WHAT'S IN A NAME?
"What's in a name?" Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
made this question famous. They fall in love before learning
they bear the names of rival families. Romeo is a Montague and
Juliet a Capulet. Willing to deny name before love, Juliet cries
out, "Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou, Romeo? Deny thy
father and refuse thy name. Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn
my love, and I'll no longer be a Capulet." A few lines later,
Juliet asks, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose,
by any other name would smell as sweet."
In other settings, the family name can seem more important. I
remember as a young boy watching my father go through the pain
of a failed business that left my parents several thousand dollars
in debt. Rather than declare bankruptcy, he went to each of his
creditors and told them he would pay them back every cent if
it took him until the day he died. On his handshake and his name,
each creditor took him at his word--and he kept his promise to
the full, furthering his credibility and testimony of integrity
in the business community.
A name is important. From the day of our birth, our parents use
our name to link us to their own preferences and values. People
name their sons Peter and Paul, and their dogs Nero and Brutus.
But no one uses the name Judas--not even for a dog.
The significance of a name was particularly true in Bible times.
In both Old and New Testaments, names were used to reflect personal
experience or express or influence character:
Jacob (Gen. 25:26)--Jacob (which means "supplanter")
was so named because, though the second of twin brothers, he
would overtake his brother, Esau, in position and significance.
This was foreshadowed during his birth, and became reality as
Jacob stole both the blessing and the birthright from his firstborn
Naomi (Ruth 1:20) --The name Naomi means "delightful one."
Upon her return from the land of Moab, however, she changed her
name to Mara, meaning "bitter." Why? Because in Moab
she had suffered the bitter loss of a husband, two sons, and
Samuel (1 Sam. 1:20) --In the opening chapter of 1 Samuel, Hannah,
in extreme anguish of heart, prayed intensely for God to give
a life to her barren womb and bless her with a son. She promised
to commit that son to the work of God among His people Israel.
God graciously granted her request and gave her a son, who would
be the final judge of Israel. He would also anoint Israel's first
two kings, Saul and David. The name she gave to that son was
Samuel, which means "heard of God," because God had
heard and granted her request.
Barnabas (Acts 4:36) --In the New Testament, we find a man named
Joseph, who was so active in caring for people and encouraging
others that he received a new name--a nickname. That name was
Barnabas, which means "son of consolation" or "son
Names are important to the people of the Bible. Nowhere is this
more significant than in the one who, according to the New Testament,
has a name that means "Savior." In Matthew 1:21, we
read words attributed to an angelic messenger speaking to Joseph:
She will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS,
for He will save His people from their sins.
The name Jesus means "Jehovah our Savior." It is the
New Testament equivalent of the Hebrew name Joshua, Yeshua, or
Hoshea. While others wore these names in honor of God, Jesus
bore His name as an expression of the Savior-God that the New
Testament says He was.
Whether or not we have accepted the claims of the New Testament
regarding Christ, it's important for us to see that the Scriptures
honor the name Jesus for several reasons. According to them:
It is the name by which we must be saved. "Nor is
there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under
heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts
It is the name that is to set the tone for everything
a Christian does. "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all
in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father
through Him" (Col. 3:17).
It is the name at which, one day in the future, every
knee shall bow. "That at the name of Jesus every knee should
bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those
under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus
Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:10-11).
It is just as clear, however, that from the time of Jesus' birth
until now, many have missed or dismissed the significance of
His name. In the days of His childhood, His neighbors knew Him
as the son of Joseph the carpenter. In our generation, many of
our neighbors know Jesus only as an expression of anger, alarm,
or profanity. Many more have only a casual understanding of the
scores of additional names given to Him in the Bible. For that
reason, in the following pages we will look at four significant
names that are used in anticipation of a coming Messiah more
than 600 years before the birth of Jesus.
As we consider these names, keep in mind that while others use
aliases to hide their true identity, the Scriptures use many
names for Christ to help us get to know Him. By discovering that
He is a person of many names, we will be led deeper into an understanding
of who He is and why He deserves our trust.
THE PREDICTED NAMES OF MESSIAH
No Old Testament prophet had more to say about the promised Messiah
of Israel than the prophet Isaiah. In a period spanning at least
64 years, Isaiah (whose name means "the salvation of Jehovah")
was God's spokesman to Israel during the reigns of four kings--Uzziah
(or Azariah), Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.
Isaiah predicted a coming messianic age marked by world peace.
