A good friend of mine asked me this question, so I thought I would use the opportunity to publicly answer:
In Isaiah 9:6, Jesus is called Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace and Mighty God… why is He called “Everlasting Father”?
Isaiah 9:6 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.
Jesus is “Everlasting Father”?
One of the primary rules of interpreting Scripture is that “Scripture interprets Scripture” and “Scripture cannot contradict itself”. So we immediately can rule out that this verse is somehow saying that Jesus is literally one and the same as “God the Father” (not to be confused with being co-equal and co-eternal) which would destroy the very plain teaching of Scripture concerning the Trinity… ie. God is Three Persons In One (God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit), an obvious and unavoidable doctrine that has its beginning “in the beginning” (Genesis Chapter 1).
Scripture is inerrant, and such an obvious contradiction would automatically crumble reams of passages throughout Scripture. Those that teach God is a single Person “wearing different hats” or “manifesting Himself in various roles” must ignore or explain away an endless list of Scriptures starting in Genesis 1 and continuing through the last chapter of Revelation.
So what then what does it mean that Jesus will be called “Everlasting Father”?
- Since Jesus is called “son” and “father” in the same verse, we know this cannot be literal since it would represent an obvious and juvenile contradiction. The opening of the verse tells us Jesus is literally “a son” (both a human son, and Jesus the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity); the second part of the verse then gives us four characteristics about the Son.
- It highlights Jesus’ equal status in the Godhead and His divine nature. It exclaims His eternal nature, His equality with God the Father and God the Spirit, His “everlasting nature” as Alpha and Omega.
- It declares Jesus’ timelessness, proclaiming 700 years before His birth that Jesus is eternally past and eternally future.
- Jesus is a reflection of the Father and conduit of His nature and knowledge… in the same way we as human children are an IMPERFECT reflection of our parents image, Jesus was the PERFECT reflection of the God the Father. To see Jesus live, speak and obey was to witness exactly what the Father would do. So in essence and nature, Jesus was a living representation of the Everlasting Father while here on the earth, and of course is that same representation spiritually for all eternity.
- Jesus is the only physical “God” will we ever see… to see Jesus is to see the Everlasting Father.
- “Everlasting Father” connects God the Son with God the Father… there is no disconnecting or untethering Jesus from His Father. When we place our trust in Jesus, we have our security in God the Father. It reminds us that while Jesus is a Distinct Person, eternally self-sustained, He is also eternally one in essence and nature with God.
This was a name given to Jesus by Isaiah. In the culture in which this was written, names had meanings. They were not just a label to identify someone, they made a statement about that person. Isaiah elevates Jesus to being the eternal everlasting equal to God by giving Him the name of God. Isaiah is telling us about the nature of Jesus by giving these four names to Him:
- Jesus the Son (a Person) is the Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace, the Mighty God, and the Everlasting Father (His characteristics)