The Hebrew Bible is clear in its proclamation that Jehovah/Yahweh alone sits enthroned in heaven over the whole creation:
“Yahweh is in his holy temple. Yahweh is on his throne in heaven. His eyes observe. His eyes examine the children of men.” Psalm 11:4
“Yahweh has established his throne in the heavens. His kingdom rules over all.” Psalm 103:19
“Yahweh is high above all nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like Yahweh, our God, who has his seat on high, Who stoops down to see in heaven and in the earth?” Psalm 113:4-6
The Old Testament (OT) is also emphatic in stating that Yahweh alone is exalted far above all creation:
“that they may know that you ALONE, whose name is Yahweh, are the Most High over all the earth.” Psalm 83:18
“For you, Yahweh, are most high above all the earth. You are exalted FAR ABOVE all gods.” Psalm 97:9
“let them praise Yahweh’s name, for his name ALONE is exalted. His glory is above the earth and the heavens.” Psalm 148:13
The Jewish Scriptures further proclaim that all the nations belong to Jehovah as his rightful inheritance:
“Arise, God, judge the earth, for you inherit all of the nations.” Psalm 82:8
This is why every person in the entire world is expected to pay homage to Jehovah in recognition of his being the only just God who is able to save:
“Declare and present it. Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has shown this from ancient time? Who has declared it of old? Haven’t I, Yahweh? There is no other God besides me, a just God and a Savior. There is no one besides me. ‘Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by myself. The word has gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and will not be revoked, that to ME every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath.’” Isaiah 45:21-23
This is where it gets interesting.
The OT declares that the Messianic King is God’s uniquely begotten Son that sits enthroned at Yahweh’s right hand as Lord (Adon/Adonai), and who possesses all the nations as his inheritance. God’s anointed Ruler is also described as being the One who will destroy the nations and their kings if they fail to honor and submit to him:
“Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth take a stand, and the rulers take counsel together, against Yahweh, and against his Anointed, saying, ‘Let’s break their bonds apart, and cast their cords from us.’ He who sits in the heavens will laugh. The Lord will have them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his anger, and terrify them in his wrath: ‘Yet I have set my King on my holy hill of Zion.’ I will tell of the decree: Yahweh said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your father. Ask of me, and I will give the nations for your inheritance, the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron. You shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ Now therefore be wise, you kings. Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve Yahweh with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Give sincere homage to the Son, lest HE be angry, and you perish on the way, for HIS wrath will soon be kindled. Blessed are all those who take refuge in HIM.” Psalm 2:1-12
“Yahweh says to my Lord (Adoni), ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool for your feet.’ Yahweh will send out the rod of your strength out of Zion. Rule among your enemies. Your people offer themselves willingly in the day of your power, in holy array. Out of the womb of the morning, you have the dew of your youth. Yahweh has sworn, and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.’ The Lord (Adonai) is at your right hand. HE will crush kings in the day of HIS wrath. HE will judge among the nations. HE will heap up dead bodies. HE will crush the ruler of the whole earth. HE will drink of the brook on the way; therefore HE will lift up HIS head.” Psalm 110:1-7
To be seated at the right hand of Yahweh is simply a poetic way of saying that the Messiah is a co-occupant of God’s heavenly throne:
“… While the reference to the ‘right hand’ of Yahweh is entirely metaphorical, and as such implies a position of honor, it does connote something of a symbolic world that the psalmist seeks to convey. As scholars have noted Egyptian iconography frequently depicts the ‘co-enthronement’ of the king with the deity. The language of the ‘right hand’ is suggestive of a symbolic world in which the king participates in the rule of Yahweh over the world. Or put differently, the psalmist envisions the king of Zion as a ‘throne companion’ of Yahweh…” (Psalms: The NIV Application Commentary, W. Dennis Tucker Jr. & Jamie A. Grant [Zondervan Academic, Grand Rapids, MI 2018], Volume 2, p. 592; bold emphasis mine)
This explains why God’s royal Son could be said to share in Yahweh’s status of being the Most High over the rulers of the world:
“He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.’ Yes, I will make him the firstborn. He will be the Most High (Elyon) to the kings of the earth.” Psalm 89:26-27 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
This is further confirmed by what the prophet Daniel wrote:
“I watched until thrones were placed, and one who was ancient of days sat. His clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool. His throne was fiery flames, and its wheels burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came out from before him. Thousands of thousands ministered to him. Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The judgment was set. The books were opened… I saw in the night visions, and behold, there came with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. Dominion was given him, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which will not pass away, and his kingdom one that which will not be destroyed… But the saints of the Most High (Elyonin) will receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever… until the ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High (Elyonin), and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom… The kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole sky, will be given to the people of the saints of the Most High (Elyonin). His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions will serve and obey him.’ Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14, 22, 27
Daniel sees thrones belonging to two distinct divine Persons, namely, the Ancient of Days, e.g. God the Father, and the One like the Son of Man, whom both Jewish tradition and the New Testament (NT) identify as the Messiah.
