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A Child Is Born, A Son Is Given! - Part 2

Tom Pennington Isaiah 9:1-7


If I were to ask you what is the greatest military rescue in our lifetimes, what comes into your mind? There are a number of possible choices. I think the one that stands out for me is one that actually happened back in 1976. If you were alive at the time, you remember. Shortly after noon on Sunday June 27th 1976, an Air France airbus took off from Athens International Airport. A few minutes after takeoff, a man and a woman with hand grenades and pistols commandeered the flight and demanded that the pilot take the plane to an airport at Entebbe, the capital of Uganda. Uganda at that time had become a safe haven for terrorists under the protection and care of the madman and dictator Idi Amin. Once the plane had reached the airport there at Entebbe the hijackers eventually ended up releasing all of the international prisoners, keeping only the Jewish ones and then they made their demands. Their demands were that Israel and 4 other nations release 53 pro-Palestinian terrorists from prisons where they were held. And the demands were if that did not happen, then all 102 of the hostages would be killed.

For the next 8 days the tension mounted and unknown to the world a rescue plan was being created. On July 4, 1976, while we celebrated our bicentennial, Israeli commando’s under the command of Colonel Jonathan Netanyahu attempted one of the most daring and brilliant rescues in modern history. It was an amazing success. All but 3 of the 102 hostages were rescued alive and only one commando died. It was their leader Colonel Netanyahu; a sniper from the control tower shot him in the back as he was attempting to board the plane. Netanyahu was on a rescue mission, a rescue mission at great personal risk and as it turned out at great personal cost.

As I thought about that I was reminded that in reality that’s exactly how Jesus described the reason that He came to earth. The reason that we celebrate the Christmas season is because Jesus came to earth on a search and rescue mission. That’s how He Himself described it. In Luke’s gospel He said this, ‘the Son of Man has come to seek and to rescue that which was lost.’ Jesus came to earth on a rescue mission. 700 years before Jesus came the prophet Isaiah explained that a Rescuer would come. 700 years earlier he said, God is by nature a Rescuer and He will send someone, a Rescuer to rescue those who trust in Him. And that spiritual rescue will come through a person. Isaiah introduces us to that person in Isaiah chapter 7 verse 14, as Isaiah gives a prophecy, evil king, King Ahaz. He says, “the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” Immanuel which means ‘God with us.’

Within two years’ time of that prophecy, in chapter 7, Isaiah made another prophecy about this most unusual child, the child who would be born of a virgin and that prophecy comes in chapter 9 beginning in verse 1. We’re working our way through this amazing prophecy, we began last week, and we’ll look at it today and then Lord willing, next Sunday morning briefly in our Christmas service we’ll finish it up. But let me read it for you again, Isaiah chapter 9 verse 1,

“But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He will make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. You shall multiply the nation, you shall increase their gladness; they will be glad in Your presence as with the gladness of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian. For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult, and cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire. For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over His kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this.”

God will send a rescuer. And our rescuer this passage tells us will be a great King. And when He comes He will destroy the darkness of sin and all of its consequences with the light of His own presence and eventually He will establish an eternal kingdom of light and righteousness. What an amazing prophecy.

This prophecy comes to us in two distinct parts and last week we looked at the first part of this prophecy in the first two verses. Let me just remind you of what we saw last time. In verse’s 1 and 2 we saw that the light will shine in a most unexpected place; unexpected because it’s going to shine into the darkest of darkness. Specifically as we saw the darkness, Isaiah uses this image, this chiaroscuro of light and darkness comparing the two to illustrate the light that Jesus would be, but he begins with the darkness. And we looked at the darkness and its consequences. The darkness that he’s talking about, in context, and we looked at this in the early chapters of Isaiah and let me just remind you of it, but he’s contrasting the light with the darkness of idolatry that was part of the reign of Ahaz; with the darkness of willful ignorance of God’s word. The people according to the end of chapter 8, they had God’s word. They had the prophet Isaiah.

