Once again, welcome to the great Northwest corner of Michigan where we can always guarantee a white Christmas.
Today, we’re going to continue our study on Isaiah chapter 9 and the names of God, with Everlasting Father.
I’ve always said that it’s like a good cup of coffee and warm sweater, but I’ve never really had anywhere to go with that, so let’s try another one . . .
Father of Eternity
When you’re talking to a Theologian who’s also a philosopher. If you tell the Theologian, “Well, you may be everlasting but you’re certainly not eternal,” you’ve basically told the Theologian that he’s not God. Some of us need to hear that at times, but I figure there’s too much to explain to that one too, so . . .
We’re just going to go with Narnia. If you’ve ever been exposed to any of the Narnia movies, or if you’ve ever been exposed to any of the Narnia books, you can’t understand them without understanding that God is the Creator of time. Time doesn’t exist in Narnia the way that it does for us in our world. Every time there’s a hop or leap between a world, every time a portal is opened up, time does not exist the same way. You find that out that in some way Providence controls time.
As we look at this passage on the Everlasting Father, it’s good to keep that in mind.
So enjoy and Merry Christmas!
Isaiah says Jesus is the “Everlasting Father.”
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9.6, NIV)
i. Everlasting Father redefined
This name for Jesus is interesting. This is the one that hooked me into this whole study. I wanted to see what was behind this. Everlasting Father – there are different ways to translate this. The New American Standard Bible says Eternal Father, but most say Everlasting Father.
Then I found Young’s Literal Translation, which translates the Greek as close as it can. He’s called the Father of Eternity. I dug into the study a little bit. What we have is not the idea of Father, as in the Father in the Trinity. However, this carries the idea of time flowing out of him, in the same way that John says the Word flows out of Him, that from Him comes the Word of God. So we have time issuing from the hand of Christ.
ii. The Messiah is pre-existent
There are different views about this terminology, but there is one underlying truth. All of them point to the fact that the Messiah is eternal. He has existed with God forever.
It’s interesting that even the Jews realize this about the Messiah. In the ancient commentaries from the Rabbis, there are many references about the Messiah as prophesied by Isaiah. They state that because of this term, and other similar terms in the Hebrew Bible, that the Messiah is pre-existent. In other words, the Messiah existed before all other created beings. Now we may think that they understand God as just One. But in these ancient texts they point to a pre-existent Messiah. They even point to this Messiah as someone who is higher than humans, and someone higher than the angels and the angelic order.
Why is this important to see Jesus as Eternal? Because only God has no beginning and no end. Everything else, other than God, was created. All the angels had their day of creation. All of us had our day of creation, and so did the world. But Jesus pre-exists before creation. He’s greater!
I wonder, when we consider the Christ-child this year, do we still see Him as greater than all? Is He still greater than any man or woman, including myself?
iii. Is He Greater than time?
Is He greater?
I think of other religions. The Muslims only see Jesus as just another one of their 28 prophets. The Buddhists see Jesus as just another incarnation of Buddha, another Bodhisattva. The Hindus see Jesus as just another pathway to Nirvana. Philosophers may recognize Jesus as another great teacher.
Then I begin to wonder, what do we see Jesus as? Do we just see Jesus as a friend? Is Jesus just my buddy? Is Jesus just my meal-ticket? Is Jesus just my provider? Is that all I know Him for? Am I only going to Jesus for fire insurance? Is that all I know of Jesus?
My question is, is He greater than my friend? Is He greater than my provider? Is He greater than a good fire insurance policy?
Is He greater?!
Jesus stands above the box we try to put Him in. He pre-exists before the box that I’ve created to put Him in. He is Everlasting God. He is the 2nd Member of the Trinity. He is the Son of God. He is the Lord of all.
He is greater than time. And He is greater than the times I am facing. My life and times are in His hands.
He is greater!
He is the Father of Eternity!
notes: as previously published by Jared V. Ingle, “Isaiah Foresees the Son of God” (audio sermon, MT. ZION Family Worship Center, Traverse City, MI, December 21, 2014).
Amazon: Narnia book set