June 22, 2017

What’s in a Name?

Don Harrelson

When parents choose a name for their child, some will choose a name based on how it sounds. Some will choose a name because of family significance. Some will choose a name that has meaning. And some will chooses a name because it has character attributes. Some don’t give it any thought at all.

When it was prophesied that a Redeemer would come. It was told that He would be of a woman. It was told that He would be a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Judah, and of the line of David. It was told where He would be born. It was also prophesied what His name would be.

Isaiah 9:6 says

“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”

In this verse, some of the names that the Messiah would be called is given. In these names there is a subtle but overt distinction that is made. His name will link His humanity with His deity.

The prophet tells us that “a child will be born.” The Messiah will be is human. The prophet also tell us that “a son is given.” The Messiah will be God. Thus, the Messiah will be unique; He will be the God-man This distinction is further evidenced in the names that the prophet Isaiah lists.

Wonderful, Counselor

Although the King James Version separates these as individual titles, it is better to link them together: the wonder of a Counselor.

The word “wonder” or “marvel” refers to something that is extraordinary and humanly incomprehensible. It is a word associated with the supernatural acts of God, and it therefore attests to the Messiah’s deity.

The word “counselor” implies wisdom. It is a wisdom that is required not only in giving advice but also for issuing decrees.

The fact that Isaiah has linked these two words suggests that the Son has infinite wisdom or omniscience, which is a unique perfection of deity.

Isaiah uses these same words to describe Jehovah of hosts, “which is wonderful in counsel” (Isaiah 28:29).

The uniqueness and superiority of divine counsel are evident in Isaiah 40, which declares that God takes counsel from none (40:13-14)

What is true of God is true of Christ!

Mighty God

This title is literally translated, “God, the defender/guardian.”

The term “God” applies only to Deity and designates God in His power and transcendent majesty.

The term “defender/guardian” is not a uniquely divine word, but the Scripture does apply it to the Lord, designating Him as the security of His people.

Isaiah uses the same expression in referring to Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel:

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. (Isa. 10:20-21)

Jeremiah used the expression as he addressed the Lord in prayer:

Thou showest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name, (Jeremiah 32:18)

And in Psalm 45, a messianic psalm, verse 3 entreats the Messiah, “Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty . . .”

The Lord Jesus is the great defender of His people.

What is true of God is true of Christ!

Everlasting Father

The Messiah is the everlasting Father; a more literal translation is “Father of eternity” This translation eliminates the Trinity confusion that the Son is also at the same time the everlasting Father. This title is not speaking of the Son’s relationship to the Father but rather His relationship to time.

The word “father” is an honorific title of authority. Christ is above time; He is eternal and therefore of necessity God, because eternity is a uniquely divine attribute.

This title highlights his sovereignty.

What is true of God is true of Christ!

Prince of Peace

“Prince” does not refer to a son or a king in waiting. The word designates a ruler, a chief, or an official with the power and authority to administer.

Here the term applies to Christ as the Sovereign Administrator of peace. Embodied in this title is His whole work of salvation whereby He removed the impediment to peace, harmony, and fellowship with God. He is the reconciliation for His people to God.

So what’s in a name? A lot. The names of Christ uniquely identify Him as the messiah. Yes, a child is born. That is why we celebrate Christmas. But also we celebrate because a Son is given.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Do you know the Son? Do you have the Son?

He that hath the Son hath life, but He that hath not the son hath not life. (1 John 5:12)


Don Harrelson is the pastor of Cumberland Bible Church, Cumberland, Maryland


Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

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