The Son of Man is described in language, which the Hebrew Bible reserves for Jehovah. For example, the Son of Man rides the clouds of heaven like Jehovah does,
“There is no one like God, Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens for your help, in his excellency on the skies.” Deuteronomy 33:26
“Sing to God! Sing praises to his name! Extol him who rides on the clouds: to Yah, his name! Rejoice before him!… to him who rides on the heaven of heavens, which are of old; behold, he utters his voice, a mighty voice. 34 Ascribe strength to God! His excellency is over Israel, his strength is in the skies.” Psalm 68:4, 33-34
“He lays the beams of his rooms in the waters. He makes the clouds his chariot. He walks on the wings of the wind.” Psalm 104:3
“The burden of Egypt. ‘Behold, Yahweh rides on a swift cloud, and comes to Egypt. The idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence; and the heart of Egypt will melt within it.’” Isaiah 19:1
“Yahweh is slow to anger, and great in power, and will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. Yahweh has his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.” Nahum 1:3
And is worshiped by all the nations in the same way that Jehovah is worshiped:
“‘There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, have not respected you. They don’t serve your gods, and don’t worship the golden image which you have set up.’… Nebuchadnezzar answered them, ‘Is it on purpose, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you don’t serve my god, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?’… ‘If it happens, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.’… Nebuchadnezzar spoke and said, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants who trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and have yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.” Daniel 3:12, 14, 17-18, 28
Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. The king spoke and said to Daniel, ‘Your God whom you serve continually, he will deliver you.’… When he came near to the den to Daniel, he cried with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, is your God, whom you serve continually, able to deliver you from the lions?’… ‘I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel; for he is the living God, and steadfast forever. His kingdom is that which will not be destroyed. His dominion will be even to the end.’” Daniel 6:16, 20, 26
“All nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord. They shall glorify your name. For you are great, and do wondrous things. You are God alone.” Psalm 86:9-10
“‘It shall happen that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh will come to worship before me,’ says Yahweh.” Isaiah 66:23
This explains why Daniel employs the Aramaic plural Elyonin, which literally means “the Most Highs/Highest Ones,” since he depicts both the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man as ruling over all creation together and forever
Jesus Christ: The God-Man Has Arrived
According to the inspired Christian writings, Jesus is the fulfillment of all the OT proclamations concerning the coming of a royal figure that is both divine and human.
Daniel’s Son of Man Has Come!
For instance, Jesus identifies himself as the Son of Man whom Daniel saw coming with the clouds of heaven to reign forever and to be worshiped by all the nations:
“But he stayed quiet, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’ Jesus said, ‘I am. You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of the sky.’” Mark 14:61-62 – cf. Matthew 26:63-64
Note how our Lord combines the language of both Daniel 7:13 and psalm 110:1 to describe his glorious enthronement and coming in judgment over the nations.
“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will render to everyone according to his deeds. Most certainly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste of death until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.” Matthew 16:27-28
“‘But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. Before him all the nations will be gathered, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will tell those on his right hand, ‘Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you took me in. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to me.” Then the righteous will answer him, saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger and take you in, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and come to you?” The King will answer them, “Most certainly I tell you, because you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Then he will say also to those on the left hand, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you didn’t give me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me in; naked, and you didn’t clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.” Then they will also answer, saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and didn’t help you?” Then he will answer them, saying, “Most certainly I tell you, because you didn’t do it to one of the least of these, you didn’t do it to me.” These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’ When Jesus had finished all these words, he said to his disciples, ‘You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.’” Matthew 25:31-26:2
“He said to the disciples, ‘The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. They will tell you, “Look, here!” or “Look, there!” Don’t go away or follow after them, for as the lightning, when it flashes out of one part under the sky, shines to another part under the sky; so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first, he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. As it was in the days of Noah, even so it will also be in the days of the Son of Man. They ate, they drank, they married, and they were given in marriage until the day that Noah entered into the ship, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, even as it was in the days of Lot: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but in the day that Lot went out from Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from the sky and destroyed them all. It will be the same way in the day that the Son of Man is revealed.’” Luke 17:22-30
“Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory… Therefore be watchful all the time, praying that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:27, 36
“While he was still speaking, a crowd appeared. He who was called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He came near to Jesus to kiss him. But Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, do you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?’” Luke 22:47-48
“No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended out of heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:13-15
“Jesus therefore said to them, ‘Most certainly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you don’t have life in yourselves. He who eats MY flesh and drinks MY blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day… Then what if you would see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?’” John 6:53-54, 62
“ Jesus answered them, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified… And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ But he said this, signifying by what kind of death he should die. The multitude answered him, ‘We have heard out of the law that the Christ remains forever. How do you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up?’ Who is this Son of Man?’” John 12:23, 32-34
“When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him immediately.’” John 13:31-32
In this next one,
“For the Father judges no one, but he has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who doesn’t honor the Son doesn’t honor the Father who sent him… He also gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man.” John 5:22-23, 27
Christ alludes to Daniel’s proclamation that the Son of Man receives the exact same worship that the Ancient of Days is given, as he judges all the nations. And one of the functions of a ruler is to judge, which is precisely what the Lord as the Son of Man does.
