Philippians 2:5-11 – Humility of Mind

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11
New American Standard Bible translation
Italics added to denote the scriptural name of this study.

THOSE WHO naturally have a humble mind have no particular difficulty in esteeming others better than themselves. But there are some who naturally have another attitude of mind. This is not necessarily their fault, for they may have been born with larger self-conceit than were others, due to the subjection of mankind to vanity and futility as a result of Adam’s sin. (Romans 1:21-2:1; 8:20) But even if we were born with humbleness of mind, we should need to take care that self-conceit and pride do not come in. Sometimes in their own heart some people feel boastful of the knowledge they possess. They like to shine, even though they know they have no more brilliancy than others; they would like to obscure the shining of others that they might be the more noticed in the darkness.

(2)  It would, therefore, be a safe matter for each of us to follow the Apostle’s suggestion to cultivate this humility of mind and never allow it to be lost. “Humble yourselves, therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time;” “for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (1 Peter 5:6; Luke 14:11) God would do this abasing, not of a vengeful spirit, but because the one who would vaunt himself must be brought low.

(2)  There might, however, be circumstances when some who appear to be vaunting themselves really are not doing so, but circumstances and conditions make it seem so. Therefore, to best fulfill the Apostle’s injunction, we should, as he suggests in this text, cultivate the spirit of humility — not considering our own good qualities so much as those of others. If we have good qualities, we are glad; let us make use of them to bring attention to our Heavenly Father and His Son; at the same time, let us look for the good qualities of others, especially any quality that we ourselves may be lacking or fall short of, that we may be appreciative, not envious, of their qualities.

(3)  In comparing ourselves with others, let us look at our own blemishes. There are very few in whom we cannot see some good qualities, good traits. If, therefore, we look at our own imperfections (1 Corinthians 11:31) and the good qualities of others, we shall find ourselves more and more appreciative of others; and this will be of assistance to us in running the race.

(4)  As an illustration of seeing something to admire, even in our enemies, we have the suggestion of the old lady to her nieces. One niece said to the other, “Auntie can say something good about everybody. I believe she could say something good even about the Devil.” “That is so,” answered the other. “Let us ask her.” Then she called, “Auntie, is there any good about the Devil?” “My dear,” replied Auntie, “I wish we all had as much perseverance as he has.”

(5)  So if we could find something in the Adversary that we could admire and commend, we can certainly find something in all others to admire and commend and to give them credit for. Thus we will cultivate the spirit that will be most helpful to ourselves for our future work.

(6)  The consideration of our own imperfections would, as we have suggested, make us very humble of mind and keep us in a very humble attitude of mind. This might discourage us unless we had the proper relationship with Jehovah (Yahweh)* through his son, Jesus, as revealed by means of the holy spirit as recorded in the written word by which we come to know them. (Mark 4:11; John 14:26; 16:4-13; 17:1-3; 1 Corinthians 2:7-10; Galatians 1:12; Ephesian 3:3-12; Colossians 1:25,26; 2 Timothy 2:2; 1 John 4:6) We know that “all things work together for good for those who love God.” (Romans 8:28) Through his word Jehovah has provided for such the “Balm of Gilead” (Jeremiah 8:22) for their encouragement, and the anointing oil and the comfort of the Scriptures. — Psalm 51:17; Isaiah 57:15; Romans 15:4; Hebrews 4:12

(7)  Jehovah does not entirely cast us off if we are not willfully practicing sin and if we take those things that humiliate us in the right spirit. That lowly disposition is what he wants to see in us. Those things which would humiliate us in the sight of others and in the sight of Jehovah himself, will, if we are rightly exercised by them, work together for good to us. (Romans 8:28) Such lowly ones he will bless and lift up and give an appreciation of his Love. This he purposes to do. We have every evidence that Jehovah will give the necessary encouragement, and we have the assurance of the scriptures that those who obey his Word to the best of their ability shall not be overcome by sin.

(8)  For each one to look merely upon his own things, interests, welfare or talents and to ignore those of others would manifest a general selfishness and, consequently, a dearth of the spirit of Christ, which is a spirit of love and generosity. (Romans 8:9) In proportion as we are filled more and more the fruitage of the holy spirit, especially love (Galatians 5:22,23), we will find ourselves interested in the welfare of others. This was the mind, attitude, disposition, or spirit which was in our dear Redeemer, which he so wonderfully manifested, which we must copy and develop in our characters if we would ultimately receive any reward of eternal life, but especially is it true of those who would be joint-heirs with Christ, concerning whom God has predestinated that to be accepted with Him to this position they must be “conformed to the image of his Son.” — Romans 8:29.

OUR GREAT EXEMPLAR

(9)  That we may partially discern how our Lord Jesus exemplified this spirit of humility, the apostle briefly sums up the story of His humiliation and shows how it led to his present exaltation. He points out to us that when our Lord Jesus was a spirit being, before He stooped to take the plane of human life and to bear the penalty of our sin, He was in “a form of God” — a mighty spirit form, a high and glorious condition. Jesus described his plane of existence before coming to the earth as a glorious position that he had beside his Father before the world existed. (John 17:5) But instead of being moved selfishly and ambitiously to grasp for higher things than God had conferred upon Him — instead of seeking to set up a rival Empire, as Satan did — he did not meditate a robbery of God to make Himself the Father’s equal (Satan’s course, depicted by the king of Babylon — Isaiah 14:13,14), and say, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God [the bright ones, the angelic hosts];… I will make myself like the Most High.” [His peer, His equal]. Quite to the contrary of this, our Lord Jesus, “the Beginning of the Creation of God,” (Revelation 3:14, New American Standard Bible translation) was willing, in harmony with the Father’s plan, to humble Himself, to take a lower plane of life and to do a work which would involve, not only a great deal of humiliation, but also a great deal of pain and suffering.

(10) The apostle points out how the “Only Begotten” (John 1:14, King James Version) proved his willingness and humility by complying with this arrangement; and that after he became a man he continued of this same humble spirit, willing to carry out the Divine Plan to the very letter by dying as man’s ransom-price (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; Romans 3:25; 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 John 2:2; 4:10); and not only so, but when it pleased the Father to require that the death should be a most ignominious one in every respect, he did not draw back, but said, “not my will, but yours, be done,” and stooped even to the ignominious “death of the cross [Greek, stauros, stake]”! — Philippians 2:8.

(11)  Here we have the most wonderful demonstration of the attitude of humility, meekness and obedience to God that has ever been manifested or that could be conceived of. And this is the pattern the apostle points out that we should seek to copy. “Have this [humble] attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 2:5-10, New American Standard Version.

