"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." – Isaiah 9:
MORE THAN seven centuries before the birth of Jesus in the city of Bethlehem these words were written by the prophet, Isaiah. There can be no doubt in the minds of true Bible readers that Jesus Christ is the character under consideration. We pray God will bless us to consider this text in such a wonderful way that we may be comforted and edified. May we be blessed to gloriously rejoice upon some of the beauties contained in these thoughts. We desire to consider the text by phrases in the order in which they are written.
"Unto us a child is born." Who is included in the term "us?" Isaiah is writing to the Israelites, the chosen people of God. National Israel is a type of spiritual Israel. Spiritual Israel is in existence today. Paul was an Israelite as he stated in his letter to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 11:22). I believe that all God's children who are chosen unto eternal life are members of spiritual Israel. True Israelites are the only ones who are included in the pronoun us in this text. If you are a child of God you are included in this term. Isaiah did not say unto each and ever Adamic creature, but "unto us a child is born." He is born unto a specific people. Yes, He is born to you. He was born of the virgin, Mary, in the city of Bethlehem almost two thousand years ago, and people have set a date to annually attempt to celebrate His birth; but when did you and do you actually celebrate the birth of Christ? You actually celebrate His birth when He is born in you as your precious hope of glory (Col. 1:27). When God knows a person by the direct operation of His Holy Spirit in individual relationship there is a conception. The result of this conception is a birth, the birth of Christ in you as your hope of glory.
"Unto us a son is given." This Son is peculiar in the fact that He is the Son of God as well as the Son of man. He is both human and divine. There are two erroneous theories concerning Jesus Christ prevalent today. One theory is that He was solely divine which would deny Him as being the Son of Man. The other theory is that He was solely human which would deny Him as being the Son of God. Jesus, as the Son of man, was acquainted with grief, was tempted, wounded and bruised, and did suffer and die on the cross. Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, performed miracles, was glorified, overcame temptations, accomplished the law, conquered death, and is at the right hand of the throne of God making intercession for the saints of God according to the will of God. This Son is given. He is not offered subject to acceptance or rejection of the creature. If it be necessary to raise a hand, say a word or do anything in order for the creature to receive this Son it would not be a gift – it would be an offer or reward. I believe this Son is given to each and every one who has learned through sad experience appointed to them that they are unworthy, unable, and that it is utterly impossible to do anything to merit any favor or mercy of God. Paul said, "We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" (Rom. 5:3-5).
"And the government shall be upon his shoulders." This one who is given unto us is our King. The preacher said, "Where the word of a king is, there is power" (Eccl 8:4). This King has all power in heaven and upon the earth. This being true, when He speaks it is done, when He commands, it stands fast. The word that goeth forth out of His mouth shall not return unto Him void; but it shall accomplish that which He pleases; it shall prosper in the thing whereunto He sends it (Isaiah 55:11).
We, being creatures who are created equal, believe in the democratic form of government as being proper in our political and earthly organizations. Even in our organized churches we do not believe that one creature should have the authority to lord anything over others with exception of that One who has the government upon His shoulder. We maintain that Christ is the Head of His church. He calls, qualifies, sends and uses each and every one of His subjects when, where and how He pleases. He never makes a call in vain. He never fails to qualify; when He sends they go. Each and every one fits and functions properly. You show me any church that places the government of that church upon the shoulder of any mortal man or group of men, and I will show you one that is not the Church of Christ. You show me a church that has to have boards, auxiliary societies and many organizations to assist in the business of the church, and I will point to that one as not the Church of Christ. The government of Christ's Church is upon His shoulder and He is sufficient to attend to its business. No business is good business when it concerns the Church. Some thing that gathering sheep into the fold is the function of the Church. This is the work of Christ as He said, "Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice" (John 10:16). If the government be upon His shoulder – and His words are true – do you think He needs any assistance in this work? They tell us of a person who is begging, pleading and trying to get people to accept Him; thousands of people and organizations who are assisting Him and holding Him up; notwithstanding all this He is unsuccessful to the extent that the devil gets the majority of them. This person is not the One under consideration in the text.
"His name shall be called Wonderful." He is wonderful. When I think of wonderful I think of something astonishing and singular. Words cannot express the amazement I experienced when I was given to trust in the work of Jesus Christ as accredited to my account. I was astonished that He should have compassion upon a hell- deserving wretch such as I felt myself to be. His name is above every name. It is the only name given whereby we must be saved. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life of each and every one of God's children. It is wonderful that He is God manifest in the flesh. It is wonderful that He could accomplish the law to a jot and tittle for His people. It is wonderful that He could pay the penalty and satisfy justice for His people's sins by dying on the cross. It is wonderful that He could conquer death, hell and the grave and come forth from the tomb and walk and talk with His disciples. It is wonderful that He could ascend into the heavens and leave the comforting thought with His disciples that at some future time He would come again without sin unto salvation to gather His people into that eternal home. It is wonderful that He is so acquainted with all your temptations and troubles, that He can intercede to God for you as your Counsellor.
