Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds a passage in Isaiah's prophecy dealing with the Messiah as part of the Trinity.
[Prayer] Let us begin with a word of prayer. Father, we thank Thee for the opportunity that is before us again this Monday night. We thank Thee for the word of God and most of all; we thank Thee for the One of whom it speaks, our great Emmanuel, who is our Wonderful Counselor, our Mighty God, our Everlasting Father and our Prince of Peace. And may Lord, as we look into the word tonight, the needs of our hearts be met and also of our minds and we pray that the truth that we receive may find expression in our daily life. We commit to Thee the needs that exist in the hearts of each one present and pray that He who is our Mighty God may minister to our needs for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
[Message] Now, we are turning tonight to Isaiah chapter 9 verses 1 through 7 and we are inserting a study in our series because this section just has so much that it is impossible to cover it in one time so the subject for tonight is the third in the series on the Book of Emmanuel, a little series within our Isaiah series, the Child who is a Father. One of the great Old Testament concepts is that of the name which to us is merely a personal label. We, of course, when we think of a person’s name is…we think of this as just a means whereby he is identified.
But in the Bible, the concept of the name is something different. I think we could sum up the biblical teaching in three statements. The name is the person. It is not simply a personal label. It is the person. For example, when you turn over to chapter 30 and read verse 27 with me. Verse 27 reads: “Behold, the name of the Lord cometh from far, burning with his anger and the burden of it is heavy: his lips are full of indignation and his tongue like a devouring fire.” The name is the person.
The second thing that we can say is that the name is the person revealed. It is not only the person but it is that person revealed. And then thirdly, the name is the person actively present. So the idea of the name in the Bible is an idea that is quite different from our Western manner of speaking. As I said to you when we were discussing the name Immanuel, my name has utterly no connection with its meaning. Luis means a mighty warrior but I am not a mighty warrior. That is merely a label whereby I am known. No one observed me fighting and said, “He ought to be called Louis, a mighty warrior.” In fact, I wonder if it was not a joke. I did not know that really it was just a personal label. It happened to be my father’s name. Perhaps down the line somewhere, there was a mighty warrior. I hope there was one. I have always said that there is no family tree that does not need spraying or pruning and I am sure that mine is like that but I do hope that there is one person down that line somewhere who could qualify as a mighty warrior.
This past weekend, I was in Mexico speaking to over a hundred missionaries for the weekend and during the course of the time there, I had a little talk with John Dale who is the director of the Mexican Indian Mission and an old friend of mine; and we were discussing the concept of the face among the Mexican Indians. And he said that the Mexican Indians have a concept of the face and the losing of face that is very similar to the Oriental’s concept. And then he went on to say something that was very interesting, I thought.
He said that when an Indian child in some of the tribes that he knows is born, that child is spoken of and thought of as having no face. In other words, the face of the child is something that develops out of the child’s life and experience and consequently becomes to be known in a certain way as he develops in his life. But when he is born, he has no face. That is why the Indians are very careful about their face. They do not like to lose face. It is something they spend their whole life developing. And I asked John could that have any connection whatsoever with the biblical idea of the name.
In other words, as you know in the Old Testament, the name very frequently is a revelation of the person. Isaiah’s name means the salvation of Jehovah and he is a prophet who preeminently speaks of the salvation of Jehovah. Jesus is a name that means Jehovah’s salvation and He, of course, is Jehovah’s salvation and so on. And he said perhaps it is true that the name was something that developed out of experience.
Now, of course, we know from the Bible that in many cases, God anticipated the experience of that individual and prophetically gave him a name to which he lived up. And occasionally, men and women gave their children names to which they lived up but then they gave them a prophetic inspiration. And I have often wondered, since so many of the names of the Old Testament have a direct relationship to the person, if perhaps there was some way in which they obtained that name by their life. But at any rate, this idea of the name is a very significant thing.
