“For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon his shoulder. And his name shall be wonderful counselor, mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end …” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
It begins by saying, “unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” This may not be mere repetition. Foy Wallace, Jr., remarked, “The reference to a child being born and a son given … is not tautological — it is not repetition. As a human being, a child of human nature, he was born; but as a son he was given — he was begotten of God, the son of God” (A Review of The New Versions, p. 149).
But notice how this son is described…
I. Wonderful Counselor.
Many translations separate the words wonderful and counselor with a comma as if two different things are in view. However, it seems to me that it is best to take these words together. Watch the fact that “mighty” goes with “God,” and “Everlasting” goes with “Father.” Even so, it seems to me that “wonderful” goes with “counselor.”
Many turn to the wrong sources for advice in life. Some trust Dobson, Spock, and Bradshaw more than they trust the Bible. Steven Lloyd has written, “Imagine that you are looking for help to understand a problem with which you are unsuccessfully coping. You are seated at a table with Sigmund Freud, Abraham Maslow, and some Modern-day psychotherapist, and Jesus Christ. To whom would you address your question in an effort to solve your problem? If you are living by faith in God you would say ‘Jesus Christ.’ And yet, by virtue of the time we spend reading the myriads of self-help books and by observing whom people turn to for help, have we not, practically speaking, chosen the secular psychologist of our time over the Lord?” (Coping: A Biblical Approach, p. 37).
Some times secular sources do provide help, but why do we turn to them first? “It is not uncommon to hear people who profess belief in God, and in the Bible as His word argue that they did not find ‘real’ solutions to their problems until they read such and such book by some secular author; or until they went to some secular support group… It has been my experience that those who claim the Bible was insufficient to help them either did not search the scriptures for their answer or they did not search them enough. After one man told me that he could not find help in the scriptures for his problems but that he found help through a secular support group, I asked him to look back at what he had learned, to reflect on his knowledge of the word, and to tell me what he could not have found in the Bible. After reflecting on the question, he admitted that there was nothing he learned that he could not have found in the Bible, if he had only thought through it more completely. He has become a great advocate for the sufficiency of God’s word” (Coping, pp. 37, 49-50).
Why do we first turn to sources other than the scriptures? In Jesus “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). The word of God, for example, contains valuable information about marriage and family life.
Furthermore, when it comes to salvation let us remember: (a) He has “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). (b) Judgment will be according to His word (John 12:48).
II. Mighty God.
In Isaiah 7:14, we’re told of the one to be born, who would be called “Immanuel,” meaning “God with us” (cf. Matthew 1:23). Now, we’re told of one who would be called “mighty God.” John wrote of God becoming flesh and dwelling among men (John 1:1 cf. 1:14).
The reference is to His might and His deity. [Note: The term “mighty God” occurs in the scriptures as a reference to the LORD (Jeremiah 32:18 cf. Isaiah 10:20-21; 49:26; Deuteronomy 10:17; Nehemiah 9:32). Wayne Jackson remarks, “The term ‘mighty God’ does not suggest an inferior ‘god’ as the watchtower cult contends. Note the usage of the expression in connection with ‘Jehovah’ in (Isaiah) 10:20-21 and Jeremiah 32:18” (Isaiah, p. 30)].
III. Everlasting Father (Eternal Father, NASB).
Stated here is an eternal nature. Many passages speak of Jesus’ pre-existence and even eternal existence. (a) There would come one out of Bethlehem “whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). (b) John said of Jesus, “He who comes after me is preferred before me for he was before me” (John 1:15). Note: The first “before” is “emprosthen” which refers to rank or position. The second “before” is “protos,” which is a reference to time. (c) Jesus said, “before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). Note: The word “was” is aorist tense expressing pointed action. The word “am” is present tense expressing a continuous state.
How is it that Jesus is called “Father”? The following suggestions have been made: (a) He is referred to as father because he is man’s creator or originator (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). (b) He is referred to as father because he cares, protects, sustains, and even instructs us (see usage: Genesis 45:8; Job 29:15-16). (c) The reference is to his authority (see usage: Isaiah 22:20-22). I think this is the solution.
IV. Prince of Peace.
Jesus’ message is a message of peace. His gospel is called a gospel of peace (Romans 10:15; Ephesians 6:15). His message when followed accomplishes: (1) Peace with God (Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:17-18). (b) Internal peace even while enduring external tribulation (John 16:33; Philippians 4:7). (c) Peace between man (Matthew 5:9; 7:12; Romans 12:17-21; Ephesians 2:14-15; Galatians 3:28; Hebrews 12:14). Note: Since all men do not follow his teachings, we do not see the world at peace. But, imagine how terrible it would be if no one followed his teachings!