Jesus’ inspired emissaries also taught the risen Lord is the Danielic Son of Man:
“But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’” Acts 7:55-56
“Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’ I John, your brother and partner with you in the oppression, Kingdom, and perseverance in Christ Jesus, was on the isle that is called Patmos because of God’s Word and the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, like a trumpet saying, ‘What you see, write in a book and send to the seven assemblies: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.’ I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. Having turned, I saw seven golden lamp stands. And among the lamp stands was one like a son of man, clothed with a robe reaching down to his feet, and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and his hair were white as white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace. His voice was like the voice of many waters. He had seven stars in his right hand. Out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining at its brightest. When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. He laid his right hand on me, saying, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am the first and the last, and the Living one. I was dead, and behold, I am alive forever and ever. Amen. I have the keys of Death and of Hades.’” Revelation 1:7-18
I looked, and saw a white cloud, and on the cloud one sitting like a son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. Another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, ‘Send your sickle, and reap; for the hour to reap has come; for the harvest of the earth is ripe!’ He who sat on the cloud thrust his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.” Revelation 14:14-16
David’s Exalted Lord and God’s Begotten Son
The Christian Scriptures directly quote both Psalm 2 and 110 in reference to Christ:
“Jesus responded, as he taught in the temple, ‘How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? For David himself said in the Holy Spirit, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies the footstool of your feet.’” Therefore David himself calls him Lord, so how can he be his son?’ The common people heard him gladly.” Mark 12:35-37
“whom God raised up, having freed him from the agony of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it. For David says concerning him, ‘I saw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved. Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced. Moreover my flesh also will dwell in hope; because you will not leave my soul in Hades, neither will you allow your Holy One to see decay. You made known to me the ways of life. You will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ 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 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, he foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that his soul wasn’t left in Hades, and his flesh didn’t see decay. This Jesus God raised up, to which we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted by the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this, which you now see and hear. For David didn’t ascend into the heavens, but he says himself, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit by my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’” Let all the house of Israel therefore know certainly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Acts 2:24-36
“Being let go, they came to their own company and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard it, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, ‘O Lord, you are God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who by the mouth of your servant, David, said, “Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth take a stand, and the rulers take council together, against the Lord, and against his Christ.” For truly, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together against your holy servant, Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your council foreordained to happen. Now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of your holy Servant Jesus.’ When they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were gathered together. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:23-31
“We bring you good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this to us, their children, in that he raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second psalm, ‘You are my Son. Today I have become your father.’” Acts 13:32-33
“God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds. His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, who, when he had by himself purified us of our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high… For to which of the angels did he say at any time, ‘You are my Son. Today I have become your father?’ and again, ‘I will be to him a Father, and he will be to me a Son?’… But which of the angels has he told at any time, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies the footstool of your feet?’” Hebrews 1:1-3, 13
“So also Christ didn’t glorify himself to be made a high priest, but it was he who said to him, ‘You are my Son. Today I have become your father.’ As he says also in another place, ‘You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.’” Hebrews 5:5-6
Apart from direct citation, the inspired NT writers allude to the language of these specific Psalms in describing Christ’s exaltation and glorification, often with Daniel’s divine Son of Man figure:
