For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful…
I. WE SHALL VIEW THESE PROPHETIC APPELLATIONS, IN THEIR APPLICATION TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AS EXPOUNDING TO US HIS NATURE AND WORK, AND RECEIVING THEIR FULLEST REALISATION IN HIM. They are not mere empty names, assumed for the purposes of pomp and impression, but appropriate descriptions of living realities. When it is said, "His name shall be called," the meaning is that He shall be such, for in the Hebrew language "to be called" and "to be" frequently mean the same thing. Every name He bears is the Divine exponent of a corresponding attribute, or office, or work, and so it is here.
1. He is the Wonderful. The proper idea conveyed by this appellation is something miraculous, and it means that the great Personage to whom it is here applied, in His nature and works, would be distinguished by supernatural qualities and deeds, would be raised above the ordinary course and laws of nature, and would stand out before angels and men as a unique and splendid miracle. In this sense, it applies with great force and accuracy to the Redeemer, and to Him alone.
2. He is the Counsellor.
(1) This appellation points to Christ, not as a Counsellor among others, but as Counsellor, Counsellor in the abstract, the great Counsellor of the vast universe, one of the glorious persons in the Godhead, who was concerned in all the acts and counsels of past eternity. Hence the Septuagint translates it, "the Angel of the mighty counsel"; and the Chaldee, "the God of the wonderful counsel."(2) As "the Counsellor," He directs and instructs His people in all their temporal, spiritual, and eternal concerns; if He did not do so, they would soon be involved in disorder and ruin.
(3) And He is "the Counsellor," inasmuch as He is the Advocate of His people, and has carried their cause into the high court of heaven
3. He is "the Mighty God"; an appellation impressively sublime, which no serious mind can approach without feeling the most profound reverence and awe. It naturally and obviously denotes a person possessing a Divine nature.
4. He is "the Everlasting Father," or, "the Father of Eternity." The emphasis of this appellation is not on the word "father," but on the word "eternity." It was customary among those who spoke and wrote the Hebrew language, to call a person who possessed a thing, the "father" of it: hence, a strong man was called "the father of strength"; a wise man, "the father of wisdom'"; a wealthy man, "the father of riches"; and so on. Now, the phrase, "the Father of Eternity," seems to be here applied to Christ in a similar way — He possessed eternity, and, therefore, He is called the Father of it. It is a Hebraism of great poetic strength and beauty, employed to express duration — the duration of His being — the essential eternity of His existence past and future — and, perhaps, there could not be a more emphatic declaration of His right to this wonderful attribute of the Deity, strict, proper, and independent eternity of being.
5. He is the "Prince of Peace." This appellation seems intended to teach us, that the Messiah would be invested with the prerogatives and honours of royalty, and that His kingdom, in its essential laws and principles, would differ from all the kingdoms of men, past, ,present, and future. While other kings were despots and warriors, He would be peaceable Prince. While other kingdoms were acquired by physical violence and force, and were cemented with human tears and blood, His would consist in righteousness, peace, and joy, and would win its way among men by the inherent power of its own excellence, would gradually terminate war and conflict, and restore love and order to the whole earth. But His reign was to achieve higher ends still, for it was to establish peace between man and his own conscience, between man and all good beings, between man and all the physical and moral laws of the universe, and between man and his insulted and offended Maker. Hence, prophecy foretold that, in His days there should be abundance of peace; that, in His reign, justice and mercy should meet together, righteousness and peace Should embrace each other; that the chastisement of our peace should be on Him; that He should be the peace; and that, of the increase of His peace there should be no end.
II. PRACTICAL LESSONS.
1. Hold fast the divinity of Christ.
2. How great is the sin and how fearful is the condition of those who reject the Saviour. He is "the Wonderful" — the admired of God, of angels, and of saints; and yet He has no attractions for you. He is "the Counsellor"; and yet you never "wait for His counsel," but follow your own vain imaginations. He is "the Mighty God"; and yet you trample on His authority, defy His power, and risk His awful displeasure. He is "the Father of Eternity"; and yet you seek no place in His heavenly family, and are in imminent danger of being forever banished from His presence, and the glory of His power. He is "the Prince of Peace"; and yet you voluntarily live in a state of hostility to Him and His kingdom, and refuse to be reconciled by the blood of His Cross.
3. How secure and happy is the state of believers.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.