Intro: Last week I distributed a complied list of “names of Jesus“, more precisely a list of descriptive words or phrases applied to Jesus in the Bible. The list is extensive, over 100. We also studied about a few of those names; Jesus; Christ; and Son of David. I want to continue that study today, as we consider a few more of the meaningful and powerful names of Jesus.
- 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 the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, As when at first He lightly esteemed The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, And afterward more heavily oppressed her, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, In Galilee of the Gentiles. 2 The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined. 3 You have multiplied the nation And increased its joy; They rejoice before You According to the joy of harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4 For You have broken the yoke of his burden And the staff of his shoulder, The rod of his oppressor, As in the day of Midian. 5 For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle, And garments rolled in blood, Will be used for burning and fuel of fire. 6 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. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
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 Napthali 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.” 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.
a. vs. 4 – 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)
b. vs. 5 – 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.
c. 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.
II. How would this better time arrive? Who is this Deliverer? Isaiah 9:6 takes us back to the events we discussed this morning. “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. (more to say at a later time about His kingdom – v. 7)
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. Ex 15:11 – Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Ps 77:14-15 – Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people.15 Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah. Isa 25:1 – O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy 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 3 manifestations – 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 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 distinguished 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. Eph. 2:14 – He is our peace.
3. These words again point to the Kingship of Jesus and takes us to the very event we studied this morning. When Jesus’ birth was announced the angels proclaimed that the child that was born and the Son that was given would bring peace of earth and goodwill toward men.
Conclusion: In another Messianic picture of Isaiah, the prophet, he speaks of those who would make known the way of peace.
- Isaiah 52:6-7 – Therefore My people shall know My name; Therefore they shall know in that day That I am He who speaks: ‘Behold, it is I.'” 7 How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
- Again these words pointed forward to the time of the Messiah, when the gospel of peace would be made known. A call for faith would be made…
- Romans 10:13-17 – For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” 14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.