A study of Isaiah 9:6

Is Jesus God based on Isaiah 9:6?

by Ibn Anwar

   Dr. Andrew Bartelt, Vice President and Academic Dean at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis is one of many trinitarian Christians who argue for Jesus’ (alleged) deity on the basis of Isaiah 9, verse 6. If you are in a discussion regarding the Trinity it is difficult to miss the verse. You will no doubt come across it. In this article we shall explore whether Isaiah 9:6 stands to scrutiny in regards to the belief that it does not just foretell the coming of Jesus, but most importantly it speaks of his “divinity”.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”(Isaiah 9:6)

  At the very very beginning, let us make it very clear that none of the attributes or names mentioned in the verse in question is ever specifically given to Jesus Christ anywhere in the New Testament. The prophecy stipulates that the child will have his name called as such and such, yet not once throughout the whole New Testament is he ever called by any of them. This fact alone should be enough to render the claim that the verse speaks of Jesus null and void. However, obstinacy is a common trait among ardent believers and one simple straight forward explanation most often prove insufficient. Thus, let us continue with a thorough analyses and examination of the names to nail the coffin air tight once and for all.

Wonderful

The Hebrew word used here is pele’ which means a miracle, but is usually defined as wonderful or marvellous. Jesus Christ was born of a virgin birth. So, he is a miracle. However, this was never a specific name given to Jesus Christ. In a nutshell, the person, Jesus was a miracle, but, that in no way fulfills Isaiah 9:6 as the stipulation is that he “will be called”, not that he is. He was never named wonderful.

Counsellor

 Jesus was never called by this name by any of his disciples. In fact, Jesus called somebody else by this name. We read in John 14:16, “I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor, that he may be with you forever”(World English Bible). The word in Greek is parakletos. It has several definitions and one of them is “one who consoles” i.e. counselor. Here, we see someone else being named counsellor by Jesus himself. Many Christians argue that it speaks of the Holy Spirit. John Mark Ministries writes, “the title Jesus uses for the Holy Spirit (“Counsellor” in the NIV) denotes a personal advocate who comes alongside and helps you through trials. No impersonal force or energy could do the work of this Counsellor.” Whether it is the Holy Spirit or not is something which shall be discussed here. The germane point here is that the Counsellor is identified as someone else and not Jesus.

 However, you(the trinitarian) may inform me to have a closer look at the verse and notice that it says “ANOTHER Counsellor”. That means there was a counsellor before the coming of the other and that Counsellor was Jesus. Firstly, your inference is based on your already presupposed belief concerning Jesus, thus your interpretation is not exactly objective. The verse itself does not clearly and explicitly state that that other counsellor or comforter was Jesus. Secondly, I will remind you once again the stipulation made by Isaiah 9:6, “..and his name shall be called …”. It does not say he will be inferred as the counsellor. It says he shall or will be called. The prophecy is very specific in nature. Was Jesus ever named or called counsellor by his disciples? The answer is, no. Nevertheless, we may still find those who refuse to admit defeat and attempt yet another blow. A trinitarian Christian may further reason,” We, the Christians call him Counsellor! So the prophecy has been fulfilled!”. Okay, Let us have a look at the whole verse very carefully.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

It says, “For unto us a child is born”. Let us say, this was Jesus. Unto which generation was he born? Was he not born 2000 years ago? So which Christian today can logically claim that the child Jesus was born unto them? This means he should have been called the names listed by that generation 2000 years ago which received his birth. In addition, many people today are called counsellors. Do they fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 9:6? You will rightly say no because the verse does not say only counsellor but also wonderful, mighty god etc. Thus, at this point in time it is important to note that the criteria is that the candidate must meet all the names mentioned.

Mighty God

Once again, just like the previous named this name too was never specifically directed at Jesus anywhere by his disciples in the New Testament. Jesus was never specifically called God, let alone mighty God. The title which was usually attached with was “Son of God” and “Son of Man”. By the way Son of God does not denote Godhood since many others are identified as sons of God throughout the Bible. The title itself actually means “servant of God”. For example in the New King James Version the translators have rendered the Greek “paias” as servant in Acts 3:26. Further more, Jesus identified the Father as the ONLY TRUE GOD which means Jesus who is clearly another entity besides the Father is not God. This is clearly seen in John 17:3. Nonetheless, let us for a moment for the sake of argument accept the parameter that  Jesus is “Mighty God” or El-Gibbor in Hebrew. If that makes Jesus God, then on the same principle Gabriel should be considered God too as well as those addressed in Psalm as elohim, the precise same word used for God Himself throughout the Old Testament. According to Reverend Patrick A. Rose of the Ministry of Gabriel the name Gabriel can mean, “”man of God,” “strength of God,” or “my strong God.” In Psalm 82:6  “I said, ‘You are gods (Elohim) ; you are all sons of the Most High.’ ” We must again, emphasise very strongly that Jesus was never called Mighty God throughout his life on earth. As mentioned earlier, the first part of the prophecy alludes that the child shall be called such and such during his dispensation on earth, but, Jesus was never called Mighty God.