And of course, in Isaiah chapter 9 in verse 6, we have one of those unusual verses in which the names of the Messiah are all grouped together and the result is in Isaiah chapter 9 in verse 6, that we have more names of the Messiah crowded into one verse than we do anywhere else in all of the Bible. We read in the 6th verse: “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 Counselor (that comma after Wonderful, I think, should not be there), The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” And when I think of the name Jesus which is given our Lord in the New Testament, remember, by God Himself, it is a divinely chosen name, a divinely significant name. “Thou shall call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins.”
I would think that that name Jesus is probably the complete summary of all of these Old Testament names that are given to our Lord. He is Jesus. He is Jehovah’s salvation and to spell that out, he is Wonderful Counselor. He is Jehovah’s salvation in the sense that he is Wonderful Counselor. He is Jehovah’s salvation because he is the Mighty God. He is Jehovah’s salvation because he is the father of eternity or the everlasting father and he is Jehovah’s salvation because he is the prince of peace. And he is Jehovah’s salvation because he is Immanuel, God with us. In other words, all of the names of the Old Testament find their summation in Jesus, Jehovah’s salvation.
We will now to come to our context. You remember that Ahaz, Mr. King no faith, has rejected God’s counsel and he is leaning on the arm of the flesh, which is the nation, Assyria. Refusing God’s Saving Ministry expressed in chapter 8 verse 6 as the waters of Shiloh that goes softly, he and the land are to be inundated by the ministry of judgment. Spoken of in the 7th verse as the waters of the rivers strong and mighty even the King of Assyria. And so, since Ahaz is not willing to rest in the word of God, the judgment of God must come upon Judah and Israel.
And when the Assyrian comes down from the north, he is not only going to take Israel but he is going to come into the land of Judah itself and were it not for the fact that in Judah is the promise seed, our Lord Jesus Christ, Judah itself could be completely inundated too. But you noticed, as we said last time in the 8th verse, it says, “And he shall pass through Judah, he shall overflow and go over. He shall reach even to the neck.”
Now we know of course that Judah did finally did go into captivity, but in the captivity there was the remnant and it is the remnant that it is referred to here. God will not allow all of his promises that come to naught, he will not cast off his people but in the midst of the captivity, he is going to preserve a remnant, bring that remnant back into the land and ultimately by means of the remnant, Jesus Christ will come and through Jesus Christ, ultimately, the promises to Israel shall be fulfilled.
Now, the 8th chapter then ends on the note of judgment. You will notice the 22nd verse, “And they shall look unto the earth and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish and they shall be driven to darkness.” But now, in the 1st verse of the 9th chapter, if you did not have another version, you would not understand at all what the prophet is really saying. So I am going to read the 1st verse of the 9th chapter in the American Standard Version and I want you to notice that this 1st verse of the 9th chapter of the Book of Isaiah is a verse that gives Israel a great deal of hope.
Now, reading it in the Authorized Version, it reads, nevertheless, “The dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation. When at the first, he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali. And afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea beyond the Jordan in Galilee of the nations.
Now, does that make sense? It does not make sense, does it? But now in the American Standard Version, it reads like this, “But there shall be no gloom to her that was in anguish.” In the former time, now Isaiah of course is writing as a prophet and he means the time when Assyria comes down the present time. In the former time, he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali. Do you remember where Zebulun and Naphtali were in the land? Well, those tribes were settled in what is now known as Galilee, generally. So in the former time, he brought into contempt the land of Galilee.
But in the latter time, will he make it glorious? Our text reads half in that sense because he is writing as a prophet. Hath he made it glorious by the way of the sea beyond Jordan, the Galilee of the nations? In other words, the 1st verse of the 9th chapter gives Israel a great deal of hope, tells her, that while it is true that in the present time, the Assyrian is going to come and Israel is going into the darkness of captivity and divine judgment, the time is coming in the latter days in which he is going to visit Galilee of the Gentiles with the glory of God.
