Summary: This is part one of an Advent series on Isaiah 9:6, on the purposes, names and deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Isaiah 9:6 we read the familiar verse promising the future birth of Jesus: “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.”
Before a baby is born, it is inevitable that the question is asked: have you picked out a name yet? Over 700 years before Jesus’ advent, before His coming, His Names and purpose were revealed to Israel and the world by God through the prophet Isaiah.
It would have been a very welcome sight for Israel if the government, rule, authority and the dominion would be on someone else’s shoulders rather than on Assyria or on Rome at the time of Jesus. Isaiah’s prophecy gave Israel the hope that the coming Messiah, Jesus, would bring a new kingdom and He would be the ruler. JESUS would shoulder all dominion. (In Greek mythology, Hercules was given that task.) Jesus would not resemble any earthly or mythological character: They had all been temporary, many unreliable, unskillful, and all had been sinful. Jesus’ rule would extend, not only over territories, but into human hearts and His rule would be eternal, personal, persistent, Godly, and universal. Dominion (rule) would be His to carry.
This new kingdom of Jesus’ dominion is characterized by His Names: His name would be “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”. His names carry the weight and glory, not of a man, but of God Himself. All of Old Testament scripture presented dozens of names to describe God:
El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty), El Elyon (The Most High God), Adonai (Lord, Master), Yahweh (The GREAT AM) ,Yahweh Nissi (The Lord My Banner), Yahweh-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd), Yahweh Rapha (The Lord That Heals), Yahweh Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness), Yahweh Mekoddishkem (The Lord Who Sanctifies You), El Olam (The Everlasting God), Elohim (“God” in the plural sense: one in three and three in one.), Qanna (Jealous) , Yahweh Jireh (The Lord Will Provide), Yahweh Shalom (The Lord Is Peace), Yahweh Sabaoth (The Lord of Hosts).
The Promised Messiah would be characterized by these names and more, and His LIFE would demonstrate and be characterized by all of His Names. Whatever you see Jesus do and whatever you hear Him say in the New Testament, in His birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension PROVE that He is LORD of Lords, King of Kings, Lord over All: He shoulders the power and dominion.
We know that Jesus fulfilled all of the prophesies from Isaiah...and we know that Jesus would also shoulder a cross. He “shouldered” all of our sins and the penalty for sin but He did so of His own will and volition. Anyone has the power to lay down his life, but no one but Jesus had the power to take His life up again. He gave His life freely to demonstrate His love in servanthood, but took it up again in order to insure new and eternal life for those who believe in His Work to save.
The same Word of God, calls us to communion and remembrance around the Lord’s Supper, to celebrate what we KNOW TO be true: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst.” (1 Timothy 1: 15) His dominion chose to shoulder the burden of our sin.
A Wonderful Name, A Wonderful Savior
Jesus’ name is “Wonderful”: It is not an adjective in the Hebrew but it is a noun which could be translated “wonders” or “marvels”. The wonders of God throughout the O.T. describe all of God marvelous acts which God performed, works that were extraordinary, works that no human being could perform.
Jesus is singularly unique, just like God, His Father. Jesus is beyond anything or anyone that the world has ever seen or expected. His knowledge, wisdom, character, authority AND humility demonstrated His unique qualities: He is “Wonderful,” full of wonders! If you think that He is NOT unique, then your idea of Him is too small.
Jesus is beyond human understanding. And He would be beyond human explanation. The New Testament so often describes people’s reactions to Jesus as being “amazed”, “full of wonder,” or “astounded”; Although in human form, Jesus went beyond human limitations! Whenever words rolled off his tongue, He reordered reality, He made broken muscles well, mute tongues spoke, bones were straightened, wind and waves ceased, clouds moved, and demons fled, he could walk on water and also turn it into wine.
(Mat. 7:28 Amazed at His teaching, it was powerful and new, Mat 8:27 Amazed that the winds and waves obeyed Him, Mat 13:54 Amazed at who He was. “Where did he get all this?”, Mat 15:31 Amazed at His healing power when a mute spoke, Mat 21:20 Amazed that a tree would obey his orders, Mk 1:27 Amazed at how demons obeyed Him, Mk 2:12 amazed at how paralyzed bodies sprang to life, Mk 6:51 amazed that he walked on water.)