Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even forever. The zeal of Yahweh of Hosts will perform this. — World English Bible translation.
In Isaiah 9:6, we are given a descriptive “name” (singular) of our Lord Jesus. The Hebrew name has been transliterated as: “Pele-Joez-el-gibbor-abia-ad-Sar-Shalom.” (The dashes between words are supplied by the one who gave this transliteration.) Most translations break this “name” down into different titles by adding commas, so that many have often referred to each title as a separate “name” of the Messiah. In actuality, however, it is given in the scripture as a singular (descriptive) name, not a set of “names” (plural).
If one understands how the seed of Abraham (Jesus and those who belong to him in this age) will bless all the families of the earth when the saints are revealed, then one one can understand that this “name” prophectically speaks of the coming reign of Jesus and the saints, when “the government will on this shoulder”. In the context, Isaiah 9:7 includes the millennial reign, but also includes the “ages to come” after the millennial reign. We read there: “Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even forever.” Then we find the statement: “The zeal of Yahweh of Hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:7) Thus this coming time when Messiah will be called by the name given Isaiah 9:6 is yet future, and is the result of Jesus’ God, Yahweh. Thus we recommend a study of “Mankind’s Course to the Day of Judgment”
as well as the studies at:
Nevertheless, accepting the added commas that are often put into the name, we find that two of the titles of our Lord Jesus have often caused much confusion to many Christians. They are misused to teach the early heresy of a triune God – or three persons in one god, equal in power, glory and all other respects. It is claimed that Isaiah 9:6 proves the dual nature of Jesus. We will in this study present the background material that should clear up the misunderstanding concerning these two titles attributed to Jesus.
Many reach a wrong conclusion because in most of our English translations, the phrase “el gibbor” [or as many prefer, EL gibbowr] is rendered as a separate name/title, usually with captalization, “Mighty God”, “the Mighty God”, or sometimes “a Mighty God”. Thus the claim is often made that since there is only one “God”, thus Jesus is here being called the Supreme Being. Of course, one has to either deny or ignore the dual usage of the Hebrew word EL, as well as the context of Isaiah 9:6, which distinguishes the only true God from the one whom the only true God gives as a son. Our trinitarian neighbors are quick to point out that the same phrase is used of Yahweh in Isaiah 10:20,21 (some also point to Jeremiah 32:18). Some claim that this phrase is only used of Yahweh in the Old Testament scriptures. As we shall see, this is misleading, to say the least. The same Hebrew phrase is used also in Ezekiel 32:21, although gibbor is plural in this verse, (elei gibborim) to accommodate the fact that more than one is being spoken of. In this verse, as far as we know, no English translation renders the Hebrew word EL as “God”, but rather with its general meaning of “might”, “power”, “strong”, etc. The King James Version renders the Hebrew phrase (two Hebrew words) in Ezekiel by using five English words: “The strong among the mighty”. In other words the King James translators recognize that the word EL here is not referring to the Supreme Being, but rather that it is being used of generic “strength”, thus they rendered it as “strong”. Similarly, the World English Bible translation renders the verse as:
The strong [ELIE] among the mighty [GIBBORIM] shall speak to him out of the midst of Sheol with those who help him: they are gone down, they lie still, even the uncircumcised, slain by the sword.
Jay Green’s interlinear (word-for-word) rendering is:
shall speak to him The strong [EL – Strong’s #410] of the mighty [gibbowr – Strong’s #1368] from the of midst Sheol.
Here we have the phrase El GIBBOR, although it is plural in the Hebrew, it is the same basic phrase of Isaiah 9:6, speaking pictorially of the kings who had already lost their rulership to the king of Babylon, as though they were in a death-like condition in sheol. The New Living Bible translates this phrase as “mighty leaders”. The New Century translation renders it: “the leaders of the mighty ones.” Rotherham renders it: “the chiefs of the mighty.” The Geneva Bible renders it: “The most mighty & strong.” The Bishop’s Bible translates it: “The mightie worthies.” Wycliffe renders it: “The myytieste of stronge men.” Most translations render it something like “the strong among the mighty”. Using these translations of Ezekiel 32:21 as a pattern, EL GIBBOR in Isaiah 9:6 could also be rendered “Mighty and Strong”, or “Mighty One of Strength”, especially since the context shows that the one being spoken of is not the only true God, Yahweh. However, with the reasoning often presented, that EL GIBBOR can only apply to Yahweh, then by this same manner of reasoning we should conclude that all the kings pictured as speaking from sheol are Yahweh the only true God. The fact is that the reasoning is false; EL, when used of others than Yahweh, takes on a general meaning of strength, might, power, etc., and thus EL GIBBOR can be used of others without designating them as the Supreme Being.