So the 1st verse then is a first of great hope for Israel. So he has passed from sarcasm to pity to hope and now he will move on to triumph. The mutilated nation is going to become a multiplied one. It is almost as if you were looking at a storm on an afternoon. And as you heard, as you observed the storm out of your window, you notice the flashing of the lightning and the thunder clouds and the darkness, but off in the distance you could see the sun shining. And it is just in this way that the prophet looks into the future. He sees the storm of divine discipline that is going to fall upon the nation. He sees the lightning of God’s chastisements but in spite of these looking off into the future, he sees the sun shining with the glorious Messianic promises, which have been given, and which are to be fulfilled in the future.
Now notice the 2nd verse, the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light. They that dwell in the land of the shadow of death upon them hath the light shine. Darkness is within Galilee at the present time. Darkness is without Galilee for the Assyrian is coming down upon the land but the light is to come. Do you know this concept of the light and the light to come is one of the great ones of the New Testament. Will you turn with me to the 1st chapter of the Gospel of Luke and let us read a few verses from Zechariah’s benedictus. Luke chapter 1 and verse 76. Zechariah, the priest, filled with the Holy Spirit utters prophecy and in the midst of this prophecy concerning John the Baptist. We read in the 76th verse of Luke chapter 1, “And thou, child shall be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God whereby the day spring from on high hath visited us to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death to guide our feet into the way of peace. In other words, Zechariah prophesies that the John the Baptist is going to be one who shall go before the Lord, he shall prepare his way in order that the light that is to shine upon Israel may come.
Now let us turn over to Matthew chapter 4, and read verses 12 through 16. For here, Matthew alludes to our passage in the Book of Isaiah. Matthew chapter 4 verse 12 through verse 16. Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee and leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum which is upon the sea coast in the borders of Zebulon and Naphtali. Notice those words, in the borders of Zebulon and Naphtali. If you are reading the Bible now and remember the Bible is the Old Testament and we are comparing Scripture and you are following the ministry of the Lord Jesus that would have immediately suggested to you that passage from Isaiah and Matthew comments that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the Prophet saying, the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphthali by the way of the sea beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who sat in darkness saw a great light and to them who sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up. In other words, Matthew, as he looks at the ministry of the Lord Jesus and sees him coming in his ministry and to begin his ministry in Galilee, he sees this as the fulfillment of the passage in Isaiah chapter 9; the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light. They that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them have the light shine.
And then our Lord Jesus, in harmony with this, remember at the feast of the tabernacles, when he stood up at that great feast he said words that expressly stated that he regarded himself as the light that God had promised in the Old Testament. Remember in that great feast, there were two important ceremonies in it. One of them, they both occurred at the time of the Feast of the Tabernacle. One of them was when the priests went and took the pitcher to the pool of Siloam, took the water from the pool of Siloam and in a ritualistic procession came back into the temple area and poured this out at the base of the altar. And remember it is then that John says in his gospel that Jesus stood and cried with a loud voice, “If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink!” And by that statement, he claimed to be the rock out of which the water came in the Old Testament, by which Israel’s thirst was assuaged because that ceremony was designed to represent that experience in the wilderness when the rock was smitten and water came out of it.
But then in the night of the feast of tabernacles, they also had on the temple area during this time, giant candelabra. And when these candelabra were lit, it is then that Jesus stood to. And he said, “I am the light of the world. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” In other words, he claimed to be the pillar of fire by which Israel was led through the wilderness – the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud. That concept of the light, by the way light is a gift of God, but that concept of the light is associated with the blessing of God. It is associated with salvation. And it finds its ultimate fulfillment in our Lord Jesus himself. So when the ministry of the Lord began in Galilee, it is there and then that Matthew pinpoints the fulfillment of the Isaiah passage: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.”
Now he describes this light and the blessing that it is to bring. “Thou hast multiplied the nation and increased the joy,” my text reads. Thou hast multiplied the nation because as a result of the coming of the light, ultimately a great enlargement of the nation Israel shall take place. Now you can see from this of course, that we have not yet reached the fulfillment of this. Israel now is just the reverse. Israel has experienced some great diminishing of her number. I do not know how many millions the Germans destroyed of Israel, of course. But the time is coming when out of the kingdom that is to come; Israel is to be greatly enlarged. He says, “Thou hast multiplied the nation and increase the joy. They rejoiced before Thee according to the joy in the harvest, and as men rejoiced when they divide the spoil. For thou hast broken the burden, the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor as in the day of Midian.”
