Isaiah gives us four names that tell us even more about this gift:
One of my favorite scholars on Isaiah says, “Wonderful counselor is either a supernatural counselor or one who gives supernatural counsel.” I don’t see why it couldn’t be both. Jesus is the supernatural counselor who offers supernatural counsel.
Jesus is the most brilliant person who ever lived. When he was the age of a middle-schooler, the temple leaders were amazed at His understanding. But it’s not just that He was intelligent. Luke 2:52 says that Jesus grew in the area of wisdom, learning how to apply knowledge. This wisdom is the wellspring of His supernatural counsel.
His wisdom isn’t earthly wisdom, but wisdom that comes from above. So again, we’re talking about this theme of seeing with spiritual eyes, hearing with spiritual ears. Isaiah talks about God’s wisdom in Isaiah 55:
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.Isaiah 55:6-9
God gives supernatural counsel because His thoughts are not our thoughts; His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. And take note: this statement is made in the context of forgiveness. When I think (in my earthly wisdom) that God has no use for somebody like me — “He could never forgive what I’ve done,” — God says, “Try me. My wisdom goes higher than yours, so return to me so I can have compassion on you and pardon you abundantly.”
This is the wonderful counsel of the Wonderful Counselor! It is an act of grace that God has given us His Word to guide us toward forgiveness.
The future King will also be called “Mighty God.” Scholars note the military tone of this title. This is a way of referring to God as a warrior God. So the ideal King is not just some counselor of philosopher. He rolls up His sleeves and fights for His people. He’s not passive; rather, He is engaged in defending, protecting, advocating for His people. He is able to conquer any foe, any adversary. He takes initiative on behalf of His people. This is the image of Jesus you see in Revelation 19, Jesus riding the white horse coming to defeat evil once and for all.
And this is further proof that we’re dealing with a unique individual — not merely a human king, but one who would be God in the flesh. He is “Mighty God.”
Isaiah balances the scales here yet again. Not only is the ideal King a warrior, but He is called “Everlasting Father.” The King cares for His subjects as a parent cares for a child. What a tremendous gift! He doesn’t rule over us harshly, as if we were mere servants. No, He cares for us like a good father cares for His children. And this care is eternal, everlasting, comfort without end. Again, we see that this could only be referring to God in the flesh.
It may be confusing to think of Jesus as “Everlasting Father” because we talk of God the Father as being separate, which is true. How is Jesus like a “father?” Well, Jesus Himself talks about faith as being born again. In that regard, for two thousand years people have been born again in the image of Jesus, the Everlasting Father of our faith. So this is just a metaphorical way of speaking of Jesus as the basis of our new existence.
Prince of Peace
The coming King brings peace, shalom in Hebrew. We’ve discussed this word many times in the past here on my blog. It’s the word for wholeness, well-being. The King restores what is lacking in us due to our sin and puts us back together again, making us whole.
Peace is the ideal of the New Jerusalem we talked about last week. Remember, her citizens will beat their swords into plowshares…and learn warfare no more.
Which of these images tugs at your heart today? Are you in search of one of these today?
- Wonderful Counselor: Do you need His wisdom, His instruction for the journey? Do you feel lost, in need of a trustworthy guide for the path ahead of you? Turn to Him for wisdom, for He freely imparts it. James 1:5, If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
- Mighty God: Is there some battle you need to let the Lord fight on your behalf? Some adversary that you cannot defeat on your own? Know that He is mighty to save and there is no foe He cannot overcome on your behalf. Psalm 24:8, Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle!
- Everlasting Father: Maybe you’ve been betrayed so many times you don’t know who to trust. Maybe your earthly family has let you down. Maybe it was a spouse or a dear friend. But know that God is everlasting and true. He is your Father in heaven and He will never let you down. Psalm 27:10, For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.
- Prince of Peace: Maybe everything is chaotic in your life and it feels like things are spinning out of control. But our King brings shalom. He promises to take away our sin and make us whole again. Ephesians 2:14, For he himself is our peace…
Jesus is the gift of God to us — to you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)