But instead of embracing that they looked everywhere else for God’s truth. They looked everywhere else for direction. They ignored the Scripture God had given them. It was the darkness of personal sin the prophet describes in graphic terms, the terrible sin of the people. And he calls it darkness, there were people living in the darkness of sin and of course the passage we just read in John 1 uses that same analogy. They lived in the darkness of divine judgment on sin because God had responded to their sin with judging them by bringing the nations around them to attack them. The Assyrians, eventually it would be the Babylonians and even later the Romans. God had brought the darkness of divine judgment upon them and Isaiah uses the image of darkness to describe that judgment at the end of chapter 8.

The darkness of defiant rebellion, how had they responded to God’s judgment on them, to the military defeat that He had brought? Chapter 8 says they cursed God. That’s how they responded. And chapter 8 ends by saying they walked in the gloom of the deepest darkness. So it was the darkness of sin and its consequences that was the darkness.

But verses 1 and 2 describe the light of truth and its messenger. Into that darkness comes the light. Into the despised and heavily Gentile area of Galilee, God causes a brilliant light to shine. As we learned last week, Matthew tells us in Matthew 4, that that prophecy of verses 1 and 2 was fulfilled by Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. Jesus was the light Isaiah prophesied.

Now that brings us today to the second part of Isaiah’s prophecy. The light will come in a most unusual person. We see this in verse’s 3 through 7. Eventually Isaiah is going to identify this rescuer for us. But he begins by telling us the effects of the rescue that He brings. When He comes, Isaiah says in verse 3, He will bring great joy to His people. Look at verse 3, “You shall multiply the nation, you shall increase their gladness; they will be glad in Your presence.” Verses 3 through 5 which seem not to fit in the context and I’m going to explain them to you briefly, but those verses promise that one day this future King that Isaiah’s talking about is going to free a remnant of Israel, a small remnant of Israel that has come to believe in her Messiah from every foreign power that has oppressed her. It’s a physical freedom that He’s promising. And He’s going to take that remnant, that small remnant of believers from Israel at that time and He’s going to multiply them into a great nation.

But notice that this passage is promising more than an Israeli military victory, because I want you to see the transformation. Look back at the end of chapter 8, here’s where we were at the end of chapter 8, the people of Israel were experiencing God’s judgment and because of that, verse 21, “they were enraged and they cursed their king and their God and as they face upward, and then they looked to the earth and behold distress and darkness, they were living in the gloom of anguish and driven away into darkness.” That’s where they were. They were living in sin and defiant rebellion of their God. And now in verse 3, look at verse 3 of chapter 9, ‘they will be glad in Your presence.’ That’s transformation. Sinners that at the end of chapter 8 lived in the gloom of darkness and sin and idolatry who cursed God are now glad in His presence. How does that transformation happen? The only way that sinners like the ones described at the end of chapter 8, can be filled with joy and gladness in God’s presence is if He not only deals with the consequences of their sin, but if He deals with the guilt of their sin as well. That’s what’s going on here. There is at one level the consequences, the military oppression that going on but the cause that lies beneath that is their sin that led God to bring it and God deals with both. God is going to deal with the guilt of their sin through this King.

Turn over to Isaiah 42 and you see this promise. Begin chapter 42 verse 1, here’s another way Isaiah refers to the Messiah, to this Son that’s going to be born. “Behold, My Servant,” the Servant of Yahweh, this is a prophecy of the Messiah. “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I put My Spirit upon Him:” He goes on to describe what He’s going to do, we’ll come back to that in a few minutes, but notice how he describes him in verse 6, still talking to the Messiah. “I am Yahweh, I have called You (the Messiah) in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, and I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations,” And here’s what You are going to do, it’s a spiritual ministry. You’re going to “open blind eyes to the truth, and You’re going to bring those who are prisoners because of their sin from the dungeon and those who dwell in darkness from the prison.” This is a spiritual prophecy.