(12)  This humility enabled our Lord to render perfect obedience (Romans 5:19; Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 4:15; 5:8), on account of which the Heavenly Father has so highly honored Him as to raise Him from the dead to the highest plane (excepting God — 1 Corinthians 15:57), to a divine station far above angels, principalities and powers, and every name that is named. That this is the apostle’s argument is shown (Philippians 2:9) by the word “For this reason also,” — that is, on this account, on account of this humility and obedience just described — “God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.”

(13)  Not only did our Lord’s beautiful and perfect humility and obedience demonstrate that He was to the core loyal to the Heavenly Father, but it also demonstrated that in Him the Father’s spirit of love dwelt richly, for He shared the Father’s love for the race He redeems. (John 3:16,17; 15:9; Romans 5:8; 8:35,39; Galatians 1:3,4; 2:20; Ephesians 5:2; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; Titus 2:13,14; 1 John 4:9,10) On this account also He is found worthy to be the Divine Agent in the blessing of all the families of the earth, according to the terms of the Divine Covenant made with Father Abraham. — Genesis 22:18; Luke 22:29; Galatians 3:16; Hebrews 1:2.

(14)  Thus He has become the “seed of Abraham” that is to bless the race redeemed; and hence it will be through his name that “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess” when Jehovah’s “due time” shall come for the pouring out of Divine blessings upon the redeemed world — that all may come to a knowledge of the truth and, if they will, into full harmony with God, and to eternal life.

(15)  Not only does the apostle hold up the Lord Jesus as the great Example of a proper humility, self-abnegation and obedience to God in the interest of others, but he would also hold up before us the reward, the high exaltation of our Lord by the Father, the result or reward of his obedience, that we also might be encouraged and realize that, if faithful in following the footsteps of our redeemer and sacrificing the advantages of the present to serve the Lord and His cause, then in due time we also may be glorified with him and to share his rulership, as heirs of God, and possibly as joint-heirs with Christ. — Romans 8:17.

(16)  Beloved, let us apply to ourselves the loving exhortation of the Apostle to the Church at Philippi, contained in the succeeding verses (Philippians 2:12-16), and continue in the way upon which we have entered, making more and more progress in the race-course, working out in ourselves through humility and obedience the character, the disposition of Christ, with fear and trembling, and thus working out each our own share in the great salvation to glory that God has promised.

WORKING OUT OUR SALVATION

(17)  We cannot work out our own justification, that is, our initial salvation from sin and death, but after being justified by the blood of Christ, and being called with the heavenly calling, we can make our calling and election sure. (2 Peter 1:10) We can work out our own share in the great salvation to which we have been called in Christ by giving heed to the instructions of the Lord, by following the pattern which He has set for us; not that we will attain perfection in our present sinful flesh, but rather more importantly, perfection of faith, will, of intention, of heart (1 Thessalonians 3:10; Hebrews 6:1), and if we bring the body into submission to the new will (1 Corinthians 9:27), its weaknesses and imperfections will be reckoned as covered by the merit of our Lord. — 1 John 1:9.

(18)  It is encouraging also for us to know that this warfare against weakness and sin is not merely one of our own, but that God, through his Son and by means of his holy spirit, is for us, has called us, and is helping us. (Romans 8:31,34; Hebrews 10:23) He already works in us, by his word of promise, and has led us thus far in the willing and the doing of his will, his good pleasure; and he will continue thus to lead and to help us and to work in us by his word of truth, if we will continue to give heed to His counsel. “Sanctify them in your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:17) The Gospel is “the power of God to salvation” (Romans 1:16) to every one that so accepts it; and no greater stimulus to true godliness can be found than “hist precious and exceedingly great promises; that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is the world by lust.” — 2 Peter 1:4.

(19)  Moreover, in following in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus, running the race for the great prize set before us in the Gospel, we are not to murmur by the way, finding fault with its difficulties and narrowness; nor are we to dispute respecting it, nor seek to have any other way than that which Divine providence marks out for us, realizing that Jehovah knows exactly what experiences are necessary to our development in the school of Christ; and realizing also that, if obedience were possible, while our mouths are full of complaints and dissatisfaction with Jehovah and our lot in this present life which He has permitted, it would indicate that we are at least out of sympathy with the spirit of His arrangement; and such an obedience, if it were possible (but it would not be possible), would not meet the Divine approval, nor gain us the “prize.” Hence, as the apostle exhorts, we should “do all things without murmurings and disputes, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you are seen as lights in the world, holding up the word of life.” — Verses 14-16.

(20)  Many, however, have sought to dispute the straightforwardness of Paul’s statements, and wish to read into what he said things that he never said or implied. Many read his statement concerning Jesus’ prehuman existence in a “form of theos” to mean that Jesus was God Almighty. Many even read into Paul’s statement that “being” in this form means eternity. Additionally, they read into the statement “equality with God” as meaning Jesus is equal with God. These views are often expressed to support the trinity doctrine, that is, that there are three persons in one God, and sometimes also the oneness doctrine.

(21)  While we believe that there is no support for the trinity or oneness doctrines in Philippians 2, we will admit that one can argue concerning the Greek syntax to make it appear to support the trinity, and this is reflected in many translations. Many prefer the King James rendering of Philippians 2:6 because it does seem to lend support the trinitarian dogma: “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”

(22)  However, not all translators agree with this, as can be seen from the following: “He was in every way like God. Yet he did not think that being equal to God was something he must hold on to.” (WorldWide English Bible translation) “Who, being in the form of God, thought [it] not robbery to be equal to God.” (Young’s Literal Translation) “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.” (New International Version) “who, subsisting in the form of God, did not esteem it an object of rapine to be on an equality with God;” (Darby’s Translation) “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped.” (New American Standard Bible translation) “who, though being in God’s Form, yet did not meditate a Usurpation to be like God.” (Diaglott) Except for the last translation, all of these are renderings given by trinitarian translators. This does, at least, show that there is not agreement, even amongst trintiarian scholars, as to how this verse should be translated.

(23)  The Greek, as taken from the transliteration of the Westcott and Hort text, as it appears on the “Bible Students Library DVD“, is: “hos en morphee theou huparchwn ouch harpagmon heegeesato to einai isa thew.” Let us look at the various expressions used to see what they say, and what they do not say, or what one would have to read into the saying in order to make the words appear to mean that Jesus is God Almighty.

