmann (BS. = Bibelstudien, NBS. = Neue Bibelstudien).

[3] Bibelstudien

[4]hdrt. Theodoret.

[5]nscrr. Inscriptions.10. at the name of Jesus] Lit., with R.V., in the name of Jesus, or as far as grammatical form goes, “in the name Jesus.” “It is not ‘the name Jesus’ but ‘the name of Jesus’ ” (Lightfoot). This must mean that the context decides it thus; the grammar is ambiguous. But the previous argument (see last note but one), if valid, is decisive for the rendering of the R.V.

In the name … should bow, &c.” Does this mean, “all should worship Him,” or “all should worship through Him”? Doubtless the latter is Divine truth. But the context is wholly in favour of an immediate reference to His enthronement; and particularly the very next verse speaks distinctly of the recognition of Him as “Lord.” So Lightfoot; and he gives proofs from the LXX. (e.g. Psalm 62:5 (Heb. 63:4); 1 Kings 8:44) that the phrase “in the name of” may imply, in proper contexts, the adoration of Him who bears the Name. We may thus paraphrase, “that before the revealed Majesty of the glorified Jesus all creation should adore.”—The ancient custom of bowing at the mention of the Name Jesus (see Canon xviii. of the Church of England) derives no direct sanction from this passage.

every knee should bow] An implicit citation of Isaiah 45:23; and as such a powerful testimony to St Paul’s view of the proper Deity of Jesus Christ.—The context of the passage in the prophet contains the phrases “a just God and a Saviour” (Php 2:21; cp. Romans 3:26); “in the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory” (Php 2:25; cp. Romans 8:30). May we not suppose that the Apostle of Justification was thus specially guided to the passage, and to its inner reference to the Son?—The same passage is directly quoted Romans 14:11 (where in Php 2:10 read, “of Christ”).

things in heaven … in earth … under the earth] Created existence, in its heights and depths. Cp. Revelation 5:13 for close illustration; words whose whole context is a Divine commentary on this passage. In view of the language there, in a scene where angels have been already mentioned, it is better not to divide the reference here, e.g. between angels, living men, and buried men (Alford), or angels, men, and lost spirits (Chrysostom). Not only animate and conscious but inanimate existence is in view; Creation in its total; the impersonal and unconscious elements being said to “worship,” as owning, after their manner, the fiat of the exalted Jesus.Php 2:10. Πᾶν γόνυπᾶσα γλῶσσα, every knee—every tongue) A Synecdoche;[21] i.e. that in every way they may worship and acknowledge Him as Lord; comp. Revelation 5:13.—κάμψῃ) may bow, viz. itself, either with [in token of] applause or with trembling.—ἐπουρανίων [supracælestium], of the beings dwelling in the upper heaven) The heavenly inhabitants bow their knees, for Christ the Lord has taken heaven.—ἐπιγείων, of things on earth) For He dwelt upon the earth.—καταχθονίων, of beings under the earth) See Mark 3:11; Job 26:5 [Ephesians 4:9; Revelation 5:13.—V. g.] Afterwards He also presented Himself to them. This division goes further into the height and depth than that, Exodus 20:4.

[21] Bowing the knee, the part put for every kind of worship, the whole.—ED.Verse 10. - That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow; translate, in the name, not at (comp. Isaiah 45:23, quoted in Romans 14:10, 11). The words may mean, either that all prayer must be offered to God in the name of Jesus, through his mediation; or that all creation must offer prayer to him. Both alternatives are true, and perhaps both are covered by the words; but the second seems to be principally intended (comp. Psalm 63:4, "I will lift up my hands in thy Name." Comp. also (in the Greek) Psalm 43:9; 104:3; 1 Kings 8:44; also the common Septuagint phrase, Ἐπικαλεῖσθαι ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου). Observe, the words are, not "the name Jesus," but "the name of Jesus;" the name, that is, which God freely gave to him (Ver. 9), It is the name which is above every name, that is, the majesty, the glory of Jesus, which is to be the object of Christian worship. The end of the whole passage being the exaltation of Jesus, it seems more natural to understand this verse of worship paid to Jesus than of worship offered through him to God the Father. Observe also that the words (Isaiah 45:23) on which this passage is formed are the words of Jehovah: "Unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear." They could not be used without impiety of any but God. Of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. Perhaps the angels, the living, and the dead; or, more probably (comp. Revelation 5:13 and Ephesians 1:21, 22), all creation, animate and inanimate, is represented as uniting in the universal adoration. At the name of Jesus (ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι)

Rev., better, in the name. The name means here the personal name; but as including all that is involved in the name. See on Matthew 28:19. Hence the salutation is not at the name of Jesus, as by bowing when the name is uttered, but, as Ellicott rightly says: "the spiritual sphere, the holy element as it were, in which every prayer is to be offered and every knee to bow." Compare Ephesians 5:20.

Things in heaven, etc.

Compare Revelation 5:13; Ephesians 1:20, Ephesians 1:22. The words may apply either to all intelligent beings or to all things. The latter is in accord with Paul's treatment of the creation collectively in Romans 8:19-22, and with the Old-Testament passages, in which all nature is represented as praising God, as Psalm 148:1-14; Psalm 65:13.

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