Everlasting Father

Was Jesus ever called Everlasting Father? The answer is a resounding, NO! To call him Father would be breaking the Trinity doctrine, which specifically states that the Son isn’t the Father. Those who said that the Son was the Father were associated with groups such as Sabellianism and Monarchianism which were labelled as heretical by Trinitarian Church Fathers and continue to be labelled as such. Today, there’s a cult known as the Jesus Only cult or Oneness cult which is closely associated with Sebellianism and is condemned by Trinitarians as blasphemy and heresy. Their “heretical” doctrine in short was that the Son was the Father and vice versa. How the Trinitarians have committed that thing which they label as heresy is beyond me. Clearly, the Trinitarians who use Isaiah 9:6 are not being consistent with their theological concepts. Further more, Jesus said,”And do not call anyone on earth father, for you have one Father, and he is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9). When did Jesus say this? When he was on earth. Where was the Father? The Father was in heaven. What did Jesus say? “Do not call anyone on earth father, for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.” Where was Jesus again? Yes, he was on earth. The Father was in heaven. So the two can’t be the same. So,Jesus prohibited people from calling anyone “Father” denoting Godhood(not father as in your biological father is your father) on earth including Jesus. The trinitarian concept is thus, “The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Have you ever seen the formula like this, “The Son and The Father and The Holy Spirit”. The answer is obviously, no. It is always the Father first and then the Son and then the Holy Spirit. If the Son is the Father and vice versa then surely their positions are interchangeable. The fact that they’re not indicates that they are not one and the same. Further more, Jesus himself said, “No one has ever seen God. God’s only Son, the one who is closest to the Father’s heart, has made him known.” (John 1:18,God’s Word Translation). And in John 17:3 we see that God is the Father. So, when you consider John 1:18 and John 17:3 together you will come to realise that Jesus says that NO ONE HAS SEEN the Father. Did anyone see Jesus? Yes, all his disciples, the pharisees, the common folk, Pontius Pilate etc. All of them saw Jesus. So, how then is Jesus the Everlasting Father? The Trinitarian Christians have clearly contradicted their own doctrines and scriptures by saying Jesus is the Everlasting Father.

Prince of Peace

This is yet another name or title which was never given to Jesus. In fact, let us see what Jesus himself said. As a matter of fact, Jesus himself denied to bring peace. Let us consider some  words of Jesus regarding this idea of bringing peace or of him being the Prince of Peace:

I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism* to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father* against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. (Luke 12:49-53)

Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39)

Apologists will tell us that what Jesus is talking about is the result of his preaching which shall create divisions in the family household between the believers and the disbelievers. While I do not have a problem with this understanding itself, it does not correlate with Matthew 10:34-39. We read that division is not just something which will result from faith in Jesus but it is something which Jesus came to do i.e. he has come to create division. It says, “For I came to set a man against his father…”. The Greek reads,”erchomai gar dichazo…” dichazo is a verb and shows the action ot setting people against each other.  So, he has not come with peace but with division and even HATE!

If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26) 

The word hate in Luke 14:26 is the exact same word in Greek μισει(miseo) used for the enemies of Jesus’ hate towards him in Luke 1:71:

“That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;”

We see an even more eye-opening verse:

Perhaps people think that I have come to cast peace upon the world. They do not know that I have come to cast conflicts upon the earth: fire, sword, war. For there will be five in a house: there’ll be three against two and two against three, father against son and son against father, and they will stand alone.”

Though the above is from the Gospel of Thomas(16), it presents as a very interesting read in light of Mark 10 and Luke 12. There is even the possibility that these are the actual words of Jesus according to a Christian site on the Gospel of Thomas http://home.epix.net/~miser17/faq.html. It says,” However, it is quite possible that Thomas retains sayings that the biblical gospels don’t retain and, indeed, that Thomas is more reliable as a guide to the sort of thing Jesus said than the biblical gospels are. “

At any rate, Jesus clearly denounced the idea of him bringing peace. In fact, he came to instill hatred according to Matthew, Mark and more especially Luke in the passages given. The title Prince of Peace given to Jesus is an innovation which Jesus never accepted nor did any of his disciples call him by such a name. Thus, the title prince of peace in Isaiah 9:6 does not fit Jesus.