“So then the Lord, after he had spoken to them, was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. They went out, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed. Amen.” Mark 16:19-20
“As soon as it was day, the assembly of the elders of the people were gathered together, both chief priests and scribes, and they led him away into their council, saying, ‘If you are the Christ, tell us.’ But he said to them, ‘If I tell you, you won’t believe, and if I ask, you will in no way answer me or let me go. From now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.’ They all said, ‘Are you then the Son of God?’ He said to them, ‘You say it, because I am.’ They said, ‘Why do we need any more witness? For we ourselves have heard from his own mouth!’” Luke 22:66-71
“But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’” Acts 7:55-56
“Now in the things which we are saying, the main point is this. We have such a high priest, who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,” Hebrews 8:1
“but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God, from that time waiting until his enemies are made the footstool of his feet.” Hebrews 10:12-13
“looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
In this next passage, Jesus is portrayed as doing what the anointed King of Psalm 2:8-12 and 110:5-7 does to all the earthly kings who oppose him and refuse to submit to his rule:
“The kings of the earth, the princes, the commanding officers, the rich, the strong, and every slave and free person, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains. They told the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of HIS wrath has come; and who is able to stand?’” Revelation 6:15-17
The God-breathed Christian scriptures further proclaim that Christ is exalted far above the entire creation as the King of all kings and Lord of all lords, who alone possesses immortality and absolute sovereignty:
“and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, FAR ABOVE rule, authority, power, dominion, and EVERY NAME that is named, not only in this age, 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 for the assembly, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:19-23
“For in him all the fullness of the Deity dwells bodily, and in him you are made full, who is the head of all principality and power… If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, our life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory.” Colossians 2:9-10, 3:1-4
“I command you before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate testified the good confession, that you keep the commandment without spot, blameless, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which in its own times HE will show, WHO is the blessed and ONLY Ruler, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. HE ALONE has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, WHOM no man has seen, nor can see: to WHOM be honor and eternal power. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:13-16
“This is a symbol of baptism, which now saves you—not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, angels and authorities and powers being made subject to him.” 1 Peter 3:21-22
“These will war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings, and those who are with him are called chosen and faithful.” Revelation 17:14
“I saw the heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it is called Faithful and True. In righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has names written and a name written which no one knows but he himself. He is clothed in a garment sprinkled with blood. His name is called ‘The Word of God.’ The armies which are in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in white, pure, fine linen. Out of his mouth proceeds a sharp, double-edged sword, that with it he should strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He treads the wine press of the fierceness of the wrath of God, the Almighty. He has on his garment and on his thigh a name written, ‘KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.’” Revelation 19:11-16
Christ is even said to possess the name that is above every name that exists:
“Therefore God also highly exalted him, and gave to him the name which is ABOVE EVERY NAME, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11
Remarkably, Paul has attributed the language of Isaiah 45:23 (cited in pt. 1), where Yahweh swears that every human being will worship him, to the homage that every creature in existence is demanded to render to Jesus in their recognition of his being Lord!
Noted liberal NT textual critic Dr. Bart D. Ehrman helps to bring out the significance of such an attribution:
“… The casual reader may not realize this, but these lines allude to a passage in the Hebrew Bible. And a striking passage it is. According to the original passage as found in Isaiah 45:22–23, it is to Yahweh alone, the God of Israel, that ‘every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess’…
“The prophet Isaiah is quite explicit. There is only one God, no other. That God is Yahweh.12 That God has sworn that to no other shall every knee bow and every tongue make confession. Yet in the Philippians poem, it is not to God the Father—apart from whom, according to Isaiah, ‘there is no other’—but to the exalted Jesus that all knees will bow and tongues confess. Jesus has been granted the status and honor and glory of the One Almighty God himself.
