Devotional # 74. 2/18/14. Isaiah 9:6
“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.”
Last week we finished up the book of Acts and now we’re moving through different areas of the Bible. This week we’ll go through only one verse, Isaiah 9:6, but there is a lot! We must start with the context. Isaiah was given a vision by God of Israel being invaded and taken captive. Although this was hard for Isaiah to hear there was a lot of good news because there was prophecy of the Messiah, Jesus who would save His people. I never really paid attention to the verses prior to verse 6 before but when I read it a couple weeks ago in my morning devotions it surprised me. Go ahead and read the first 5 verses of chapter 9. Isaiah had been prophesying that Israel would fall since 739 BC and 5 years later (734 BC) it started. It began with Zebulun and Naphtali (the northern border of Galilee). But here in chapter 9 (written in 730 BC) Isaiah is saying that they will eventually have the honor of having the Messiah be born there (Source: Intro).
At this point I would like you to look over the meanings of each word in this verse. (The bold words are the English Scripture, the italics are the Hebrew, the “H” numbers are the Strong’s Concordance reference and the words in “quotes” are what the words mean.)
For unto us a child (yeled, H3206) meaning “child, boy” (Source 1).
Is born (yalad, H3205) meaning “to bear, of child birth” (Source 2).
Unto us a son (ben, H1121) meaning “son, male child” (Source 3).
Is given (nathan, H5414) meaning “to be given, be bestowed, be given up, be delivered up” (Source 4).
The government (misrah, H4951) meaning “rule, dominion, government” (Source 5).
Shall be upon his shoulder (shekem, H7926) meaning “shoulder, shoulder blade, back (in general)” (Source 6).
And his name (shem, H8034) meaning “the Name (as designation of God)” (Source 7).
Shall be called (qara’, H7121) meaning “call out, cry out, proclaim” (Source 8).
Wonderful (pele’, H6382) meaning “wonder, marvel, (extraordinary, hard to understand) and wonder (of God’s acts of judgment and redemption)” (Source 9).
Counselor (ya’ats, H3289) meaning “to advise, consult, purpose, plan” (Source 10).
The mighty (gibbowr, H1368) “strong, mighty” (Source 11).
God (‘el, H410) meaning “God, the one true God” (Source 12).
The everlasting (‘ad, H5703) meaning “forever, continuing future; ancient (of past time); for ever (of future time), of continuous existence” (Source 13).
Father (‘ab, H1) meaning “father of an individual, of God as father of his people” (Source 14).
The Prince (sar, H8269) meaning “prince, ruler, leader, chief” (Source 15).
Of Peace (shalowm, H7965) meaning “completeness, soundness, welfare, peace; completeness (in number), safety (in body), welfare (health, prosperity), peace (quiet, tranquility, contentment), friendship” (Source 16).
Reading over what the words or phrases mean in the original language usually help me understand the meaning of the verse a little better. Although I wish we could go in depth on all of the words, we’re going to focus on the descriptions of the Son, Jesus. Notice that “name” is singular here although five “names” are mentioned. This is because these aren’t so much “names” that people will call Jesus (although they certainly have and will continue to) but these are descriptions of His character. “‘In Semitic thought, a name does not just identify or distinguish a person, it expresses the very nature of his being’” (Source 17, quoting Longenecker). First, He is “Wonderful”, we are in awe at how amazing He is. When we see Him faintly here on earth it doesn’t match to the clarity we will have in Heaven when we begin to understand how perfect His justice and mercy are.
Next He is “Counselor”, we can confide in Him but He also gives us the best advice. As Matthew Henry reminds us Jesus has eternally been intimately acquainted with the counsels of God, and He shares that with His children (Source 18).
He is “Mighty God.” This is incredibly important because many people nowadays say Jesus wasn’t God and never claimed to be. Not only did He own being God but we see that 700 years before His birth it was prophesied that He was God. This phrase is used 3 times in the Old Testament, and here only is it a name (the other two are: Isaiah 10:21, Jeremiah 32:18).
He is also “Everlasting Father.” When I read this last week I was a little confused. I thought ‘how can the Son be referred to as the Father?’ Of course God is One (Deuteronomy 6:4) but He is three distinct Persons, which the Bible never confuses. Jesus has always existed, He wasn’t created according to Colossians 1:15, instead He did the creating (Col. 1:16). So this phrase takes the eternal existence and the fact that He birthed or created every one of us humans and puts it together. Jesus is the source or author of all eternity (Source 17).
Lastly, Jesus is the “Prince of Peace.” I think I like the definitions from Strong’s the best on this phrase. He is the “ruler” or “leader” of “peace.” But what kind of peace? Growing up I heard people say, “peace in the Middle East” and “Can’t we all just get along?” all the time. But the truth is although many people have talked about world peace for many millennia, it hasn’t happened. What is the “peace” that is part of Jesus’ character? First, He brings completeness. When we feel we are missing something, He fills that hole. Second, He gives us bodily safety. He holds us and takes care of us and nothing can happen to us without His permission. Thirdly, He gives welfare in healthy and prosperity. Often we think this just means a healthy body and great riches but although Jesus cares for us in that way He is much more concerned for our spiritual health. He is the “Great Physician” healing us from the worst cancer: sin. Fourth, He supplies calmness. There is contentment in our life when we rest in the Lord. I don’t have to be anxious or worried about anything when I receive peace from His quiet refuge. Lastly, Jesus Christ offers us His friendship. Jesus calls us His friends proving His friendship by dying for our sins and sharing what He has been given from God the Father (which ties back to being our Counselor) which can all be found in John 15:13-15.
We are thankful for the beautiful name of Jesus, our Redeemer, given to us 700 years before He was born! My prayer is that you would meditate on this verse and the name, the unchanging, eternal character of the Messiah.
Intro: This comes from a mix of sources. Halley’s Bible Handbook, p. 285-286, p. 292. MacArthur Study Bible, p. 968, “Isaiah Timeline” – http://biblehub.com/timeline/isaiah/1.htm).
Source 17: David Guzik, http://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide_Isa/Isa_9.cfm?a=688006.
Source 18: Matthew Henry Commentary, OT, p. 841.