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Isaiah 9:6–7

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (v. 6).

On the very day of the Fall, God revealed that, in “the fullness of time,” one would come to defeat the Evil One. Later, He revealed that this one would come in the family of Abraham, and still later He narrowed it down to the tribe of Judah and then to David’s line, making clear that He would succeed to David’s throne. In time, God also revealed that the birth of this one would be miraculous, for His mother would be a virgin. Now, here in Isaiah 9, God affirms that the Redeemer will make His advent as a baby and that He will be a King. But this rich passage reveals still more about this coming one, listing several titles by which He will be known.

“Wonderful, Counselor”

The New King James Version Bible places a comma between these two words, but it probably does not belong. Rather, Isaiah was saying that the Redeemer would be a counselor who would be wonderful. That which is wonderful is not just nice or pleasant; the word originally meant “full of wonder,” that is, astonishing or amazing. A counselor in Old Testament times was the king’s most trusted advisor. But this King would need no counselor; He would be the source of all wisdom. His wisdom would astonish.

“Mighty God”

The allusion here is not just to God’s omnipotence. The Mighty God is invincible in warfare. This term is used for God the Father several times in the Old Testament (Gen. 49:24; Isa. 10:21; Jer. 32:18), but here it is transferred to the Messiah. This King would be a mighty warrior, a conquering king like David. Of course, that is exactly the kind of Messiah the people of Israel had come to expect in Jesus’ time— someone who could drive out the occupying Roman legions. However, this King’s warfare was to be with the supernatural forces of Satan, hell, and death. “Everlasting Father.” This is a strange title for a king. But God’s character in His reign is well-expressed as Fatherhood. Scripture says, “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him” (Ps. 103:13). But this Father would be unique in that He would be “everlasting.” The realm of this Father-King would never fall or wither away, but would last forever.

“Prince of Peace”

The ultimate purpose of the King’s warfare would be to end warfare. Above all, He would bring peace with God.

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

The people of Israel had much to ponder when this prophecy was given. And it still has much to teach us today, for it speaks powerfully of the combination of Fatherly compassion that drives God’s salvific work and the divine power that makes it possible. With saints of all ages, thank God for loving you and undertaking your redemption.

For Further Study
  • Luke 6:36
  • 2 Cor. 1:3; 13:4
  • 1 Peter 1:4–5
  • 1 John 3:1

A Virgin Shall Conceive

Little Town, Great King

Keep Reading The Way of Glory: Persecution and Martyrdom in the Christian Life

From the September 2003 Issue
Sep 2003 Issue