“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Of Israel’s many celebrated prophets, Isaiah is pre-eminent. The writings that bear his name are among the most profound in all literature. One great theme, salvation by faith, permeates them all.

Isaiah is the Paul of the Old Testament. His name was symbolic of his message. Like “Joshua,” it means “Yahweh saves,” or “Yahweh is salvation,” or “salvation of Yahweh.” Isaiah was the son of Amoz (not Amos). He seems to have belonged to a family of some social prominence, as may be inferred from his easy access to the king (Isa 7:3), and his close intimacy with the priest (Isa 8:2). Tradition says Isaiah was the cousin of King Uzziah (reigned, 759-731 BC).

The prophet lived in Jerusalem and became a court preacher. He was married and had two sons: Shear-jashub, his name signifying “a remnant shall return” (Isa 7:3), and Maher-shalal-hash-baz meaning, “hasting to the spoil, hurrying to the prey.” This name was symbolic of Assyria’s mad intent of world conquest (Isa 8:3). In the year that King Uzziah died, Isaiah, while worshipping in the temple, received a call to the prophetic office (Isa 6). He responded without hesitation and accepted his divine commission, though he knew from the outset that his task was to be one of fruitless warning and exhortation (Isa. 6:9-13).

Having been reared in Jerusalem, Isaiah was well prepared to become the political and religious counselor of the nation Israel. But there was more for Isaiah’s horizon, both political and spiritual, was practically unbounded. In a very true sense, as Hebrew scholar Delitzsch says, he was “the universal prophet of Israel.”

In the early chapters of his work (1-12), Isaiah utters some far-reaching prophecies concerning Judah and Jerusalem, closing the first section with promises of restoration and a psalm of thanksgiving. While warning of impending judgement upon the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah by the king of Assyria, the prophet has a special word to the righteous in chapter 9. Though the Lord is angry with Israel’s arrogance, the promise is given of the birth and reign of Messiah, the Prince of Peace.

Such is the nature of God, that where sin abounds grace does much more abound. It is a matter of comfort that where sin is strong, and life becomes gloomy, “He who forms the light and creates the darkness” (Isa. 45:7) has appointed to both their bounds and set the one over against the other (Gen. 1:4) –M. Henry.  To the church of the Old Testament Isaiah writes of the Messiah. He invites people to consider the child that is to be born and the One who is to be given five precious names. From the vantage-point of time we know that Isaiah was speaking of Christ.

Christ was to be called Wonderful, for a constant series of wonders surround Him.  Christ is wonderful in His birth, for He is born of a virgin. The mighty God is a child born. The Ancient of Days becomes an infant of a span long.

“What Child is this, who laid to rest
On Mary’s lap, is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?”

This, this is Christ, the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!”

~William Chatterton Dix

Christ is wonderful in His life. His life was one of sacrifice and lowly service.

“Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear: for sinners here 
The silent Word is pleading.”

“This, this is Christ, the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!”

Christ is wonderful in His death. Did ever anyone die for the sins of others? No! And yet we read that while we were yet sinners Christ died.

“So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh,
Come, peasant, king, to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings;
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.”

“This, this is Christ, the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!”

Christ shall be called Counselor.

Christ always gave good counsel to those who came to Him.He was intimately acquainted with the counsels of God from eternity.

Jesus gave good counsel to the multitudes, reflected in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 6-7). The ethical standards of the kingdom of heaven are set forth.

Jesus gave good counsel to Nicodemus when he was told that he must be born again (John 3:1-21).

Jesus gave good counsel to the rich young ruler by telling him to sell all that he had, give to the poor, and follow Him.

Jesus gave good counsel to those who questioned Him about the practical relationship between Church and State.

Because He is a Friend, Christ will always give good counsel to those who seek Him. But His counsel must be sought in prayer.

“What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Ev’rything to God in prayer!”

 Are we weak and heavy laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge;
Take it to the Lord in prayer:”

Christ shall be called the Mighty God.Because He has wisdom, Jesus has strength to go through with His purposes, especially in the area of redemption. He is able to save to the undermost. Such is the work of salvation that no less power than that of the mighty God could accomplish. Isaac Watts understood this and wrote,

“When I survey the wondrous cross,
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.”

 Forbid it Lord that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God;
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.”

