Christmas is the time of the year we most hear the sound incredible river flowing down from Heaven of the mighty names of God come down to man. God revealed Himself to man as a man. He did not come and reveal Himself as a bird or a dog or cat, He used human terms so we could understand Him. He further gave incredible access to His power and love by way of a series of addresses of His Majesty.
“The Incomparable Christ,” another vivid essay:
“More than nineteen hundred years ago there was a Man born contrary to the laws of life. This Man lived in poverty and was reared in obscurity. He did not travel extensively. Only once did He cross the boundary of the country in which He lived; that was during His exile in childhood.
“He possessed neither wealth nor influence. His relatives were inconspicuous, and had neither training nor formal education. In infancy He startled a king; in childhood He puzzled doctors; in manhood He ruled the course of nature, walked upon the billows as if pavements, and hushed the sea to sleep. He healed the multitudes without medicine and made no charge for His service.
“He never wrote a book, and yet all the libraries of the country could not hold the books that have been written about Him. He never wrote a song, and yet He has furnished the theme for more songs than all the songwriters combined.
“He never founded a college, but all the schools put together cannot boast of having as many students.
“He never marshaled an army, nor drafted a soldier, nor fired a gun; and yet no leader ever had more volunteers who have, under His orders, made more rebels stack arms and surrender without a shot fired.
“He never practiced psychiatry, and yet He has healed more broken hearts than all the doctors far and near. Once each week the wheels of commerce cease their turning and multitudes wend their way to worshipping assemblies to pay homage and respect to Him.
“The names of the past proud statesmen of Greece and Rome have come and gone. The names of the past scientists, philosophers, and theologians have come and gone; but the name of this Man abounds more and more. Though time has spread nineteen hundred years between the people of this generation and the scene of His crucifixion, yet He still lives. Herod could not destroy Him, and the grave could not hold Him.
“He stands forth upon the highest pinnacle of heavenly glory, proclaimed of God, acknowledged by angels, adored by saints, and feared by devils, as the living, personal Christ, our Lord and Saviour.” 55/
What’s in a name? Oh so much. Think of how a name has shaped history:
- Alexander — Who? The Great, as he stood before Gaza’s gates, declared let me in or I’ll destroy you! They didn’t heed the name.
- Albert who? That eccentric Swiss postal clerk with all his pages of calculations was overlooked by all, until he made it to Princeton and scribbled E = mc2 — five little characters that have impacted the course of history more than any other scientific thought. Albert? Einstein, of course.
- Some names mean power , as in Napoleon and Stalin and Mao.
- Some names carry wealth as in Rothschild, Getty and Rockefeller.
- Some names inspire bravery as in Washington, Churchill, Patton.
- Some names portray beauty as in Leonardo, Titian, Van Gogh.
The greatest revelation of our Infinite God comes through His Name. The name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. There around 420 names of our God in three persons. In the Old Testament there are 223 and in the New Testament there are 195.
To the Old Testament saints the name Jehovah was an ointment poured forth shedding its fragrance over all. New Testament saints think of Him as JESUS. If ever there was a name that, as ointment poured forth,” shed a fragrance over all of human life it is the name of Jesus!
- The Name of Jesus is the saving name: “Thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
- The Name of Jesus is the sanctifying name. We are to do all things, in word and deed, in the name of the Lord Jesus (c.f. Colossians 3:17).
- The Name of Jesus is the sovereign name. “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Philippians 2:10). It is the name that charms our fears and bids our sorrows cease.” It is the name that, as “music in the sinner’s ears, brings life and health and peace.”
But there is a name that has no bounds. It cannot be mortally defined. It is above all names . And no where do we find more names of our promised God the Son coming to save His lost creatures, than in Isaiah. Lets turn there this morning.
For a world sitting in the darkness of death, lost and hopeless, to our world that name came – Is. 9:6-7.
It was a dark hour in Israel about 730 years before Bethlehem’s babe. And in that moment five things were revealed:
- A birth that would change the world: a child denoting perfect humanity was to be born who was a son denoting absolute deity.
- A universal kingdom that would rest on the shoulders of the King of kings: This coming one: “The government will rest on His shoulders” will rule both Israel and the world.
- A character that reveals the heart of God: He has four magnificent descriptions of majesty:
- Wonderful counselor
- Mighty God
- Everlasting Father
- prince of peace
But what about that name? What will this coming one be called? Four pairs of distilled divinity. Let’s savor them as we herald our Savior who came and has come to our lives and is coming…. Who is He?
Isaiah predicted a coming messianic age marked by world peace.
- He foresaw a world government in the last days that would turn the eyes of the international community on Jerusalem. (Isa. 2:1-4)
- He also described the coming of a Servant-Ruler who would bring a mysterious blend of power and suffering. (Isa. 53; 61:1-3)
- But the character of this coming Servant is most clearly stated in Isaiah 9:6, where the prophet declared:
Please read this glorious announcement of God become man. Isaiah 9:6
“Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
“Wonderful”. The Hebrew word pala indicates “something uncommon or out of the ordinary.” It reflects “a phenomenon lying outside the realm of human explanation; that which is separated from the normal course of events; something that cannot be explained.” And that is our Almighty and inexplicable Jesus!
