Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Isaiah 9:6 - His Name Shall Be Called

Isaiah 9:5 - For a child is born unto us, a son is given unto us; and the government is upon his shoulder; and his name is called Pele-joez-el-gibbor-Abi-ad-sar-shalom; - Jewish Publication Society translation. (This is Isaiah 9:6 in most translations)

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even forever. The zeal of Yahweh of Hosts will perform this. -- World English Bible translation.

Isaiah 9:6 is often referred to as proof that Jesus is Yahweh (Jehovah). In reality, the idea has to be added to and read into what the prophecy states.

As we read it from the Jewish Publication Society's (JPS) rendering, we do not find any designation of Jesus as being "God". The JPS renders it via a transliteration of the "name." Most translations ignore that the verse is speaking a "name" (singular), and change the singular "name" to a series of names, with the evident design to make it appear that Jesus is being referrred to as "Mighty God" and "Everlasting Father", so that the idea that Jesus is Yahweh can then be read into this. If one recognizes this, then one can see how this argument is circular, saying, in effect, because we believe that this name is not really a singular name as it says it is, but rather a series of names that are applied to the Messiah, then we believe that since Jesus is called "Mighty God", then Jesus is Yahweh.

In reality, Isaiah 9:7 shows that it is Yahweh who is giving this son to Israel. The Holy Scriptures reveal that Yahweh (Jehovah), the only true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is also the God of Jesus. Jesus has One who is the Supreme Being over him; Jesus is not his Supreme Being whom he worships, prays to, and who sent him, and whose will he carried out in willful obedience. -- Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Matthew 4:4 (Deuteronomy 8:3; Luke 4:4); Matthew 4:7 (Deuteronomy 6:16); Matthew 4:10 (Exodus 20:3-5; Exodus 34:14; Deuteronomy 6:13,14; Deuteronomy 10:20; Luke 4:8); Matthew 22:29-40; Matthew 26:42; Matthew 27:46; Mark 10:6 (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:7,20-23); Mark 14:36; Mark 15:34; Luke 22:42; John 4:3; John 5:30; John 6:38; John 17:1,3; John 20:17; Romans 15:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 11:31; Ephesians 1:3,17; Hebrews 1:9; 10:7; 1 Peter 1:3; Revelation 2:7; Revelation 3:2,12.

Yahweh (Jehovah), by means of his holy spirit, shows us through the scriptures that Jesus was sent by Yahweh, speaks for Yahweh, represents Yahweh, and was raised and glorified by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jesus never claimed to be, nor do the scriptures ever present Jesus as, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whom Jesus represents and speaks for. -- Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Matthew 22:32; Matthew 23:39; Mark 11:9,10; Mark 12:26; Luke 13:35; Luke 20:37; John 3:2,17,32-35; John 4:34; John 5:19,30,36,43; John 6:57; John 7:16,28; John 8:26,28,38; John 10:25; John 12:49,50; John 14:10; John 15:15; John 17:8,26; John 20:17; Acts 2:22,34-36; Acts 3:13,22; Acts 5:30; Romans 15:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Corinthians 11:31; Colossians 1:3,15; Colossians 2:9-12; Hebrews 1:1-3; Revelation 1:1.

Usually, a singular name given to a person or thing is not given a translated meaning as a series of names, as has been done in Isaiah 9:6. The general trend is that a “name” such as this given to a human or a thing is describing attributes of God/Yahweh, and by giving such a name to a human or thing is not understood to designate the human or thing as being God/Yahweh. For example, when Jacob called a certain altar by the name, El-Elohe-Israel (Genesis 33:20), this could also be read as a series of "names", as most do in reading Isaiah 9:5, giving it the meaning: “God, The God, Israel.” Applying the same logic that most apply to Isaiah 9:6, we could then proclaim that this altar is God. In reality, such a "name" is meant to be understood as a sentence speaking of the God of Israel. Therefore, we should realize that he was not saying that the altar was “God,” or that the altar was “the God,” nor that the altar was Israel, but instead that the name of the altar was meant to say something about Jacob’s (Israel’s) God. Thus, this name is usually given a meaning something like: “God is the God of Israel,” or probably more likely, the first EL should be understood with the general meaning of might, strength, power, etc., thus: “Powerful is the God of Israel.”

So what about Isaiah 9:6? Likewise, the singular name should be understood as a sentence describing the God of Messiah rather than as a series of names that are applied to the Anointed of Yahweh. Some editions of the JPS give this name the following meaning: “Wonderful in counsel is God the Mighty, the everlasting Father, the Ruler of peace.” From this perspective, this singular name that is given to Messiah would be describing the only Most High, Yahweh, the Father of Messiah, not the Messiah himself.

But let us suppose that the phrase "El Gibbor" (Mighty God) is actually applied to Messiah, rather than to One who makes/anoints the Messiah. Would this mean that Jesus is Yahweh his God, the God who anointed and made him the Christ, the Messiah? (Psalm 45:7; Isaiah 61:1; Acts 2:36; 4:27; 10:38; Hebrews 1:9) Absolutely not! First, we should note that this name is not given to the Son of Yahweh until after he has been given by Yahweh to Israel. It has no application to Jesus in a pre-human existence.

In keeping with the rest of the scriptures, the application of the phrase "EL GIBBOR" to Messiah, usually rendered as "Mighty God", would only mean that the Anointed One is given power and might by the only true God. This usage is demonstrated by the King James Version rendering in the following verses: Genesis 23:6 (mighty); Genesis 30:8 (mighty); Genesis 31:29 (power); Deuteronomy 28:32 (might); 1 Samuel 14:15 (great); Nehemiah 5:5 (power); Psalm 8:5 (angels); Psalm 36:6 (great); Psalm 82:1 (mighty); Proverbs 3:27 (power); Psalm 29:1 (mighty); Ezekiel 32:21 (strong); Jonah 3:3 (exceeding). The expression "Mighty God" (el gibbor) is applicable to Jesus in a similar, but greater sense, as it was applicable to the Babylonish kings spoken of in Ezekiel 32:21, where the same expression in the plural is used. In that verse, the phrase is not translated as "Mighty Gods", but it is usually translated as something like, "The strong among the mighty." (King James Version) Applying a similar rendering to Isaiah 9:6 would give us "strong one among the mighty", or, if it is to be rendered as a separate title, "mighty one of power." Jesus is indeed a mighty one of power, having been given all the plenitude of might bodily that he needs to carry out the purposes of his God and Father. (Colossians 2:9,10) Jesus, since his resurrection, has also become the "everlasting father," "the life-giving spirit," since it is through, by means of, him that the human race is regenerated / made alive. (Matthew 19:28; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22,45) Those regenerated in this age are regenerated by tasting of the powers of the age to come (Hebrews 6:5), receiving the holy spirit as an earnest, a down payment of that which is to come. (2 Corinthians 1:21; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:14) None of this means that Jesus is his God and Father, the only true God who sent Jesus. -- John 17:1,3; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Ephesians 1:3.

See also other places where this scripture is discussed:

Written by others (I do not necessarily agree with all conclusions given):

Isa. 9:6 "Mighty God, Eternal Father"

Why is Jesus called "Mighty God" at Isa. 9:6?

This post is a partial response to:

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