As we have pointed out elsewhere*, the word El has a dual meaning, one of which is the Might of the universe (Supreme Being), and the generic meaning of “strength”, “power”, “might”, etc. This word is Hebrew #410 in Strong’s Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary, which defines it as: “short. from 352; strength; as adj. mighty; espec. the Almighty (but used also of any deity).” Crosswalk’s Online Hebrew Lexicon defines it similarly: “shortened from 0352 TWOT – 93a n m ; AV – God 213, god 16, power 4, mighty 5, goodly 1, great 1, idols 1, Immanuel + 06005 2, might 1, strong 1; 245; 1) god, god-like one, mighty one; 1a) mighty men, men of rank, mighty heroes; 1b) angels; 1c) god, false god, (demons, imaginations); 1d) God, the one true God, Jehovah; 2) mighty things in nature; 3) strength, power”.
Other authorities give it the same or similar meanings. Consequently it is applicable to any powerful being and especially so the most powerful – the Almighty Yahweh.
*See our study on :
“The Hebraic Usages of the Titles for ‘God'”
That the word is thus used may be readily seen by anyone who will carefully note the following texts from the King James Version, in which English translations of the Hebrew word El are in italics: “It is in the power of my hand.” (Genesis 31:29) “There shall be no might in thine hand.” (Deuteronomy 28:32) “Neither is it in our power.” (Nehemiah 5:5) “Like the great mountains.” (Psalm 36:6) “In the power of thine hand to do it.” (Proverbs 3:27) “Who among the sons of the mighty.” (Psalm 89:6) “God standeth in the congregation of the mighty.” (Psalm 82:1) “Who is like unto thee, O Lord [Yahweh] among the Gods [mighty ones or ruling ones]?” (Exodus 15:11) “Give unto the Lord [Yahweh], O ye mighty.” (Psalm 29:1) “The mighty God [ruler] even the Lord [Yahweh].” (Psalm 50:1)
If we notice the above texts carefully and critically, all will agree that the context in every case shows the meaning of the Hebrew word El to be powerful one or mighty. And we also have the statement in the last three quotations that Yahweh is the Supreme “El” [the Supreme Being] and rules over all other ones called “el” – powerful ones or mighty ones. And it should be noted that Yahweh (Jehovah) is the name applied to none other than the Supreme Being – our Father, and him whom Jesus called Father and God. (John 17:1,3: 20:17; Psalm 110:1; Matt. 22:43-45; 26:64; Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44; Acts 2:34; 7:55: Rom. 8:34; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:13; 10:12,13; 1 Pet. 3:22) The meaning then of the words “Mighty God” in our text, is: “He shall be called the Mighty One of Strength. And so he is, for to him the Father has given all power in earth and heaven. (Matthew 28:19, and 11:27) “He is Lord of all” – next to the Father for “The head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3) All the things subjected to him, however, is with the evident exception of the Supreme Being who has given him this power. (1 Corinthians 15:27) Jesus and his God are one in mind, purpose, etc., because Jesus willingly submitted his own will to that of his God and Father (John 5:30) just as we also must willfully submit our own will, mind, spirit to that of the Father if we would be made heirs and sons of God.
Many trinitarians, however, claim that this submission is one person of God to another person of God. In reality, nowhere does the Bible ever even give a hint that one being equals three persons. All through the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is spoken of as unipersonal God; he never presents Himself as more than one person, and no Bible writer ever speaks of Him as more than one person. The trinitarian thought has to added to and read into each and every scripture presented to allegedly support the trinity, and imaginative interpretations, such as the one just mentioned, have to offered to make many other scriptures seem to be in harmony with the added on doctrine. As a result, what is actually presented as proof of the trinity is what the trinitarian leads a person to imagine and assume regarding a verse, and not what is actually said. The trinitarian feels he needs to add all this to the Bible in order to maintain the concept of “monotheism”. But there is more to this than this, for many of them believe, contrary to what the scriptures say, that a “man” could not redeem man. Many of them tell us that Jesus had to be God in order to pay the price for sin, although there is no scripture anywhere that says such. Indeed, all the scriptures declare that what was required was “a [sinless] man”, not God, to give himself in sacrifice to God. God did not sacrifice himself to himself. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Ephesians 5:2; Philippians 4:18) Additionally, if Jesus was actually Yahweh in the flesh, as many claim, then rather than condemning sin in the flesh, he actually justified sin in the flesh. See our study: “How God’s Son Condemned Sin in the Flesh“.