One missionary tactic used to prove Isaiah 9:6 is talking about Jesus is by quoting the views of ancient Rabbis from the Talmud. Hadavar, the Messianic ministry is a good example of this http://hadavar.org/Isaiah_9_6.html. For example, they quote:

Babylonian Talmud (Tract Derech Erez Zutha):

“Rabbi Hose the Galilean said: Also the name of the Messiah is called Peace, for it is written (Isaiah 9:6): ‘Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.'”25

Let us have a look at Rabbi Rashi’s(one of the foremost Jewish commentators of the OT) conmmentary:

For a child has been born to us, a son given to us, and the authority is upon his shoulder, and the wondrous adviser, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, called his name, “the prince of peace.”

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/15940/jewish/Chapter-9.htm

In this translation we see that the names wondrous adviser(counsellor), the mighty God, the everlasting Father are all in reference to someone else who called the son whom is being spoken of as “the prince of peace”. This means, that the names prior to “prince of peace” are not in reference to the son, but actually God. I would advice the Christians to take this particular position to reconcile the problem with naming Jesus “Everlasting Father” as elaborated earlier.

Last but not least, we shall have a look at what the Septuagint which is the oldest Greek translation of the Old Testament says about Isaiah 9:6. I won’t get into a detailed discussion on the importance of the Septuagint in the Christian tradition because that is another subject all together. Nevertheless, it is sufficient to mention here that the New Testament and the Gospel writers quoted the Septuagint dozens of times. This is mentioned by H.B. Swete in “An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek”. In addition, we read the following words by Lancelot C. L. Brenton in “Introduction” to The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English, p. 4 :

“The Septuagint version having been current for about three centuries before the time when the books of the New Testament were written, it is not surprising that the Apostles should have used it more often than not in making citations from the Old Testament. They used it as an honestly-made version in pretty general use at the time when they wrote. They did not on every occasion give an authoritative translation of each passage de novo, but they used what was already familiar to the ears of converted Hellenists, when it was sufficiently accurate to suit the matter in hand.”

We also read in Translators for the reader, p. 21 :

“The translation of the Seventy dissenteth from the original in many places, neither doth it come near it for perspicuity, gravity, majesty; yet which of the Apostles did condemn it? Condemn it? Nay, they used it, … which they would not have done, nor by their example of using it, so grace and commend it to the Church, if it had been unworthy the appellation and name of the Word of God”

For detailed information about the Septuagint proceed to http://www.geocities.com/r_grant_jones/Rick/Septuagint/spindex.htm .

Let us now consider Isaiah 9:6 in the Septuagint:

“For a child is born to us, and a son is given to us, whose government is upon his shoulder: and his name is called the Messenger of great counsel: for I will bring peace upon the princes, and health to him.”

http://www.ecmarsh.com/lxx/Esaias/index.htm

I do not think any Muslim will have any compunction with the above verse from the Septuagint. However, it will certainly serve as quite unsettling for Trinitarians who depend upon the verse to show Jesus’ divinity. At this point, let it be noted that we do not have any personal objection to the use of Isaiah 9:6 as a prophecy concerning Jesus. The real problem enters when it is used in an attempt to prove Jesus’ alleged divinity. However, if the verse is rendered like it is in the Christian version i.e.”For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”(Isaiah 9:6) then we have seen from the details discussed it does not at all fit Jesus. Ergo, after considering Rashi, the Septuagint, and the elaborations provided on each of the names from the Christian version of the verse quoted at the beginning and requoted just now it is evidently clear that the claim that Isaiah 9:6 prophecies Jesus is at best weak and the Trinitarian claim that it speaks of his divinity is totally false. Before we end the discussion let us consider the following commentary:

“5. a child. The verse has been given a Christological interpretation by the Church, but modern non-Jewish exegetes agre that a contemporary person is intended. The Talmud and later Jewish commentators understood the allusion to be the son of Ahaz, viz. Hezekiah.

is born… is given. Better, in agreement with the Hebrew, ‘has been born… has been given.’

the government is upon his shoulder. Unlike his father, who was a vasal to the king of Assyria(Kimchi).

Pele-joez-el-gibbor-Abi-ad-sar-shalom. The meaning of the Hebrew words is ‘Wonderful in counsel is God the Mighty, the Everlasting Father, the Ruler of Peace.’ The child will bear these significant names in order to recall to the people the message they embodied(Abarbanel).” [1] (emphasis added)

Wallahu’Alam Bisawab.