In chapter 61, this prophecy is essentially repeated and Jesus preached from that text in the synagogue in Nazareth and He says I’ve come to bring sight to the blind and so forth. It was a spiritual ministry. And because of that, because of what God was going to do both with the guilt of their sin, and the consequences of their sin – they are filled with joy. Go back to Isaiah 9, verse 3, and look how this joy expresses itself. He gives two pictures of how overwhelming their joy is. Verse 3, “Their joy will be like the gladness of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.” When the light of the Messiah comes, people will be so filled with joy and response that it will be like the people in an agrarian society when they gather the harvest and it’s huge. It’s going to support them throughout the year and they don’t have to worry where their food’s coming from, they celebrate and they have a harvest festival. Or it’s going to be like those who have victory in war. You’ve been utterly victorious in war when your own homes and your own families were at stake and you’ve thoroughly defeated the enemy and you family and friends are no longer threatened and they’ve been so thoroughly defeated that never again in your lifetime will they be a threat to you or your family and those you love. Imagine what that celebration will be like. Isaiah says that’s what it’s going to be like.

Now why such joy? Well verse’s 4 through 7 explain the reasons for this overwhelming joy. Notice that verse 4, verse 5, and verse 6 all begin with the word ‘for’. Here are the reasons for this joy. Now really there aren’t 3 reasons though – there are 2 reasons. The first reason comes in verse’s 4 and 5 and it’s this, God is going to rescue a believing remnant from sin and its consequences. Look at verse 4. “For you shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulder, the rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian.” What’s that saying? It’s saying that the Messiah will bring all military oppression of the nation of Israel to an end. And how’s He going to do it? He’s going to do it just like happened at Midian. You remember the story of Gideon and the Midianites? How did God overcome the Midianites? Was it through the strength of Gideon’s army? No, He narrowed it down to 300. You’ve seen that story and read that story many times from childhood. Why? So that everyone could see that God was the One who saved them. Here, the point is that the Messiah is going to accomplish this without any human aid, just like Gideon did with the Midianites.

Verse 5, “For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult, and cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.” What does that mean? It means that the accoutrements of war will no longer be needed. The Messiah is going to bring an end to all war. In fact, war is going to become so obsolete that its armor and weapons are no longer necessary. The boots, probably the Assyrian boots here and their war cloaks can be burned. We don’t need those things anymore. In fact remember back in chapter 2, verse 4, this is a verse that’s often taken out of context, but it’s a great promise. Isaiah 2 verse 4, when the Messiah eventually sets up His reign, the middle of verse 4, “they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears in to pruning hooks.” They don’t need those things anymore because “nation will not lift up sword against nation and never again will they learn war.” The Messiah, there’s coming a day when He will bring all war to an end and there will be true peace on earth.

Now verse’s 4 and 5 back in chapter 9, verse’s 4 and 5 are referring to the consequences of Israel’s sin. Why was Israel under military oppression? Why? Because of their sin, it was because of their sin against God that God brought the Assyrians; He’d just brought them into the land. Someday in about 150 years He was going to bring the Babylonians and eventually He’d bring the Romans. Why did God bring all those against Israel, His people? Because of their sin. And so you have here God dealing with both their sin as well as the consequences of that sin, both levels. The day will come Isaiah says, when God will act in grace and He will deal with both the sin of His people and its consequences. To put it another way, the rescue that Messiah will bring is both physical for His nation, His people Israel, and spiritual for them and everyone else who will respond.

