"The Child and the Mighty God"
Letter to the Editor:
GOD'S MESSAGE, May 2007, p.4-5
ALMOST ALL OF the
articles I've read proving the divinity of Christ
mention Isaiah 9:6, a verse which prophesies about "a Child."
Accordingly the Child referred to in this verse which also mentions
about the "Mighty God" is none other than the Son or Jesus Christ.
Does the Iglesia ni Cristo deny that Christ is the fulfillment of
this prophecy? If not, why not teach that He is
the "Mighty God"?
Geneva, Illinois, USA
Thanks for writing us.
Isaiah 9:6 indeed is a prophecy about the "Son," our Lord Jesus
Christ. However, as you will see later,
Jesus Christ is not the Mighty God
referred to, nor does this prophecy
indicate His alleged divinity.
Isaiah 9:6 reads, "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" (New
King James Version)
Since Isaiah 9:6 was originally written in Hebrew, it would be
of help to consult the Jewish Publication Society of America, for instance, on how it renders the verse:
For a child is born unto us. A son is given unto
us; And the government is upon his shoulder; and
his name is called Pele-joez-el-gibbor-Abi-ad-sar-shalom." (The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic
Text, 1917 edition)
name Pele- joez-el-gibbor-abi-ad-sar-shalom is
translated in the footnote as, "Wonderful in counsel is God
the Mighty, the everlasting Father, the Ruler of Peace."
It is evident here that this is not a series
of names as interpreted by some but just one long name. More
importantly, we could clearly notice here
that the "God the Mighty'' or is also "Mighty God" referred to who
is also "Wonderful in counsel" is none other than "the
everlasting Father" Himself. Taking into consideration
that Jesus Christ is the ''Son" of the Father (Matt.
3:16-17), He therefore, is not the Father Himself,
hence, Christ is not the Mighty God.
Does it say anywhere else in the Bible that
the Father is indeed "wonderful in counsel"? In the same
book of Isaiah, these are stated:
'All this also comes from the Lord
Almighty, wonderful in counsel and
magnificent in wisdom." (Isa. 28:29, New International
Version, emphasis ours)
"And yet, Lord, you are our Father
We are the clay, and you are the potter. We are all formed
by your hand." (Isa. 64:8, New Living Translation, emphas\s
Clearly then, the
"Mighty God"' who is referred to in the prophecy as
also "wonderful in counsel" is not the Son Jesus Christ
but the "everlasting Father."
Why then is that one long name, having as its part
the term "Mighty God" mentioned in the prophecy concerning Christ?
It is because the "government" or "authority" (JPS, 1999 edition)
that the Child (Christ) would later
hold came from no less than the Mighty God who is
the Father. Christ Himself
proved this when He said:
'And Jesus came and spoke to them,
saying, "All authority has been
given to Me in heaven and on earth'."
(Matt. 28:18, NKJV, emphasis ours)
''All things have been delivered to Me by My
Father, ......" (Matthew 11:27, Ibid, emphasis ours)
Therefore, although Christ
is the fulfillment of this prophecy about the
child, it does not mean that He is God.
It is worthwhile to note that one's state of being
is not necessarily determined by the meaning attached to his
personal name, much less by the meaning of the title of the
government or authority he holds. Simon the apostle
was named "Cephas" or "Peter" which means rock (John
1:42), and the apostle James and John,
were name "Boanerges", that is, 'Son
Thunder'" (Mark 3:17). However, it doesn't mean
that Peter is himself a rock and that other two are
"sons of thunder." Moreover, biblical
names of persons such as
Eliphelet (the God of deliverance) and Elihu (whose God
is he [Jehovah]) and places like Elkosh (God my
bow) and El-bethel (the God of bethel) [Smith's Bible
Dictionary. pp.163-167] also contain
descriptions about God, but no serious theologian so far
claim that those persons and places are God.
Going back to Isaiah 9:6; is this
how Jewish scholars understand this verse
which is originally written in their
language—that the name in this
prophecy does not indicate Christ's alleged divinity? The
Jewish Study Bible, edited by Adele Berlin
and Marc Zvi Betler, they explain, thus:
"The Mighty Cod . . . ruler. This long sentence
is the throne name of the royal child.
Semitic names often consist of sentences that describe God; thus the
name Isaiah in Hebrew means, 'The Lord saves'; Hezekiah,
'The Lord strengthens'...... These names do not describe
that person who holds
them but the god whom the parents worship. Similarly,
the name in this v. [Isa. 9:6] does not describe
that child or attribute divinity to him, contrary to
classical Christian readings of this messianic verse." (p. 802
It is clear that Pele-joez-el-gibbor-abi-ad-sar-shalom
is the "name" or the "title"
(Moffatt Translation) of the authority or government or, as
Jewish scholars put it, the "throne name" which "does
not describe the child or attribute divinity to him" but, as another
scholar also puts it, "descriptive of his [Christ] office"
given by the Father:
'This son is not to have a name which
will be for a sign, like the names of Isaiah's sons (cf. 7.3;
8.1), but one which will be descriptive of his office."
(Isaiah 1-39, by John Mauchline, p. 113, emphasis ours)
Suggestion: If you have further questions, please feel free
to visit the
Iglesia ni Cristo congregation nearest you. A minister or
an evangelical worker would be happy to answer any biblical question
you have in mind.