Isaiah 9: 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.
Here we have four titles. It would be hard to see how any one of them might apply to an ordinary man. Yet here we find all four titles applied to one person, the person of the Messiah the Jews were expecting, Immanuel, God with us.
WONDERFUL COUNSELLOR – a figure of WISDOM
A counsellor was a person who gave guidance and advice.
Proverbs 24: 5 A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength; 6 for waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisers.
Proverbs 11: 14 For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure.
Indeed the book of proverbs tells us in so many places how important wisdom is.
Proverbs 3: 19 By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; 20by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.
God’s knowledge and wisdom are infinite – ours are so limited. But the promised Messiah will judge and rule and advise with God’s perfect wisdom. He will be the “wonderful counsellor.” And the Old Testament often uses the word “wonderful” to mean supernatural, or beyond understanding.
Isaiah 28:29 All this also comes from the LORD Almighty, wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom.
In the Bible only God is “wonderful counselor” – only God and his Messiah.
Isaiah 11:1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD— 3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
Perhaps as he lay silently in the manger, “the word without a word”, the infinite wisdom of God was hidden for a while in the baby Jesus. But “wonderful counsellor” He certainly was. And Jesus makes an amazing promise for us all.
John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
The first Counsellor would be the Messiah, Immanuel, God with us. The second Counsellor would be God the Holy Spirit, God living inside us! “Wonderful Counsellor”.
MIGHTY GOD – a figure of STRENGTH
Isaiah 10: 20 In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. 21 A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God.
The Lord, Yahweh, the Almighty One, God Himself is the Mighty God. We can see His might and power in
Escape from Egypt;
Victory in the Promised Land;
Acts of Judgment on Israel in Isaiah’s time.
The coming Messiah would indeed be Mighty God – ruling with all the power of God. And indeed that divine power would be veiled in flesh – laid aside for a brief while.
Phil 2:6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature 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!
2 Corinthians 8: 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
It may not have been easy to see in that vulnerable helpless baby in the manger, but He was still Mighty God.
EVERLASTING FATHER – a figure of CREATION
Malachi 2: 10 Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us?
Isaiah 64: 8 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Deuteronomy 32: 6 Is this the way you repay the LORD, O foolish and unwise people? Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you?
God is Creator of all things and all peoples. But the Bible refers to God especially as the Creator and Father of his chosen people, the nation of Israel.
Exodus 4: 22 Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go;
Hosea 11:1“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
God has a special covenant relationship with His chosen people.
Isaiah 63: 15 Look down from heaven and see from your lofty throne, holy and glorious. Where are your zeal and your might? Your tenderness and compassion are withheld from us. 16But you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us or Israel acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name.
The picture of Father in the Old Testament is a picture of the source of life as well as of parental authority. The Old Testament does not yet know of the loving intimacy which Christ will bring between the loving heavenly Father and those who are born again into his family and adopted as beloved children.
The Messiah will be Everlasting Father, eternal, not temporal but truly immortal. And the hope is that the Messiah will come as Creator returning to repair his creation, even to recreate it.
Isa 11: 6The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. 7The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. 9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
God will put right all the wrong in the world – everything which spoils the perfect peace of His Creation. And that is indeed what happened when the Creator entered his Creation as Immanuel, God with us.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made
10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him…. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
It may have been hard to recognise Him – some people still have not recognised Him. But that tiny baby really was and still is and always will be Everlasting Father.
THE PRINCE OF PEACE – a figure of SALVATION
Isaiah 9: 6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
ONLY the zeal of almighty God could accomplish such things!
Isaiah 11: He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
The Messiah will bring God’s peace to the world. You don’t need me to remind you that in the Bible the word peace is much more than the absence of war. Shalom means prosperity as well as tranquillity. It may include material prosperity and physical safety, but Bible peace also means harmony and spiritual well-being. The fallen world cannot know peace like that – it is the promised gift of the Messiah the prince of peace.
Isaiah 2: 2 In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.
3 Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4 He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
This is the peace Israel had been praying for for hundreds of years.
Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. 7 May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” 8 For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.”
It was especially the prophet Isaiah who brought God’s promises of peace.
Isa 52: 7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” 8Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the LORD returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes. 9 Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. 10The LORD will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.
Isaiah 54: 10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. .. 13 All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children’s peace.
Isaiah 55: 12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
So when He came, Jesus the Prince of peace began to bring God’s kingdom of peace. It would take His death on the cross to pay the price of peace. And the world has to wait for Jesus to return before God’s kingdom comes in full and his will is done on earth as it is in heaven.
But that baby born in the stable and laid in the manger was indeed the fulfillment of all these wonderful promises. Those four titles of the Messiah really did belong to Jesus.
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
A figure of wisdom and a figure of Strength. A figure of Creation and a Figure of Salvation. All those marvelous titles, and so many more, belong to our Lord Jesus Christ even as he lay in the manger in Bethlehem. How sad that when he came, only a few humble shepherds and some wise foreigners rescued him for who he really was.
John 1: 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
How different the world would be today if people had recognised the promised Messiah when He first arrived. Our task today is to make sure that everybody knows who that baby in the manger really was.
The Wonderful Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.