He foresaw a world government in the last days that would turn
the eyes of the international community on Jerusalem (Isa. 2:1-4).
He also described the coming of a Servant-Ruler who would bring
a mysterious blend of power and suffering (Isa. 53; 61:1-3).
But the character of this coming Servant is most clearly stated
in Isaiah 9:6, where the prophet declared:
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.
Here, Isaiah says several things that remained a mystery until
the coming of Christ. While it was clear that he was predicting
a coming world leader and the inevitability of a messianic age,
what could not have been seen until after Jesus' life, death,
and resurrection is that Isaiah was actually predicting the arrival
of the Son of God. All of this we can now see packed tightly
and profoundly into a series of names Isaiah used for the coming
Servant of God.
Before we look more closely at these names, let's review the
scope of this amazing prophecy. Let's share the wonder of a passage
that could be understood clearly only after the prophecy's partial
fulfillment in the first coming of Christ.
The Birth Of Messiah. "Unto us a Child is born, unto us
a Son is given . . . and His name will be called . . . Mighty
God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Because of such
prophecies, generations of Jewish women dreamed of being the
mother who would give birth to the promised and long-awaited
Ever since the Bethlehem arrival of Jesus, it has been clear
that this prophecy anticipated far more than the birth of an
eventual world leader. We can now see in the phrase "unto
us a Son is given" the entrance of God's own Son into the
human race that He had created.
The Kingdom Of Messiah. " . . and the government will be
upon His shoulder . . . ." These are words filled with both
prophetic and practical significance. Prophetically, Isaiah saw
the day when a son of Israel would bear upon his shoulder the
weight of world leadership. In chapter 2, Isaiah predicted that
in the last days the house of the Lord would be established in
Jerusalem. He said the Lord Himself would "judge between
the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords
into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation
shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn
war anymore" (Isa. 2:4). Revelation, the last book of the
New Testament, says that on that day an angel of God will declare,
"The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of
our Lord and of His Christ [or Messiah], and He shall reign forever
and ever!" (Rev. 11:15).
Those who have bowed their knee to this coming Messiah and Lord
can find present encouragement in that future day. While we regard
as mythology the image of Atlas bearing on his shoulder the globe
of the world, we can see in God's Messiah a real Lord who can
carry the combined weight of all human problems. Inexpressible
comfort can be found as we discover that the "shoulders"
which will someday carry the government of the world are large
enough to bear any personal weight or burden that we bring to
The Character Of Messiah. ". . . and His name will be called
. . . ." Remember, Hebrew names are significant. In this
final portion of the verse, the prophet used a marvelously descriptive
set of names to unfold to us the very essence of the person of
the Messiah. In order to give us a full understanding of the
coming Redeemer, Isaiah used four compound names, each giving
a different window through which to view the Son of God who was
to become the Son of man for us. These four names shape our understanding
of who God's Messiah is. They can help us develop a personal
relationship with Him, and show us in moments of fear where to
Let's take these names one at a time. The first of them is "Wonderful
AGUIDING NAME: "WONDERFUL COUNSELOR"
Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given . . . . And His
name will be called Wonderful Counselor.
What is the meaning of the name "Wonderful Counselor"?
This name literally translates, "a wonder of a counselor."
But what does it mean? Let's look at it in two parts.
"Wonderful. " The first is the word Wonderful. The
Hebrew word pala indicates "something uncommon or out of
the ordinary." It reflects "a phenomenon lying outside
the realm of human explanation; that which is separated from
the normal course of events; something that cannot be explained."
The same Hebrew word is used in Psalm 139:6 in just this way:
"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot
attain it." It is something miraculous! The problem is that
we have a low view of the miraculous, and therefore a limited
sense of wonder.
Think of some of the ways we routinely use the word miracle.
A college student comes out of a classroom holding her exam paper,
which bears the grade "A+" and says to her friend,
"This is a miracle! I didn't think I was anywhere near ready
for that test."
In reality, however, those things are not miracles. They can
all be explained--though some may take a little more effort to
explain than others.
Do we have a sense of wonder that goes beyond all human, rational
explanation? Or have the successes of human science and technology
robbed us of our ability to worship a God of miracles? Do we
honestly believe that the greatest "miracles" are not
come-from-behind victories by our favorite sports team, or the
latest in technological wizardry, or the wonder drug that calmed
our hay fever? All of those can be explained.
