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so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth (Philippians 2:10)
So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow. In the Bible, kneeling can denote obeisance or recognition of a superior’s high position or an act of worship. Soldiers knelt before commanders and did obeisance to them, not necessarily worshiping them. However, some rulers required worship and so when a subject kneeled before the ruler, it was an act of worship. The Father has highly exalted the Son and bestowed on him the name that is above every name. (Matt. 28:18) ‘So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth.’ All who gain life must bend their knees before the Father and the Son and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. This includes “those under the earth,” which will be discussed below.
The knee should bow, or bend, in gesture or symbol of honor that is owed to Jesus, that is, all living creatures in heaven, on earth, and under the earth should love, respect, and honor him as their king. This, of course, does not mean that worshipers are to kneel or bow at the mention of his name. In addition, the same honor owed the Son is owed the Father as well. The bowing of the knee properly expresses reverence, respect, and honor. If it is done to the Savior by the angels, seraphs, cherubs, and the archangel Michael in the heavens, it means Jesus is a divine person.
Of those who are in heaven. The Greek word (ἐπουράνιος epouranios) refers to those spirit persons, angels, seraphs, cherubs, and Michael the archangel. If Jesus is revered, respected, and honored as king there, he is divine. We can note similar language that was applicable to the Father in the Old Testament. “By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow.” (Isa 45:23) Paul quotes Isaiah in the epistle to the Romans, “For it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’” The entire universe and the heavens outside the universe show respect and honor to the new king, Jesus Christ. The apostle John tells us, “And I heard every creature that is in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, ‘To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for the ages of the ages!’” – Revelation 5:13.
And on earth. A time is coming when all of redeemable mankind will willingly show respect and honor to the new king, Jesus Christ.
And under the earth. Yes, “those who are in heaven,” the faithful angels, must acknowledge Jesus’ high position, power, and authority. (Hebrews 1:4-6) “Those under the earth” will come to discover Jesus’ “name,” that is, his position, power, and authority when they receive a resurrection to eternal life, being taken from under the earth. Only those who ‘bend the knee’ in recognition of Jesus’ power and authority will receive “a resurrection of life.” (John 5:29; Rev. 20:12) The entire billions of universes and the heavens outside shall confess that Jesus is Lord, recognizing his divinity.