It has been claimed that the Jews had expected that the Messiah would be God Almighty himself, based on Isaiah 9:6. This is actually an assertion rather than reality. The Jewish Publication Society Bible (JPS) translation renders Isaiah 9:6 as: “For a child is born unto us, a son is given unto us; and the government is upon his shoulder; and his name is called Pele-joez-el-gibbor-Abi-ad-sar-shalom; [Footnote: That is, Wonderful in counsel is God the Mighty, the everlasting Father, the Ruler of peace.]” The Hebrew is expressed in this translation as a singular “name”. We doubt that any ancient Hebrew reading this would imagine, assume, and read into this verse that the one being spoken of was being called God Almighty.*
*For references, see:
(We do not agree with all the conclusions given on these sites, but we offer them only for reference.)
What about Isaiah 10:21 and Jeremiah 32:18? Yes, this phrase is applied to Yahweh in these two verses, and we believe that in Isaiah 9:6, it is also applied to Yahweh, the one who sent Jesus. (Isaiah 61:1) But even if one applies EL GIBBOR in Isaiah 9:6 as a separate name or title to Jesus, it would not mean that Jesus is Yahweh, but only that Jesus is a mighty one, as shown above. Of course, Yahweh, being the Almighty, is most certainly a Mighty One of Power, so the title is applicable to him. Surely the phrase EL GIBBOR *can* be used of Yahweh. This does not mean that it cannot be also used of the Messiah as the one anointed by Yahweh. (Psalm 2:6; 45:7; Isaiah 61:1; Acts 2:36; 4:27) Isaiah 9:7 shows that Yahweh is the one who causes the name of Isaiah 9:6 to be called upon the Messiah, thereby distinguishing between Yahweh who send the son from the son who is sent.
This does not mean that the same title, if applied to Jesus, means that Jesus is the Supreme Being, any more than it means that kings spoken of in Ezekiel 32:21 are Yahweh. The big difference of application to Yahweh from its application to the Messiah is that the position of the Mighty One of Power in Isaiah 9:6 is a position and name given to Jesus by Yahweh, the only true Most High. Add to this the fact Yahweh is distinguished in the context from the Messiah being spoken of in Isaiah 9:6. (Isaiah 9:7; Isaiah 11:1-5; Luke 1:32; John 5:22,23,27) Jesus is not the Most High; Jesus is the Son of the Most High.
On one site, the claim was made that in Isaiah 9:6, “Jesus is clearly God, (Everlasting Father) and Wonderful Counselor (the Holy Spirit) and the Prince of Peace (Christ).” Thus, this author would make the alleged second person of the alleged triune God/Godhead to be all three of the alleged persons of the triune God/Godhead, evidently without reasoning upon this evident self-contradiction. Of course, this author is using a translation that contains the placement of commas so as to make it appear that more than one name is involved, rather than the singular “name” as the scripture clearly shows.
At any rate, there is nothing in the phrase EL GIBBOR as part of the “name” by which the Messiah “shall be called” that means that Jesus is his God. At the end of this study we are providing several ways that Isaiah 9:6 has been translated by different translators. Please notice how EL GIBBOR is rendered in those translations.