A real wonder is something beyond human explanation. And the
prophet Isaiah declared that the coming Child and Son would be
a wonder. This not only describes what He does, it describes
who He is. Do you see Him that way? He, Himself, is the wonder!
"Counselor." The second part of this compound description
of the coming Messiah is Counselor. In its historical Hebrew
usage, the word is used to picture a king giving counsel to his
people. To that end, Micah declared the dilemma of the captives
in Babylon this way, "Now why do you cry aloud? Is there
no king in your midst? Has your counselor perished?" (4:9).
Long before the Child was ever born, long before the Son was
given, Isaiah foretold that God was planning to send a Counselor
for the brokenhearted people of the world. And long after Jesus'
entrance into the world we can see that He personified the kind
of counsel that will go out from Jerusalem in the last days.
"He will teach us His
ways, and we shall walk in His paths. For out of Zion shall go
forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem"
". . . the Spirit of
wisdom and understanding" (Isa. 11:2).
". . . the LORD of hosts,
who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance" (Isa.
What is the evidence that Jesus Christ is the Wonderful Counselor?
For us who live on this side of the life, death, and resurrection
of Christ, these statements are not just theory. We can see them
fleshed out in a Person. We now can read, and reflect, and appeal
for help from the One "who became for us wisdom from God"(1
Cor. 1:30). From our point in history we can see that Jesus is
the very wisdom of God.
When you take all that we know about Christ, it adds up to a
marvelous truth--He is the God who is, and who is called, a "Wonder
of a Counselor."
His wonder. If a wonder is anything that excites amazement, then
it describes everything about the One who came in fulfillment
of Isaiah's prophecy. In 1 Timothy 3:16, Paul expressed the wonder
of the Lord who clothed Himself in human flesh:
Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was
manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels,
preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received
up in glory.
The wonder of this brief statement disturbs philosophers, delights
beggars, and comforts the brokenhearted. It speaks of the Hero
of heaven who gathers little children to Himself. He is the Son
of God who offers to bring people of all nations to His Father,
and who invites all who trust Him to be part of His family forever.
What He did in His work of redemption for us is beyond comprehension.
Try to imagine what it will mean to enjoy for all eternity a
wondering, worshiping, loving relationship with the Creator God,
the Son of heaven who became sin for us (2 Cor. 5:20-21). Think
about Him: God, deity in every way, yet willing to bear our sins
in His body on the tree. Everything about Him should stir our
hearts in wonder-filled submission!
His counsel. Even as a child of 12, Jesus astounded Jewish rabbis
with His wisdom (Lk. 2:46-47). Luke recorded that "the Child
grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the
grace of God was upon Him" (2:40). In His public life, people
were amazed at the truthfulness of His counsel. "When He
had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue,
so that they were astonished and said, 'Where did this Man get
this wisdom and these mighty works?'" (Mt. 13:54). Later,
the apostle Paul wrote that in Him "are hidden all the treasures
of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:3).
It's appropriate, then, to ask ourselves whether we are as astonished
at the wonder of a counselor as Isaiah was. Are we captivated
by His charm, insight, and practical genius? Where else can we
go to learn how to love, how to cry, how to live, and how to
die? Where else can we be so assured of the acceptance and forgiveness
and comfort of God? Where else can we look into a face that is
the face of our Creator, Savior, and Counselor?
What is the importance of the name "Wonderful Counselor"
to believers today? How does this "Wonder of a Counselor"
give us help? How does He impart His wisdom, and how should we
seek it? It would be a serious error to think that we can now
come to Him the way a person comes to a fortune teller or a spiritual
Because the Wonderful Counselor whom Isaiah predicted is also
our Creator and Savior, and because He is the fulfillment of
all that both Old and New Testaments teach, His counsel is found
wherever we can find the words and provisions of God.
The Old Testament is His story. The New Testament Gospels are
the record of His conversations with the people of His day. The
letters of the rest of the New Testament represent the practical
application of His teaching to life.
We find His counsel in the Sermon on the Mount, and in His conversations
with Peter, James, and John. We find His teaching and wisdom
in the letters of the apostle Paul. We find His insight in the
letters to the seven churches of Revelation.
Our Wonderful Counselor urges us to let Him bring us to the Father.
He offers Himself as the sacrifice for our sin and the basis
of our acceptance with God. He offers to be for us everything
we need for this life and the next. He was not just telling us
what we want to hear when He reassuringly said:
Do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What
shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For
after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father
knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom
of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added
to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will
worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own
trouble (Mt. 6:31-34).