E J Young, the great commentator on Isaiah says the oppressor, verse’s 4 and 5 was the Assyrian enemy, but in a far deeper sense it was the bondage which sin itself had brought. So there’s physical rescue of the nation Israel promised in this passage, but there is spiritual rescue for those who will believe in the Messiah from sin and its consequences as well. You say is that really what the scripture is teaching? Let me show you this in the New Testament. Turn over to Luke chapter 1. The great poem of Zacharias. Zacharias you remember was the father of John who we eventually call John the Baptist. And after John’s birth Zacharias wrote a prophecy, a poem really in Luke 1 verse 67. “And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying;” Now what I want you to notice is that this poem is broken into two parts. The first part is that the Messiah is going to bring physical rescue for the nation Israel, and the second part is the Messiah is going to bring spiritual rescue for anyone who will believe in Him. Notice this, let’s start with the physical rescue, verse 68. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people.” What kind of redemption? “He’s raised up a horn of salvation for us” What kind of salvation? Now watch this, verse 70. “As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old” this is what I’m talking about Zacharias says, “salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, to show mercy toward our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to Abraham our father, to grant us (the Jewish people) that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.” There is physical rescue for the believing remnant of the nation Israel in the future.

But watch the spiritual rescue, he turns, he changes his song here in verse 76, and speaking to his son, John. “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways; to give to His people the knowledge of salvation” what kind of salvation? Still physical rescue from enemies? No, look at verse 77, “by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the (and here he borrows from Malachi’s prophecy) with which the Sunrise from on high (that’s Jesus) the Sunrise from on high will visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” So you see then, that the prophecy in Isaiah is pointing to both of those realities; to physical deliverance from the consequences of sin and to spiritual deliverance from sin itself.

So in Isaiah chapter 9, we’re talking about the gospel. At its heart, it’s the gospel. That’s what Paul says in Colossians 1 when he says, ‘God rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.’ It’s what Peter describes when he says of God, ‘He called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.’ Do you understand this juxtaposition of darkness and light? Do you understand that right now unbelievers live in darkness and if you’re a believer you lived in darkness and now God has brought you into the light. But unbelievers will always remain in darkness forever; not only the darkness of sin and ignorance, but the darkness of divine judgment.

You know we think of the passages about hell, we think of fire and rightly so, and so we think of light because that’s our experience but did you know that the bible describes the place of eternal suffering as a place of darkness. Jesus’s half-brother Jude writes this of unbelievers, ‘for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved forever.’ But Christ was sent to rescue us from the darkness of our sin, from the darkness of God’s judgment, the darkness of the consequences of our sin. He’s sent on a rescue mission for us.

You say that sounds too good to be true. Who’s going to accomplish that kind of rescue? How’s He going to do it? Well go back to Isaiah chapter 9 because the answer comes in verses 6 and 7. “God will rescue a believing remnant through a unique Child.” God’s going to rescue a believing remnant through a unique child. And here we come to the heart of Isaiah’s prophecy and the most familiar of all the Christmas prophecies. Now before we look at the two verses specifically, it’s important to understand that the events described in these two verses span thousands of years. That’s the way it often works with Old Testament prophecy.

You know, I love the mountains, and some of you do as well. We love going back to the Smoky Mountains in the western North Carolina area. Uh, we’ll do whatever we have to though; we’ll even go to the bumps up in Oklahoma if we have to, to see the mountains. And when you stand at a distance and you look at the mountains, what do you see? You see the peaks overlaying one another and they look from where you’re standing as if they’re touching each other. As if they’re standing right next to each other. When you see them at a distance you don’t see the valley’s and in some cases the large distances that stand between those peaks, you just see the peaks laid together. Often the Old Testament prophets looked out into the future in the same way. And all they saw were the mountain peaks events of history and not all of the time and events that come between those mountain peak events. That’s how it is with Isaiah 9 verse’s 6 and 7. They span thousands of years.

Notice at the beginning of verse 6, Isaiah mentions the birth of Christ. At the end of verse 6, the middle and end, he catapults to the end of human history, the second coming and the establishment of Jesus’ millennial kingdom. And in verse 7, he stretches into eternity future and Jesus’ eternal kingdom in a new heavens and a new earth. These two verses span thousands of years, because the focus isn’t really on the events themselves. The focus is on the person who brings these events to pass. And in these two verses Isaiah tells us so much about this unique person through whom God will rescue a remnant of earth’s people. In verse 6 we see his unique person, in verse 7 we see His unique reign. Today I want to look at verse 6 and his unique person and Lord willing next Sunday morning on Christmas morning we’ll look at this Kings unique reign.