Morphe & Theos

(24)  The first part of the verse is “hos en morphee theou”, literally, “who in god form”, or if one transfers the Hebraic usage of EL to “theou”, this could be understood as “who in mighty form,” or “who in mighty appearance”. Theos is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word “elohim” which can mean “mighty” as in Genesis 30:8 and 1 Samuel 14:15. The Hebrew words EL and ELOHIM [words that are often translated as “God”], when used in reference to others than Jehovah, take on a more general form of special mightiness, but not as the exclusive might that only belongs to Jehovah as the source of all might. Thus we suggest “who in mighty form” as this is used of Jesus, one other than Jehovah, in Philippians 2:6. For one who has no axe to grind in otherwise seeing in this that Jesus is Jehovah, this appears to be best way to understand Paul’s words in the context in which he is speaking. Some trinitarians, however, might object that Paul wrote in Greek, not Hebrew, and that he is using theou here to mean, not just might, but God Almighty. Unless one is seeking to prove that Paul was using Greek philosophies rather than Biblical tradition, we see no reason for this argument. In effect, however, it is an appeal to Greek philosophy that most trinitarians and some others appeal to in their desire to see in this phrase that Jesus is Jehovah. Trinitarians will usually take the stance that all scriptures should be viewed through trinitarian theology, with the idea that anyone who objects has has to disprove the trinity. Of course, the writers of the Bible did not write their thoughts in an effort to disprove a doctrine that did not exist, so it is highly doubtful that there is not some way the trinitarian can dream up a way in which to make it appear that the Bible writers appear to support the trinity doctrine. The truth is that there is not one scripture that supports the “three persons in one God” fable. It is the for the trinitarian to prove that the Bible does actually say that there are there is a triune god; it is not for us to “disprove” the trinity dogma, but to only point out that the scriptures are in harmony without adding this idea to the scripture. Despite the appeal of the rendering “mighty form”, we have concluded that this is probably not what Paul had in mind; by the parallel given in the following verses, we conclude that he was actually referring to the God of Jesus in his use of the word THEOS in Philippians 2:6; this harmonizes with the thought that morphe is being used as close synonym to the word transliterated as “Homoioma”, meaning likeness in apperance (not necessarily actually), as Romans 8:3, where Jesus is said to have been in “likeness” of sinful flesh. Jesus’ flesh was not sinful, for he was without sin; yet because he suffered as though he were a sinner under bondage as men are due to Adam’s sin, Jesus was in the likness of sinful flesh.

(25)  What we next need to look at is the usage of word “morphe”, often translated “form” or “nature”. The meanings given to the word are “the form by which a person or thing strikes the vision; external appearance.”* The word only appears three times in the Greek New Testament. It is the word translated “form” in Mark 16:12: “After these things he was revealed in another form to two of them, as they walked, on their way into the country.” The account in Luke (24:13-35) shows that the disciples’ failure to recognize Jesus on this occasion was due to the altered appearance of Jesus, not an altered ‘essential nature’. The word “morphe” is the basis of some words in English, such morphology (the study of shape or appearance), and metamorphosis (a change of shape). Morphe in the Septuagint is used in Daniel 4:33; 6:6,9,10; 7:28, where it is translated from the Hebrew word Ziv (splendor); in Isaiah 44:13 from the word Tabnith (structure, model, pattern, — as in a building); and in Job 4:16 from the Hebrew word Temuna (appearance, form, shape, image, likeness). The word morphe is used in reference to the heathen gods by the classic writers, denoting their aspect or appearance when they became visible to men. See Cic. de Nat. Deor. ii. 2; Ovid, Meta. i. 73; Silius xiii. 643; Xeno. Memora. ix; 2Eniad, iv. 556, and other places cited by Wetstein, in loc. Hesychius explains it by ~idea, eidov~.**
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*Thayer and Smith. “Greek Lexicon entry for Morphe”. “The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon”.
http://www.biblestudytools.net/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=3444.
**Barnes, Albert. “Commentary on Philippians 2”. Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament.
http://www.studylight.org/com/bnn/view.cgi?book=php&chapter=002.

(26)  Barnes tells us that the word morphe, as used of Jesus in Philippians 2:6, can have one of two meanings:

(1.) splendour, majesty, glory–referring to the honour which the Redeemer had, his power to work miracles, etc.; or

(2.) nature, or essence–meaning the same as ~fusiv~, nature, or ~ousia~, being. The first is the opinion adopted by Crellus, Grotius, and others, and substantially by Calvin. Calvin says, “The form of God here denotes majesty. For as a man is known from the appearance of his form, so the majesty which shines in God is his figure. Or, to use a more appropriate similitude, the form of a king consists of the external marks which indicate a king –as his sceptre, diadem, coat of mail, attendants, throne, and other insignia of royalty; the form of a consul is the toga, ivory chair, attending lictors, etc. Therefore Christ, before the foundation of the world, was in the form of God, because he had glory with the Father before the world was, John 17:5. For in the wisdom of God, before he put on our nature, there was nothing humble or abject, but there was magnificence worthy of God.” –Comm. in loc. The second opinion is, that the word is equivalent to nature, or being; that is, that he was in the nature of God, or his mode of existence was that of God, or was Divine. This is the opinion adopted by Schleusner (Lex.;) Prof. Stuart (Letters to Dr. Channing, p. 40;) Doddridge, and by orthodox expositors in general, and seems to me to be the correct interpretation. In support of this interpretation, and in opposition to that which refers it to his power of working miracles, or his divine appearance when on earth

(27)  We believe that we could add to these a third meaning of the Hebrew word Temuna: appearance, form, shape, image, likeness, as in Job 4:16, and as shown in is usage in Mark 16:12.

(28)  However, it is difficult to treat the word “morphe” without also considering the word “theos”, translated “God”, as well as the usage of morphe in verse 7. Our trinitarian neighbors adamantly conclude that theos applied to Jesus means that Jesus is God Almighty [and not in a general sense of mightiness], and say that Jesus could not have been in the form of God Almighty without being God Almighty, by which they mean “God Almighty”. It is argued by some that “morphe” in some of classical Greek philosphical writings is used in the sense of “essence” or “genuine nature of a thing”, and that for Jesus to be the genuine nature of God means that Jesus is God. There are many trinitarian scholars that have seized on this as supposed definite proof that Jesus is God Almighty. Thus it is claimed that “morphe” is used in Philippians 2:6 in a different sense than it was used in Mark 16:12. One site gives a variety of quotes which we reproduce here.

“Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped” (Phil. 2.6). The English word “form” (Gk. morphe) is misleading because it gives the impression that Jesus is not of the same essence as God, or that Jesus is somehow a lesser, or subordinate deity. However, the Greek word morphe denotes, “The set of genuine characteristics which constitutes a thing what it is. It denotes the genuine nature of a thing” (Christian Theology, p.325). “Morphe means the essential attributes as shown by form. In his preincarnate state Christ possessed the attributes of God and so appeared to those in heaven who saw him. Here is a clear statement by Paul of the Deity of Christ” (Robertson, vol. 4, p..444). “[Morphe] always signifies a form which truly and fully expresses the being which underlies it” (MM p. 417).

(29)  Most of the definitions, although designed purposely to fit the trinity doctrine, do well fit the meaning we gave earlier, “who in mighty form.” Jesus was existing in the essence of mightiness, the very nature of a celestial glory with the Father, before he came to the earth, which glory he did not possess while in the days of his flesh. (John 17:5; 1 Corinthians 15:40; Hebrews 2:9; 5:7) We know that he did not possess this glory while in the flesh, for if he did, why did he ask that it be returned to him? (John 1:1,2; 17:5) Nevertheless, if Jesus is God Almighty, there would be no need to use the word morphe at all to tell of such, for Paul could have easily said, “being God, he did not…”.

(31)  As we have shown in our study, “Hebraic Usage of the Titles for ‘God’“, the Greek word theos does not always mean God Almighty, and based upon Hebraic usage, it can legitimately be applied to others who have power as given to them by God Almighty. Thus being the form of Theos — a mighty being — does not necessarily mean that such a person would be God Almighty, anymore than Moses, by being made “god” — elohim [mighty] — to Pharaoh, is God Almighty. — Exodus 7:1.

(32)  It is obvious, however, that morphe in Philippians 2:6, does not refer to physical shape, but Paul gives us a clue to its meaning as he uses the word again in verse 7, saying that Jesus had taken the form (morphe) of a bondservant, a slave. Was not Jesus fully a bondservant, thus also fully God, as some have claimed? How was Jesus in the form of a bondservant? Was not Jesus a servant of God? Is this what is meant, that Jesus took on himself the form of serving God? No, we do not believe this is what is being referred to. Jesus, in his prehuman condition, although in the form of theos, was an obedient servant to God before he came to the earth (John 3:16,17; 5:30,36; 6:38,44; 8:29,38,42; 10:36; 17:3; Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 10:5; 1 John 4:9,10), so the servitude being spoken of here evidently means more than just that he took on himself the servitude of God. Thus, this relates to the purpose for which Jesus came to earth, that is to give his soul as a ransom for many — for all. (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:6; Hebrews 2:9) The human race came to be in bondage to sin and death due to Adam’s sin. (Romans 5:15-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22) Paul elsewhere spoke of this bondage. (Romans 8:15,21; Galatians 4:3) Was Jesus in bondage to sin and corruption as the rest of the human race? Obviously not. Jesus had no sin, but he did come in the likeness of sinful flesh to be sin on our behalf. (John 8:46; 1 Peter 2:2; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15) Thus, he did have a form of that bondage, the outward appearance, so to speak, of that bondage. God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. (Romans 8:3) Jesus suffered the consequences of sin in order to pay the price for the human race, although he himself was not sinful.

(33)  Understanding how Jesus was in the form [morphe] of a bondservant should give us a clue concerning the usage of the word morphe relating to the form he was in before. The application is good regardless of whether one believes that “form of THEOS” refers to being form of God Almighty, or “mighty form.” Jesus left the glory he had, he was rich, and became poor — as a suffering bondservant. (2 Corinthians 8:9) Jesus was also, before taking on the form of a bondservant, in the form, or outward appearance of God Almighty. Jesus, when he had his celestial glory with his God and Father before he became flesh, had the external appearance, the outward likeness, of God, for no angel could then accuse him of sin. Then he became flesh, and Jesus found himself in the form, likeness, of a bondservant, by which he was made to appear to be a sinner, and the Jewish leaders accused him of being a sinner. Paul further describes the condition that Jesus came to be in as “likeness [Greek, Homoioma] of man”, “the likeness [Homoioma] of sinful flesh” (Roman 8:3), that is, man who is enslaved to sin. Again, Jesus did not share the sinful nature that man was enslaved under, but he did possess the form of the slavery in that he suffered with mankind in order to pay the price for mankind. The two conditions are contrasted, the one of being fully known to be without sin, in the likeness of God, the other of slavery, in the likeness of man enslaved in sin. Jesus was not God Almighty, but he did have a likeness to God Almighty because of his being fully esteemed as righteous before he became flesh; likewise, neither was Jesus actually a sinful man, but he did have a likeness of a sinful man.

(34)  Noting that the word Theos in the phrase “form of God” probably does refer to God Almighty, “God” is distinguished from the Son in the Phillippians 2:6, because of Jesus it said that “did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped.” (New American Standard)  In harmony with this, it does not follow that the phrase “form of God” means that Jesus was existing as God Almighty, since “form” can mean image, or likeness, and thus his form of existence before coming to earth can be seen to be in some manner like that of God’s esteemed righteousnes, that is, that Jesus, in his prehuman condition, was fully esteemed as righteous like his God, in fully harmony with his God. Jesus was not suffering as a sinner being before coming the earth, and since Jehovah, the God and Father of Jesus, is not suffering as sinner, Jesus was be in the likenes of his God.

(35)  Here are some quotes offered on the site of Juan Baixeras:

R.P. Martin (“Morphe in Philippians 2:6,” Expository Times, Vol. 70, no.6, March 1959, 183-184) states:

“That morphe and eikon are equivalent terms that are used interchangeably in the LXX.”

James Dunn states in Christology in the Making pg.115:

“It has long been recognized that morphe and eikon are near synonyms.”

An understanding of image will help us in the understanding of form. Let us look at their definitions. According to Strong’s Greek Dictionary it means:

Form (morphe) – nature. Comes from the base of the word meros that means to have an allotment, a division or share, piece, portion.

Image (eikon) – likeness, or figuratively a representation.

(36)  We know that in common usage that an image of something is not actually that of which it is an image. Something can be the exact representation of the original in external appearance and yet not actually be the original of which it is an image. Thus, if John has taken a photograph of his wife and he looks at it, and he might show it to someone and say: “This is my wife.” He doesn’t mean that the photograph is actually his wife, but that it represents his wife. He might say that it is an exact image of her, and in no way would this mean that the photograph is actually his wife.