How then does our Wonderful Counselor help us with our problems
and lead us to a place of security, satisfaction, and enjoyment?
He does so through His Word and prayer (Ps. 119:24; Jas. 1:5).
He does so by reminding us that there is safety in a multitude
of good counselors (Prov. 11:14). But most of all He does so
with the assurance that because of who He is He can help us in
ways that go far beyond our ability to understand (Ps. 32:8).
Our Wonderful Counselor's ability to help us goes far beyond
the limited help that we are able to offer one another.
Christ is able to give us the needed direction for life. How
thankful we should be that Isaiah spoke of a Wonderful Counselor,
who is also rightly named the "Mighty God."
A POWERFUL NAME: "MIGHTY GOD"
Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given . . . . And His
name will be called . . . Mighty God.
What is the meaning of the name "Mighty God"? The name
"Mighty God" is an Old Testament title here applied
to the coming Messiah. It is the compound Hebrew El Gibbor, and
both parts of the name need to be understood.
"God." The first part of the title is El, which is
used in the Old Testament to refer to the one true God (though
on occasion it is used of mighty heroes, or even false gods).
It is the singular form of the word Elohim.
Even though Jesus Himself pointed out that the title is sometimes
used of mighty sons of men (Jn. 10:34), the title is so often
used of God, and only God, that the prophet Hosea used El to
set God in contrast to man in Hosea 11:9. Isaiah himself used
El in the same way when he declared, "Now the Egyptians
are men, and not God [lit. El ]; and their horses are flesh,
and not spirit. When the LORD stretches out His hand, both he
who helps will fall, and he who is helped will fall down; they
all will perish together" (Isa. 31:3).
That Isaiah 9:6 was predicting One who would be far more than
a man is indicated not only by the third name "Everlasting
Father" and by other prophetic references such as Isaiah
2:1-4, but by the New Testament record of Christ. The Christ
who walked on water, died voluntarily for our sin, and then rose
bodily from the dead is the One who also said, "Before Abraham
was, I AM" (Jhn. 8:58). He is the One of whom John wrote:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and
the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things
were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that
was made (Jhn. 1:1-3).
"Mighty." The other part of the name is Gibbor, which
means "strength, power, hero." What a statement! In
a world where heroes are determined by their athletic prowess
or financial power, we are told that the only One truly worthy
to be adored is the One whose might is unparalleled! Isaiah 10:21
describes Him as the refuge of the remnant, and Deuteronomy 10:17
declares that He is the "great God, mighty and awesome."
The focus of Isaiah's prophecy is El Gibbor, the Mighty God who
is our true Hero. What this prophet in the seventh century BC
anticipated, the New Testament confirms. Because the Messiah
would be God, He would have God's power. But to Isaiah, the amazing
thing was that the Messiah would not only have the power of God,
He would be the God of power!
In other parts of his prophecy, Isaiah gave more details of what
this mighty power would look like. For instance, in a messianic
section of his prophecy, Isaiah declared:
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed
Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal
the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the
opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the
acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our
God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in
Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they
may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD,
that He may be glorified (61:1-3).
What is the evidence that Jesus Christ is the "Mighty God"?
Jesus used Isaiah 61:1-3 to make His claim as the Messiah (Lk.
4:16-21). But because He only partially fulfilled this prophecy
in His first coming, He was only partially recognized. By His
resurrection, perfect life, sacrificial death, and many mighty
signs He showed we could trust Him to return one day to rule
the world. Most of His own people rejected Him. John wrote, "He
came to His own, and His own did not receive Him" (Jn. 1:11).
In many cases, however, He was recognized as the long-awaited
Messiah. Nicodemus, a rabbi of Israel, recognized Him (cp. Jhn.
3 with Jhn. 19). The disciples recognized Him (cp. Mt. 8:27 with
16:16). Mary Magdalene recognized Him, and her life was transformed
(Lk. 8:2). Others' lives were changed as well, even the life
of the church's most feared persecutor, Saul of Tarsus (Acts
These and thousands of other first-century Jews believed--and
for good reason. Jesus Christ proved Himself to be El Gibbor
as He displayed His life-changing might and power.
For those who see their need of a Savior, the evidence of Christ's
mighty power is overwhelming. For those who sense their own weakness
and inability to live up to God's standard, the apostle John
wrote, "As many as received Him, to them He gave the right
to become children of God, to those who believe in His name"
What the New Testament provides is an opportunity to see the
fullness of the "Mighty God" Isaiah was predicting.
