For a Child hath been born to us, A Son hath been given to us, And the princely power is on his shoulder, And He doth call his name Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace. — Isaiah 9:6, Young’s Literal Translation.
As given in Young’s translation, it shows that the titles are anarthrous, without the definite article “the” before each title. Of course, the capitalization of these “titles” are also added be the translators. In the Hebrew, the phrase rendered “Mighty God” is usually transliterated as “EL GIBBOR”.
If “mighty God” should be understood as being a title of Jesus in this verse, we should note how such a title would apply to one who is not Jehovah, rather than to assume that Jesus is here being referred to as Jehovah. The Leeser translation presents the thought that “He”, that is, Jehovah, is the one who calls the Messiah by this name. Since it is Jehovah, the only true God who, in context (Isaiah 9:7), is performing these things, the default reasoning should be that the child being given by Jehovah is not Jehovah. The scriptures present to us the fact that it is Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who anoints and sends the Messiah — thus making the one sent by Jehovah into the Messiah. (Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Isaiah 61:1; Acts 2:36; 3:13-26; 10:38) Again, the default reasoning should be that Jehovah is not the Messiah whom Jehovah anointed and sent.
But, how could the title “mighty god” be applied to the Messiah, if the Messiah is not Jehovah? What many do not realize is that the Hebraic usage of the words that are often rendered as “God” do not fully match the way “God/god” is used in English and other Romantic languages. In ancient Hebrew, the words are often used in more general sense of “might”, “strength”, or “power.” Forms of the word “EL”, as can be seen by consulting any good Hebrew concordance, are often translated by various words of general designation of might, power, etc. Such a usage is shown in the King James rendering of the same phrase (EL GIBBOR, only in a plural form) in Ezekiel 32:21. We do not know of any translation that renders the expression in Ezekiel 32:21 as “Mighty Gods”, but it is usually rendered similar to the King James Version, which renders it as “The strong (a form of the Hebrew EL) among the mighty (a form of the Hebrew Gibbor).” Thus, in Isaiah 9:6, if this expression as “mighty god” is assumed to be a title for the Messiah, the anointed of Jehovah, who, by default, should not be considered as being Jehovah, then it should also be understood as in Ezekiel 32:21, “a strong one among the mighty.” Jesus is indeed a strong one among the mighty, but he is not his Supreme Being.
To further show the Hebraic usage, we present the following scriptures with the word translated from the King James Version that demonstrate such usage: Genesis 23:6 (mighty); Genesis 30:8 (mighty); Genesis 31:29 (power); Deuteronomy 28:32 (might); 1 Samuel 14:15 (great); Nehemiah 5:5 (power); Psalm 8:5 (angels); Psalm 36:6 (great); Psalm 82:1 (mighty); Proverbs 3:27 (power); Psalm 29:1 (mighty); Ezekiel 32:21 (strong); Jonah 3:3 (exceeding). Most languages, however, would not speak of the god of one’s hand without being misunderstood, whereas in ancient Hebrew such usage was nothing strange. Such an application of the Hebrew word often transliterated as EL in Isaiah 9:6 would not be designating the one whom the only true God sent (John 17:1,3) as being the only true God, but rather as being a strong one, a powerful one of might, or borrowing from the King James rendering in Ezekiel 32:21, “a strong one among the mighty”.
Likewise, if the title “everlasting father,” is to be understood as an individual title being applied to the Messiah, it should be understood in light of what Messiah became after his resurrection, the “last Adam,” who “became the life-giving spirit,” who, in effect, is takes Adam’s place as the life-giver to the world. Unlike Adam, who disobeyed and became father only to a dying race (1 Corinthians 15:21,22), Jesus becomes father forever, thus “everlasting father.”
However, please note our usage of the word “if” above. We are using the word “if” because we do not believe that such separate titles were meant to be applied to the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6, for several reasons.
