Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Name That is Above Everything

I will worship toward Your holy temple,
    And praise Your name
For Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
    For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
(Psalm 138:2)
A few years back, I wrote about this verse and how different versions handle it. Some have the Lord’s name exalted above His word. Others have His word exalted above His name. Yet others have them exalted equally.

Recently, a friend pointed out something interesting about this verse in the Septuagint (LXX), which is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures and dates back to the 2nd century BC. I had not thought to check this passage out in that translation. But checking out Old Testament Scriptures in the Septuagint is something I do more of these days, especially considering that the New Testament leans heavily on that version — it was the Bible of the early Church.

A simple translation of Alfred Rahlfs’ text of this verse in the LXX is: “For You magnified Your word over every name.” Another translation (Brenton’s), apparently using a text of the LXX that is a bit different, puts it this way: “For thou hast magnified thy holy name above every thing.” When I saw these, I was immediately put in mind of two New Testament passages:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)
What put itself together in my mind was this: Jesus, the Word who was in the beginning with God — and is God — has been highly exalted and given “the name which is above every name.” In other words, God has exalted His Word above every name, and the name of Jesus above everything!

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