Sermons

Summary: The Titles given Messiah through Isaiah reveal His deity and His character.

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“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” [1]

“His Name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” With this glorious prophecy of the Messiah, Isaiah speaks of Him Who brings hope and joy for all who know Him as Master of life. I contend that Isaiah has revealed so much more than a mere name for the Messiah—we are given the very nature of God with us.

Fathers provided the name during the Jewish naming rite. However, Messiah appears to receive these names from the people that knew Him, thought this is by no means certain. We do know that the Name given Messiah was Immanuel [see ISAIAH 7:14]. It was in fulfillment of the Immanuel prophecy that He was called Jesus.

After Joseph had considered quietly divorcing Mary, the angel of the Lord appeared to him and instructed him, “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” [MATTHEW 1:21]. The divine text continues with this explanation. “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us)” [MATTHEW 1:22, 23].

The titles Isaiah provides carry the thought that the child is worthy to bear them as Names because they are accurate descriptions of His being and character. The names announced are actually titles. It is uncertain whether He shall receive these Names from the Father who appoints Him to the reign over all the earth, or whether those who receive His reign will call Him by these Names. However, that particular issue is immaterial since the truth conveyed through these Names nevertheless remains.

Rabbim of ancient days were not at all reticent in ascribing these titles to Messiah. “The ancient (first century B.C.) Aramaic Targum Jonathan paraphrased this passage:

And there was called His name from of old,

Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, He who

Lives for ever, the Messiah in whose days

Peace shall increase.” [2]

Reacting to the growth of the Christian Faith, more recent Jewish commentators and translators of the Bible recognise that if these Names are accurately translated, it is a tacit confession that this is not solely a Messianic passage, but that Isaiah has included a Christological passage that has now been fulfilled. Since the birth of the Son of God, Jewish commentators have attempted to avoid the implications of Isaiah’s prophecy.

The medieval Jewish commentator Kimchi rendered the passage, “The God who is called and who is Wonder, Counsellor, the mighty God, the eternal Father, calls his name the Prince of Peace.” [3] David Luzzatto attempted to avoid the meaning of Isaiah’s prophecy by taking the titles together and treating them as one word which would translate into the following name, “A wonderful thing is counselling he who is the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” [4] Even if we were to credit this suggestion, such a sesquipedalian name would be impossible to pronounce in one breath. The extent of embarrassment for Jewish commentators becomes apparent with more recent efforts to explain Isaiah. Slotki refused to translate the Hebrew, instead transliterating Isaiah’s words to read, Pele-joetz-el-gibbor-Abi-ad-sar-shalom. [5]


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