Reference:

[1] Rev. Dr. I.W. Slotki. Isaiah. Hebrew text and English Translation with an Introduction and Commentary(1987). The Soncino Press. p. 44

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7 Responses to “A study of Isaiah 9:6”

  1. Ali says:

    Sallam Brother Anwar,
    Great Article as usual.
    May God strike me down if I am lien, I was in a room I believe two days ago, and somebody brought this exact same verse up!. He was speaking to someone else. I would have loved to have known of this article :).

    After reading this article I find out hard how someone with the title of ”Dr.” can actually believe that he has a case for the divinity of Jesus regarding Isaiah 9:6. Thiis first seems great at face value but when it is inspected, as you have just done brother , then one can come to the simple realization, of what this article is trying to prove.
    Sallam Bro
    Keep up the great work!

  2. Ali says:

    Sallam
    when will u have the debates with venomfang x back on?
    I am waiting to watch that one again..i swear when u were responding to him, i was like
    OOOOO DAMEEEE..
    jzk

  3. new christian says:

    “Ye hypocrites . . .” MATTHEW 23:13 “Ye wicked and adulterous generation . . .” MATTHEW 16:4 “Ye whited sepulchres . . .” MATTHEW 23:27 “Ye generation of vipers . . .” MATTHEW 23:33

    Salam Brother

    I hope u r fine

    by the way ISA 9:6 was known to the jews before Jesus was born as a messianic prophecy , after Jesus it is obvious that jews rabbis claims that it is not a messianic prophecy like rabbi Rashi he said it was a prophecy for Hezekiah BUT ISA 9:7 says that his government and peace there shall be no end upon he throne of David , so was Hezekiah’s government and peace with no end , NO NO NO

    one thing more ( it funny ) u said that ” son of god ” means ” servant of god ” ok then why the god of islam prohibit the term ” son of god ” , if it is true then why the jews crucified Jesus ?
    Jn 19:7 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the “Son of God”.
    if son of god means servant of god then why u muslims don’t call him son of god?

    just for once use ur mind ( if u have one left )

    may Allah the most merciful enlight ur mind

    salam

    • Ibn Anwar says:

      “by the way ISA 9:6 was known to the jews before Jesus was born as a messianic prophecy , after Jesus it is obvious that jews rabbis claims that it is not a messianic prophecy like rabbi Rashi he said it was a prophecy for Hezekiah BUT ISA 9:7 says that his government and peace there shall be no end upon he throne of David , so was Hezekiah’s government and peace with no end , NO NO NO”

      If you read the verse carefully you will be able to see that it is contextually speaking about something that has happened when it was written. It is the Rabbinical understanding that the verse refers to Hezekiah as you have mentioned, but what about the section of the verse that says that the peace that is established will have no end? Can this refer to Jesus? How can it be according to Luke 19:27? Christian commentators have said that Luke 19:27 foretells the horrible fate of those who will not accept Jesus when he returns. In fact, they will all be killed. Is that the peace that will have no end?

      You said:
      one thing more ( it funny ) u said that ” son of god ” means ” servant of god ” ok then why the god of islam prohibit the term ” son of god ” , if it is true then why the jews crucified Jesus ?
      Jn 19:7 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the “Son of God”.
      if son of god means servant of god then why u muslims don’t call him son of god?

      My reply:
      Yes, the term ‘son of God’ originally did not mean anything more than one who is close to God as Christian scholars themselves have remarked (http://unveilingchristianity.w.....on-of-god/), however the term took on additional meanings when Christian came to the fold suggesting that Jesus is the ‘son of God’ in the sense that he is divine. How many times do Christian missionaries suggest that Jesus’ manhood is conveyed by the title ‘Son of Man’ whilst his divinity is conveyed by the title ‘Son of God’ as Bishop Kenneth Cragg says, “The phrase means that Christ is God in self-revelation…”(cited in Parrinder, G. (1965). Jesus in the Qur’an. London: Faber and Faber Limited. pp. 132). Parrinder also says at the end of his chapter on ‘Son of God’ that this phrase “…leads directly to the idea of the Trinity.”(Ibid. pp. 132). Because Christians have hijacked and tainted the term it no longer befits Jesus who was but God’s messenger and creation.

      • new christian says:

        I admit I am ignorant. I’m sorry for being a monkey :(. I wish I did not have to be a vampire to enter heaven. I don’t know why I believe I have to drink blood like Dracula to go to heaven…:(..i wanna cryyyy

  4. roby says:

    cristmiss is on its way and thousands of pauline pagans will MISREAD torah verses on crissmiss day HAHAHAAHAHA

  5. tasleem says:

    I love ur site. im impressed
    with ur argument. May Allah reward u

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