(37)  The scriptures tell us that Jesus “is the image of God,” (2 Corinthians 4:4) and that “he is the image of the invisible God.” (Colossians 1:1) In Hebrews 1:3, we read that he is “the brightness of [God’s] glory and the express image of [God’s] person.” (New King James Version) The expression in Philippians 2:6, we believe, could be seen to be similar to these other expressions. At any rate, we see no reason to read into the expression that Jesus is God Almighty.

(38)  Paul also states: “And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, yes, the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:8) The word translated “form” in this verse in the World English Bible translation, however, is not morphe, but rather schema (Strong’s #4976), which is defined as: “the habitus, as comprising everything in a person which strikes the senses, the figure, bearing, discourse, actions, manner of life etc.” The English word “scheme”, as meaning, arrangement, figure, design, etc., is derived from this Greek word, schema. This Greek word is used only twice in the Greek New Testament. The other place is in 1 Corinthians 7:31: “and those who use the world, as not using it to the fullest. For the mode (Greek, Schema) of this world passes away.” As used in Philippians 2:8, it refers to the mode of Jesus’ existence as a human being. In context, it implies also the condition that man is in, but as we have seen, Jesus was not sinful, but he did submit to the same sufferings experienced by the rest of mankind whose very flesh is sinful by nature.

(39)  We will add that not all trinitarian scholars think that “form of God” refers to Jesus as God Almighty before coming to the earth. Adam Clarke, although he believed that Jesus was God Almighty, wrote concerning “form of God” in Philippians 2:6:

Clarke, Adam. “Commentary on Philippians 2”.
The Adam Clarke Commentary“.
. 1832.

This verse has been the subject of much criticism, and some controversy. Dr. Whitby has, perhaps, on the whole, spoken best on this point; but his arguments are too diffuse to be admitted here. Dr. Macknight has abridged the words of Dr. Whitby, and properly observes that, “As the apostle is speaking of what Christ was before he took the form of a servant, the form of God, of which he divested himself when he became man, cannot be any thing which he possessed during his incarnation or in his divested state; consequently neither the opinion of Erasmus, that the form of God consisted in those sparks of divinity by which Christ, during his incarnation, manifested his Godhead, nor the opinion of the Socinians, that it consisted in the power of working miracles, is well founded; for Christ did not divest himself either of one or the other, but possessed both all the time of his public ministry….” This interpretation is supported by the term {{morphe}}, form, here used, which signifies a person’s external shape or appearance, and not his nature or essence.

(40)  Thus we conclude that the usage of the morphe and theos Philippians 2:6 does not offer any proof that Jesus is Jehovah.

Huparcho

(41)  The word translated “existed” in the The New American Standard Version in the phrase “although he existed” is the Greek word huparchon, present active particple of Huparcho (Strong’s #5225) Huparchon is also sometimes transliterated as huparcon, huparxwn, as well as huparchwn. It is claimed that huparchon means eternity, that Paul, by using this word of Jesus’ prehuman existence, was saying that Jesus was eternal and never had a beginning. There is nothing inherent in the word *huparchon* that means “eternal” — either as never having a beginning or never having an ending; such a thought has to be read into what was said. The word can denote a continuous action that was past as well as a continuous action that continues into the present.

(42)  Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament, confirms this meaning, by saying; “’Being,’ denoting being which is from the beginning. It has a backward look into an antecedent condition, which has been protracted into the present.” This is in agreement with what we have said. While some read into this definition as meaning “without beginning”, that is not what it says. Rather it states “being which from the beginning.” Nothing in this definition means “without beginning or ending”.

(43)  Let us look at Vines Dictionary of New Testament Words: “huparcho ‘to exist,’ which always involves a preexistent state, prior to the fact referred to, and a continuance of the state after the fact.” Again, this agrees with what we have said. Nevetheless, there is nothing in this definition that means without beginning or without ending.

(44)  We are told that Bible scholar Robert Reymond commenting on the word huparcho notes that the word should be understood to mean “continually subsisting.” Again, this agrees with what we have said. The word “continual” means “continuing indefinitely in time without interruption .”* “Continual” does not mean without beginning or without end, for one cannot be continually in fear for all eternity past, present and future. Likewise “subsist” simply means “to have existence”. Nothing in this term means having no beginning nor having no ending.
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* Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?va=continually

(45)  Someone tells us that Biblical scholar John F. Wavood [Walvood?] says that the meaning here is that “Christ always has been in the form of God with the implication that He still is.” This was given without any reference as to which of Mr. Walvood’s writings one can find this quote in, and we haven’t been to locate this statement. Regardless, it is evidently Mr. Walvood’s opinion regarding the usage of huparchon in Philippians 2:6, and not necessarily the meaning of the word in general.

(46)  We are told that Rienecker and Rogers point out, “The word huparcho expresses continuance of an antecedent state or condition” (Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament p. 550). Again, this still agrees with what we have been stating. There is nothing in this definition that means that the continuance of an antecedent state or condition has no beginning.

(47)  We are told that William Hendricsen (possibly William Hendricksen?) explains, “The present participle huparcho stands in sharp contrast with all the aorists which follow it, and therefore points in the direction of continuance of being: Christ Jesus was and is eternally ‘in the form of God’.” (A Commentary on the Epistle to the Philippians p. 103, n. 82). We have no quarrel with the first part of the statement. The last part is true in that Jesus will for all eternal future be in the form of theos; however, more than likely the author meant the word eternity to mean uncreated, without beginning and without end, which would just be his opinion.

(48)  We can see that there is nothing inherit in the word huparchon itself that gives it the meaning of a continous eternal past and future. This can be seen by examining other scriptures that use the word huparchon.

Luke 9:48: and said to them, “Whoever receives this little child in my name receives me. Whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For whoever is [huparchon] least among you all, this one will be great.”

(49) The argument is made that this means that one continues to be least, to which we agree in the duration in which one continues to be least, but does it mean that such an one continues to be least for all eternity? We do not see this to necessarily be so. Jesus says they will be great, indicating a time when they will no longer be the least, and we believe this refers to the honors given to the saints in the kingdom.

(50) One responds that the word least is about attitude, and that this attitude will cease at some future point when the person becomes great. Yes, it is about attitude as far as how one regards himself in this life. It is about not exalting oneself. Nevertheless, “least” is contrasted with “great”. After being exalted by God to the “great” position, it is true that the one so exalted will still not seek to exalt himself, but he can not actually esteem himself the least anymore, for such would be a lie.

Luke 23:50: Behold, a man named Joseph, who was [huparchon] a member of the council, a good and righteous man.