But let’s look today at his unique person in verse 6. Notice what Isaiah tells us about this most unique person. First of all, He is a male child. Verse 6 begins, “For a child will be born to us.” The Hebrew word for child means a male child. It’s not just a generic word for child, but it’s specifically a male child. And this male child will be born. That is, he will have a normal human birth. You know we sometimes talk about the miracle of the virgin birth. That’s not really accurate. There was nothing miraculous about Jesus’ birth; it was a normal human birth. The miraculous thing was His conception, by a virgin. Jesus’ birth was a normal birth, just like ours. In fact you remember what the angels said to the shepherds in Luke 2, ‘today there has been born for you a Savior.’ He’s been born just like we were born. This child is going to be a male human child.

But notice this male human child is also going to be a divine Son. Look at the next expression. ‘A son will be given to us.’ Not only is this child going to be a male human, but He’s unique, He’s going to be given to us. There is a hint in that expression of what will be clearly said later in verse 6, that this child existed before His birth. It reminds me of what Gabriel said to Mary when he announced Jesus in Luke 1. He said, ‘the child will be great and will be called the son of the Most High.’ That’s a unique child. Do any of us want to name our children the son of the Most High God? But notice, it says a son will be given. It’s passive. The giver isn’t stated. This is what theologians call a divine passive because the giver is whom? God. God is in a unique way the giver of this son. This boy will be a gift of God’s grace to sinners. You know when I read that second expression in Isaiah 6 my mind immediately catapults to the most famous verse in all of scripture. The verse you memorized as a child if you’ve been raised around the Christian faith at all. “For God so loved the world,” what? “That He gave His only begotten Son.” A divine Son.

But there’s something else about this person, this unique person in verse 6, He will be a powerful King. Notice verse 6 says, “and the government will rest on His shoulders.” Literally the Hebrew says dominion will be on His shoulders. The power to rule, the right to rule will rest entirely on this person alone. He will exercise sovereign authority and lordship over everything and everyone. That’s what the psalmist said. Go back to Psalm 2. As much as 300 years before Isaiah wrote the psalmist said the same thing in Psalm 2. He’s talking about God and the Messiah, notice verse 2 of Psalm 2, “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against Yahweh and against His” whom? His anointed. Guess what that word is in Hebrew, Messiah. It’s the Messiah. And they don’t want anything to do with him, they don’t their restrictions. They don’t want to be told what to do. Verse 3, boy is that the world we live in. Let’s cut God out of creation so that we can live however we want.

But notice verse 6, God says, listen that doesn’t bother Me, “I have installed My king upon Zion.” He’s talking about the Messiah, His anointed One. I’ve made Him King. That’s what He’s saying. And verse 7, you have now a shift in who’s talking. Now the Messiah is talking. And notice what He says, “I will surely tell of the decree of Yahweh, Yahweh said to Me, (the Messiah, You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession.” God said to the Messiah, You’re getting everything and they will all be responsible to You and in fact verse 9 goes on to say, “You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.” God says You’re going to have absolute authority and those who resist Your authority and will not submit themselves to You, You will break them like a clay pot. Psalm 2 says this king is not merely going to rule over the tiny nation of Israel, He’s going to rule over all the nations of the world, over the entire universe.

Reminds me of what happens in the book of Revelations, you remember when the seventh angel blows his trumpet, John hears loud voices in heaven saying, ‘the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Messiah and He will reign forever and ever.’ Of course this will be completely fulfilled when Christ returns, but even now, today, Christ rules as King over an invisible kingdom, over His church and over every individual heart that submits to Him. He is the King. And some day He will be King of everything.

