Isaiah 9:6 is almost always used to proved the divinity of Christ. The verse is a prophecy about a "Child" whose name include "Mighty God".  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"
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"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"?

David Koch
Geneva, Illinois, USA

Editor's reply:

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)

The   Hebrew     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 ours)

 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 emphasis ours) 

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)


Bible Study 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.

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