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 Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
George Frideric Handel (1685–1759) is famous for composing the music for “Messiah.” But when he wrote the “Hallelujah Chorus,” his health was poor, his right side was paralyzed, and all his money was gone. He was heavily in debt, and threatened with imprisonment. With all the odds stacked against him, Handel was tempted to give up. But his friend Charles Jennens had written a libretto (text for a long piece of vocal music) about the life of Christ and His work of redeeming us from our sins. The words were completely based on Scripture. Jennens asked Handel to compose the music and Handel completed the 260-page oratorio in just 24 days! It was his most famous work and it is still blessing millions today.1
Handel died on the day before Easter 1759, hoping to “meet his good God, his sweet Lord and Savior.” A close friend said that Handel lived and died as a Christ-follower. He trusted Christ alone for salvation and was ready to go home to be with Jesus.2 Isaiah 9:6 prophesies four names for Christ around 700 BC and these verses are included in Handel’s “Messiah.” Today, we want to look at the single name “Everlasting Father.”
No Trinitarian Confusion
At first pass, Jesus’ third name “Everlasting Father” seems puzzling. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is one God, not three. The three persons of the Trinity are alike in divine nature and perfections. Each person is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truthfulness. But the three Persons fulfill different functions in redeeming us:
|God the Father AUTHORS our salvation||He is our Ruler and Sovereign|
|God the Son ACCOMPLISHES our salvation by His living, dying, rising, and ongoing ministry||He is our Redeemer and Savior|
|God the Holy Spirit APPLIES all the benefits of salvation to Jesus’ followers||He is our Revealer, Regenerator, Renewer, Sealer, and Sanctifier|
So Isaiah 9:6 is not confused about the Holy Trinity, but God is telling us that Jesus is “father-like.” He is God the Son and also father-like in His love, patience, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. Isaiah wrote of Christ again later and says that Abraham and Israel were long dead, but God is our living Father, our Redeemer, famous from eternity!3 Moses taught that the Lord is our Father and Creator who made and formed us.4 These statements apply to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit equally, so they apply to Christ, the God-Man, our Deliverer.
When Isaiah 9:6 calls Jesus “Everlasting Father,” he means that God the Son is tender and merciful to us because He knows how finite and weak are. He remembers that we are only dust, fragile, needing His loving care forever.5
God’s Teaching in the Book of Hebrews
Hebrews chapter 1 teaches that Christ is God’s final prophet who reveals God to us. Jesus is the Creator Lord who came down from Heaven and added on humanity to His deity without subtracting anything. Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. And after Christ provided purification for our sins once for all time, He sat down on God’s throne in Heaven.6 That’s where Jesus is now and He will come again for us soon to complete His saving work.7 What a day that will be!
What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see
And I look upon His face, the one who saved me by His grace
When He takes me by the hand, and leads me through the Promised Land
What a day, glorious day that will be! (by Jim Hill, 1955)
Hebrews chapter 2 teaches that Jesus is the Pioneer and Perfecter of our salvation who brings many sons and daughters to glory, through His atoning death on the cross and His resurrection. Christ makes His people holy and is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters. He says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.”8 Believers are Jesus’ “children,” given to Him by God the Father.9 What could be more encouraging than that?
If we put these and other Scriptures together, we see that Jesus is our Creator, Savior, and Mediator. He is our Elder Brother who is father-like to us in His love. And He buys us back for God with His own blood and He will never let us perish. We are eternally secure in Christ. Hallelujah!
Jesus Is Father-like in Valuing, Accepting, and Caring for Us
One TV talk show host said that the #1 fear among all people is rejection. And the #1 need is acceptance. Maybe he’s right. We often value other people based on shallow, superficial things, instead of their character. We are too easily swayed by physical appearances. We over-value academic and athletic abilities, possessions and positions, instead of moral virtues. Christians used to believe that “Character is King,” the most important thing. But nowadays it seems we have forgotten that. 1 Samuel 16:7 says that people judge others by outward appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart. We shouldn’t be fickle and phony about approving people, but we are sometimes. The Lord never is.
Thanks be to God, beloved, Christ received us, simply because of His own free grace, not because of something about us or in us. He saves us because of His own goodness and mercy. Remember, we don’t gain Jesus’ favor by something we do, and we don’t maintain His acceptance by something we do, so we can’t lose His adoption by something we do or fail to do.
Ephesians 2:8-10 says: God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. (NLT)
To be continued. Please see Jesus: Our Everlasting Father (Part 2)
Notes (various translations): 1 Heard from Pastor Peter Marshall, Sr. (1902–1949) who served as Chaplain of the United States Senate. 2 “Christian History” magazine. 3 Isaiah 63:16. 4 Deut 32:6. 5 Psalm 103:14. 6 Heb 1:1-3. 7 Acts 1:9-11. 8 Heb 2:10-13, quoting Psalm 22:22 and Isaiah 8:17-18. 9 John 17:6.