I was a trinitian, until I discussed with JW. I still believe in Trinity cause there're many verses back this up(including Mat 28:19) But I wondered According to Phil 2:9 and some other verses. Jesus was exalted. If He was/is God, why after resurrection He was not only resurrected but also exalted to higher position (as if he wasn't in that position)?

Edit : I meant, God the Father exalted Jesus to be on the right hand after His obedience, as if He was an angel (Michael Arcangel) before then now be the first born aka the heir of the authorities and kingdom of His Father.

Edit 2 : oh may, this Jw doctrine almost make me able only understand verses like Jw thinks. That, as if I was blind to the whole context of the chapter and story and bible.

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    In Jewish apocrypha and early Kabbalah, "Metatron" is the name that Enoch received after his transformation into an angel. I do not believe the OP is asking about the Kabbalah. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metatron
    – Lesley
    Commented Nov 6, 2021 at 17:42
  • The Q is very confusing, wrongly using John 1:1 ref. It should be focused on the Philippians and "firstborn of creation" verse, but you know there are ample Qs on those already. This is why they are close voting it. You also say you were a trinitarian, then you say you still believe in it. Format it properly, edit it as a new unique Q, or delete if you find existing Qs suitable for the query.
    – Michael16
    Commented Nov 6, 2021 at 17:43
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    John 1:1 is one of the classic biblical verses that is used to support the Trinity but Jehovah's Witnesses have an anti-trinitarian bias which is why the OP may be a little confused. You may find the question confusing, but others have not.
    – Lesley
    Commented Nov 6, 2021 at 17:47
  • @Lesley, read this link to learn the history and concept of the divine angel aka metatron. biblestudying.net/history-of-judaism7.html
    – Michael16
    Commented Nov 6, 2021 at 17:51
  • @steveowen Questions which say "If X, then why Y?" mean "Assuming X, then why Y?" They're not opening the question up for those who dispute X.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Nov 7, 2021 at 12:16

8 Answers 8


The humbling of the Son of God, and then his exaltation in humanity, is explained in Hebrews 2:9. The literal translation demonstrates the sequence of events :

... but who little some than angels made lower we see Jesus on account of the suffering of the death with glory and with honour crowned

This is the Englishman's Greek New Testament literal interlinear but can also be seen, very much the same, in the Biblehub literal interlinear.

Being made lower than the angels, that is to say, coming from heaven and having already humbled himself ('voiding' himself as we read in Philippians 2:7) Jesus, in humanity, went further and submitted to suffering and death - in humanity.

For this cause, as the writer to the Hebrews makes clear, that is to say on account of the suffering and death he endured in his humanity, he is, upon resurrection, highly exalted.

The exaltation is in honour of what he, himself, in humanity, endured in his humanity, and is not automatically applied due to his previous glory and honour prior to incarnation.

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    For clarity I would emphasize that the exaltation is of the incarnated Son (which you mention in the very first line). It is not merely the eternal Son returning to His previous state but it is the eternal Son being exalted in redeemed flesh. Christ in us, the hope of glory! +1 Commented Nov 7, 2021 at 13:43
  • Ah, Jesus was exalted because in prev verses He indeed was made lower than angels. So, Father exalted Him back to as He was..
    – Dini
    Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 13:36
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    @Lifeforbetter No. I have specifically said that is not the case in my last paragraph.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 14:51

According to the context of Philippians 2:6 (specifically) the Son always was God. At Philippians vs 8 He was found in appearance as a man etc.

"Therefore" or as a result of the above God highly exalted Him etc. So, as a result of this obedience to the plan of the Father, the Son possessed something He did not have before His incarnation.

What did Jesus have after His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension that He did not have before all this transpired? What did He take back to heaven that He did not have previously? His humanity! He always was the Son of God, but was not human until His incarnation.

So in conclusion Jesus Christ went from one form of being God, and took on another form of that of a bond-servant/man. He emptied Himself of the expression of deity, not the possession of deity. When He became flesh His deity was veiled or concealed. Hebrews 10:19-20.

  • Position equal to the Father? 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 Commented Nov 7, 2021 at 13:50
  • Up-voted but I agree with @MikeBorden that your wording in the last paragraph needs serious attention.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 14:41
  • @NigelJ You and Mike are correct. I did not mean to say that His attributes were given back to Him. He always had them while being in flesh. Good catch.
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 21:36

If Jesus was God (The Famous John1:1). Why was He exalted to higher position?

Paul answered this in (NIV) Philippians 2:

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Jesus took on human nature.

8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! 9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name

Jesus demonstrated the eternal principle in Matthew 23:

12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

  • What translation is this, please? "Who, being in very nature a God" Commented Nov 7, 2021 at 13:47
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    Sorry, I added: NIV
    – Tony Chan
    Commented Nov 7, 2021 at 14:03
  • NIV does not have "a" God. Commented Nov 7, 2021 at 14:33
  • 1
    Right. Sorry about being sloppy. Let me know if there is anything else :)
    – Tony Chan
    Commented Nov 7, 2021 at 14:36
  • A great answer.
    – Adam
    Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 18:52

John chapter 1, opening verses, speaks of the one who was with God in the beginning, and who was God, and who made everything that was made. It then shows that this "Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, that of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (vs. 14).

