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)
Throughout this week we are looking at the third name that Isaiah gave to Jesus: “Everlasting Father.” On Monday we looked at “Everlasting,” the first half of the name; today we will briefly unpack the second half . . .
Father – The symbolic use of the Hebrew word Ab, translated in our English Bibles as Father, had the express meaning of “possessor of.” This child born, this son given as the Everlasting Father (or “Father of Eternity”) is the Father and possessor of both time and eternity.
We see this clearly stated in the Gospel of John, as well as in Paul’s epistle to the Colossians:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1-3)
By him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17)
It is important to address two common questions that arise regarding applying this title of “Father” to Jesus:
- “Doesn’t this confuse the roles within the Trinity between the Father and the Son?”
- “Doesn’t this mean that God the Father and God the Son are one and the same person?”
The answer to both questions is “No, not at all.” In my view, Isaiah did not have the Trinity in mind when he wrote these words, nor was he describing the roles within the Godhead. Rather, Isaiah was setting forth the character of Jesus Christ in His relationship toward His people: Father to children. This child born and this son given is to be the King of Israel, and also King of all those Gentiles who have been and will be grafted into His kingdom. And as King, Jesus will be Father to all His children.
- Jesus will pay the penalty for the sins of all of His children.
- Jesus will protect all of His children.
- Jesus will provide for all of His children.
We see in Jesus’ own words how He applied the title “Father” to Himself as the One who is able to reveal the fatherly character of God to His children.
“I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)
“The Father is in me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:38)
“Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” (John 14:10)
Again, Jesus and the Father are not the same person, but they are one in both essence and nature. As we read about the life and ministry of Jesus in the gospel accounts, we are also reading about the Father, who Jesus precisely represented, just as this prophesied name reveals. The writer of Hebrews explained, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3), and the apostle John taught that “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known” (John 1:18).
One Sabbath day, Jesus healed a lame man by the pool in Jerusalem called Bethesda, and the religious leaders once again questioned Jesus’ authority. His response to these self-righteous religious leaders was as clear tot hem then as it is comforting to us today: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does” (John 5:19). Here we see how beautifully the Son and the Father are one in their ministry toward man.
Remember, it was Jesus who said, “Let the little children come to me” (Matthew 19:14). Have you come to Jesus by grace through faith? Have you trusted in Him to pay the penalty for all your sins, to protect you, and to provide for you?
On Friday we will look at both parts of this name, “Everlasting Father,” together.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!