(51) The New American Bible renders Luke’s words as, “Now there was (haparchon) a virtuous and righteous man named Joseph who, though he was a member of the council.” While some translations render this differently, we should see that from the translation above that, while Joseph continued as a member of the council at the time being spoken of, he probably was not a member at the time that Luke wrote his Gospel. Joseph certainly is not still existing as a member of the council to this day. Accepting the rendering of the New American Bible translation, it still shows that harpochon, as related to the past, does not mean eternity, for Joseph, was not existing in an eternity past, nor did he exist from the time of his death to the resurrection, except that he was probably reckoned alive to God, counted, concluded, imputed (Greek, Logizomai, Strong’s #3049*) as justified for life in view of the resurrection promise**. — Luke 20:37,38; Romans 3:28; 4:3-24; 6:11; Galatians 3:6.
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*http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=3049
**See our document, Hope of Life After Death, beginning especially with paragraph #124.

Acts 2:29,30: Brothers, I may tell you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being [huparchon] a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne.

(52) Here *huparchon* is definitely speaking of a condition that did exist in the past, but did not exist at the time that Peter spoke these words. David, at the time that David lived, was a prophet, and existed at that time as prophet. David was not still existing as a prophet in the days of Peter. The usuage here is very similar to that of Philippians 2:6.

(53) Regarding Acts 2:29-30, it has been claimed that David is still existing as is Joseph, and that David is still a prophet, etc., evidently based on the idea of inherent immortality. To read that David is still existing and is still actively giving prophecies is really reading a whole lot into the text!

(54) In reality, David is buried and is in sheol, the realm of nonsentiency, to this day. Jesus is not still in the realm of nonsentiency [sheol], because he has been raised from the realm of nonsentiency, the realm into which all go when they die, both good and bad. (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10) That was Peter’s point. David was not with them in life — he was still dead, nonsentient, still in the tomb (Acts 2:29); Jesus was with them — Jesus was alive, having been raised back to sentiency! If David was alive somewhere and had gone to heaven, and was still giving prophecies to us as claimed, then he would still be with us, but I wonder where, and in what way is he prophesying, being that he is still in sheol, unable to praise Jehovah? In this regard, please note that in sheol, where David was then and is still, David indicated that he would not even be able to praise or give thanks to Jehovah, much less actively prophecy for him. (Psalm 6:5*) In truth, all who go to sheol (hades) are in the realm of nonsentiency. They return to the same condition they were before they born, except that, due to the ransom sacrifice of Jesus, there is the hope of the resurrection, for which the spirit — the life force from God — returns to God, that he might give it back in the resurrection day, and that if there be no resurrection, there is no hope at all, our faith is in vain, our hope has only been in this life, and there is no reason to be baptized into Christ’s death. — Genesis 2:7; Job 14:10; 17:1; Psalm 31:5; 140:3; 146:4; Ecclesiastes 12:7; 1 Corinthians 15:14,-19,29,32, Romans 6:3-13.
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*See our document, What Does the Bible Actually Say About Hell?

Acts 3:2: A certain man who was [huparchon] lame from his mother’s womb was being carried, whom they laid daily at the door of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask gifts for the needy of those who entered into the temple.

(55) Again, at the time of the writing of Acts, it should be apparent that the lame man, although he had been existing as a lame man from his birth, did not continue to be lame, for he was healed. (Acts 3:6-9) Another good example of something that did have a continous action in the past, but was not continued in such action indefinitely.

(56) The argument is that it is modified by a preposition, *ek*, translated “from”. This preposition only shows that huparchon is limited in its scope to that which is being spoken, and thus proves what we are saying. The preposition does set a time limit for the beginning of his *being” lame, but it doesn’t set a time limit for an end to his being lame. It definitely proves that the word itself does not mean eternal past, as some trinitarians have claimed. Also, at the time that Luke wrote this the man was no longer lame, thus Luke is writing of an condition that continued to be in the past, but which was longer existing at the time he wrote the account, thus it also proves that the word *huparchon* does not necessarily continue to the present time, or for eternity. If the word *huparchon* itself means without a beginning and without and ending, as some have claimed, then it could not be modified by anyother word to mean other than what it supposedly means. Of course, the word itself does not mean “without beginning or end”, and thus this is shown in the context of this verse.

Romans 4:19: Without being weakened in faith, he didn’t consider his own body, already having been worn out, (he being [huparchon] about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.

(57) Paul here speaks of Abraham’s existence, being spoken of from the standpoint of that time in that past, of when Abraham was about a hundred years old. Not that Abraham has always been about a hundred years old, or that he was at the time that Peter spoke still about a hundred years old, but that in that time period in the past, Abraham had been about a hundred years old. Likewise, in the same manner, Paul in Philippians 2:6,7 speaks of Jesus’ being in the form of theos before he came to earth, as contrasted to his being in the form of a slave — in order to the price for sin — while on earth. He who was rich became poor for our sakes. (2 Corinthians 8:9) This would be the most straightforward way of viewing the verses.

(58) We are informed here that the word haparcho is modified by the adverb ” about” (Gr. pou). We are not sure what the import is meant for this; it certainly doesn’t do away with removing the limit of the continuance of the time when Abraham was about 100 years old. The adverb confirms that the word *huparchon* does not necessarily mean that the condition spoken of continues for all eternity in the past or into the present. Thus the very fact that huparchon is limited to the time period when Abraham was “about 100 years old” proves the point. The word is used in a past time reference, which did have beginning and a continuance for a time in the past, but did not continue into the present.

(59) Someone objects the above cannot apply to Philippians 2:6, since Greek scholars are adamant that the meaning of huparcho at Philippians 2:6 is otherwise, that it is to be understood to involve an existence or condition both previous to the act mentioned and continuing after it, as Greek expert Kenneth Wuest explains, “Paul, by the use of the Greek word translated ‘being,’ informs his Greek readers that our Lord’s possession of the divine essence did not cease to be a fact when He came to earth to assume human form. The Greek word is not the simple verb of being, but a word that speaks of an antecedent condition protracted into the present. That is, our Lord gave expression to the essence of Deity which He possesses, not only before He became Man, but also after becoming Man, for He was doing so at the time this Philippian epistle was written. To give expression to the essence of Deity implies the possession of Deity, for this expression, according to the definition of our word ‘form,’ comes from one’s inmost nature. This word alone is enough to refute the claim of Modernism that our Lord emptied Himself of His Deity when He became Man” (Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, volume II, page 63).

