And he shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah the Prophet
At this time of the year the above is one of the most familiar prophetic scriptures of the Advent and Christmas season. Part of it’s popularity is from the Oratorio by Handel, “Messiah.” It has been said that when Handel was preparing the music for the oratorio Messiah, he was inspired with such passion that it was completed in only twenty-four days. So moved was he that meals went untouched, visitors unnoticed, and sleep unknown. The music of Messiah still moves people today. When the chorus of Hallelujah begins people stand to Honor and Worship Messiah Jesus.
As is usually translated, at least in English, is a four phrase statement.
Prince of Peace.”
But it must be asked, is this what the Prophet said. The Hebrew has no punctuation, no spacing, no structure. Just a line of letters. If we were to take this passage and write it as found in the original scriptures it would look like this:
Try to pick this apart. What if it was phrased a different was
He will be named (called)
This is different. Here is an explanation of how we should look at this passage of scripture.
And He shall be called:
- Wonderful – root, “wonder” or “full of wonder.” Think of the word Awe, as in awesome. Those who see Jesus come to be filled with awe at his work, his wonder, his wisdom, his love.
- Counselor – “one called along side of you”. Jesus promised His disciples he would send another comforter (counselor in many translations), the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit is there to comfort, counsel and guide us in the Christian life.
- Mighty – Strong when we are weak.
- God – God as in God, not any god out of many god’s or some abstract god, but the God who created the heavens and the earth, who caused the stars to spin in the sky yet hold you in the hollow of His Hand!
- Eternal – Always there, never fails. You are never alone.
- Father – A loving one who cares, provides, protects, directs, and guides us in the journey of life.
- Prince – not common, born of the royal blood line as the Prince of Judah. A person worthy of respect and love.
- Peace – the end result of walking with God, peace. Not just the end of war as we are promised a struggle in life. Shalom, peace of heart and life. This peace is the peace which passes all understanding. A peace in the midst of the struggles of life. A peace which only Jesus Christ can give.
For many believers today God is too small, too limited, to distant. This is not about non-believers, but those who do accept and know Jesus Christ as lord. We might believe otherwise, but actions speak louder than words. Our daily routine does not reflect a God who is present with us. Our prayers are not of hope but self-center appeals for our personal well being with an occasional word lifted up on behalf of those beyond our personal sphere of friends and family. When was the last time you spent vigorous prayer for the people of Syria, the missionaries working the slums of Guatemala, or the lost people in your own community? Have we considered that the Almighty, Eternal God of all creation is able to handle the problems of this world.
May your Christmas be Merry, and the year to come be filled with blessings and peace.