Intro: How many names do you have? (professional names, nick names, titles, roles (grandpa etc.) The central figure of the gospel story is Jesus Christ. But Jesus is not the only designation by which he was called. The gospels of Matthew, Mark Luke, and John contain over 45 designation of Jesus. Someone has counted close to 90 in the N.T.
- The OT prophets spoke intricately about Jesus; How He would come – be born of a virgin; Where He would be born – Bethlehem of Judea; Why He was coming – as a Savior; How He would die – as a sacrifice; The fulfilled prophecies concerning His death and resurrection abound.
- No one spoke more about the coming Messiah than Isaiah. We are familiar with the lamb of Isaiah 53, the suffering servant of Isaiah 42 (light to the Gentiles, Holy One of Israel) He is often called the messianic Prophet.
Read Isaiah 9:1-7 – Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan — 2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. 4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. 5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. 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. 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. (NIV)
I. “Upon them a light has shined…” It is not hard to pick up on the positive element of this prophecy. Isaiah describes a time when things get better, and God brings a blessing. This is not a prophecy of the immediate future, but of the “latter time” or time of the Messiah.
A. Coffman tells us that Isaiah’s mentioning of the land of Zebulon and Naphtali points to the period immediately before the N.T. when this section of Palestine had suffered much from the recurring invasions. They represent the oppressed in the land who were going to experience a better time. Upon them a light would shine, and their darkness would end. The kingdom of God would come and the subsequent blessings would extend all the way to the “Galilee of the Gentiles” (v. 1)
1. Immediately following His temptation in the wilderness, Jesus begins to preach and teach in Galilee. Matthew records it this way. Matthew 4:12-17 – 12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: 15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: 16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” 17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
a. Matthew gives us real insight into when Isaiah’s words were being fulfilled. Jesus Himself was this “great light” that was to shine upon the oppressed people of the land who were living in darkness.
b. Look again at Isaiah 9
1) vs. 4 – For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. It was Jesus who would break the yoke of the people’s burden, and destroy the rod of the oppressor. It may perplex us as to why Isaiah would choose the event of Gideon and the Midianites to portray this coming victory. I believe that the best understanding points to the manner of Gideon’s victory; without a great military power, but through faith in God’s provisions. “The Prince of Peace would have no use for the weapons of military might but would rely upon spiritual weapons; and the deliverance from the Midianites accomplished by Gideon was the most effective illustration for the peace that would be won under the Messiah.” (Coffman)
2) vs. 5– Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. This image of a spiritual victory is further enhanced through Isaiah’s picture of the people burning the armor and clothing stained with the blood of war. The Messiah will not win His victory or deliver His people through military efforts. These things will cease in the coming kingdom.
3) Earlier Isaiah presented the coming reign of the Messiah as a time of peace – Isaiah 2:4 – They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore. This speaks to a spiritual peace that would come through Jesus’ ministry and the apostolic preaching of the kingdom beginning in Acts 2 in Jerusalem. – Isa 2:2-3 – Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the Lord’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. 3 Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
i. Jesus is the promised peace… Eph 2:13-18 – But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Christ Our Peace 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. This peace is the result of Jesus atoning sacrifice (through the cross) – not through social reform or military conquest. This message of spiritual peace is designed to be preached to every person.
II. How would this better time arrive? Who is this Deliverer? “Unto us a child is born, Unto us a Son is given.”
A. Notice the paradoxical element. The one who would free the oppressed was a child. He would arrive in the way all men arrive – as a child being born.
1. But this is not any Child. He is also a Son given... He does not belong to us or come in the way all others have come. We have no prerogative over Him and can only claim Him as a gift. He is the only begotten of the Father, and has come done from heaven.
2. He comes to rule, and His sovereign rule or government is eternal. This again points to the OT picture of Jesus as the King over His kingdom.
III. “His name shall be called…” (v. 6 ) When a child is born he is given a name. In Bible periods the father had jurisdiction here. (When Elizabeth told the people that her son would be named John, they conferred with Zacharias). Thus this points to what God, the Father, will call His Son. Not just a name, but descriptions of Who He will be; What He will do to accomplish the things just mentioned. McGuiggan states…“The expression, ‘His name shall be called,’ is probably idiomatic for, ‘This will be his character and nature.'” There is some discussion as to whether there are 4 or 5 names here. Either way, these names are significant to our understanding of Jesus, Our Savior.
A. Wonderful: This is either a stand alone name (Wonder) or an adjective to describe Counselor. The word literally means “a miracle” (pele); from a root that means, a hidden thing, or too high. Of course Jesus would perform many miracles, Acts 2:22 – Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst“
1. But Jesus is too high. He is transcendent, beyond the outward ability to perform miracles. This term clearly identifies Jesus as God Himself. This term is used to describe God’s ability to perform.
• Song of Moses – Ex 15:11 – “Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?
