1 At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow,
every tongue confess him King of glory now;
'tis the Father's pleasure we should call him Lord,
who from the beginning was the mighty Word.
2 At his voice creation sprang at once to sight:
all the angel faces, all the hosts of light,
thrones and dominations, stars upon their way,
all the heavenly orders in their great array.
3 Humbled for a season, to receive a name
from the lips of sinners, unto whom he came;
faithfully he bore it spotless to the last,
brought it back victorious when from death he passed;
4 bore it up triumphant, with its human light,
through all ranks of creatures, to the central height,
to the throne of Godhead, to the Father's breast,
filled it with the glory of that perfect rest.
5 In your hearts enthrone him; there let him subdue
all that is not holy, all that is not true.
Look to him, your Savior, in temptations' hour;
let his will enfold you in its light and power.
6 Christians, this Lord Jesus shall return again,
with his Father's glory o'er the earth to reign;
for all wreaths of empire meet upon his brow,
and our hearts confess him King of glory now.
The text is based on the confession of faith that Paul quotes in Philippians 2:6-11, which may well have been an early Christian hymn. Stanza 1 announces the triumph of the ascended Christ to whom "every knee should bow" (Phil. 2: 10). In stanza 2 Christ is the "mighty Word" (see John 1:1-4) through whom "creation sprang at once to sight." Stanzas 3 and 4 look back to Christ's humiliation, death, resurrection, and ascension (Phil. 2:6-9). Stanza 5 is an encouragement for submission to Christ, for us to have the "mind of Christ," and stanza 6 looks forward to Christ's return as "King of glory." The text is not only concerned with the name 'Jesus," whose saving work it confesses, but also with the glory and majesty that attends "the name of Jesus."
Psalter Hymnal Handbook
The confessions make it clear that the ascension of Christ opened the door to the rule of his kingdom. This fact is comforting to those who love him and is a fearful threat to those who despise him. The response therefore is praise and adoration from people of faith, and resistance from those who reject him.
Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 27 affirms “All authority, glory and sovereign power are given to him,” and reaffirms it in paragraph 43: “Jesus Christ rules over all.”
Consider the clear affirmation made in Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 19, Question and Answer 50: “Christ ascended to heaven to show there that he is the head of his church, the one through whom the Father rules all things.”
It is no wonder that those who despise him join together to conspire against him, for Christ’s aim as Lord is to “destroy the devil’s work…every force which revolts against you and every conspiracy against your holy word” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 48, Question and Answer 123).