By Jeffrey Berg

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” 

     When one reads Isaiah 9:6, a glow like the stars of heaven shine out of the printed page of God’s Word. The brilliant glow that dazzles the eyes of the reader heralds the announcement of the birth of Israel’s Messiah and King!

“For unto us a child is born”

     In all of history, there has not been a birth of a child that has been remembered like the birth of Jesus.  Isaiah 7:14 speaks of how He was born of a virgin.  “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son…” This is not just “a” virgin, but it is “the” virgin, HaAlmah.  The definite article “the,” in the Hebrew, makes this virgin special. The child’s birth is unique; there would be no other like it in all of history. The use of Ha, the, before Almah, virgin, leads us to understand there is a definite person in mind.  

     Isaiah’s audience is the people of Israel. “For unto us a child is born.” Isaiah prophecies that the child would sit on the throne of David (Isaiah 9:7).  When this special child was presented in the Temple in Jerusalem, a very devout man, Simeon, reacted with abundant joy from the Spirit of God (Luke 2:25-35). “For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:31, 32). It was also revealed to Simeon by the Holy Spirit “that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ, or Messiah” (Luke 2:26). Miraculously, on the occasion of this special birth, the heavens gloried over Bethlehem, the place where the child was born (Luke 2:13, 14). Truly, God sanctified the birth of His Child over every human birth on the face of the earth.

“Unto us a Son is given”

     When focusing on this segment of the verse, the word “given” becomes very important. The Hebrew word natan (given) means “to give, gift, present, appoint.” The Son was appointed as a gift from God to the Jewish people. The Prophets speak with one voice about the Son’s relationship with God.

“Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in His fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His son’s name, if thou canst tell?” (see Proverbs 30:4).

“Yet, I have set my King upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: The LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee” (Psalm 2:6, 7).

This passage portrays John 3:16;

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

God not only sent His Son to be the Messiah of Israel, but to be the Redeemer for mankind. Psalm 2:12 invites you to embrace and to know the Son personally; “Kiss the Son…Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.”

“And the government shall be upon His shoulder”

     Ever since that mournful day when the glory of the LORD departed from the Temple and returned to Heaven (Ezekiel 10:18, 19; 11:22, 23), and Israel’s theocratic kingdom came to a close, the Prophets with one voice pointed toward the future when the Messiah would rule from Jerusalem on David’s throne (2 Samuel 7:12-17). The Messiah will reestablish the overthrown Kingdom of Israel. He will be the glorious monarch. Zechariah chapter 14 states that the Messiah will come from Heaven, and “His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives” (Zechariah 14:4). The Messiah will come in the same manner as the Glory of the LORD departed in the book of Ezekiel. The Messiah will judge the Gentile nations from Jerusalem who scattered the people and parted the Land (Joel 3:2). The character of the reign of the Messiah will be righteousness (Jeremiah 23:5, 6) and holiness (Zechariah 14:16-21). Obedience will be required of all its citizens, including all of nature.  When Psalm 122:6 is recited, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee,” the word “peace” or shalom, also means “completion” or “to be made whole.” When we pray for “The peace of Jerusalem,” we are praying for the day when Jerusalem will be whole, when the hope of King David’s throne will be realized. What a wonderful day it will be when Messiah Jesus will rule in all His glory, righteousness, and justice; and the government will be upon His shoulder.

And His Name shall be called…

“Wonderful, Counselor”

     The first title given to the Messiah in this incredible verse is “Wonderful.” The Hebrew word pele meaning “wonderful,” is a very dynamic word. This special word also means “wondrous, miracle, secret, extraordinary, miraculous, and hidden.” Because pele stands for the “miraculous,” it must lead the series of titles for the reader, introducing him or her to the Messiah. A great illustration of this word in Scripture is found in the book of Judges. “The Angel of the LORD” appears to Manoah in Judges chapter 13. The Angel of the LORD announces the birth of Samson. Manoah, not knowing this was the Angel of the LORD, asks, “What is thy name?” The Angel replies, “Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret? (pele)” (see Judges 13:18).  Manoah then took a kid and prepared an altar and made an offering.  As Manoah and his wife sacrificed the kid on the altar, “The Angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar, And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground” (Judges 13:20). As they watched in astonishment, “Manoah knew that He was an Angel of the LORD” (Judges 13:21). “And Manoah said to his wife, we shall surely die, because we have seen God” (Judges 13:22). Wow!  The Angel of the LORD is the pre-incarnate child to be born, the son to be given.

     “Counselor” is next in the list of titles for the Messiah. It is the word yoetz. Earlier we read about the government of the Messiah. The counsel, the plans and purposes of the Kingdom of Heaven, rests on the Messiah’s shoulder. The Theological Workbook of the Old Testament says it well. “The counsel of the Lord is eternal, ‘It stands forever.’ The enduring character of God’s counsel and plan is grounded in the unchangeableness of God himself. The ‘plans of his heart’ may be equated with ‘the secret things’ which belong to the Lord our God. It is God who guarantees the accomplishment of his eternal decrees.”[1] Psalm 2 says the Messiah will bring the counsel of the nations to derision. The Messiah Jesus is the one whom we seek for God’s will in our lives. “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel (yoetz), and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee” (Psalm 73:24, 25).  

“Mighty God”

       The third name in the list of titles for the Messiah, El-Gibbor, is the name for Mighty God. Gibbor means “might, valiant, hero, and is also a word for man.” In the Hebrew text there is no definite article “the” before this great title. Mighty God stands out alone in the Hebrew text as a flood light to the reader. The Messiah is God! The Messiah is omnipotent! He is not fallible like all other human warriors. The Messiah has conquered death in His glorious resurrection and provided redemption for mankind. “And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:14). The Messiah’s enemies will become a footstool for His feet (Psalm 110:1).

“Everlasting Father”

     The fourth name in Isaiah’s list of titles for the Messiah is “everlasting Father.” Just like with the title “mighty God,” there is no definite article associated with “everlasting Father.” In Hebrew, His name is Avi-adAvi actually means “my Father.” Avi is also a popular name in Israel. The title, “everlasting Father,” should actually read, “My Father is everlasting or eternal.”  The title points the Jewish reader to see that the Messiah-God can be worshipped on a personal basis.  In the bigger picture, the Messiah is the “Father of eternity.”  The Apostle Paul states it well in the book of Colossians. “Who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature: For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:15-17).

“Prince of Peace”

     The final name in Isaiah’s list of titles for the Messiah is “prince of Peace,” Sar-Shalom. The Messiah came first to bring peace to the heart. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14:27a).  In Hebrew, the word “wicked” means to be stirred up, like the rough waves of the sea. The Messiah Jesus is the only one who can change a heart that is tossed to and fro and bring tranquility. The Bible says that the Messiah will also come to bring peace to this troubled world. He will be the only one who will establish lasting, permanent peace. The Prince of Peace will be the answer to the prayer of Psalm 122:6, bringing perfect peace to Jerusalem. When He comes to rule, the curse placed upon this world will be removed.

     The third verse of the well known Christmas hymn, “Joy to the World,” poignantly captures this truth. “No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow, Far as the curse is found, Far as the curse is found, far as, far as the curse is found.” 

     May this be the moment in your life that you invite Messiah Jesus, who is the “Wonderful, Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Father of Eternity,” and “Prince of Peace” into your life. May He, Who is the promised One of Israel, shine into your hearts and souls, and be your ruler, the One who carries you upon His shoulders.   

[1] Harris, Archer, Waltke, Theological Workbook of the Old Testament, Vol 1 , Moody Press, page 390, 1981


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