For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
During the weeks leading up to Christmas Day, I am going to share some thoughts about the four names of the Cosmic Christ Child, all of which are rooted in these words from the pen of the prophet Isaiah. Throughout this week, we will examine the name “Wonderful Counselor.” On Monday we dug into the meaning of the first word, “Wonderful,” and today we will unpack the second word: Counselor.
In the ancient world, one of the duties of a king was to deliver counsel to the people of his kingdom, helping them to navigate their lives and to live as happy, productive citizens. When you think of a king as a “counselor,” your thoughts might immediately go to the wisest man in the world in Isaiah’s day: King Solomon, who had given wise and godly counsel to his people. As the nation of Israel became increasingly apostate, the prophet Micah emphasized this truth of a king as counselor when he warned Judah of coming judgment: “Why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in you? Has your counselor perished?” (Micha 4:9 ESV).
The answer to Micah’s query is that the true Counselor had not yet arrived on the scene. On the Mount of Transfiguration, the voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matthew 17:5). Jesus was the promised Counselor whom God had promised through Isaiah. Here is how the author of the letter to the Hebrews described Him:
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. (Hebrews 1:1-3)
God spoke to Adam, Abraham, and Moses personally. He spoke to Jacob in a dream. He spoke to Isaiah in visions. But when the appointed time had fully come (Galatians 4:4), God spoke to the world through His Son, our Wonderful Counselor. The inspired gospel accounts are filled with compelling accounts of Jesus as the Counselor, from His patient instruction of the religious leader Nicodemus, who came to Jesus at night (John 3), to His gracious invitation to the broken and shunned Samaritan woman who was trying to avoid contact with other people by coming to Jacob’s well at noon (John 4). Jesus always knew just the right words to say because He is omniscient (all-knowing). His disciples recognized this truth, saying to Him, “Now we know that you know all things” (John 16:30).
Jesus our Counselor knows our thoughts, hears our cries, and speaks perfectly into every situation we face. Paul described Christ as the One “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). Paul was not saying that this wisdom and knowledge is “hidden” from us, but rather that all wisdom and knowledge are contained in Him and are now available for us to access and to guide us throughout every aspect and season of life.
On Friday, we will return one more time to the title “Wonderful Counselor” to see how both these names fit perfectly together.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race.NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!