Advent Devotional Day 14: Isaiah 9.6
His Name Shall Be Called: Part 2- Mighty God
For to us a Child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His Name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9.6)
In the previous installment of this “series within a series” where we are focusing exclusively on Isaiah 9.6 and savoring each of the Names given to the coming King, we looked at the Name “Wonderful Counselor.” We noticed about this Name that it entailed far more than was on the surface, and that it even hinted at a divine origin of the Messiah through its use of the term “Wonderful” or “Miraculous” in the Name. To perform signs and wonders, and to possess a type of wisdom that is itself miraculous or “full of wonder” is to do or possess something from God Himself. However, regarding this King, this is not just something that He has from God, this is His very Name. From other texts of Scripture we looked at other Names of the Son of God and noticed that they mirror closely the concept of Divine Wisdom, showing that He is the Personal Wisdom of His Father eternally. There is an immense amount of truth loaded into the Names given to this Messiah, and the New Testament shines even more light on what was dim and shadowy even in this text.
Today’s Name is much more conspicuous than yesterday’s. The coming King, who will come to Israel as a Child, will be called Mighty God. This Name of the Messiah is a Divine Name that designated Him as truly God Himself. God Himself is coming in the form of this Child. (Phil. 2) However, in order to extract all of the richness of this Name of Christ from the text, we need to look at how it is used elsewhere in Isaiah, and then in the entirety of the Old Testament. It is important that this is a Name by which Yahweh designates Himself as the true God amongst the idols of the lands. It is a Name that zeros in on His transcendence and power to save. It is also a Name that focuses on His might and ability to make war. This is a Name that invokes the concept of a transcendent Warrior and Deliverer. The One who stands above all the gods of the heathen as the only Living and True God. Isaiah 10.21 is describing Yahweh’s ability to wage war against Assyria and bring back a remnant of Israel for His own possession. The verse says “A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.” (Is. 10.21) The picture is clear. God is a Divine Warrior overflowing with wrath on the enemies of His people. (the seed of the serpent) Through the judgement of His enemies, He saves and delivers His people from oppression. (the seed of the woman)
Two more places in the Old Testament that use these words to describe Yahweh are Jeremiah 32.18 and Deuteronomy 10.17. In the context of Jeremiah, he says that Yahweh is “the mighty God, whose Name is the Lord of hosts.” God is pictured as the King of heavenly armies (hosts) standing above the gods and the Pharoah of Egypt, waging war on them and delivering the children of Israel out of their clutches. In Deuteronomy, this is a Name that is used to threaten the children of Israel with covenant curses in the land if they do not obey the Lord. Again, His signs and wonders in the land of Egypt are referenced as this type of Warrior-imagery.
So, what’s the drift of this passage? Why is this Name used of the Messiah, the coming King, the Child to be given to Israel? The answer is that not only is this a Divine Name, which it is, but this is a Divine Name of God used to strike fear into God’s enemies and even His own people. Throughout Scripture, this is the Name of God used to described Him as He brings salvation through judgement. The picture that is being drawn of the Messiah is that He is not only God Himself, which He is, but He is God Himself coming in both deliverance and wrath. This is a brilliant and terrifying portrait of the Lord Jesus Christ. In all His work He treads down the enemies of God (in the context of this passage these enemies would be Assyria) which in the broader context of all of Scripture are sin, death, and Satan. The conflict with Assyria that this passage is set in is just a microcosm of the entire storyline that we have been analyzing of the Seed of the woman coming to tread the Serpent under His feet. Assyria is a particular manifestation of the Serpent’s seed. This coming Divine Davidic King, high and exalted (Isaiah 6) is coming with salvation and judgement following in His wake. He is the light that dawns on those sitting in darkness as He brings them salvation through His life, death, and resurrection. He is the Mighty God, the great Warrior King who through that same work crushes Satan’s head and brings the enemies of God to nothing. The death blow has been dealt through the Messiah that comes bringing salvation and judgement. One day this will be made apparent to all when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels and His saints. (Rev. 19.11-21)
The birth that we celebrate this Advent season is the birth of Mighty God, the Lord of Armies, in the flesh. He is both meek and mild and high and exalted. He is both tender-hearted and full of fury. He has tread down our sins and all of our enemies including death and Satan in His perfect gospel-work and one day He will return to bring that work of New Creation to its perfect fruition. So, as the great Advent-hymn commands us: “Fall on your knees.”