The prophecy does not state that the Messiah would called by “names” (plural), but rather by only one “name” (singular). Thus, the prophecy of Isaiah 9:6 depicts a singular name by which the son who is given by the only true God was called. It does not depict a series of names or titles as is given by most translations of this verse.
That singular name is usually transliterated as:
Often such a “name” given to a human or a thing is describing attributes of God/Jehovah, and the application of such a name does not designate the human or thing as being God/Jehovah. Thus, for instance, when Jacob called a certain altar by the name, El-Elohe-Israel (Genesis 33:20), which could be read as a series of titles: God, The God, Israel, we realize that this is not what Jacob meant by this. Rather, we understand that he was not saying that the altar was “God,” or that the altar was “the God,” nor that the altar was Israel, but rather that the name of the altar was meant to say something about Jacob’s (Israel’s) God. Thus, this name is usually given a meaning something like: “God is the God of Israel,” or probably more likely, the first EL should be understood with the general meaning of might, strength, power, etc., thus: “Powerful is the God of Israel.” Likewise in Isaiah 9:6, since it is directly stated in the singular as a name, not plural, as “names”, we believe it more correctly to be understood as describing Jehovah, not the Messiah who comes in the name of Jehovah. Some editions of the translation of the Jewish Publication Society give this name the following meaning: “Wonderful in counsel is God the Mighty, the everlasting Father, the Ruler of peace.” From this perspective, this singular name that is given to Messiah would be describing the God and Father of Messiah, not the Messiah himself.
Nevertheless, as we shown above, even if Isaiah 9:6 should be viewed as a series of titles describing the Messiah himself, it still does not mean that Jesus is Jehovah. Common sense tells us that the one sent by another is not the sender. (To accommodate this, the trinitarian imagines, assumes, adds to and reads into the scriptures the idea that it one person of Jehovah who sends another person of Jehovah, etc.) There is definitely nothing in the verse (or any place else in the Bible) about three persons in one God, the trinity. Like all of the other scriptures presented to allege support for the trinity, the trinity idea has to be imagined, assumptions have to be formulated based on what is imagined, and then those assumptions have to be added to, and read into, what is stated.
One has evidently misunderstood us to say that nothing in Isaiah 9:6 refers to the Son. This is not what we are saying.
In Isaiah 9:6,7 (Isaiah 9:5,6 of the JPS), it is definitely the son who referred to as being given by Jehovah, and upon whom Jehovah places the government, and it is the Son of Jehovah who is called by the name. The name itself, describes the God of the Son, not the Son himself. It is the God and Father of the Son who is being described as “Wonderful in counsel is God the Mighty, the everlasting Father, the Ruler of peace.” (Isaiah 9:5, JPS footnote, corresponding to Isaiah 9:6 in most translations).
This is in agreement with many names in Hebrew, in which the name describes God, not the person who bears the name. For instance, Hezekiah means, “Jehovah strengthens”. Of course, I don’t know of anyone who believes that any person spoken of in the Bible who bore the name “Hezekiah” was a person of Jehovah, and thus, they would not imagine and assume that the name is describing any person as being Jehovah, as such is assumed regarding the “name” of Isaiah 9:6. Another name is Seraiah, which means, “Jehovah is ruler”. And then there is Jethiel, which means, “God lives”. And there are many others.
Jehovah, however, in Isaiah 9:6,7 is distinguished from the son who is given, for we read, “The zeal of Jehovah of Hosts will perform this.” It is the unipersonal Jehovah who gives the son; it is the unipersonal Jehovah who places the government on his shoulder, and it is the unipersonal Jehovah who has ordained that “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.”
This corresponds with Luke 1:32, which states concerning Jesus: “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High. [Jehovah] God will give to him the throne of his father, David.” Jesus is there said to be, not the Most High, but the son of the Most High. Jesus is not said to be Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but rather that Jehovah gives to His son the throne of David, in agreement with Isaiah 9:6,7.
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