Driving to church a few Sundays ago, I contemplated what God would have me write this month. As each beautiful Scripture of our Savior’s incarnation and birth filed through my memory, I reached Isaiah 9:6, and it exploded in full Halleluiah Chorus style.
“For 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.”
When my personal concert concluded, I thought, Lord, hasn’t this verse been written about by more intelligent and creative people? What could I possibly write that hasn’t already been said?
Like frames of a silent movie film, the Son’s names rolled by one by one, “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Then, in a flash, they rewound to Wonderful.
I love this name. Early in my conversion, God opened my eyes to it in the announcement of Sampson’s conception and birth. Chapter 13 is my all-time favorite of Judges since so much of the book makes me want to cry. But because this portion contains the pre-incarnate Jesus, I find myself in awe—praising His Holy Name.
Sampson’s mother was infertile. One day, the Angel of the Lord visited her and announced she would bear a son. At the time, Manoah, her husband, was not with her, so he prayed to God and asked for this Angel to reappear. God heeded Manoah’s prayer.
As the Angel of the Lord stood before them, Manoah asked about raising this prophesied child and received the Nazarite instructions connecting their child, in a small way, with Jesus, the Nazarene. Then Manoah, wanting to be sure they praised the correct One who performed the miracle, asked the Angel’s name. “And the Angel of the Lord said to him, ‘Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?’”
Most Bible translations use the word wonderful in Judges 13, but some say secret, beyond understanding, or a name that works miracles. This got me thinking. Was the name of Jesus translated in Isaiah 9:6 as Wonderful, the same word?
Judges 13:18 utilizes the Hebrew word (#6383) pil’îy, or pâlîy pronounced pil-ee’ and paw-lee’ respectively, meaning remarkable. Isaiah 9:6 employs (#6382) pele’ pronounced peh’-leh, a miracle. However, both words come from the SAME primitive root (#6381) pâlâ pronounced paw-law’ meaning [they think] to separate, i.e., distinguish and by implication to be great, difficult, or wonderful.
God spoke nearly the identical name to both Manoah and Isaiah. Still, some translations of Isaiah 9:6, like mine, insert a comma after the word Wonderful making it a separate name, and others do not. In those Bibles, Wonderful becomes a describing word for the type of Counselor this Son will be.
Jesus, the Wonderful Word of God, is the only true Counselor.
So, you decide whether or not Wonderful is an actual name of God (which I believe it is) or an adjective. But considering how the pre-incarnate Jesus who visited Manoah and his wife was then caught up in the fire of their sacrifice and ascended to heaven, I feel like singing…Wonderful… Counselor…The Mighty God…The Everlasting Father…The Prince of Peace…
By God’s great names, we understand who He is, and none of this would be true if He were not the Child…born “unto us” AND the Son…given. Everything else pales in comparison.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Our God, whose name is Wonderful, gave Manoah and his wife a son of their loins. But before time began, He gave UNTO US Himself that we should not perish but have everlasting life. The most Wonderful Gift ever offered arrived in the fullness of time. This Baby, born of a young virgin in Bethlehem, grew up, died on a cross for my sin and yours, was buried, arose the third day, and ascended to heaven. He is Wonderful!
Have a Blessed Christmas and a
Happy, Healthy New Year!