(59) We realize that there are many trinitarian scholars who argue for application of Greek words in exceptional ways toward Jesus, so as to make these words appear to be saying what they want them to say, that Jesus was uncreated, had no beginning, etc. One will have to agree that there is nothing in the word itself that means eternal past being, or eternal past being in whatever capacity is being spoken of, nor does it of itself mean that a past continuous condition necessarily have to continue into the present, as we have demonstrated. The idea that there is something inherit in its usage that would make it mean eternal past or a continuation of such a past condition into the present, has to be read into Philippians 2:6, because it simply is not there. Thus we conclude that most of what we read by trinitarian scholars the usage of this word in Philippians 2:6 is biased toward the trinity.

2 Corinthians 12:16 – But be it so, I did not myself burden you. But, being [huparchwn] crafty, I caught you with deception. — 2 Corinthians 12:16.

(60) This scripture has been viewed in two ways. One is that Paul was using irony of the accusation that he was crafty, and another that Paul himself was saying that he cunningly caught the Corinthians in deception. Paul is not saying that he is in a constant state of being crafty, but that he is speaking of the condition of his mind that existed in that past situation, as the context shows.

(61) In the context of Philippians 2:6, we are told that God is the one who exalted Jesus, which by common language should tell anyone of common sense that Jesus is not God who exalted him. But our trinitarian neighbors would have us believe that Paul had just stated that Jesus was God Almighty and therefore, which should lead to the conclusion, by reason of his being God Almighty, he could not possibly be exalted, but to make it fit their doctrine, they will either say that it is Jesus as the man who is exalted, also contrary to many scriptures, or that it is a person — who is supposed to be, not part of, but fully the Supreme Being — who is in subjection to another person — who also is supposed to be, nor part of, but fully the Supreme Being, and is exalted by that other person who is supposed to be, not part of, but fully the Supreme Being, and say to believe this contradiction is being spiritual-minded, and to not believe it is being carnal minded. Of course, to overcome normal language they had to invent new, unique meanings for common words and terminology in order to force the trinity dogma into the scriptures.

(62) We are presented with Psalm 148:13 with the claim that only Jehovah is exalted, thus if Jesus is exalted, then Jesus must be Jehovah. Psalm 148:13 reads: “Let them praise the name of Yahweh {Jehovah}, For his name alone [Hebrew, bad, Strong’s #905] is exalted [Hebrew, sagab, Strong’s #7682]. His glory is above the earth and the heavens.” Does this scripture mean that no one else but Jehovah can be exalted? Once we examine and compare scriptures, we will see that this is not so.

(63) The word “only” is translated from the Hebrew word bad*. [Strong’s #905] It is a word that used in comparison, and does not necessarily mean totally alone, but rather alone in relation to what is being spoken of. (Genesis 2:18; 32:24; Judges 6:40) Thus, in comparison with the humans spoken of in the context (Psalm 148:11,12), only Jehovah is exalted above the earth and earth’s skies (heavens). This exalted position of Jehovah is not an elevated position from a lower position, but it is an permanent state in which he is exalted, although one person’s estimation of Jehovah can be exalted from a lower position to a higher position in his heart.
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*Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. “Hebrew Lexicon entry for Bad”. “The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon”.
http://www.biblestudytools.net/Lexicons/Hebrew/heb.cgi?number=905.

(64) Can another than Jehovah be legitimately exalted? The Hebrew word “sagab”* is often used of Jehovah’s exaltation, but in so doing it is used in the sense of being “inaccessibly high”, not in the sense of exaltation from a lower position or office to a higher position or office. (Isaiah 2:11,17; 12:4; 33:5) Nevertheless, it is also used of others, especially of those made safe (inaccessible to those who would do harm) by Jehovah (Psalm 59:1; 69:29; 107:41; Proverbs 18:10,11; 29:25), but it is also used of inanimate things (Deuteronomy 2:36; Psalm 139:6). In Psalm 20:1, we have a statement that is evidently a prophetic prayer concerning Jesus, although it could have had an application also to either David himself, or to David’s son, Solomon: “May Yahweh [Jehovah] answer you in the day of trouble. May the name of the God of Jacob set you up on high [exalt you — sagab].” While again the meaning here seems to be to related to being given a safe haven, applying this scripture to Jesus, as many do, we can see that it is Jehovah’s name that exalts Jesus. We need to remember that the Anointed One came and spoke in the name of Jehovah, which agrees with Psalm 20:1. (Deuteronomy 18:15-19) Being faithful to his God, Jehovah, Jesus is exalted from a low position to a high position by Jehovah. “He [Jesus] is the one whom God exalted to His [God’s] right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 5:31, New American Standard Bible translation) This agrees with Philippians 2:9, where we read that is God who “highly exalted him, and gave to him the name which is above every name.” Since it is God who exalts Jesus, it doesn’t look like that this means that Jesus is the God who exalts him.
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*Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. “Hebrew Lexicon entry for Sagab”. “The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon”.
http://www.biblestudytools.net/Lexicons/Hebrew/heb.cgi?number=7682.

(65) In the case of Jesus’ exaltation as spoken of in Philippians 2:9, we see that Jesus was “highly exalted” by God. (Huperupsoo* — a combination of huper (meaning, beyond, above, more) and Hupsoo (to lift up, to exalt, to raise to dignity, honor). God exalted Jesus, giving the highest honor and position of rulership ever given to any creature.
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*Thayer and Smith. “Greek Lexicon entry for Huperupsoo”. “The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon”.
http://www.biblestudytools.net/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=5251.

No one else is exalted to the same high position as that to which God exalts Jesus, nevertheless, the heirs of God are told: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6) “He who humbles himself will be exalted.” — Luke 14:11; 18:14.

(66) We are presented with the idea that Paul is applying Isaiah 45:23 to Christ in Philippians 2:10,11 in order to say that Jesus is Jehovah; such has to be read into what is being said. Paul does say that all will bow at the name of Jesus, but Isaiah 45:23 says that all will bow to Jehovah. This does not mean that Jesus is Jehovah, and this is shown in the context of what is said in Philippians. The homage given to Jesus is as Jehovah’s anointed king who represents Jehovah, not as Jehovah himself.

Philippians 2:9-11 actually states:

(67) Therefore God also highly exalted him [thus he is not God who exalted him], and gave to him the name which is above every name [thus he is not God who gives him this name]; that at the name of Jesus every knee would bow, of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth, and that every tongue would confess that Jesus Christ is Lord [the one made so by Jehovah], *to the glory of God*, the Father.

(68) Thus the homage given to Jesus is as the representative of God, and to the glory of God. Nothing is said about the homage being equal to that given to Jehovah, anymore than we would say that the worship given to the king of Israel and to Jehovah are equal.