Yes, His name is to be called Counsellor. You hire and pay your counsellors in earthly courts, but this Counsellor is given to you. He is the one who pleads your case before the Judge. He is in a position to tell the Judge that He met all the requirements in your stead. Earthly counsellors do not agree to pay the penalty assessed against you by the court, but this Counsellor paid the penalty assessed. When you look for one to represent you in the courts of the land you want one who is thoroughly acquainted and experienced with your type of case. Here is the Counsellor who was tempted in all points like as we (Heb. 4:15). He was forsaken, grieved, suffered, and experienced poverty. He also experienced inability as he said, "I can of mine own self do nothingf" (John 5:30). When you give all the facts in the case that you can think of to earthly counsellors at their inquiry you find later that you have left out something vital to the case that you wished you could have told them. This Counsellor already knows your every trouble and has all the facts in your case. Earthly counsellors may be busy and you have to wait for your time before you can talk with them, but this Counsellor is not neglectful and has ample time and ears to hear your cries and beseechings. You may have tried to tell your troubles to your friends here and pour out your heart to them, but have you ever experienced the relief of mind and peace in your heart as you did when you poured out your heart and was blessed to pray through this Counsellor to Almighty God? As long as you are capable of handling your affairs, even as long as you think you are capable, you have no use for a counsellor. When things get beyond your knowledge and power you seek a counsellor.
I maintain that as long as a person feels capable of pursuing any distance toward gaining eternal life upon his own merits he does not feel the need of a counsellor. He is acting upon his own strength and self-righteousness and will not call upon this Counsellor. When a person learns by sad experience that he is nothing and all his seeming self-righteousness is but filthy rags in the sight of God, he feels the need and desires the aid of the Counsellor. Jesus Christ is officiating as Counsellor when He is at the right hand of the Father making intercession for the saints of God according to the will of God. He is officiating as the Counsellor when He is speaking words of comfort to the trembling child of God. He is officiating as the Counsellor when He is calling, qualifying, sending forth, and using each child of God to the praise of His glorious name. Dear trembling child of God, do not put your trust in any man upon earth, or any set of men to give you wisdom. James was inspired to say, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God." May God grant you grace to trust all to this Counsellor!
This same character is also to be called "The Mighty God." The scriptures affirm that the three in the Godhead are One. God the Father; God the Son; and God the Holy Ghost; these three are One. Jesus Christ was once without power but now He has all power in heaven and on earth. If Jesus Christ be the Mighty God He has all power in heaven and on earth. He worketh all things after the counsel of His own will. "Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure""(Isa. 46:10). If He be the Mighty God do you think He will fail in bringing any of the subjects of His grace to the knowledge of the truth? Do you think that any one for whom He gave His life will fail to be saved in heaven and immortal glory in the end of this timely sphere? I cannot conceive the idea that any of His purpose will fail in the least degree.
His name is rightly termed The everlasting Father. He is because He is founder and builder of His Church. Jesus Christ is Father because He is the Chief Ruler of His people. He is the King of His kingdom. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. The term everlasting signifies unchangeableness. We change but His care for us never wavers. He loved us even when we were dead in trespasses and in sins. When we are cold and careless He is interceding and caring for us. He is the everlasting Father because He finishes anything He begins. Our earthly fathers may forsake us but He knows what we need and gives us exactly what is best for us though we may not think it best. He keeps each and every one of His people from falling finally away and saves them eternally from the dominion, power and presence of sin.
His name shall be called The Prince of Peace. Those of you who have been in severest of troubles, and have experienced that deep soothing calm that came from no earthly source can rightly call Him the Prince of Peace. I heard a soldier once relate an experience concerning this peace. He said he was in the midst of one of the severest battles of World War II where bombs were exploding all around. Every one of his comrades had been critically wounded and killed by falling shrapnel. He was so afraid and distressed that there were indescribable throbbings and surgings of his troubled and depressed mind. All at once there was such a wonderful, deep, calming influence that affected him that he was not afraid or troubled even though the bombs were still exploding, and shrapnel still falling all around. He was made to know that God absolutely controlled everything and that nothing could hurt him. This Prince of Peace caused this boy to peacefully rejoice in the midst of battle. This Prince of Peace causes His people to be content with their lot and gloriously reconciles them to His will. Is it not a peace that surpasseth all things else to realize that God cares and is mindful of you? He takes care of sparrows and not one falls without Him, and even the hairs of your head are numbered. He understands your thoughts afar off and there is not a word in your tongue that He does not now altogether. He becomes your Prince of Peace when He causes you to feel that His providence will protect and His grace will direct you aright. He becomes your Prince of Peace when He takes your feet up out of an horrible pit of self-dependence and places them upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, as your hope for eternal life. He becomes your Prince of Peace when He puts a new song in your mouth which sings praises unto God instead of the old song of praise of yourself. He comes as a Prince of Peace when He picks you up on the balmy wings of His love while you are hopelessly falling down – down into the abyss of destruction and ruin. That wonderful peace that you experienced when you are blessed to pray, sing, speak, write and meditate upon His wonderful goodness to the children of men is inexpressible. What a calming peace when you are blessed to speak kind words to some cast down individual. What a blessed peace when you are given to assist some fallen creature and do deeds of kindness to the less fortunate.
May the Prince of Peace be pleased to soften the hearts of the political leaders of the countries of this war-torn world that lasting peace be the result. If this be contrary to His will may He cause us to be content with our lot and make us reconciled to His will, for He knows best. May God direct the words that have been written to the comfort of some poor soul is my desire. Pray for me because I feel to be the chief of sinners and less than the least of all saints so much of the time.
Elder E.J. Lambert
"Tried in the Furnace" Pgs 147-154