Isaiah goes on to describe His supernatural character. Not only will He be a powerful king but he tells us about His supernatural character. The rest of the verse, basically describes what His character is like. Notice the end of verse 6, “and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” His name will be called, that doesn’t mean that He’s going to actually have one of these as a label to which people use to refer to Him continually. In Matthew 1 the angel Gabriel told Joseph, “call His name (what?) Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.” His human name was to be Jesus. But these names here in Isaiah 9 describe His character. They so accurately described Him that it would acceptable and right to call Him by these names. These are completely true of Him.

And notice these four names not only describe His overarching rule over everything. This is how He is in all of His rule; they also describe His rule individually and personally over every human heart. This is who He is wherever He rules, whether it’s in your heart and mine, over His church, or over a future earthly millennial kingdom on this planet or eventually over a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness is at home. Wherever this King rules, this is His character. And although the primary focus of Isaiah 9 is on that future global physical kingdom; these qualities are just as true of Jesus in the spiritual kingdom over which He rules today. In other words let me make it more personal. This is how Christ responds to you personally if you belong to His kingdom, if He is your King. This is how He always is.

So what are His characteristics toward you and toward me? Isaiah captures His character in four amazing names. Notice first of all He is a Wonderful Counselor. Literally the Hebrew is He is a wonder of a Counselor. And the Hebrew word for wonder is a word which is used only of God and of His miracles. For example the miracles that He did to bring Israel out of Egypt, this word is used to describe them. The closest English word to this word wonderful is supernatural. He is a supernatural counselor. His wisdom is far above all human wisdom.

Over in Isaiah 11, Isaiah comes back to this, he describes the Messiah there and there the image is of a stump, it’s like Israel has been cut down by God, a might tree cut down and there’s just a stump. And out of that stump comes a little shoot. If you have a tree in your yard that you cut down and you’ve not dealt with the root, with the stump of it and cut it up and have it ground, then this sometimes happens. A little shoot comes back up. That’s what the Messiah is like. And notice how He’s described in verse 2, “The spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” He has amazing wisdom. He is a wonder of a Counselor to those who are His subjects.

You know we shouldn’t be surprised at that, I mean think about His qualifications. He knows you and me. In John 2, John says He knew all men; He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man. So He knows us, but not only does He know us, He’s experienced everything you and I have experienced except for sin. Hebrews chapter 2 says He was made like us in all things. Hebrews chapter 4, He was tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Not only does He know you, He has experienced everything you have experienced except for sin. And He has perfect wisdom to add to that. Colossians chapter 2 verse 3 says, “In Christ are hidden the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” He is a wonder of a Counselor.

Listen, have you ever found yourself in a point in life where you are confused and uncertain? Uncertain of what you ought to do? You feel like you’ve reached the end of your own wisdom? You don’t know where to turn or where to go? You’re ignorant about God and His ways and how you should be living? Listen you can come to this King and find wonderful counsel. He gives us knowledge for our ignorance. He gives us clarity for our confusion. He is a wonder of a Counselor. You say how do I get His counsel? Well there are two ways. One way is through His word.

In First Corinthians 2 verse 16, Paul says right here in this word, “we have the mind of Christ.” This is how He thinks and through this word He teaches us how to think. He gives us wonderful counsel, if we’ll look here instead of like the children of Israel did looking everywhere else. How often do we go everywhere else looking for counsel? Or worse yet, we don’t go anywhere looking for counsel but our own minds. I think the proverb is right that says, ‘he who has himself for a counselor, has a fool for a counselor.’ We find His wisdom, His counsel in His word.

We also ask, just ask. James 1 says if you find yourself in the middle of a trial in life, a difficulty in life and you are the subject of Christ, He is your King and he says, ‘if any man lacks wisdom’ what? Let him ask and he’ll receive because God gives generously of His wisdom. But what do we do? Oh, I can fix this. I can deal with this. Or we worry and we fret. Listen we have a wonder of a Counselor at our disposal, in His word, in prayer.