The second appellation, “Everlasting Father,” means in the Hebrew just what it does in English, that is: “a father forever.” The word father signifies cause or authorship of being – or life giver. While we believe that phrase is actually in reference to the God and Father of Jesus, even if applied to Jesus, Isaiah’s declaration would only mean that Jesus will be hereafter known as an author of life – or life giver to someone. To whom will he give life? Paul answers: “As in Adam all die so in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) From this we learn that Christ becomes the Father of the entire human race, becoming the “last Adam”, the father of the regenerated race, as Adam was the father of generation that came to be perverse, corrupt, through Adam’s sin. Next we ask what kind or plane of life will Christ will give the regenerated race? And the answer is: “a sinless human plane of life,” hence an eternal human life – just what they lost through Adam’s transgression. So Paul tells us (Romans 5:18,19): “As through one [man’s] offense judgment came on all men to condemnation [condemning all to a loss of life] so also, through one [man’s] righteous act judgment came on all men to justification of life. [That is, through the obedience of Christ the death penalty will be removed – in his death it was paid and all men will have a right to life again – the same plane of life and glory once possessed, then lost, which has been redeemed or purchased back.] For as through the disobedience of one man the many were made sinners [and because sinners deprived of life], so also, through the obedience of the one [Christ] the many [the same number] will be constituted [made] righteous.”
We see then that the special work of Christ for the human race was the counteracting or rolling back of the penalty of Adamic sin – death (the cessation of life), so that the human race may be regenerated as a new creation. In this, he is the Great Physician or Restorer; and the age during which this (result of his death on their behalf), will be accomplished is called “The Times [years] of restoration” – or giving back – of the blessing lost through the entrance of sin. Sinless human life was the principal thing lost and it Jesus is to give back – and in so doing he will (future) be called “Everlasting Father.” [The “joint-heirs” with Christ who are selected in this age are exceptions in that they attain the resurrection of Jesus, the resurrection of a heavenly, not earthly glory.*]
*For a detailed presentation of the scriptures concerning the two general glories to be given in the resurrection, please see our studies:
With What Kind of Body Will We Be Raised?
The Manner of the Resurrection
Adam was so created that he might be the father or life giver to a race of human beings. Through disobedience Adam lost his own right to life – became a dying sinner. He could only give to his posterity what he possessed – a dying nature – and consequently none of the race ever attained perfect life. Thus Adam failed to become in the full, proper sense a father or life giver. It is because Christ will accomplish this work of life giving in which Adam failed, that he is called the “Everlasting Father.”
But someone may inquire: Do you not teach that Jesus is a spirit being and of the divine plane of glory since his resurrection? Yes. Then, we are asked, would not any life imparted by Him be of the same plane as his own, that is, divine spirit? By no means. Yahweh is the life giver, or father of all creation; yet all creation is not possessed of the divine spirit plane. Yahweh has given Jesus also the power or authority to be a life-giver. (John 5:21) That he, as the representative of God, will use his power to raise both the just and the unjust, some to a heavenly spirit body and others to an earthly physical body, can be seen from the following scriptures. (John 6:39,40,44; 11:24; 12:47,48; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23,37-41) Thus in a broad sense Jesus is the Father of both the church and world.
However, nowhere is it recorded that the sons of God who are begotten of holy spirit in this age call Jesus “Father”. Why not? Because the God of Jesus (Ephesians 1:3) regenerates, through application of the ransom sacrifice of his Son, the justified ones who are called out in this age as his own sons. (Romans 8:14,15; Galatians 4:5; Titus 3:4,5) Thus Jesus does not directly refer to them as ‘his sons,’ but rather as the sons that his God has given to him. (Hebrews 2:13) In view of this regeneration, Jesus thus tells his followers to pray “Our Father.” (Luke 11:2) And also: “Glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) “Be children of your Father.” (Matthew 5:45) “Pray to your Father and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6) “Your Father know what things you have need of.”, etc., etc. Jesus also said: “I ascend to my Father and to your Father.” — John 20:17.
Again Jesus made a very emphatic statement of our dear and close relationship to him and to the Father when he said: “Whoever will do the will of my Father who is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50) “Call no man Father on earth for one is your father: God, and all of you are brothers.” (Matthew 23:9) And Paul assures us that “both he who sanctifies (Jesus) and they who are sanctified (the church) are all one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them ‘brothers.'” — Hebrews 2:11.
But how are we to understand the words of Jesus at John 10:27,28: “My sheep hear my voice and I give them eternal life”? While it is Jesus who gives eternal life, Paul tells us that “God [Note that “God” used here has to be unipersonal, not tripersonal] has both raised up the Lord and will also raise up us by his own power.” (1 Corinthians 6:14) Both statements are true, because the Father raises the dead through his Son, to whom the Father has given all this power, just as the unipersonal God of Jesus (Ephesians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3), by means of Jesus, judges the world. — Matthew 28:18; John 5:21-30; Isaiah 96:13; 98:9; Acts 17:31.
