Summary: This is the fourth message of five from the text in Isaiah 9:6 for Advent, Christmas, and Ephiphany on the Names of Jesus. As our Everlasting Father, Jesus is always faithful to us.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?: HE IS THE EVERLASTING FATHER!
The highest honour a nation can bestow upon one of her sons is to name him “The Father of his country.” This is a title given to heroes as far back in history as the Roman Empire. “When a Roman citizen had done some brave, beautiful deed of infinite value and of noble self-denial, while soldiers raised him on their shields and maidens threw garlands of flowers at his feet, the populace would hail him in their shouts and songs as Pater Patriae—Father of his country.” [SOURCE: Herbert Lockyer, All the Divine Names and Titles in the Bible: A Unique Classification of All Scriptural Designations of the Three Persons of the Trinity (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1975), 148.]
In America that title belongs to General George Washington, Supreme Commander of the Army of the Potomac and first President of the United States of America. In similar fashion Jesus Christ may be considered as the “Father of His Country.” His country is heaven and all the vast extents of the universe He created. If our nation gives the highest respect and honour to George Washington, certainly we Christians can do no less for our Lord Jesus Christ in regards to His kingdom.
The fourth name Isaiah gives the promised Messiah is “The Everlasting Father.” I have never had any difficulty calling God my Father, but many people do. I have nothing but pleasant memories of my earthly Father. He set a good example for me; Dad never drank or smoked; he was a good provider for Mom and me; he was always kind and considerate; everyone respected him, and he set a good example of a Christian gentleman for me to follow.
That’s not always true of every father or of every parent regardless of his or her gender. Because of the rampant increase in child abuse by many parents, it is often hard for victims of such abuse to relate to God as their Father. I can not understand how any parent can cause bodily harm to their child, but it is even becoming more common for mothers to be the perpetrators. We all were horrified in June 2001 when Texas Mother Andrea Yates drowned her five children in the bathtub. On November 14, 2006, in Elkhart, Indiana, Angelica Salazar Alvarez took the lives of her four small children between the ages of two and six.
Faced with situations like these, many neglected and abused children have a difficult time relating to our Messiah and Lord as the Everlasting Father. Human parents may hurt and disappoint us beyond all measure, but we can always depend upon our Everlasting Father. He will never leave us or let us down. Psalm 27:10 testifies:
If my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will take me up.
We can always depend on our Everlasting Father to care for us. He will never forsake or harm us; He will always lift us up. Like Peter in I Peter 5:7, we too can “Cast all our anxiety on Him, because He cares for us.” That is one of the great ministries of any good father, to care for his children in their times of anxiety, uncertainty, or fear.
“What’s in a Name?” Jesus, our Messiah, is our Everlasting Father. Some of you may question, “But, Preacher, I thought this Name applies to God the Father, not God the Son.” Recall our Lord’s own personal testimony in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” This is just one of the 363 Divine Names or Titles given to our Lord Jesus in the Holy Scriptures. It is a declaration of how much He loves and protects us as His children, His flock.
The Baby born in Bethlehem’s Manger is our “Everlasting Father.” Everlasting means “eternal, forever.” When this term is applied to God, it is always a declaration of His faithfulness, His trustworthiness, His goodness, His love and His mercy. The Prophet Jeremiah testifies to our Lord’s eternal faithfulness, trustworthiness, goodness, love and mercy in Lamentations 3:22-26. Jerusalem has fallen into the hands of the Babylonians, the Temple has been looted and destroyed, and the people are grieving in captivity, but their Everlasting Father has neither forgotten nor deserted them.
Jeremiah praises our Everlasting Father for His faithfulness to us no matter what our trials, tribulations, or hardships may be: “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him. The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” This passage is the basis for Thomas Chisholm’s beloved hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” which will be our “Hymn of Invitation” this morning.