Before we go on, let's make sure we understand what a Mighty
God our Savior and Champion is to those who trust Him.
Jesus as the Mighty God before His birth. The clear statement
of the Word of God is that Christ displayed His might in the
creation of the world before He physically entered the world.
John 1:3 says, "All things were made through Him, and without
Him nothing was made that was made." Colossians 1:16 agrees:
"For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and
that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or
dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created
through Him and for Him."
Christ displayed His might in the very act of creation itself,
and He did so in a way that distinguished Him from mere men.
Man has the ability to make things, but he requires some basic
raw materials. Christ, however, showed His might in the ability
to create--to make something out of nothing! While ingenuity,
genius, and creativity are all commendable and necessary in inventing
and making new things, it takes divine might to create. Christ
demonstrated that power in the most profound way.
Jesus as the Mighty God during His earthly life. Look at the
way Jesus showed His right to be recognized as the Mighty God
that Isaiah predicted. He demonstrated power over nature (Lk.
5:1-11), power over disease (Mt. 9:18-26), power over demons
(Lk. 8:26-39), power over sin (Mk. 2:3-12), and power over death
(1 Cor. 15:1-19). Throughout the course of His public life, Christ
revealed His divine might in ways that not only were undeniable
(Acts 2:22), but were also intentional validations of His claim
of deity (Jn. 20:30-31). When we see the otherwise inexplicable
demonstrations of the might and power of God in the unparalleled
life of Christ, it becomes clear why Paul would call Jesus "the
Son of God with power" (Rom. 1:4) and "Christ the power
of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:24).
What is the importance of the name "Mighty God" to
believers today? In the midst of evidence that shows Christ to
be the Mighty God, it is important to remember that this is more
than just theological data. It is divinely inspired evidence
that urges us to see and respond to Christ as He is--our "Mighty
He is the source of our power. In Acts 1:8, Jesus promised to
send the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to be His representatives
in all the world. Inherent to this provision of the Spirit is
the fact that He wants us to live distinguishable lives and to
display an honesty of heart in an impure world as evidence of
His presence in us.
He is the strength of our lives. In Philippians 4:13, Paul wrote,
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
What a great promise! He will strengthen us for all the circumstances
and inevitabilities of life. This doesn't mean that we will never
know pain or hardship, but that we, by His might, can endure
hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. How can we do that?
Only as we do it in His power, not in our own.
He secures our eternity. The apostle Peter wrote that we are
"kept by the power of God" (1 Pet. 1:5). Nothing can
overcome the divine power that keeps us in Christ. What a great
assurance it is to know that we are not secure because of our
own strength to hold on to Him, but because of His power by which
He holds on to us.
In view of the predictive evidence of Isaiah and the historic
record of the Gospels, how can we see our Lord Jesus Christ as
anything less than the Mighty God, El Gibbor? In 1885, J. B.
Figgis described in his book Emmanuel the surprising yet ingenious
way in which the Mighty God showed Himself by miracles, as well
as by His disarming display of approachable meekness:
Christ's inimitable meekness and patience never once forsook
Him in a vexatious, ungrateful, cruel sphere. He never stepped
out of the humble sphere in which He was brought up; He does
not seem to have ever possessed for Himself so much as the smallest
coin, and when He died had no means for providing for His mother,
and could only commend her to one of His disciples. Yet, His
life was infinitely superior to all others. If Jesus were no
more than a man or a hero, why are there not more men like Him?
What God did for one man, God would certainly do for others.
It is unaccountable that it has never been done. The incarnation,
when Jesus came as "the Mighty God," alone helps us
to the solution of such an enigma.
A TIMELESS NAME "EVERLASTING FATHER"
Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given . . . . And His
name will be called . . . Everlasting Father.
What is the meaning of the name "Everlasting Father"?
This name offers honor that goes far beyond recognition given
to the Jewish national father Abraham. For centuries it was a
name, like "Mighty God," that was shrouded in mystery.
What mortal could bear such a name?
The symbolic use of the word father was an ancient Hebraism for
"possessor of." Notice that in Isaiah 9:6 the Messiah
is described as both a Son ("unto us a Son is given")
and a Father ("His name will be called . . . Everlasting
Father"). He became a child in time (through the incarnation),
but He is the Father (and possessor) of eternity. This means
several basic things:
He inhabits and possesses eternity. "For thus says the High
and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: 'I dwell
in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble
spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the
heart of the contrite ones'" (Isa. 57:15).
