(9.) On Christ as the Everlasting Father

(9.) On Christ as the Everlasting Father

(9.) On Christ as the Everlasting Father.

“And Jesus was going about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. And seeing the multitudes, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matt. 9:35-36).

The journey from Isaiah 8 to Isaiah 9 describes the greatest miracle in the Bible. Going from spiritual darkness to the Great Light. From the absence of truth to truth incarnate. From walking in blindness to walking in the light. From spiritual ignorance to the light of wisdom from on high. From a time of hopeless grief to a time of celebration and rejoicing. From a world without the Messiah to a world with Him in the midst. About 700 years before its fulfillment, we hear about a child born who will be the light of the world, a son who will be given who will bear the government of the world on His shoulders. The Messiah’s rule will be eternal and upheld with justice and righteousness, Isaiah tells us. And the wonderful thing is, God really, really wants this to happen. This coming of the Messiah is not just of passing interest to the Lord. The “zeal of Yahweh” will accomplish this prophecy. God promised to pursue this Incarnation with great energy, with intense fervor, with passion and determination. God passionately desires that His Son would come into the world. And, as we know, God tends to get what He wants in due time.

In the middle of this prophetic word in Isaiah 9, we are offered four titles of the Messiah that end up being a fascinating character description. Isaiah wrote this well before the truth of the Triune God became well-defined. And so the titles here don’t necessarily reflect the roles of the Messiah in the Trinity as much as describe his character. There are various ways one could translate this passage. Nonetheless, these four titles are all true in the life of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father.

“Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (NKJV).

“Wonder-Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (NJB).

“The Mighty God is planning grace; the Eternal Father; a peaceable ruler.” (Tanakh, JPS).

“Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.” (NAB).

Another way of expressing the literal meanings might be:

Miraculous Advisor, Champion God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Wholeness. 

Another translation reads:

A Wonderful Counselor is the Mighty God! The Everlasting Father is a Prince of Peace! (Dr. Brian Simmons)

When Isaiah refers to Eternal Father, what kind of Father was he thinking of? This might be surprising, but the Father in the Hebrew Bible was recognized as being the Creator and the Maker; the Molder and the Shaper; the Protector and the Provider; the Redeemer; the Head of the household of the world. Most of all, the OT father was a person, or Person, of love and mercy… “Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.” (Ps. 103:13). In  the OT, the role of the father is not applied to an austere, distant taskmaster, a person who exists merely to punish or judge. The image of the father inevitably involves compassion and kindness. If Jesus is the Eternal Father, we couldn’t find a more apt title for Him. One reading of the gospels and we are convinced that Jesus, in this biblical sense, was fatherly in all He did.

The source of Jesus’ compassionate fatherliness was His divine intimacy with the Father. They shared the same character. Jesus loved others the way the Father loved Him, like a father. Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing, which was act like a father. Since all the Father’s fullness dwelt in Jesus, Jesus spilled over with the qualities of the Father. Jesus expressed the Father’s compassion, He reflected on earth the heart of the Father in heaven. Jesus represented the Father by doing what the Father wanted Him to do. Jesus was and is the Eternal Father because He is the exact visible image of the invisible Father. Jesus was fatherly, because if you’ve seen the Son, you’ve seen the Father. Jesus cared for His people the way the Father cares for His. Father-like, Jesus tends to His flock. For He is the Great Shepherd. He is the Eternal Father.

“There is no unfathering Christ, and there is no unchilding us. He is the Eternal Father to those who trust in Him.”  (Charles Spurgeon).