“Counselor.” The second part of this compound description of the coming Messiah is Counselor. In its historical Hebrew usage, the word is used to picture a king giving counsel to his people. To that end, Micah declared the dilemma of the captives in Babylon this way, “Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in your midst? Has your counselor perished?” (4:9)
Some have separated these two but the Old Testament Hebrew Bible puts them together. Isaiah defines this graphic title:
- Isaiah 11:2 And 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.
- Isaiah 28:29 This also comes from the Lord of hosts, Who has made His counsel wonderful and His wisdom great.
True wisdom from the wonderful counselor knows that: In weakness is strength; surrender is victory; death is life; Look at
- Isaiah 42:1-4 Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. 2 He will not cry out or raise His voice, Nor make His voice heard in the street. 3 A bruised reed He will not break, And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. 4 He will not be disheartened or crushed, Until He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.
- Isaiah 50:6 I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.
Even as a child of 12, Jesus astounded Jewish rabbis with His wisdom (Lk. 2:46-47). Luke recorded that “the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him” (2:40). In His public life, people were amazed at the truthfulness of His counsel. “When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works?” (Mt. 13:54). Later, the apostle Paul wrote that in Him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col. 2:3)
Let’s listen to some of the wonderful counselor’s wonderful counsel:
- Mt. 11:28-30 Come unto Me I GIVE REST
- John 8:12 I am light I GIVE HOPE (not walk in dark)
- John 12:24-26 Except die… I GIVE OVERFLOW (abides alone)
- He is the wonderful counselor in redemption (Heb. 1:3) “Who being the brightness of His glory…when He had…sat down. I GIVE CONFIDENCE (finisher)
- He has all treasures (Col. 2:3) “In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” I GIVE SECURITY
To the angry he says: Sons thunder Moses be angry, yet sin not
To the oppressed he says : Mark 5
To the enslaved he says: 1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.
To the fearful he says : Isaiah 41:10 “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
To the lustful he says: Job 31:1 “I Have made a covenant with my eyes; How then could I gaze at a virgin?”
To the stained he says: paul chiefest of sinner
To the impaired and challenged physically and mentally he says: Jesus passes by in the name of Jesus stand up
To the depressed he says through Ezra: Psalm 119:25 “My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Thy word.”
What are you searching for? Have you found all the treasures yet? They’re in the Wonderful Counselor.
Secondly, Mighty God
What is the meaning of the name “Mighty God”? The name “Mighty God” is an Old Testament title here applied to the coming Messiah. It is the compound Hebrew, El Gibbor, and both parts of the name need to be understood.
“God.” The first part of the title is El, which is used in the Old Testament to refer to the one true God (though on occasion it is used of mighty heroes, or even false gods). It is the singular form of the word Elohim.
“Mighty.” The other part of the name is Gibbor, which means “strength, power, hero.” What a statement! In a world where heroes are determined by their athletic prowess or financial power, we are told that the only One truly worthy to be adored is the One whose might is unparalleled! Isaiah 10:21 describes Him as the refuge of the remnant, and Deuteronomy 10:17 declares that He is the “great God, mighty and awesome.”
Did this promised One turn out to be the Mighty God when He finally arrived over 700 years later? Remember Jesus:
- He spoke to the dead and they rose to life.
- He spoke to the raging waves and they fell to silence.
- He spoke to bread and fish and they multiplied to feed thousands.
- He spoke to a fig tree and it withered away to nothing.
- He spoke to lowly sinners and they found new beginnings.
- He spoke to haughty hypocrites and they hardened their hearts to the end.
- He spoke as never man spoke –
- To death and disease
- To seekers and finders
- To skeptics and scoffers.
- He spoke the universe into motion.
- He shall speak the closing word on mankind.
Now turn to John 1 for a moment:
“The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and only Son, who came from the Father, full of Grace and Truth.”
God is here!
He is the Word (v. 1) – the ultimate final expression of God! Heb. 1:1 “God have spoken by His Son.”
He is the light (v. 7) – ultimate revealer. 36 times the gospels use “light”. There are 4 essentials of human life: light (or all would die), air, water, food. Christ is called:
- Light of the world Jn. 8:12;
- Bread of life Jn. 6;
- Breath of life Jn. 3:8;
- Water of life Jn. 4:10; 7:37
HE IS ALL WE NEED!
- He is the Lamb of God (v. 29) – The ultimate sacrifice
- He is the Son of God (v. 34) – The ultimate expression
- He is the Messiah (v. 41) – The ultimate deliverance
- He is the King of Israel (v. 49) – The ultimate identification from God
- He is the Son of Man (v. 51) – The ultimate identification with the needy
God is here!
He is our power . In Acts 1:8, Jesus promised to send the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to be His representatives in all the world. Inherent to this provision of the Spirit is the fact that He wants us to live distinguishable lives and to display an honesty of heart in an impure world as evidence of His presence in us.