His name is eternal. "His name shall endure forever; His
name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed
in Him; all nations shall call Him blessed" (Ps. 72:17).
He is the eternal provider. "He said to me, 'It is done!
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will
give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.
He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his
God and he shall be My son'" (Rev. 21:6-7).
He is eternal in all that He is and all that He does! This implies
several crucial truths claimed for God's Messiah in both Old
and New Testaments:
He is preexistent. "Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting
to everlasting, You are God" (Ps. 90:2).
He is self-existent. In Exodus 3 we find the name "I AM."
This name describes and defines the God who is. He is totally
independent of His creation, and totally independent of time.
He is the God who is Alpha and Omega, the God of the eternal
present tense. As self-existent, He is wholly and completely
self-dependent. Frederick Faber wrote, "No age can keep
its outward years on Thee, dear God!Thou art, Thyself, Thine
What is the evidence that Jesus Christ is the "Everlasting
Father"? In the events recorded in John 8:12-58, a fascinating
dialog occurs. The exchange is between Jesus and His religious
antagonists, the Pharisees. Jesus called God His Father. The
Pharisees called Abraham their father. Jesus said that if Abraham
were their father they would do the works of Abraham. They responded
that they were not born of fornication, and then matched Jesus'
claim that all have one Father--God. To this Jesus replied:
If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth
and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.
Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able
to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the
desires of your father you want to do (Jhn. 8:42-44).
Then Jesus made the most amazing statement of all. He said, "Before
Abraham was, I AM" (Jhn. 8:58). To His countrymen, He had
finally gone too far. They recognized that by such a claim He
was making Himself equal with God. (In Exodus 3:14, Moses met
the God who identified Himself as the "I AM WHO I AM.")
As on several other occasions, Jesus so infuriated the Pharisees
that they picked up stones with the intent to kill Him.
In retrospect, we can see more than the Pharisees' rage. We can
also see One who by His miraculous life, death, and resurrection
has shown His right to the name Isaiah's prophecy had given to
the Messiah 600 years before Jesus' birth.
The truth of the eternality of the Messiah is something that
has come under continuous attack for centuries. But the inescapable
fact is that all groups who reject the eternality of Christ also
reject His deity. The two are inseparable! If Jesus is not eternal,
He is not God--and vice versa. Yet Isaiah said that when Messiah
came, He would be the physical embodiment of the Everlasting
The ability of Christ to be a timeless source of fatherly protection
and provision is claimed in a number of ways in the New Testament.
His character is described
as eternally consistent and immutable (unchanging). Hebrews 13:8
says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."
His New Testament title Alpha
and Omega (Rev. 1:8) uses the first (alpha) and last (omega)
letter of the Greek alphabet to symbolize that Christ is before
everything and will surpass everything.
He declared that His divine
judgment will be an eternal one (Mt. 18:8).
John the Baptist, whose birth
preceded Jesus, still recognized the eternality of Christ when
he said, "This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man
who is preferred before me, for He was before me'" (Jn.
1:30). He is the eternal One!
What is the importance of the name "Everlasting Father"
to believers today? The self-existence of God's Messiah means
that He will not leave us, as all earthly fathers eventually
do. This, among many other facts, makes the incarnation an amazing
thing. The Eternal God took upon Himself the limitations of a
human body so that He could bring us into an everlasting relationship
The New Testament reminds us that it is not proper for the children
of God to act as if we do not have all that we need. Even though
this world is marked by unfairness, inequality, and suffering,
those of us who believe in God's Messiah are in the hands of
an Eternal Father and Provider. Let your conduct be without covetousness;
be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said,
"I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Heb. 13:5).
A. W. Tozer wrote, "We poor human creatures are constantly
being frustrated by the limitations imposed on us. The days of
the years of our lives are short! Life is a short and fevered
rehearsal for a concert we cannot stay to give. Just when we
appear to have gained some proficiency, we are forced to lay
our instruments down" (The Knowledge of the Holy, p.52).
This is true, and it demands that we turn from our limitations
to an uninhibited dependence on the Father of Eternity who has
This is the Father who will never leave us:
He provides the strength of
"everlasting arms" (Dt. 33:27).
He ministers with an "everlasting
consolation"(2 Th. 2:16).
He performs His work with
"everlasting power" (1 Tim. 6:16).