(69) Is the “worship” given to the king of Israel equivalent to the worship given to Jehovah? “And David said to all the assembly, Now bless Jehovah your God. And all the assembly blessed Jehovah, the God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped Jehovah, and the king.” (1 Chronicles 29:20, American Standard Version) One must admit that the worship given to the King is not equal to that Jehovah, nor is the worship given to the One anointed by Jehovah equal to that of Jehovah.
See our studies:
The Worship Due Jesus
Jesus Received Worship

(70) It is claimed regarding Philippians 2:9, that “if Jehovah is only the name of the Father and Jesus is only the name of the Son, then there is no way that Jesus would be the name that is above every name. The name of the Son cannot be higher than the name of the Father.” It is further being claimed “this would only make sense if: (1) The Father and the Son are one God, and (2) Jehovah and Jesus were both the names of God.” We have touched on this earlier.

(71) First, we need to note that “God” is not presented in Philippians 2:9 as three persons, but only as one person. It is this one person identified as “God” who exalts Jesus, and gives to Jesus a “name” that is above every name. The very fact that Jesus is exalted indicates that Jesus is not the Most High, since the Most High cannot be exalted to a higher position by anyone. So when was it that God exalted Jesus? We read “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,” “raised Jesus from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. He put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the assembly.” (Ephesians 1:17,20-22)  Paul refers to this elsewhere, and states: “when he says, ‘All things are put in subjection,’ it is evident that he is excepted who subjected all things to him.” This would mean that whatever position that Jesus was exalted to, it does not include the position the Most High “God” who exalted him. However, if Jesus’ being given a name that is above every name by “God” means that Jesus is “God”, then the logical conclusion would be that Jesus was not “God” until he was raised and exalted by “God”. Of course, in reality, there is nothing in Philippians 2:9 that means that Jesus is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

(72) We should also note that by use of the word “name”, that this does not mean that “God” gave to Jesus the name Jesus, and that in giving to the Jesus the name “Jesus”, that this name was already above every name that is named. Jesus, of course, already had the appellation “Jesus” before he was exalted and given the name above every name that is named. Therefore, his being given this “name” does not mean that he was at that time given the appellation, “Jesus”. Rather the word “name” is being used in Philippians 2:9 related to an office, a position of power and authority associated with name. According to Ephesians 1, this exaltation did not happen until after Jesus was raised from death, so it is at that time that God gave the his Son, Jesus, name that is above every name that is named, meaning that the name he already had was given an honor greater than all other names that has been named. The Geneva Study Bible has the following note regarding the word “name” in Philippians 2:9: “Dignity and high distinction, and that which accompanies it.”

(73) “You must call his name Iesoun (transliteration from the Greek Received Text).” (Matthew 1:21) The Messiah’s name means “Yah[weh] is savior” or “Yah[weh] delivers.” Its meaning carries us forward from the mere word to the then future exalted official position, on account of which he can “save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him” as the means of salvation provided by his God and Father, Jehovah. — Hebrews 7:25; John 3:16,17; Acts 5:31; 1 John 4:14; 1 Peter 1:3.

(74) Thus, regarding his exaltation, the Messiah’s position is contrasted with that of man and angels, as he is Lord of both, having “all power in heaven and earth.” (Matthew 28:18) Hence it is said: “Let all the angels of God bow before him.” (Hebrews 1:7; Daniel 7:14,27) The reason is because he has “obtained a more excellent Name than theirs.’ (Hebrews 1:4) Again, in obtaining this more excellent name, the word used for his name did not change. It is not a word (Yahshua, Iesous, or Jesus) that is being spoken of here, but rather the position of Messiah. It is the official capacity of the Son of God as Savior and King in the inheritance from his Father, which is far superior to the angels. He has been given a name that is above every name, that at the name of Yahshua (Jesus) every knee should bow both in heaven and earth. (Philippians 2:10) There is “no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” — Acts 4:12.

(75) It is in a similar sense that “a good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.” (Proverbs 22:1) The success of Jehovah’s work is to Him “for a name” — an honor. (Isaiah 55:13) Additionally, to the obedient Jehovah promises an “everlasting name.” — Isaiah 56:5,

(76) “The name of the wicked will rot.” (Proverbs 10:7) Does this mean that the word used to distinguish the person would rot? No. It is the reputation of the person bearing the name that actually rots, not the word used to represent the name. The word and the name here as elsewhere are not one and the same.

(77) With this view before our minds that the Messiah’s name refers to his official position, and not just to the use of a word to express his name. We certainly find nothing in this that would mean that the only way that this would make sense is if Jesus and His God are one God, or that both Jesus and Jehovah are the names of one God. Indeed, the scripture itself presents us with the evidence that this is not true, and that if it were true, that it would mean that the name Jesus was not the name of God until God had exalted Jesus, that the name of Jesus was not the name of God before, and Jesus would have become “God” when “God” exalted him. There is also a discussion on Philippians 2:9 in our study:
The Holy Name in the New Testament

(76) It is claimed that in Philippians 2:11, that application of Isaiah 45:23 to Jesus is Philippians 2:11 means that the divine worship given to Jesus brings glory to the Father since Jesus is God. While it appears that Isaiah 45:23 is indirectly applied to Jesus by Paul, the idea that Paul meant this to say that Jesus is God who exalted Jesus and gave Jesus the high position has to be read into what is said. We Christians who believe that Jesus is the Son of God — not God Almighty — have no reason to add the idea that Jesus is Jehovah to the scriptures.

(77) Again, it is absolutely and positively apparent that the worship — homage — given to the Son of God is that which is due to him as the Son of God, the one anointed as King by Jehovah, not as God Almighty who anointed him.

(78) No one can come to Jehovah but through Jesus (John 14:6), and no other means has been given by Jehovah for salvation than the name of Jesus. (Acts 4:12) Jesus’ name means: “Jehovah saves” or “Jehovah is savior,” which ascribes the actual source of salvation to Jehovah. (John 3:16; Romans 5:8,10; 1 Corinthians 15:57; 2 Corinthian 5:19-21; Titus 3:5,6; Hebrews 13:21; 1 John 4:9,10) Thus to properly bow before Jesus as the spokesperson and one anointed by Jehovah (Deuteronomy 18:15,18,19; Psalm 45:7; Isaiah 61:1; Matthew 12:18; Luke 4:18,21), would essentially be the same as bowing to Jehovah. — Matthew 10:14; Mark 9:37; Luke 9:48; John 13:20; Romans 1:8; 7:25; 14:26; Philippians 1:11; 2:11.

         

3 comments to Philippians 2:5-11 – Humility of Mind

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