I believe the greatest point of contention that men will wrestle with at the end of the age is the identity of Jesus. Is he just a good man that lived a few thousand years ago or is He fully God?
I’ve been studying Christology lately, and even just yesterday my roommate Tim spoke to some Jehovah’s Witnesses at our door. As we were talking last night, we both quickly made the point that the root of the problem in their faith is their misunderstanding of the person of Jesus. They believe He was just a mediator for a super-spiritual class of believers throughout history, the 144,000 “spiritual Jews”. They don’t believe He is God, and they believe He is still dead and was never resurrected, contrary to the belief of all of the New Testament writers.
I’ve been studying a bit on how Christology and the identity of the human being named Jesus as fully God fits in with the global prayer and worship movement being raised up all over the earth today. I’ll post more on that later…
One of my favorite passages on understanding the divinity of Jesus comes from Philippians 2:
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 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 2:5-11 NKJV)
Many of us know this passage well, but there is so much more in here than is just seen on a casual surface reading. Contrary to our popular belief, the “name above every name” that Paul speaks of is not “Jesus”. There were perhaps thousands of others who had the name “Yeshua” – “Joshua” or “Jesus” during the first century. The passage also makes it clear that Jesus was given this name above every name at His exaltation at the resurrection. He had been given the name “Jesus” from birth (Matthew 1:21), so Paul must be speaking of a different name here.
Every Jew at the time would have understood that Paul was speaking of “Yahweh”, the unspeakable name of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – often represented as small-caps “LORD” in Old Testament translations today. The Hebrew culture revered the name of the Lord so much that they would never fully write out His name either – it was always written as what is commonly called the tetragrammaton, or “YHWH”. When Paul says that everyone will confess that Jesus is “Lord”, he is using the reverential substitute in the Greek for the Divine Name of Yahweh, “Kurios”.
Paul is actually quoting Isaiah 45, where “YHWH”, the “LORD”, is speaking:
“I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me [Yahweh] every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath.”
(Isaiah 45:23 NKJV)
This is the key point in Philippians 2 – Paul is saying that a day is coming where Yahweh alone will be exalted, and every man, woman, and child that has ever lived will bow and confess that Jesus is Yahweh, God in the flesh, and in Him alone is found righteousness and strength.
God is going to confront the earth with His unique identity and vindicate His name by causing the whole earth to see that Jesus is the LORD. Jesus Christ, which is largely used as profanity across the nations today will be revealed in all His glory and be worshipped and acknowledged by all as God Himself! Every high thing will be brought low, everything that exalts itself now will be brought to the dust before the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!