The second description of Him is Mighty God. Verse 6 says, ‘Mighty God.’ This title makes it clear that the Messiah, the coming King is not only going to be a human, a human male child, but He’s also going to be God. The human child is at the same time Mighty God. Of course this expression underscores the person of Christ, fully man and at the same time fully God. You say does this really call the Messiah God? Absolutely. Isaiah never uses the word translated God here, El is the word. He never uses it ever for anyone but God, the living and true God. In fact look over just one chapter in Isaiah 10, verse 20. Let him define it for you. “In that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped will never again rely on the (the people they did rely on, Assyria and the other nations) but they will truly rely on (who?) the LORD.” Notice the word Lord is in all caps, that’s God’s personal name, that’s Yahweh. Okay, now notice how else Yahweh is described, “the Holy One of Israel.” We’re talking about the one living and true God. Now watch verse 21, “A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob” and this time he doesn’t say to Yahweh, to the Holy One of Israel, but he says to whom? “The Mighty God.” Put an equal sign between Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, and Mighty God. Now go back to chapter 9. The Messiah, the King who’s coming will be rightly known as and called Mighty God. It’s not surprising though is it, I mean back in chapter 7 verse 14 he told us that the child who would be born of a virgin would be called Immanuel, meaning God with us.

The word mighty is an interesting word; it’s used in the Old Testament to describe warriors and heroes. It describes the kind of might that can overcome every obstacle. This is really encouraging, because not only is our King able to overcome our ignorance and our confusion with His wonderful counsel, but He has unlimited power to produce that counsel in our lives, in other words to change us. Often our problem isn’t our lack of knowledge, but we believe, the lack of power to do what we know we should do. Let me ask you personally, do you ever feel weak in the midst of temptation? Do you ever struggle to accomplish the most basic Christian duties? Things you know you ought to do, but you don’t. Listen, here’s your encouragement, our King, your King if you’re in Christ, is the Mighty God and His infinite resources of power are at your disposal. Sometimes we find ourselves wondering don’t we if in the light of our sin and the continuing struggle with sin if we’ll ever really make it? Will we ever really make it to heaven and God’s presence and to glory and to all that He’s promised? Listen, our King is the Mighty God and therefore as Hebrews says, ‘He is able to save forever all those who put their trust in Him.’ There’s no shortage of power with our King.

The third description of Him in verse 6 is Eternal Father. The Hebrew literally reads, the Father of Eternity. Now obviously that refers to the duration of His reign, it’s eternal. But there’s more to this phrase than that. We could paraphrase it like this; He is One who is eternally a Father. Now that doesn’t mean that Jesus becomes the first person of the trinity, God the Father. That’s not what’s being said here. Psalm 2 made it clear that He is eternally God’s, what? Son. What this is describing is that Christ’s attitude and disposition toward His people is that of a father. He forever acts toward us like a father; with concern, with compassion, He protects us, He provides for us. That same idea is communicated through a different metaphor over in Isaiah 40, look at chapter 40; I love this, in verse 9. Isaiah describes what happens when the Messiah returns, the second coming. “Here is your God!” the end of verse 9, look, tell the people, God’s here. “Behold, (here’s how He’ll come) He’ll come with might, His arm ruling for Him. His reward is with Him and His recompense before Him.” In other words, here’s the great Mighty God, but notice how He’ll respond to His own, look at the next verse. I love this. “Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm He will carry the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.” You see on the one hand unlimited power and on the other hand amazing gentleness and tenderness. That’s our God, that’s our King. He’s like a father to us. You see this even in Jesus’ earthly ministry. In Matthew and Mark, Jesus calls one of the paralytics He heals, child. He calls a sick woman He heals, daughter. You just see that tenderness. Jesus is like a father to us, the Messiah, our King is like a father to us.