Now again there is an allusion to an incident in the Bible and of course the incident is Gideon’s great victory over the Midianites. And the way in which he accomplished it was by the supernatural power of God. And so here there is prophesied that in the future when the Messiah comes to establish his kingdom, there is going to be a great victory that is a victory just as Gideon obtained in that ancient time. He says in the 5th verse, “For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise and garments rolled in blood, but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.” In other words, all of the accouterments of warfare are burned leading to great peace.
I have hastened over this because this is a little difficult and perhaps if you are little confused, well then that is all right. The point that the author is trying to get over is simply this, that there is going to be great future blessing and it is going to be a blessing that comes supernaturally just as Gideon was enabled supernaturally to bring a victory over the many Midianites that faced Israel many years ago. Now there is a question that arrives as right at this point as you read the book of Isaiah and it is an important question, it is one that he is going to answer here in verses 6 and 7, it is this, “Who is the great hero, Gideon’s antitype, through whom all these wonderful blessing for Israel is going to take place? Who is the great hero? Who is the great Gideon to come, who shall supernaturally deliver Israel when they are at the point of defeat just as the Midianites who finally outnumbered those 300 who were under Gideon by those tremendous odds? Who is this great person who is going to accomplish this wonderful victory?
Now verses 6 and 7 tell us that, “For unto us, a child is born, unto us a son is given.” In other words, the Assyrian line and the Satanic coalition of the last days is going to be destroyed by a child who is born of a virgin. Now that is precisely what Isaiah is saying at this point. “For unto us, a child is born, unto us a son is given.” Now will you look back at chapter 7 verse 14 again? “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Now notice, the son or the child of the virgin is now further identified as one whose name is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. And as we go through the Book of Isaiah, we are going to see that as Isaiah continues his story, he is going to tell us more and more things about this child who is to be the Messianic deliverer. But I think it is tremendously interesting to realize that the Assyrian who came down to inundate the land of Israel is the illustration of the king of the north in the last days who is identified with the antichrist and his forces who will come down again on the last days into Israel and just as they are about to overthrow, take the city of Jerusalem, actually enter into the city and are defeated within the city itself, that person is there, overthrown, according to Scripture by a lamb.
You know in the Book of Revelation, in the 14th verse, it is stated that, “The antichrist, with the kings of the earth, make war with the Lamb and the Lamb overcomes them.” Now this great wild beast, the figure of the antichrist, is overcome by a meek and gentle lamb. Now that is always the spirit of the word of God. And here, the great Assyrian line is defeated by a little infant, a child. “For unto us, a child is born.” Now let us look at these words because there is a tremendous amount of truth in them. The first thing I want you to notice is that in the 6th verse it states, “The child is born, but the Son is given.”
Now I do not believe that this is written accidentally. The child is born, the son is given. It is not the son that is born or the child that is given, it is the child that is born, it is the son that is given. You see the first expression, “The child is born” is an expression that looks at him as a man in his relation to men. Just as we are born so he is born. Our Lord’s human nature comes into existence as our human nature comes into existence.
We often speak of the doctrine of the virgin birth. It would be more correct to speak of the doctrine of the virgin conception and of the natural birth of our Lord. Because you see, our Lord was conceived of the Holy Ghost as the Apostles’ Creed puts it. But he was born as other men are born. So even in his birth he entered into the experiences of humanity. It is the child that is born, his relationship to men, his humanity. He is what we are apart from sin. But then the text states that the Son is given. This is his relationship to God. He was the eternal son and he is given to men, or as John expresses it elsewhere in the New Testament and Paul too, it is the Son who is sent into the world. So it is very, very accurate language and I think that Isaiah has got his theology so straight that we could have passed him at Dallas Theological Seminary. For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given.
