Philippians 2:9,11; Isaiah 42:8 – Was the Holy Name Changed to “Jesus”?

Therefore God also highly exalted him, and gave to him the name which is above every name. — Philippians 2:9, World English.

The claim is being made that “Philippians 2:9 says that Jesus is now the name above all names. This is now the name by which God chooses to be known.” Actually, we do not find that word “Jesus” in Philippians 2:9 at all, nor do we find anything that says that the appellation “Jesus” is now above all names, even above that of the Holy Name of the Most High. There is certainly nothing in what is stated that means that the Holy Name of the only Most High was now JESUS. No such thought appears here, or any where else in the Bible.

“God” in this verse refers, not to Jesus, but to one person, the God and Father of Jesus.  (Ephesians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3) It was this unipersonal “God” who exalted Jesus, and who gave to the “name” which is above every name. Whatever is meant by “name” in this verse, it what is given to Jesus by one who is evidently higher than Jesus, and not something that Jesus had before being exalted by “God”.

The Unipersonal God Exalted Jesus

The Greek word used for “name” in Philippians 2:9 is often transliterated as “onoma” (Strong’s #3686). Many times this word is used, not to denote an appellation, but rather in the sense of “one’s rank, authority, interests, pleasure, command, excellences, deeds etc.”  In exalting Jesus, God did not give Jesus a new appellation; the appellation “Jesus” was alread his before his exaltation. The “name” given to Jesus, which he did not possess before, is that of a rank, authority, command, higher than any rank that God has ever given to anyone before. Does the fact that “God” has given him this name “which is above every name” mean that the name given to Jesus is above the name of Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Absolutely not! As Paul wrote elsewhere, “it is evident that he is excepted who subjected all things to him.” (1 Corinthians 15:27) The Most High did not give to his Son a name that is above the name of the Most High, nor did the Most High give to his Son a name to replace His own name. It is evident that He is excepted who has given to the Jesus the name above every name.

Did Jesus himself change the name of his God and Father into “Jesus”? Did Paul, or any other Bible writer, make it a practice of changing the Holy Name to “Jesus”? Absolutely not! In Matthew 4:7, for instance, did Jesus say, “Again, it is written, ‘You shall not test Jesus, your God'”? In the Greek manuscripts as we have them, we find that someone has changed the Holy Name, not to Jesus, but to a form of Kurios, which has been rendered into the English as “the Lord.”

One has presented the claim:

This fact has had important implications for New Testament Christology itself. When in fact St. Paul, with regard to the crucifixion, writes that “God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name” (Phil 2:9), he does not mean any name other than “Lord,” for he continues by saying, “and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil 2:11; cf. Is 42:8: “I am the Lord; that is my name.”) The attribution of this title to the risen Christ corresponds exactly to the proclamation of his divinity. The title in fact becomes interchangeable between the God of Israel and the Messiah of the Christian faith, even though it is not in fact one of the titles used for the Messiah of Israel.

The problem is that no where in the faith once delivered to the saints, or in the prophets, do we find any authorization for changing the Holy Name (which is a verb in Hebrew) to titles such Adonai, Lord, God, etc. In Isaiah 42:8, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, does not say, “I am the Lord, that is my name.” He did not say that his name ADONAI, a plural intensive of ADONI, meaning “my Lord”; it is man’s assumption and decrees that would have ADONAI and the Holy Name to one and the same; in reality, as we have shown elsewhere, the two words do not all mean the same thing.

Green’s Literal translation of Isaiah 42:8 reads:

I am Jehovah; that is My name; and I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to engraved images.

No, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in Isaiah 42:8 is the same “Lord Jehovah” of Isaiah 61:1, who is not Jesus, but rather the God and Father of Jesus, the only true God who anointed and sent Jesus, and who set Jesus as the “one shepherd of the flock, the prince (ruler, thus, “lord) over His people. — Ezekiel 34:23,24; 37:24; John 10:16,29; 17:1,3; Acts 2:36.

The Greek word of transliterated as “kurios” (lord) as applied in Philippians 2:11 does not mean that Paul, in Philippians 2:7-11, was stating that Jesus was being exalted to have the exclusive name expressed in the tetragrammaton of Isaiah 42:8. The “kurios”, as applied to Jesus and others, does not mean the Holy Name of God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That which was revealed to the prophets in harmony with the faith once delivered to the saints shows that Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is the only true Supreme Being who sent Jesus; Jesus speaks the words given to him from the only true Supreme Being. — Exodus 3:13,14; Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Isaiah 61:1; John 3:34; 5:19; 6:29; 7:16,28; 8:26,28,42; 10:36; 12:44-50; 14:10,24; 17:1,3,8; Acts 3:13-26; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 1:1,2; 1 John 4:9,10.

Likewise, the revealing shows that it is the God and Father of Jesus who has made Jesus both Lord and Christ (Ezekiel 34:23,24; Isaiah 61:1,2; Acts 2:36), and has exalted him to the highest position in the universe, next to the only Most High.– Acts 2:33,36; 5:31; Philippians 2:9; Ephesians 1:3,17-23; 1 Corinthians 15:27; Hebrews 1:4; 1 Peter 3:22.

The default reasoning is that Jesus is NOT Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who sanctified and sent His son into the world of mankind. — Isaiah 61:1; John 3:17; 5:36,37; 6:38,57; 8:42; 10:36; 17:1,3; Romans 8:3; Galatians 4:4; 1 John 4:9-14

Nevertheless, this leads into further discussion of how God’s Holy Name has been changed to forms of “Kurios” or “Theos” in the  New Testament manuscripts, which we have already discussed before. See our studies on

Kurios and the Holy Name

The above was originally published May, 2011; it was edited and republished November, 2014.

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