He rules over an "everlasting
kingdom"(2 Pet. 2:11).
He maintains an eternal presence
He gives us life that is eternal
He graciously provides for
those who realize that the values that will never end are what
really count (Mt. 6:33).
Eternal values are not easy to think about. But we cannot afford
to ignore them! It is of everlasting profit for us to ponder
the timeless vastness of our God. If He were only God for the
length of our lifetime here on earth, He would still deserve
our reverence and trust. But as the God of eternity, He is worthy
of our fullest, unending devotion and most careful attention.
Someone has said that the most important thing about us is what
we believe about God. In that light, consider again the words
of A. W. Tozer:
It is not a cheerful thought that millions of us who live in
the land of Bibles, who belong to churches and labor to promote
the Christian religion, may yet pass our whole life on this earth
without once having thought or tried to think seriously about
the being of God. Few of us have let our hearts gaze in wonder
at the IAM, the self-existent Self, back of which no creature
can think. Such thoughts are too painful for us. We prefer to
think where it will do more good--about how to make a better
mousetrap, for instance, or how to make two blades of grass grow
where one grew before. And for this we are now paying a too heavy
price in the secularization of our religion, and the decay of
our inner lives (The Knowledge of the Holy, p.34).
May we take time to think about Christ, the timeless One who
invaded time to rescue us from sin and self, the Father of Eternity
who has given eternal life to make it possible for us to have
eternal peace with God and with one another.
A COMFORTING NAME: "PRINCE OF PEACE"
Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given . . . . And His
name will be called . . . Prince of Peace.
What is the meaning of the name "Prince of Peace"?
The name "Prince of Peace" is the Hebrew Shar Shalom,
which means "the one who removes all peace-disturbing factors
and secures the peace." This automatically sets Him apart
from most human rulers whose reigns often depend on bloody conquest.
His rule rests on a bloody sacrifice! What a contrast to such
biblical kings as Nebuchadnezzar, and even David, whose rule
was established on might, but not necessarily on right.
The name "Peaceful Prince" helps to explain why Jesus
disappointed His countrymen when He came! They did not want a
peaceful prince. They wanted a monarch who would annihilate their
foes and establish again the glories the kingdom of Israel knew
in the golden days of Solomon. They wanted Rome taken away and
all their other oppressors with them.
Peace or a sword? Jesus didn't lift a finger against Rome. He
didn't make one international peace treaty. How can He then be
considered the Prince of Peace? Notice two very different statements
from the New Testament: Luke 2:14 states, "Glory to God
in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"
But in Matthew 10:34, Jesus said, "Do not think that I came
to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a
How can these two statements be reconciled? Can we blame Jesus'
countrymen for rejecting the Prince of Peace if our own world
is still engulfed in conflict as we move into the third millennium?
The two phases of peace. The answer of the New Testament must
be considered. It claims that the first phase of His coming was
to establish a basis for peace with God and to offer it to individuals
of all nations. The New Testament also claims that He will come
a second time to bring peace to the earth.
According to the apostle Paul, the first phase of Messiah's coming
produced a peace unknown to man since the fall of Adam into sin.
It is rooted in the saving mission carried out by Christ on our
behalf. Paul wrote:
God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing
their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of
reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19).
This means that the peace Jesus brought is more than a negotiated
ceasefire between ourselves and God. It is a peace that changes
us from enemies into the children of God.
What is the evidence that Jesus Christ is the "Prince of
Peace"? This is seen in a variety of ways in the New Testament
His power. So significant was the power of the Son of God that
He was able to bring calm to the natural storms on the turbulent
Sea of Galilee. "He arose and rebuked the wind, and said
to the sea, 'Peace, be still!' And the wind ceased and there
was a great calm" (Mk. 4:39).
His cross. So effective is His work on the cross that it is able
to make peace between God and man. "It pleased the Father
. . . by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether
things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through
the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and
enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled"
His gospel. The good news of salvation in Christ is acknowledged
as the root of peace in the hearts of the redeemed. "The
word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace
through Jesus Christ--He is Lord of all" (Acts 10:36).
His body. Though Judaism separated Jews and Gentiles, Christ
has not only reconciled God and man, He has reconciled Jew and
Gentile so that we are now one body in Christ. "He Himself
is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the
middle wall of separation" (Eph. 2:14).