He is our strength. In Philippians 4:13, Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” What a great promise! He will strengthen us for all the circumstances and inevitabilities of life. This doesn’t mean that we will never know pain or hardship, but that we, by His might, can endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. How can we do that?Only as we do it in His power, not in our own.
He is our security. The apostle Peter wrote that we are “kept by the power of God” (1 Pet. 1:5). Nothing can overcome the divine power that keeps us in Christ. What a great assurance it is to know that we are not secure because of our own strength to hold on to Him, but because of His power by which He holds on to us.
Thirdly, Everlasting Father
The symbolic use of the word father was an ancient Hebraism for “possessor of.” Notice that in Isaiah 9:6 the Messiah is described as both a Son (“unto us a Son is given”) and a Father (“His name will be called . . Everlasting Father”). He became a child in time (through the incarnation), but He is the Father (and possessor) of eternity. This means several basic things:
Jesus inhabits and possesses eternity . “For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.'” (Isa. 57:15).
Jesus is the eternal provider. “He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son'” (Rev. 21:6-7).
Jesus reveals the Father who will never leave us:
- Jesus provides the strength of God’s “everlasting arms” (Dt. 33:27).Deuteronomy 33:27 “The eternal God is a dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms; And He drove out the enemy from before you, And said, ‘Destroy!'”
- Jesus graciously provides for those who seek God’s Kingdom the possessions that are eternal and will never end. Matthew 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
- Jesus is God’s eternal presence with us (Mt. 28:20). Matthew 28:20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
- Jesus gives us God’s life that is eternal. John 14:19 After a little while the world will behold Me no more; but you will behold Me; because I live, you shall live also.
- Jesus ministers to us God’s “everlasting consolation.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace.
- Jesus performs God’s His work with “everlasting power.” 1 Timothy 6:16 Who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.
- Jesus rules over God’s “everlasting kingdom”(2 Pet. 2:11). 2 Peter 2:11 Whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord.
Fourthly, the Prince of Peace.
The name “Prince of Peace” is the Hebrew Shar Shalom, which means “the one who removes all peace-disturbing factors and secures the peace.” This automatically sets Him apart from most human rulers whose reigns often depend on bloody conquest. His rule rests on a bloody sacrifice! What a contrast to such biblical kings as Nebuchadnezzar, and even David, whose rule was established on might, but not necessarily on right.
The name “Peaceful Prince” helps to explain why Jesus disappointed His countrymen when He came! They did not want a peaceful prince. They wanted a monarch who would annihilate their foes and establish again the glories the kingdom of Israel knew in the golden days of Solomon. They wanted Rome taken away and all their other oppressors with them.
Jesus came In person subduing every foe.
- He shall reign someday over a restored earth with no war and absolute peace. How? By removing the cause of war = human sin.
- How to remove human sin? By making peace between God/man.
- How peace between God/man? Remove the enmity/fallenness.
- How? Only by the embodimient of peace the prince who conquered sin, death and Hell. What’s in a name? Everything that is never going to last/and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal King, and Prince of Peace!
Those who trust Christ as their Mediator and Savior are given by God an assurance that flows out of a right relationship with Him. Once we are in Christ, the Prince of Peace shows us that He can bring peace wherever He rules. He can bring:
Peace through the trials of our life. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (Jn. 14:27)
Peace through the yeilding of our life. “The God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.” (Rom. 16:20)
Peace through the fruits of our life. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Gal. 5:22-23)
Peace through the relationships of our life. “. . . endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:3)
Peace through the aging of our life. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Th. 5:23)
What a treasure is ours in Isaiah’s predicted Messiah. He is our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. May we give Him worship, as we ponder the great God that He is!
The Fifth Glory of Christmas: Are you Looking for Jesus? His reception
Who was looking for Jesus at His first coming? It’s interesting to note briefly tonight the state of readiness that was present when the miracle came 2,000 years ago! I like to call this Characters of Christmas . You see, God had a cast of characters, 17 different ones in 4 chapters out of 250 in the New Testament.
Okay: 4 chapters – Mt. 1-2 and Lk. 1-2, and, 17 characters who could be listed as:
A host of angels
A bunch of stuffed robes (religious leaders)
And, the Savior of the world!
So which ones were looking for Jesus? Let’s just zero in on a few of these folks and try to heed what God is trying to tell us. Okay? Who were they? Well, Matthew lists a cast of 6 (turn to Mt. 1-2).
- ©1996 Daniel B. Wallace2. Sauer, p.
3. See Tacitus Hist. V, 13, and Suetonius, Vesp. 4.
4. ©1996 Daniel B. Wallace
5. A. P. Gibbs, Worship, p. 45
6. ©1996 Daniel B. Wallace
7. Moody sermon book
8. MacArthur, John F., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago: Moody Press) 1983.
9. I am indebted for this comparison to a small tract written years ago by Joseph Hoffrnan Cohn for the American Board of Missions to the Jews, entitled “The Man from Petra,” No. 65 in the series “What Every Christian Should Know About the Jews” (revised 1961, no original date of publication).
10. MacArthur, John F., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago: Moody Press) 1983.
11. III, pp. 394ff.