You know I think we’re often afraid to think of Jesus that way. And sadly for some Christians this image has been marred by their earthly fathers who were sinful and even abusiveness. But fortunately in God’s goodness we all have someone in our acquaintance; someone whom we think of when we think of the image of a father, a good father, that person comes to mind. A person who loves their children and sets the right example and is all that a father should be. Think for a moment of that person and realize that that person is a mere shadow of the reality of how Jesus is towards you; incredible tenderness and love and comfort. Christ is eternally like a father to His people.

Notice there’s a fourth name He’s given, Prince of Peace. Most earthly rulers try to make a name for themselves, how? Through war, through conquering. But Jesus establishes His kingdom in peace. He will bring truly peace on earth. He has an unlimited capacity to bring peace and sustain peace on earth. That’s why back in chapter 2 people will not have to worry about war; they can beat their swords and spears into plowshares and pruning hooks, when He eventually arrives. Someday world peace will come under the Prince of Peace and only then.

But there’s more described in this title Prince of Peace. You remember what the angels said to the shepherds in Luke 2 when they announced His birth? They said, ‘On earth, peace among men on whom He shows His favor.’ In other words, spiritual peace between God and man. This prince would procure peace with God, the cessation of hostilities between us who are God’s enemies and God. And that’s throughout the scripture. Isaiah 53:5, “The chastening to secure our peace fell upon the Messiah on the cross.” Romans 5:1, “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 2:14, “For Christ Himself is our peace.” When the angel proclaimed peace on earth, it wasn’t primarily about world peace although that will come; he was talking about personal individual peace with God that grows out of a personal knowledge of the Prince of Peace. Our King has provided peace for us with God.

Listen if you want peace with God, if you want peace with the people around you. If your life is a life of conflict and turmoil, if you want peace of heart, which Isaiah later says ‘there is no peace for the wicked, they’re like the sea that’s constantly churning’ that’s their soul; if you want peace at any of those levels there’s only one person in the universe that can provide it – He is the Prince of Peace.

If you’re a Christian as we celebrate Christmas next week, understand that we are really celebrating the reality that a baby was born in Bethlehem who will become and who already is our King. And our King, has defeated sin and someday He will destroy sin and its consequences. He’s established peace between us and God, the war is over. How? How did He do that? Well Isaiah explains later in his prophecy in Isaiah 53 when he says, ‘all of us like sheep have gone astray, but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all, the sin of us all, the guilt of sin for all who will believe in Him, to strike Him.’ That’s how He did it. He lived a perfect life, the life you should have lived and then if you’re willing to believe in Him, He died in your place making peace. You see the wonderful Christmas prophecy in Isaiah 9 is actually the gospel.

But look at Isaiah 9:6 one last time. You notice for whom God does all of this? “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;” that is for our benefit. But here’s the $64,000 question, for whose benefit? Well Isaiah 53 the passage I quoted a moment ago where it talks about His death for sinners is followed in chapter 55 by this invitation. “Everyone who thirsts, come; you who have no money, come, buy and eat.” In other words, you don’t have to have anything. It’s not something you buy, it’s not something you earn, it’s something offered to you freely. Will you come? You say, how do I come? Well just a little later in that chapter he explains, listen to this, Isaiah 55:6, “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way” that is your predictable patterns of sinful behavior, be willing to turn from your sin. “The unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord.” If you will do that it says, “He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” There’s the key, if you are willing to repent of your sin and to submit yourself to this King that God sent to be a rescuer, put your confidence in His death as the rescuer for you then He will have been given for you and God will have given His unique Son, for you. Let’s pray together.

Father, thank You for this magnificent prophecy. Father this week I pray that in the midst of the busyness of this season and all the things that we so much enjoy help the truth of this passage and who it is we celebrate not to be choked out. Father let us not be distracted from this great truth. May our minds and hearts meditate on it, may we truly find ourselves adoring Him. We pray it in Jesus’ name. Amen.