Now a child, he is in just a moment called a descendant of David. But he is at the same time, the Son, who is the descendant of God. In fact, he is God’s unique son. It is interesting that in the Epistle to the Hebrews, it is the divine sonship of the Lord Jesus that form some of the greatest truth in that wonderful Epistle. And so here, Jesus is the Son of God, that is, he is divine.
Sometime ago, I ran across a great statement of our Lord, written a long time ago by Horace Bushnell and I would like to read it to you. He said, “Take the range if you will, of all the great philosophers and saints and choose out one that is most competent. Or if, perchance some one of you may imagine that he is himself about upon a level with Jesus…let him come forward in this trial and say, “Follow me” – “be worthy of me” – “I am the light of the world” – “ye are from beneath, I am from above” – “behold a greater than Solomon is here.”
Suppose I should begin my lessons at night and say, “Now I want you to be very quiet tonight while I teach God’s word. Behold a greater than Solomon is here. Oh, you would laugh and the elders of Believer’s Chapel would be very much upset and disturbed. They would think that Dr. Johnson has gone around the bend, turned the corner somewhere. Mr. Bushnell continues, “Take all these transcendent assumptions and see how soon your glory will be sifted out of you by the detective gaze, and darkened by the contempt of mankind!” Why not? Is not the challenge fair? Do you not tell us that you can say as divine things as he?
And there are many who say almost that same thing when they say that Jesus is just a man. “Is it not in you too, of course, to do what is human? Are you not in the front rank of human developments? Do you not rejoice in the power to rectify many mistakes and error in the words of Jesus? Give us then this one experiment and see if it does not prove to you a truth that is of some consequence; namely, that you are a man, and that Jesus Christ is more.”
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, the divine son of God. Jesus Christ is absolutely alone. He is an amazing person. He is a person who comes among men and points out men’s sins but acknowledges no sin on his part. He is a man who comes and says to men that you must repent. But he does not repent. He tells us that we are sick, and that he is the good physician. He tells us that we are sinners and not only that he is not a sinner, but that he is the Savior. He tells us that we are sheep, and he says that he is the good shepherd. If Jesus Christ is not really what he claims to be, he’s a madman. And he is not one that we can follow.
So, unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. And notice, the government shall be upon his shoulder. Isn’t this an amazing thing? You know I read today in our newspaper, our Dallas Morning News, something about Prince Charlie. And the title of this article was “Royalty’s burdens coming to Charles.” The quiet years are running out for Prince Charles, Britain’s future king. Charles, a shy youth with a taste for cello playing, celebrates his 20th birthday, November the 14th, and embarks on a new and tougher royal role. It goes on to describe some of the things that are going to happen to him. Some of the mistakes he has already made and some of the things they are trying to get into his apparently unscholarly head in preparation for the days that are ahead.
And finally, at the end of the article, it says this, “Some observers of royalty predict that Queen Elizabeth, who is 42, and could hold on to the crown into ripe old age like her great, great grandmother Queen Victoria. Others say she might step aside for Charles within a few years.” Many Britons feel that Charles, just leaving his teens, has been too shielded from the world and needs much more experience before obtaining kingly stature. You know, if we were living in the old days and Charles really was the ruler in England, England should be greatly disturbed. Because of course it is a very, very sad thing for a child to come to the throne.
In fact, Isaiah in the 3rd chapter in the 4th verse of his prophecy, if you look there for just a moment, you will notice that he has invade against child rulers. He has said in the 4th verse, “And I will give children to be their prince’s and babes shall rule over them.” In other words, if you want to destroy a land, if you want to bring judgment upon it, then bring an infant to the throne. And if you know anything human history, you know how true that is, that when babes and infants come to the throne, then the country is really in trouble.