One last thought on the title “everlasting father.” Trinitarians usually deny that Jesus is the Father. Such would make him his own father. Thus they would have us believe that there are three persons in one being called God. However, if this title should be applied to the Son as proof of the trinity doctrine, then Jesus would be the Father, and thus he would be his own Father. Therefore, by their own rules, this title, everlasting father, if applied to Jesus, could not be used to prove the trinity doctrine, for trinitarians usually deny that Jesus is the Father.
Additionally, since the Bible clearly tells us that the Father is the “only” true God, and then excludes Jesus because Jesus was sent by this only true God (John 17:1,3; John 3:16,17), the title “everlasting father” could certainly not be construed to say that Jesus is the Father.
Jesus (Yahshua) is the son of Yahweh, the anointed of Yahweh. He is not Yahweh – the God of Israel. Yawheh — the God of Israel — is the God and Father of Jesus. — Psalm 2:7,8 [John 1:14; Hebrews 1:5]; Psalm 83:18 [Luke 1:32]; [John 5:43]; Isaiah 54:13 [John 6:45]; Matthew 5:48 [Leviticus 11:44; 19:2]; John 8:54 [Exodus 20:5; 23:19; Deuteronomy 4:31; 5:9; 6:4…and a host of other scriptures]; 2 Samuel 7:8,11,12,14 [Psalm 132:11; Isaiah 9:6,7; 23:5; Hebrews 1:5; Luke 1:32]; Deuteronomy 6:4 [John 17:1,3; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; Acts 2:36]; Psalm 118:26 & Deuteronomy 18:19 [Matthew 21:9; 23:39; Mark 11:9,10; Luke 13:35; 19:38; John 12:13; John 5:4; 12:49,50; 14:10,24; Acts 3:23].
See our study: “Jesus is Not Yahweh“
All the titles of Jesus in Isaiah 9:6 “shall be” given to him by his Father, Yahweh, just as Yahweh gives to the Son the throne of David. (Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:32) The Psalmist writes prophetically of Messiah: “Instead of your fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.” (Psalm 45:17) Thus these faithful forefathers of Jesus become his children, whom he appoints as princes in all the earth. (Isaiah 32:1) The application of this is still future, when the forefathers of Jesus are raised from the dead back here on the earth, who then become “children” to Jesus.
The title of everlasting father in Isaiah 9:6 is not the same title or office of Yahweh as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus. Jesus is never called the Father of the church, the spirit-begotten sons of God, although he does refer to his followers at times as sons (children), that is, as children belonging to God, or to the light of God which was in himself as the image of God, which light was also to be reflected in his followers. — Matthew 5:14,45; 10:24; Luke 6:35; 16:8; John 8:12; 9:5; 11:9; 12:35,36; 13:33; 2 Corinthians 4:4,6.
One suggestion as to how this could be translated is: “Wonderful! Counselor of God! Mighty Man! My Father is Forever! Prince of Peace!” However, if we should render it with “El” separated from “GIBBOR” by a comma, it would be better rendered: “Wonderful Counselor of God! Mighty Man! Father of the ages! Prince of Peace!”
Here is another rendering of the verse: “For a child has been born to us, a son has been given us. And authority has settled on his shoulders. He has called (Pele-Joez-el-gibbor-abia-ad-Sar-Shalom) “The Mighty God is planning grace, the Eternal Father, a peaceable ruler.” This would make the application to Yahweh who provides the ruler.
Some other translations:
- Wonder-Counsellor, Divine Champion, Father Ever, Captain of Peace. — Byington
- A wonder of a counsellor, a divine hero, a father for all time, a peaceful prince. — Moffatt
- In purpose wonderful, in battle God-like, Father for all time, Prince of Peace. — New English Bible
- Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty Hero, Eternal Father, Prince ofPeace. — Revised English Bible/li>
- Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty One, Potentate, Prince of Peace, Father of the age to come. — The Septuagint, as found in the Codex Alexandrinus, translated by Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton, c. 1850.
Regardless of how one translates it, it still does not mean that the one being given by God is God Almighty himself, or that the one to whom God is giving the dominion is God Almighy himself, as we have already shown in the earlier paragraphs.
Some other studies regarding Isaiah 9:6 on the Restoration Light sites:
Pages 180-183 of Should Christianity Abandon the Doctrine of the Trinity?.
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