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. – Isaiah 9:6
Isaiah prophesied about 700 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. It was a time of uncertainty, gloom, thick darkness, and a divided kingdom (8:23). Isaiah 9:6 is full of hope, pointing readers forward to the coming of the promised child-King and his rule, whom he referred to earlier as the “the holy seed” (6:13) and “Immanuel” (7:14, 8:8). The coming fully human and fully divine rule of the child-King was guaranteed by “the zeal of the Lord.”
In Isaiah’s revelation, these events are spoken of as if they have already happened. The certainty of the promise leads Isaiah to associate himself with those to come who will rejoice over the birth of this coming child-King. The coming child-King is given a four-fold name that describes his character. It was common in the ancient world for the King to be given throne names. These royal names were often phrases or two parallel statements like we find in Isaiah 9:6.
The first royal name given the child-King is “Wonderful Counselor.” The descriptor “Wonderful” is a noun, it does not mean a really good counselor the way we often use the word. “Wonderful” carries the idea of supernatural. Consider the way it is used:
And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” (Judges 13:18)
This also comes from the Lord of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom. (Isaiah 28:29)
In Judges 13:18, the Angel of the Lord is making the point that his name is wonderful, more than human ears can hear and in Isaiah 28:29, wonderful refers to the Lord himself. The Hebrew word translated “wonderful” is used 13 times in the Old Testament, all in reference to the acts of God or what requires God as the explanation.
As our Supernatural Counselor, he possesses perfect wisdom. The Lord’s counsel is perfect, exceptional, and so matchless that no human language is capable of mastering or exhausting it. As our Wonderful Counselor, his counsel is beyond our words; it is incomprehensibly wise. Human counsel and wisdom, by comparison, are foolishness at best. Remember, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given”. Thus, for us, Jesus, our wonderful counselor is given. We have more information at our fingertips than ever, but often less understanding in our heads and hearts. We need Jesus, our wonderful counselor, he is “the wisdom of God.” Christmas is God’s solution to our uncertainty and darkness. Only the Wonderful Counselor can lead us from darkness to light, and onward to an unceasingly brighter future.