Order A Complimentary copy of our new Devotional—Anchors for the Soul

The Sixth Day of Advent – December 8

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6a-b

Imagine for a moment that you are an out-of-breath shepherd, peering down at the newborn Jesus. What are your thoughts as you study Him, count His tiny fingers, watch Him grimace at His strange world outside the womb? What are your emotions as you watch Him? What are your questions? Could this really be the Savior of the world the angel had promised you?

A much-loved Christmas carol asks the haunting question about the Christ Child: “What Child is this, laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping?” The song opens with questioning, but ends with worship: “The King of kings salvation brings; let loving hearts enthrone Him.” Anyone thinking about this tiny baby must agree with the apostle Paul: “Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great: God was revealed in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16). This glorious mystery of the Christ Child is magnificently expressed in the confession of faith by early Christians: “God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God.” (From the Nicene Creed)

How wonderfully Isaiah puts together in today’s scripture more names for the Christ Child than anywhere else in the Bible: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Taken together, these breathtaking names encompass the full life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. “Every one of these words with its unending depth, and all of them together, are straining to express only one single name: Jesus.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Mystery of Holy Night) It is at the name of this Jesus that every knee shall bow and confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11).

Significant for today’s Jews and Christians is that early rabbis understood Isaiah’s text as describing the Lord’s promised Messiah. One instance of this is seen in the Targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel, an Aramaic paraphrase of the Hebrew Scriptures from the second century. The Targum paraphrases Isaiah, saying: “The prophet said to the house of David, ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and he has taken the law upon himself to keep it. His name is called from before Him who is wonderful in counsel, the mighty God who lives eternally – the Messiah whose peace shall be great upon us in his days.” (Targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel)

Hebrew scholars understand this Isaiah text as expressing four compound names of the Messiah, identifying Him as “Wonderful Counselor – Mighty God – Everlasting Father – Prince of Peace.” These four names of Messiah may be compared to “Throne Names” accorded Egyptian and Babylonian monarchs as they ascended the throne. While these names were not used of Jesus of Nazareth in His day-to-day life, they do so beautifully identify and describe who Jesus is. He is God with us today and forever!


Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, You transcend the furthest reach of our minds. You stoop to look upon the highest heavens and yet are intimately present to us in this moment. We pray that Your name be hallowed, and that this nation which has forsaken You, ascribe You all honor and glory. We pray for those enslaved in the darkness of materialism, addiction, shame, hopelessness, and affluenza. Break chains of bondage, and open blind eyes to Your saving light. In the name of our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Amen.

recent posts

join our list

Sign up and receive our weekly devotionals, Selah podcast episodes, info on seasonal devotionals, and announcements.