Does a certain Bible passage excite you more than any other? For me, it’s this:
“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, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6, ASV)
The next verse says the increase of His government and His peace will have no end.
Isaiah penned those extraordinary words against a backdrop of gloom and despair when Israel was about to be overrun by the Assyrians. Did Israel take heart in Isaiah’s words? What about foreigners who read those words more than seven hundred years later?
Like the Wise Men.
Aramaic was the lingua franca of the day; so if the Wise Men were fluent in Aramaic, they would have understood Hebrew as well. They knew some details of the Messiah’s coming but didn’t know about Micah’s writings that pinpointed Jesus’ birthplace. Can you imagine how the Wise Men must have dissected Isaiah’s word choices, trying to wring every bit of meaning from them?
We can learn a lot about God’s heart and His intentions from Isaiah 9:6. So, this Christmas season, let’s take a look at the titles that God directed Isaiah to pen.
Jesus was a wonder. The Hebrew root of that word means to separate, make singular, be great. Rolled into the word is the implication of something hidden, high, and hard for us to comprehend in human terms.
Additional meaning is buried in the letterforms that comprise the word. According to people versed in Hebrew, the letterforms collectively indicate a strong leader who will speak into existence [or start] a new governmental order.
This is easier to understand. The Hebrew word does mean counselor—one who advises as well as deliberates and makes plans. The Hebrew letterforms collectively mean “God completed something with His right hand.”
In Hebrew, this reads El gibbor—the strong one—He who is literally the God of gods. Juxtapose that against “for unto us a child is born.” How could Isaiah state such a bold name for a child—unless the child was none other than God Incarnate?
The Hebrew letterforms mean “the God of gods gave me a house to live in.” Think about that for a minute. Ask yourself: Where is my true home? How great and good is the God who cares enough to provide a home for me?
The One who is eternal, who lives forever, is our forever Father—and He has called us to be part of His forever family. (Yes, I overused the word “forever” on purpose.) Can we truly wrap our heads around how much He loves us? This One who wants us to call Him “Abba” loved us enough to leave heaven’s majesty to come to earth as a helpless child for the sole purpose of taking our sins upon Himself so we could be with Him forever!
The Hebrew letterforms comprise this thought: “The living revelation of God’s Word that is able to see, understand and experience what we go through.” Is that mind-boggling or what?!
PRINCE OF PEACE
Don’t assume that “prince” connotes a subordinate rank. In this context, “prince” means “ruler” or “principal.” The ultimate captain or chief, if you will. The word itself and the numerical value that Hebrew assigns to it denotes completeness.
Not only is Jesus the undisputed ruler of this world (and our hearts), He is also the ruler of all shalom. “Shalom” means something beyond what we normally think of as peace. Shalom is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. A Jewish greeting of “shalom” means “may all that you need today for every aspect of your well-being come to you.” Praise God that the Prince of Peace is more than able to care for us in every way, including being our shalom!
“And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Could you ask, imagine, or hope for anything so glorious? I pray you can celebrate that to the max this Christmas!
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The 4 minutes of Handel’s Messiah that sings Isaiah 9:6
For more details about the meanings in Hebrew letterforms and how those come together in the Hebrew words mentioned in this post, click on: Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Such great insights. Thank you for your tremendous research, Lana.
Thank you, Cami! Praying God will abundantly bless you this Christmas.