Now, we have had a lot of babes on the throne in the United States who are grown men but they are babes nevertheless, but think how terrible it would be to have a baby on the throne. And yet that is precisely what Isaiah says concerning Jesus Christ. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given and the government shall be upon his shoulder. But this child ruler is God’s perfect ruler because he is the mighty God, a mighty God. LBJ and others talk about the presidency being the loneliest office in the world. But here is a little infant who can wear all of the burdens on it in such a way that no one need ever have a worry in the kingdom in which he rules. The government shall be upon his shoulder. I like that.
Now then, he goes on to speak about his name and what a marvelous expansion of Immanuel we find in the 6th verse. Probably there are four names here in spite of the five, as punctuated in your Authorized Version. And you will notice that these names are very carefully chosen. Isaiah was a real scholar and student of the word of God. We sometimes think that Paul is the great theologian of the Christian religion. I am not going to dispute with that because the New Testament is God’s final revelation. And it is only to be expected that the things that God gave Paul should be things with a great deal more depth and clarity than the things we have in the Old Testament. But I want to tell you that the Apostle Paul was a great admirer of Isaiah, as you can tell from his use of the prophecy. And the more I read this prophecy, the more remarkable this man’s prophecy becomes.
And I do think that if Paul is the theologian of the New Testament, Isaiah is the theologian of the Old Testament. And now, notice these terms and notice how they fit together. In each one of these expressions, there is a word that refers to humanity and a word that refers to the deity. Wonderful deity. Counselor. Humanity. Now, the mighty God really means a hero of a god. So, hero – humanity, God –deity. The Father of eternity. Father — Humanity. Eternity — Deity. And the Prince of Peace.
And so, in these expressions, they are carefully chosen to express the two full nature of this king. He is a child who is born but he is a son who is given. He is wonderful, but he is a counselor. He is a God of a hero. He is the father of eternity. He is the Prince of Peace. And altogether, they stress the adequacy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, let us talk about them for just a moment. First one, Wonderful Counselor. If you think of our Lord as wonderful, think of him as wonderful in the past, wonderful in the present, wonderful in the future. If you were to go up to an old man of 80 years of age, think what an experience that man if wise would have had. And think how much he could communicate to you. And then as you think about this man, think of the trees under which he may be sitting. And if they are ancient trees, then they could give you a great deal more of human experience.
And if you were able to speak to the ground which has nourished the trees for hundreds of years, they could tell you a great deal more, and so on. If you could speak ultimately to the stars, they would tell you a great deal of human history and all of human wisdom. But Jesus Christ is beyond the stars. He is beyond the creation. He is beyond man. He is beyond all of the ministry and wisdom of men. He is the wonderful counselor. Wonderful in the past for he is the eternal one. He had no beginning.
As you know, you can go down all through the ministry of our Lord. He was wonderful in his birth. He was wonderful in his ministry. He was wonderful above all in his death. And he was wonderful in his resurrection and he was wonderful in his ascension. All of these great events expressed the supernatural character of our Lord Jesus. You know this word which is used here, translated here “Wonderful” is the Hebrew word pele. Now, this word has a root that is used in several places in the Old Testament and often it is a word that refers to deity.
Now, did you get that down? Let us just put it this way, just to make it easy, pele. This word is a word that suggests deity, wonderful. In fact, the word itself connotes the idea of the supernatural, a wonder. It is the word by the way that is used back a word very closely related to it, the same root is found back in Judges chapter 13 and verse 18. Will you turn there for just a moment, Judges chapter 13 and verse 18? Do you remember the story of Samson and the story of how Manoah, his father, had a visit from the angel of the Lord and in verse 15 of the Book of Judges, we read, “And Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee. And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy food: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the LORD.” For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the Lord. And the angel is careful to tell him he must offer it unto the Lord and not offer it falsely, not knowing who he was.
It is the same thing that our Lord said to the rich young ruler. You know when he came to them and he said, spoke to him about being a good man, a good master, and Jesus said to them, “Why call this family good?” There is one good and that is God. It is a mistake to call me good if you do not know that I am God.
