Text: Isa 9:6
The relationship between the OT and NT is that of promise and fulfilment. See Mt 1:22; 2:5, 17, 23, 3:3; 4:14.
Here is one of the most celebrated of the Messianic prophecies.
‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’ The third of these is, perhaps, the most puzzling. In what sense is it possible to call the Son of God the “Everlasting Father”?
1. We expect a father to have children. Does Christ have children? Isa 8:18/Heb 2:13 – “Here am I, and the children God has given me”. Isa 53:10 – “He will see his offspring”. Now, as an ‘Everlasting Father’, the life that Christ gives to his offspring is an everlasting life. Jn 10:28, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”
2. We expect a father to resemble his children. Does Christ resemble his children? Heb 2:14 – Christ, the ‘author’ of our salvation, resembles us in our humanity: ‘Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity’.
But also, the children resemble the father. This is an ongoing process. The teaching of Paul (2 Cor 3:18) is that we ‘are being transformed into [Christ’s] likeness with ever-increasing glory.’ But it is also an eternal destiny: 1 Jn 3:2 ‘Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when [Christ] appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.’
3. We expect a father to love his children. Does Christ love his children? Jn 15:9 – “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” How has the Father loved the Son? – without measure, without change, and without end. It is an everlasting love. Rom 8:35ff ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’
Think of how it would be if these two words were missing from Isaiah’s prophecy; if we had a Wonderful Counsellor, a Mighty God, a Prince of Peace, but no Everlasting Father. What a revelation (for those who view God as distant and impersonal); what a consolation (for those who are feeling fatherless in this world); what an invitation (for those who are seeking the Saviour, but are unsure what kind of reception they will get)!