What is the importance of the name "Prince of Peace"
to the believer today? Those who trust Christ as their Mediator
and Savior are given by God an assurance that flows out of a
right relationship with Him. Once we are in Christ, the Prince
of Peace shows us that He can bring peace wherever He rules.
He can bring:
Peace in life's trials. "Peace I leave with you, My peace
I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not
your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (Jn. 14:27).
Peace in life's maturing process. "Now may the God of peace
Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul,
and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus
Christ" (1 Th. 5:23).
Peace in life's victories. "The God of peace will crush
Satan under your feet shortly" (Rom. 16:20).
Peace in life's relationships. ". . . endeavoring to keep
the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3).
Peace in life's witness. "The fruit of the Spirit is love,
joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control" (Gal. 5:22-23).
What a treasure is ours in Isaiah's predicted Messiah. He is
our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and
Prince of Peace. May we give Him worship, as we ponder the great
God that He is!
WHAT DO YOU CALL HIM?
Jesus asked His disciples two questions:"Who do men say
that I am?"and "Who do you say that I am?" (Mk.
8:27,29). The first question is significant because it allows
us to get a read on the minds of the people around us. The second
question, however, is eternal because it is only by acknowledging
the Lord Jesus Christ and responding to His gift of forgiveness
by faith that a person can live forever.
Isaiah made it very clear that when the promised Messiah would
come, He would fulfill the matchless titles he had prophesied:
"Wonderful Counselor," "Mighty God,""Everlasting
Father," and "Prince of Peace."Jesus Christ came
into the world and proved beyond a doubt that He was the Messiah
by fulfilling all those requirements. He was God in human flesh,
come to display deity and redeem humanity. And on the strength
of His ability to fulfill all these things, He made this claim:
"No one comes to the Father except through Me" (Jhn.
This is the claim of the Bible, and the heartbeat of the Christian
faith: Jesus Christ is God and He came into the world to save
sinners. What is your response to that claim and to the evidence
that He is the only deliverer for sin-laden, lost people who
are the object of God's love? Will you receive His gift of forgiveness
and be saved?
If you are already saved, having been rescued from your sin and
its just punishment, will you live under His perfect will and
wisdom so that He may guide you into a life that pleases Him?
May it ever be so, for He brings peace wherever He reigns!
Victory in His name
As end times dawns upon us, the cry of my heart is that each
of us would know Christ and experience His victory as never before.
My heart yearns to know Him intimately and follow Him closely.
In His name, we have victory; in His name, we can conquer kingdoms;
in His name, we have the ability to overcome our frailties; and
in His name, we have assurance of answers to our prayers.
Among the Hebrew people of ancient times, the name of a person
indicated the character or personality of that person. That's
why the name of God was so important to them. When Moses encountered
God in the Midianite desert, God commanded him to go back to
Egypt and deliver his fellow countrymen from their slavery. His
first response to God was, "Suppose I go to the Israelites
and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,'
and they ask me, 'What is His name?' Then what shall I tell them"
(Exodus 3:13 NIV)?
Later Moses would receive God's law, and one of the 10 major
laws given to him dealt with the name of God. The law of God
was quite clear when it said, "You shall not misuse the
name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone
guiltless who misuses His name" (Exodus 20:7 NIV). It was
important for God's people to know and respect the name of God,
because it's in that name that we learn who God is and how He
There are numerous names ascribed to God in the Bible. Each of
them describes one particular aspect of His character. That's
why there's victory in the name of God. As we get to know God
as the Creator, we become "creative" in the work that
He's given us to do. As we come to know Him as Jehovah Jireh
(God, our Provider), we discover that every need we have is met
in Him. As we come to know Him as the great "I am,"
then we experience His ever-present victory.
He delivers us when we call upon His name, and lives are changed
when we proclaim His name. There's something very special about
His name. A study of the names attributed to God will give you
an intimate knowledge of who He is and what He wants to do in
your life. There's power and love in the name of Jesus. There's
healing of the heart because of His name.
One day, every knee will bow at the mention of that wonderful
name. It's the name that's above every name. In His name, demons
fled, the lame walked, the blind saw, the dead came to life,
the weak became strong, and lives were made whole. Evil dictators
have tried to ban the use of His name, but their efforts have
been fruitless. Cynics have mocked His name. Yet, His name remains
revered around the world, while their names have been long forgotten.
It's the name of God, the very name of Jesus, that brings lasting
victory. Study from your heart the names of God, and you will
come to know who He is. His name is wonderful! [Source: Submit
your testimony - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (New Zealand)]