And so here, and then we read, “Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord, ‘What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honor’,” with thy name, not what your personal labor, remember, but your character. Who really are you basically? And the angel of the Lord said unto him, “Why askest thou thus after me seeing it is wonderful! That is my name. Wonderful! Pele.
Now then notice what happens. So Manoah took a kid with a meal offering and offered it upon a rock unto the Lord and the angel did wondrously and Manoah and his wife looked on for it came to pass when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar that the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar and Manoah and his wife looked on and fell on their faces to the ground. But the angel of the Lord did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the Lord. And Manoah said unto his wife, we shall surely die for we have seen God. God; the angel of the Lord.
You see, it did become evident to Manoah that he had really seen God and he knew that Old Testament passage that said that, “There is no man that have seen my face that shall live”. What was his name? Wonderful. It was Jesus in his pre-incarnate glory. It was a Theophany, an appearance of God. Wonderful Counselor, the supernatural counselor. Wonderful in the present. You know it is a wonderful to have a wonder of a counselor because in the trials of life, it is he who can really sustain.
A few weeks ago, I stood by the grave side of a little girl, three months old. And I looked at a Christian family. And there were tears in their eyes. And I looked at their friends, their Christian friends. And there were tears in their eyes, but there was something deep down underneath that sustained. It was this Wonderful Counselor. Tomorrow afternoon, I shall stand by a grave side in Birmingham, Alabama, 3 o’clock, the Lord willing. And there are going to be tears and there is going to be a lot of question. There is a little boy, 14 years of age, left without a father, the only child and there is probably going to be some question about the future. How are we going to get along? But there is faith in this Wonderful Counselor there. And I know that amid the tears and amid the questioning and amid the puzzlement, there is going to be something that will sustain. And it is not a thing, it is a person. Wonderful Counselor and he will do supernaturally. He will sustain, and he will strengthen, and he will gird up because he is just that, Wonderful Counselor.
You know, I am so glad we have a counselor too. Jesus does not need any cabinet. He does not need any Congress. He does not need any Abe Fortus to whom he can appeal. He is his own Congress. He is his own cabinet. He keeps counsel with the counsels of eternity. And he is the supernatural counselor. Let me tell you this too Christians, that if you want advice that you can really count upon, that you can really afford to take, go to this wonderful counselor. Wonderful in the past, wonderful in the present, and wonderful in the future and when the moon turns to blood and the elements in the heaven are swimming and reeling with the judgment of God, it is this Wonderful Counselor who shall bring order out of that chaotic judgment that is to come.
Now the text says, “The mighty God.” Edward Young translates it, a God of a hero. That is a hero who has the characteristics of God. El Gibor, God the mighty one. You know, it is an amazing thing, but some men have attempted to read this text, as if it were a reference to a man. Think of it. As if it was just a divine hero. But let me shatter that, for once and for all, the word El in the Book of Isaiah never means anything but God. El can mean something other than God. But in the Book of Isaiah it never means anything other than God and when you turn into the 10th chapter in the 21st verse. I will read verse 25, you find it, “And it shall come to pass on that day that the remnant of Israel in such has have escaped at the house of Jacob shall no more again lean upon him who smote them but shall lean upon the lord, the Holy One of Israel in truth. The remnant shall return even the remnant of Jacob unto the mighty God. There it is the same expression, El Gibor, but this time he is identified as the Lord, the Mighty God.
You know, when I see something like this, I am just, I must confess that sometimes I cannot understand how it is possible for a man who would claim to follow the Word of God who then say it that Jesus is not God. As a matter of fact, I think it is much more serious than that of course. I think to deny our Lord Jesus Christ; to deny that He is God is utter folly. And let me also say this, that a Unitarian who comes to me and says to me, “Louis, now, do not get too excited.” You are getting all perturbed. It is all right for you to believe he is God, but let me not believe He is God and give me the right hand of Christian fellowship. I cannot do that.
