Isaiah 9:6. "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father,
Christians across the world celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was the fulfilment of the prophecy written so long ago by Isaiah. The first part of the prophecy has been completed in full, but the second part: "the government shall be upon his shoulder(s)" is still eagerly awaited by Christians the world over. Our Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:10 "Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven", is the most often quoted prayer by Christians and brings out our desire for this change in government.
This is followed by four of the throne names of the Messiah one of which is Wonderful Counsellor. The coming son of David who will carry out a royal programme that will cause all the world to marvel. These plans are set out in Isaiah chapters 11:24 and 27.
Strong’s concordance gives the meanings of the words as:
The Oxford Dictionary gives the meanings as:
Writing with divine inspiration Isaiah has depicted our Lord in this context in a way that not many Christians have taken note of or even considered, that of a wonderful counsellor, or if they do they see it only in the future. During Christ’s first advent there are several accounts that bring out this attribute beautifully.
The first example is recorded in Luke 2:46‑49. In this instance Jesus was twelve years of age and his parents had taken him to Jerusalem for the Passover, and on their journey home Joseph and Mary realised that Jesus was not with them. "After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when thy saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that you sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?"
Our Lord’s Knowledge & Wisdom On The Intent Of The Law
During our Lord’s three and a half year ministry there were many examples of his understanding of not only the Law but its intent. A clear example of this is found in Mark 2:23‑27. "He (Jesus) went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? And he said unto them, Have you never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath".
Our Lord was not objecting to the law about the Sabbath, as written in Exod.20:8‑11 "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter,...nor thy cattle...For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day:", but to the ridicules, restrictions and misinterpretations that the Pharisees had added to the law. David had not been punished for breaking the law or considered blameworthy because of the emergency of his situation.
The attitude of the Pharisees is probably best illustrated in the incident recorded in Mark 3:1‑6 "And he (Jesus) entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And he said unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him." The Pharisees were more interested in the keeping of the letter of the law to show others how perfect they were, rather than having compassion for the handicapped.
Another example of our Lord’s knowledge and wisdom of the Law is written in Matthew 22:15‑22. "The Pharisees...took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way." Our Lord recognised the temporary power that his Father had given unto Caesar, and that as followers we were instructed not to be seditious, but thankful, holy, happy and subject to the powers that be, recognising them as ordained of God and not merely of man as it also says in Romans 13:1‑2 "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." and also verse 7 (Diaglott) "Render, therefore, to all their dues; to whom tax is due, tax; to whom custom, custom; to whom fear, fear; to whom honour, honour."
There are many other examples of our Lord as a wonderful counsellor, in many of the parables and other times.
One example, is the work of Christ as a mediator as found in 1 Timothy 2:1‑6 "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men…that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."
The word mediator (v.5) according to Strong’s concordance 3316 is mësitës which has the meaning of a go‑between, a reconciler, a middle‑man. One who brings about friendly relations between two or more people. It corresponds to the "daysman" of Job 9:33 "Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both." Other translations show the word daysman as umpire, arbitrator or mediator.
This word is used in the new testament 6 times and is used to describe the official position of Jesus Christ as He related to man. He is the peacemaker between God and man. He is the agent by whom the new covenant between God and man is made effective. Hebrews 9:15 (NIV) says "For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first (law) covenant."
Paul in 2 Cor.5:18‑21 expands this thought "all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Paul brings out the beautiful thought here of the fact that God himself provided the way for mediation through his son Christ Jesus.
Throughout the Bible the estrangement between man and God is repeatedly set forth. God is the moral ruler; man, His natural subject, has violated His laws, hence has gone away from God. All men are thus alienated. "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them....so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man...who changed the truth of God into a lie." (Rom.1:18‑26)
Three inescapable moral facts never cease to be realised by man, namely; the fact of a moral order, the fact of sin and the fact that atonement must be provided to bring release from guilt. Since man cannot keep the laws of God perfectly from birth until death, it is evident that he cannot be saved from the curse of sin (death) by the Law. For "by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20). Also as its says in Romans 8:3‑4 "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
Paul speaking to the Galatians (3:24) tells them "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." Thus through mankind realising his shortcomings "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom.3:23); will eventually turn to Christ as their mediator so that they can be brought into harmony with God as it states in Habakkuk 2:14 that "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea."
The next aspect to examine is the role that Christ plays as set out in 1 John 2:1. "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:". So John tells us we have an advocate, Christ, who will intercede on our behalf with our heavenly Father. The word translated as advocate according to Strong’s Concordance 3875 is the Greek word paraklëtös which has the meaning of an intercessor, consoler, advocate or comforter.
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words gives further insight into this word advocate. It states that it has the literal meaning of "called to one’s side," i.e., to one’s aid, is primarily a verbal adjective, and suggests the capability or adaptability for giving aid. It was used in a court of justice to denote a legal assistant, counsel for the defense, an advocate: then generally, one who pleads another’s cause, an intercessor, advocate.
It is only used 5 times in the New Testament, and, then only by the apostle John. It is translated comforter 4 times, restricted to the upper room with the disciples about the heavenly Father sending the Holy Spirit, and advocate only once when John was writing about his little children having Jesus Christ as an advocate with the Father.
In its widest sense, it signifies a succourer, comforter. Christ was this to His disciples, by the implication of his words in John 14:16 "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another (allos, another of the same sort, not heteros, different) Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;" The other three times it is translated comforter are:
His purpose was that they sin not. John refers to the cleansing blood of Christ as it says, "if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7) In verse 9 he speaks of the forgiveness of God that "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." This is not intended to make light of our sins because he states that one can never escape the specific command of Jesus to "sin no more." (John 5:14) But on the other hand, he adds that "if any man sin", God has graciously made provision for their restoration.
The clause is significant. It clearly indicates the author’s conviction that acts of sin, stumbling through weakness or temptation, as opposed to the continuous sinful habit, happen. The provision that God has made for his sinning children is now unfolded. "We have an advocate with the Father".
Christ is our advocate to plead our cause with the Father, who loves and forgives His children. Jesus says in John 16:27 that "the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me". God is not now to be regarded as our Judge but as our Father. The person who believes in Christ already "has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life." (John 5:24 RSV) "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." (Romans 8:1,33,34)
Once the sinner has been justified by God his Judge, he has entered the family of God and become related to God as his son. If he should sin, he does not need another justification from the divine Judge. He is a child of God; he needs the father’s forgiveness. This is assured to him through the advocacy of Jesus Christ the righteous.
Christ is a Wonderful Counsellor and as it says, in the prophecy with the opening text in Isa.9:7 "Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."