“This interpretation of the Christ poem in Philippians shows that very early in the Christian movement the followers of Jesus were making audacious claims about him. He had been exalted to equality with God, even though God himself had said that there was ‘no other’ apart from him. Somehow, Christians were imagining that there was indeed ‘another.’ And this other one was equal with God. But it was not because he was God ‘by nature’—to use the later philosophical/theological term that came to be applied to discussions of Christ’s deity. He was God because God had made him so. But how could he be God, if God was God, and there was only one God? This became the key question of the Christological debates in later times, as we will see. At this stage, all we can say is that early Christians were not bothered enough by this dilemma, or this paradox, to have written anything about it, so we don’t know exactly how they dealt with it.” (Ehrman, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee [HarperOne, Reprint edition 2015], p. 140; bold emphasis mine)
- The Tetragrammaton in the Hebrew Bible, YHWH (= Yahweh), which serves as the personal name of God, was translated in the Greek version by the term Kurios, which comes into English as “Lord.” And so, when the text indicates that every tongue will confess that “Jesus is Lord,” it appears to mean that everyone will acknowledge that Jesus has the very name of Yahweh himself. It is important to note, however, that Jesus is still differentiated from God the Father, since all this is to happen to the Father’s “glory.” (Ibid., p. 199; bold emphasis mine)
To confirm that the poem/hymn, which is cited in Philippians, is essentially describing the risen Christ as the very incarnation and physical embodiment of Yahweh, note what the blessed Apostle writes elsewhere:
“But to each one of us, the grace was given according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Therefore he says, ‘When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts to people.’ Now this, ‘He ascended’, what is it but that he also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.” Ephesians 4:7-10
Astonishingly, Paul has taken this specific Psalm about Yahweh,
“You have ascended on high. You have led away captives. You have received gifts among people, yes, among the rebellious also, that Yah God might dwell there.” Psalm 68:18
And adopted what the following prophet states concerning Yahweh’s omnipresence and omniscience,
“‘Am I a God at hand,’ says Yahweh, ‘and not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places so that I can’t see him?’ says Yahweh. ‘Don’t I fill heaven and earth?’ says Yahweh.” Jeremiah 23:23-24
To describe Christ’s descent from and ascension back to heaven!
What we have in the foregoing words of Paul is a clear affirmation of Christ’s eternal existence as Yahweh God Almighty who descended into the earth and became man, precisely what the first half of the Philippians poem/hymn states!
“Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, yes, the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:5-8
The Apostle John joins Paul in his proclamation that Christ eternally exists as God who then voluntarily chose to enter the world and become a flesh and blood human being:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him. Without him, nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men… The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world didn’t recognize him… The Word became flesh, and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth… No one has seen God at any time. The one and only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, has declared him.” John 1:1-4, 9-10, 14, 18
“‘For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. This is the will of my Father who sent me, that of all he has given to me I should lose nothing, but should raise him up at the last day. This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.’ The Jews therefore murmured concerning him, because he said, ‘I am the bread which came down out of heaven.’ They said, ‘Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How then does he say, “I have come down out of heaven?”’” John 6:38-42
“‘I have spoken these things to you in figures of speech. But the time is coming when I will no more speak to you in figures of speech, but will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in my name; and I don’t say to you that I will pray to the Father for you, for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father, and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.’ His disciples said to him, ‘Behold, now you are speaking plainly, and using no figures of speech. Now we know that you know all things, and don’t need for anyone to question you. By this we believe that you came from God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Do you now believe?’” John 16:25-31
“Now, Father, glorify me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world existed… for the words which you have given me I have given to them, and they received them, and knew for sure that I came from you. They have believed that you sent me… Father, I desire that they also whom you have given me be with me where I am, that they may see my glory, which you have given me, for you loved me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:5, 8, 24
This explains why after his physical, bodily resurrection God the Father exalted Jesus to the highest position of authority and granted him the worship and glory belonging to Yahweh. I.e., Jesus is Yahweh God Almighty who set aside his status for a season for the express purpose of entering the world to become a man in order to take on the position of a slave.
As such, Jesus isn’t a creature who was granted the status of Yahweh God. Rather, Christ received glory and honor that intrinsically belonged to him by nature, but which he voluntarily relinquished.
This also helps us appreciate why the kingdom of God is said to be Christ’s kingdom:
“The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather out of HIS Kingdom all things that cause stumbling and those who do iniquity… Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 13:41, 43
“Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral person, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God.” Ephesians 5:5
“who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins.” Colossians 1:13-14
And why the Father and Son are described as possessing one and the same divine throne:
“The seventh angel sounded, and great voices in heaven followed, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ. He will reign forever and ever!’” Revelation 11:15
“She gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. Her child was caught up to God, and to his throne… I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, the power, and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ has come; for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.” Revelation 12:5, 10
“He showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the THRONE of God AND OF THE LAMB… There will be no curse any more. The THRONE of God AND OF THE LAMB will be in it, and his servants will serve him.” Revelation 22:1, 3
Since Jesus is God, and one with the Father in essence, glory, and honor, it only makes sense that God’s kingdom would also be his kingdom.
Hence, the NT proclamation is that the God-Man has come and is now enthroned in heaven alongside God the Father. And his name is Jesus Christ of Nazareth!
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus, come! We love and eagerly await your return since we love and adore you, O Risen Son of God! Amen!
Unless noted otherwise, Scriptural references taken from the World English Bible (WEB).