As God the Father has no beginning, one who was with him and who was God could not have had any beginning either. Verse 3 confirms that without this one, nothing that was made was made. Logically, then, this one could not have been made himself. That is why he is called "God" by John, both here and at the end of his account - "My Lord and my God" - (20:28).

Philippians 2:9 (which you allude to but don't cite) is understood by those who have the Word as a creature (hence lower than God right from the start; not God) as becoming the man, Jesus, who could be exalted back to a certain level of glory after his resurrection. No problem, they think, except that such an interpretation utterly depends on the Word having a starting point in time, being created by God. They have John 1:1 say the Word was 'a god'.

But those who take John 1:1-14 as showing the uncreated status of the Word, see a far greater degree of abasement in that lowering. Then, at his resurrection, the Father exalted him from that abased position. This means that both groups agree on the sequence of events: initially exalted, abased, then exalted. The disagreement is regarding degree of initial exaltation, degree of abasement and degree of exaltation.

Those who believe the Word was God see God, in Christ, so identifying with humanity that they understand what doubting Thomas said (and felt) in John 20:28, whereas those who think it wasn't God in Christ just don't get it. Philippians 2:9 is couched in words of exhortation for Christians to have that same humility of mind. Further, it says that although he was in the form of God, he did not grasp on to that; He agreed to be made in the likeness of men and to suffer humiliating death, knowing the Father would exalt him.

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit determined this plan of redemption before anything was created, which is why the Bible speaks of Christ as "the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). It was decreed and as good as done, for the Word of God is inviolable. That plan included exaltation of the one who abased himself, which is why it happened.


Jesus was exalted precisely because he had been humbled during His incarnation, a process that the passage in Phil 2:5-11 calls the "kenosis", "became nothing", or "emptied Himself". Here is the passage in question:

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus:

6 Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

7 but emptied [ἐκένωσεν] Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness.

8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross.

9 Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name above all names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

This passage sets out several facts:

  1. Jesus was equal with God before the incarnation/kenosis
  2. Jesus voluntarily became human (was "incarnated") and was humbled
  3. Jesus voluntarily died as a human
  4. Jesus, following the resurrection, was exalted, that is, his previous status in heaven was restored

This answered Jesus' prayer in John 17:5 -

And now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world existed.

It is very significant that Jesus' exaltation described in Phil 2:9-11 is almost a direct quote (of the LXX text) of a prophecy in Isa 45:23 about what would happen to Jehovah/YHWH which effectively means that Paul, in Phil 2:9-11, is describing Jesus as Jehovah.

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    @MikeBorden - ahh! Oops - my mistake, now correct. It should have been Isa 45:23.
    – Dottard
    Commented Nov 7, 2021 at 20:06

Jesus was exalted [...] (as if he wasn't in that position)

He wasn't; he descended down to earth (previous two verses), hence the need for an ascension, which is what exaltation means; see also John 17:24.

I was a Trinitarian

Apparently a Protestant or Evangelical Trinitarian; when doing the sign of the cross, moving the right hand from the forehead to the chest or abdomen signifies Christ's descent from heaven to earth, and its move to the right shoulder, His ascent to the Father's right hand side (Matthew 26:64, Mark 14:62, Luke 22:69, Acts 7:56, Hebrews 1:3, 8:1; 1 Peter 3:22).

If He was/is God, why after [the] resurrection He was [...] also exalted?

This is a dead giveaway, insofar both seem to befit His humanity; otherwise, in light of divine immortality, one could also ask:

If Jesus was God (the famous John1:1), why was He exalted to higher position resurrected, as if he wasn't in that position already alive to begin with?


Philippians 2:9 indicates that Jesus was rewarded for the great sacrifice of humbling himself even to death on a cross. If he were merely exalted back to the place that he held before, what is the reward in that?

He was also given the reward of a name that is above all names. It is not the name of Jesus, Yeshua, Yehoshua or any similar earthly name. He already had that name before his death. It is a new name referred to in Rev. 19:12.

His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.

As is the case in so much about the nature of God, we are not given much detail about all that Christ’s exaltation entailed. Daniel 7 sheds a little additional light.

13“I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. 14“And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed. NASB


Jesus was God (John 1:1, "the Word was God") in the sense of agency (authorized representative), similar to how Moses was made God (Exodus 7:1, ""See, I have made you God to Pharaoh," but note that the 'as' or 'like' often found in the translations is a gloss added by translators) but more so (note the comparison at John 1:17 between Jesus and Moses, Jesus > Moses).

Jesus himself says at John 17:3 that the Father is the only true God.

Jesus also says at John 8:4 that He is a man who has heard things from God, which summarizes his role as the image (Colossians 1:15, "The Son is the image of the invisible God") or 'Word' (John 1:1, Revelation 19:13, "His name is The Word of God") of God.

But, Jesus - a man who is God in the sense of agency - is then exalted to the right hand of God (= the Father) after 'passing the test' of a faultless, fully human life that was ontologically open the possibility of sin, where He now reigns with all authority granted to him by God.

Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy.

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    You're trying to get into heaven as well as hell so you can sit on the fence forever!
    – steveowen
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 5:15
  • @steveowen :D ... Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 5:20

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