You know why? Because in reality, he has accused me of idolatry. He is not really God but you can regard him as God if you want to. You can play idolatries if you wish. I cannot do that. Is he the God or is not God? And if he is God, then I will worship him as God. And I cannot extend the right hand of Christian fellowship to a man who does not acknowledge that my Lord is God. If he is really not God then if he is God then I do not regard him as God, I am guilty of what all idolators and others have done, they have in their own minds, killed God.
And let me also say this, “That if Jesus Christ is not really God as he claimed to be then Mohammed is a better teacher, for Mohammed at least said, “There is one God and Mohammed is his prophet”. And if Jesus is not God then I must revere Mohammed more than I do Jesus. But I do not because I know that Jesus is God and if he is God then the truth of the exclusiveness of his deity is an important truth of the Christian faith and that is why in Christianity, we cannot allow ourselves to polygamy or worshipping false gods. We must worship him and him only. He said I am the way, the truth, and the life. An exclusive way, there is no other way for our Lord’s way. But if he is the wonderful counselor, the mighty God then I can go to him and all you sinners, you can go to him too. You must hurry; these are great terms, aren’t they?
The everlasting Father, the Father of eternity, isn’t it interesting? The infinite is an infant. The infant is infinite. Unto us a child is born and he is the father of eternity. Amazing isn’t it? Utterly nonsensical, if our Lord is not referred to. An infinite…an infant who is the infinite. One who is the parent of eternity, the father of eternity, the parent of eternity and yet he is a little babe in the manger. I have often said to you when Jesus was put in that manger, he was no newcomer to this human scene, the father of eternity.
Now do not confuse what Isaiah is saying. He is not saying that Jesus is the Father. He is talking about his relationship to us, not his relationship within the counsel of the Trinity. In the Trinity, the Father is Father, the Son is Son, the Spirit is the Spirit but when he speaks of him as the father of Eternity, he is speaking of him in relationship to us. He is the life giver. He is the parent of Eternity. He is the one who gives life to us and in that sense he is a father of that which is eternal.
You know what that means? That means that when we get to heaven, or when we come into the kingdom of the Lord, we are not going to be in the elections every four years as to who is going to be king. You do not have to sit up for three, four o’clock at night to figure out how this thing is going to come out. Boy, you know at 2 o’clock, my eyes began to get like this and at 3 o’clock and finally, I could not…my body was saying, “No! No! No!” My mind was saying,” Yes! Yes! Yes!” And so I left the TV on and went to bed and turned it up so I could hear it and fitfully slept for three hours. I jumped up and we were at the same place we had been at 3 o’clock before. There are not going to be any elections in the eternity and I am so happy because there is just one man and the text adds the fourth name, the Prince of Peace.
No Vietnams to worry about, no mistakes, no blunders. The Prince of Peace now he says of the increase of his government in peace there shall be no end upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom to order it and to establish it with justice and righteousness from henceforth even forever and of course the reason that our Lord’s kingdom is forever is because the kingdom is ultimately merged into the eternal state. And thus that kingdom is extended on into eternity. Thus, it is forever that he reigns.
Paul gives us some additional facts in the New Testament. He says that Jesus delivers up the kingdom to the father, that God maybe all in all and so as God in the Trinity he with the father and the son reign on throughout eternity. Do you have any doubt about this coming to pass? Do you think it can come to pass? Do you think that our Lord can come into this human scene and transform it and establish our kingdom upon the earth in the midst of all of these chaos that we found ourselves in and also that which is to be which will be even greater.
Do you think that God can interrupt this human situation? Did you notice the last part of verse 7? The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. You need not worry about it. God is jealous to do it. That is the meaning of the Hebrew text by the way, that the jealousy of the Lord of Hosts will perform this and all of his power and all of his authority and all of his wisdom is pledged to the son, to the child, Immanuel, whose name is Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace and the Kingdom of David and it shall come to pass.
[Prayer] Let us close in prayer. Father, we thank Thee for these wonderful truths. We know Lord that we use the adjective, wonderful, for many things. There are many things that are not wonderful, but that adjective is well applied to him for that is what he is…Wonderful.