Christ shall be called the Everlasting Father, or the Father of eternity. Christ is God, one with the Father, who is from everlasting to everlasting. This is a great mystery, but one the Scriptures support. The Lord’s fatherly care of His people and tenderness towards them is everlasting. He is the Author of eternal life, and temporal happiness to the Church. Christ is the Father of a blessed future estate. He is the Father of the world to come. Therefore, we sing a song of worship.

“Come, Thou Incarnate Word,
Gird on Thy mighty sword,
Our prayer attend!

Come and Thy people bless,
And give Thy Word success,
Spirit of holiness,
On us descend.”

Christ shall be called the Prince of Peace. As King,

Christ preserves the peace, commands peace, and creates peace in His kingdom. It is His peace that both keeps the hearts of His people and rules in them. Christ is not only a peaceable prince and His reign peaceable but he is the Author and Giver of all that is good and peaceable. Because of this let us

“Crown Him the Lord of peace,
Whose pow’r a scepter sways
From pole to pole, that wars may cease,
And all be pray’r and praise:

His reign shall know no end,
And round His pierced feet
Fair flow’rs of paradise extend
Their fragrance ever sweet.”

The prophecy of Isaiah was that Christ should be calledWonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. But who calls Him these names?  The answer is this: those whom the Father has revealed to the Son, by means of the Holy Spirit, shall honor Jesus with His exalted names. No one can rightly ascribe to Christ His correct titles apart from the Spirit.

The next question is “when”? “When will Christ be called these names?”  A person will call Christ Wonderful when personal saving grace has been pressed upon the heart and the soul has been set free from sin. There is a wonderful story associated with President Lincoln during the days of the Civil War. A woman from the South was seen coming out of the president’s office saying to herself, “I knew it was not true. I just knew it was not true.” Someone stopped her and asked, “What was not true.”

Said the lady, “I have heard that Mr. Lincoln was the ugliest looking man in the country. But he just gave my son a pardon. I think he is beautiful.”  Gratitude can change the heart.

When Christ was on the cross, He was so beaten and bruised that He did not even look like a man. But He took that torture for those whom He would save. Let a soul become the object of saving grace, and the heart will call Christ “beautiful”, “wonderful”. Basing his words on Isaiah 9:6 Elisha Hoffman wrote the following.

“Christ has for sin atonement made,
What a wonderful Savior!
We are redeemed, the price is paid,
What a wonderful Savior!

I praise Him for the cleansing blood,
What a wonderful Savior!
That reconciled my soul to God
What a wonderful Savior!”

He cleansed my heart from all its sin,
What a wonderful Savior!
And now He reigns and rules therein,
What a wonderful Savior!”

He gives me overcoming pow’r,
What a wonderful Savior!
And triumph in each trying hour,
What a wonderful Savior!”

“What a wonderful Savior is Jesus, my Jesus!
What a wonderful Savior is Jesus, my Lord!”

A person will call Christ Counselor when the wisdom and guidance of the Lord has been taken and applied. Those who have heard the voice of Jesus and followed it can say,

“There is a Guide that never falters,
And when He leads I cannot stray;
For step by step He goes before me,
And marks my path—He knows the way.”

Christ will be called the Mighty God when there is an illumination of His majesty. 

“One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, 2 he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.  4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. 

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:1-9). 

Peter said what he did because he had an illumination of the majesty of Christ.

Jesus shall be called the Everlasting Father or the Father of eternity when the doctrine of the trinity is affirmed. “The three persons of the blessed Trinity are one and the same God, having one and the same divine nature or substance” (John McCaffrey: A Catechism of Christian Doctrine for General Use). The trinity is a great mystery and yet we believe “There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one” (1 John 5:7).

Jesus shall be called the Prince of Peace.Peace is the will of God for men. Sin has disrupted the peace of Paradise. Now all of nature is soak in blood, tooth and claw. Now there are wars and rumors of war. Now there is the will to power in personal relationships and international affairs.

While the world expresses hatred and hostility, the Christian community seeks to be peaceful and live in harmony with one another for it is the will of the Lord. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you” (John 14:27). Christ shall be called the Prince of Peace when the heart is submissive to His sovereign will.

Here then are five precious names for Jesus the Messiah, and our hearts are happy.

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