The Messiah in Prophecy
“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” (v. 6).- Isaiah 9:1–7
Scripture does not tell us about people and events that are divorced from history. It explains that God has worked out His salvation in space and in time. One of the clearest examples of this is the Bible’s use of prophecy that is set firmly in one historical setting while predicting events in another. Prophecies of the coming Messiah fill the Old Testament, with the book of Isaiah featuring some of the most well-known predictions of the future.
Isaiah 9:1–7 records the famous prophecy of the coming child who would be “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah uttered these words during the reign of King Hezekiah, who lived at the end of the eighth century and the beginning of the seventh century BC. Hezekiah was one of the godliest kings during the old covenant period (2 Kings 18:1–7), but he was no King David. Hezekiah inherited the throne of David his forefather and reigned during a period when the Assyrian Empire was the strongest power in the ancient Near East. David, however, was established on the throne of Israel by the Lord, and he took Israel from being a minor player on the world stage to one of great importance (2 Sam. 5; 1 Chron. 18:4). Because of the glories of David’s reign, David became the prototype of the ideal ruler, and the prophets looked forward to the day when a king like David but even better would rule over God’s people once more (Jer. 23:5; 33:14–15; Zech. 12:8).
This messianic hope arose because the Lord promised to raise up a son of David who would rule forever and because the failures of David’s line made the people hope for someone to restore that line (2 Sam. 7; Amos 9:11–15). Hezekiah was a good king, but he was not the Messiah. However, during his reign God spoke through the prophet Isaiah, telling the king that after the Assyrian invasion of Judah during Hezekiah’s lifetime, a new king would sit on the throne in Jerusalem.
Isaiah 9:6–7 describes this coming king. He would possess unparalleled wisdom, being the “Wonderful Counselor” who would not need advisers or counselors to help guide him. His reign would also be so marked by peace that he would be the “Prince of Peace.” Other kings are known for war, and while this coming king would be a mighty warrior, his rule would establish and maintain permanent peace between God and the king’s loyal subjects. And this king would be more than a mere man. He would be “Mighty God, Everlasting Father”—that is, the Creator Himself incarnate.
In this fallen world, people long for peace between family members, between coworkers, and between neighbors. Lasting peace is possible, however, only through submission to the Prince of Peace, Christ Jesus. When we bow to Him in faith, we are put at peace with our Creator, and we are called to announce His reign so that others may know His peace. Let us seek to tell others about the Prince of Peace this day.
Passages for Further Study
1 Chronicles 27:32