• Ps 77:14 – You are the God who does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the peoples.
• Isa 25:1 – O Lord, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, For You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.
B. Counselor – from a verb that means to guide or advise; to deliberate or resolve. This title speaks to our need for counsel – guidance. We have a constant need to solve problems. Where do you go?
1. Jesus comes to His people as their guide. This quality was easily perceived by the people, as many came to Jesus for answers. Again this points to Jesus’ position as God above us. He counsels us as the one outside of the creation. He knows all things, and speaks to us as the One who made us.
2. Peter came to see Jesus as the Counselor from heaven. John 6:67-68 – Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” 68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
3. Jesus’ counsel is eternal. The wisdom of men changes with the age or culture, but God’s word is “living” and does not become obsolete or dead. Thus He is qualified to deliberate (judge) every person. Burton Coffman says.. “A single line of teaching from this Counselor is more valuable than libraries stacked full of the books of human wisdom.”
C. Mighty God – Many Christians and practically all commentators have trouble with the application of words like these to Christ, and yet they are surely appropriate. There are many times when the same word used to describe God, the Father is used to describe Jesus. (John 1:1; Rom. 9:5; 1 John 5:20) This terminology refers to God the Father in Isaiah 10:21. John 20:28 – Thomas said “My Lord and My God“, but was never rebuked.
1. Much controversy has arisen in relation to this expression; and attempts have been made to show that the word translated “God,” may refer to a hero, a king, a conqueror. In this sense, some see this as the “strength of God”, rather than the God of Strength. But there is no reason to reduce the meaning. Barnes says… it still remains certain that the natural and obvious meaning of the expression is to denote a divine nature. So it was evidently understood by the ancient versions; and the fact that the name God is so often applied to Christ in the New Testament proves that it is to be understood in its natural and obvious signification.
D. Everlasting Father – the Pentecostals use this verse to promote the teaching that there is only 1 person in the Godhood. [Jesus is the Father, so they are the same person.] This contradicts the wording of John 1 – the word was with God. This may be difficult, but what is in view, is not a personal designation of Jesus, but rather a description of His work. Two interpretations given:
1. The use of the term father to denote the originator of something, and thus the supreme image of that quality. The Hebrews used the term this way (the father of strength means strong; the father of knowledge, intelligent; the father of glory, glorious; the father of goodness, good; the father of peace, peaceful. So the father of eternity is properly eternal. The term Father is not applied to Jesus with any reference to the distinction in the divine nature, for that word is applied to God, the Father. But it is used in reference to His relationship to eternal things. He is not merely everlasting, but he is even the Father of eternity.
2. The term “father” points to Jesus’ benevolent care of his people. Kidner also pointed out that, “Father signifies the paternal benevolence of the Perfect Ruler over the people whom he loves.” In the same sense, therefore, that Abraham is called “The Father of the Faithful,” Jesus Christ is entitled to be called the “Everlasting Father.”
a. Joseph was made to be a father to Pharaoh. – Gen 45:8 –now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Joseph became the provider and protector of Pharaoh.
E. Prince of Peace – The translation may best be – “a peaceful prince, or a prince that perpetuates peace.” This distinguishes Him from all those rulers who rule by physical force and war.
1. Matt. 10:34ff – Jesus did teach that His word would bring a “sword”, and not peace. This is not a contradiction. Jesus was pointing out the distinguishing nature of truth. The truth will cause family members to be divided among themselves, because it allows no compromise. This indicates that the peace Jesus provides is not simply human tranquility or an ecumenical compromise.
2. The peace Jesus provides is first and foremost peace with God. He abolishes the guilt of sin that estranges us from God. We think again of Paul’s words in Eph. 2. He is our peace…
3. These words again point to the Kingship of Jesus. When Jesus’ birth was announced, the angels proclaimed that the child that was born and the Son that was given would bring peace on earth and goodwill toward men.
Conclusion: In another Messianic prediction Isaiah spoke of a time when God’s people would be known by their righteousness.
- Isa 62:1-3 – For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, And her salvation as a lamp that burns. 2 The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, And all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, Which the mouth of the Lord will name. 3 You shall also be a crown of glory In the hand of the Lord, And a royal diadem In the hand of your God.
We might notice that God’s time of blessing His people will be identified by the appearance of a “new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.”
This certainly points to the days of the Messiah, Jesus. What is this new name?
Acts 11 – The gospel message is opened to the Gentiles (Cornelius)
- Acts 11:17-18 – If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” 18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”
Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus, and Barnabas are sent to Antioch to preach the good news. Acts 11:23-24 – When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. 24 For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. The Gentiles were seeing the righteousness of God.
- Acts 11:26 – So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
Could it be that this is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s words… The new name, given by God is the name of Christ… We are Christians.
Peter tells us to not be ashamed to suffer under the banner of this name. (1 Peter 4:16)
Do you wear the name of Christ?