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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Why is Jesus Called "Eternal Father" at Isaiah 9:6?

"Eternal Father" could mean that the Messiah is one who has been given eternal life and through him God has brought eternal life to many others. (We might make the comparison that the Heavenly Father has brought men to life in this world through their earthly fathers.) This would be intended in a clearly subordinate sense and not to take anything away from the ultimate honor, glory, worship, etc. due the Most High God and Father in heaven - Jehovah.

At any rate, even trinitarians do not confuse the two separate persons of the Father and the Son. They do not say the Son is the Father. They say the Father and the Son are two separate individual persons who are equally "God".

Therefore, since we obviously cannot take "Eternal Father" in the literal sense to mean that Jesus is the Father, we cannot take the rest of that same name (esp. `Mighty God') in its literal highest sense and say that Jesus is Mighty God, etc., either.

Rotherham has rendered "Eternal Father" as "father of progress," and the New English Bible translates it: "father of a wide realm."

The above-mentioned Bible translations by trinitarian scholars which apply the words in the name at Is. 9:6 in a subordinate sense directly to Jesus clearly show that they do not believe this scripture implies an equality with Jehovah the Father.


Also, Bible scholars have interpreted the MEANING of this name with the understanding that it (as with many, if not most, of the other Israelites' personal names) DOES NOT APPLY DIRECTLY TO THE MESSIAH (as we can see with "Elijah," "Abijah," etc.) but is, instead, A STATEMENT PRAISING the Father, Jehovah God.

Personal names in the ancient Hebrew and Greek are often somewhat cryptic to us today. The English Bible translator must fill in the missing minor words (especially in names composed of two or more Hebrew words) such as "my," "is," "of," etc. in whatever way he thinks best in order to make sense for us today in English.

For instance, two of the best Bible concordances (Young's and Strong's) and a popular trinitarian Bible dictionary (Today's Dictionary of the Bible) differ greatly on the exact meaning of many Biblical personal names because of those "minor" words which must be added to bring out the intended meaning.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, for example, says the name "Elimelech" (which is literally just "God King") means "God of (the) King." Young's Analytical Concordance says it means "God is King." Today's Dictionary of the Bible says it means " God his king" - p. 206, Bethany House Publ., 1982.

Those missing minor words that the translator must supply at his own discretion can often make a vital difference! - For example, the footnote for Gen. 17:5 in The NIV Study Bible: The name `Abram' "means `Exalted Father,' probably in reference to God (i.e., `[God is] Exalted Father')."- Brackets in original.

Therefore, the personal name at Is. 9:6 has been honestly translated as:

"And his name is called: Wonderful in counsel is God the Mighty, the everlasting Father, the Ruler of peace" - The Holy Scriptures, JPS Version (Margolis, ed.) to show that it is intended to PRAISE the God of the Messiah who performs great things through the Messiah.

Also, An American Translation (by trinitarians Smith and Goodspeed) says:

"Wonderful counselor is God almighty, Father forever, Prince of peace."

Of course it could also be honestly translated: "Wonderful Counselor and Mighty God is the Eternal Father of the Prince of Peace."

And the Tanakh by the JPS, 1985, translates it:

[a]"The Mighty God is planning grace;
[b] The Eternal Father [is] a peaceable ruler."

This latter translation seems particularly appropriate since it is in the form of a parallelism. Not only was the previous symbolic personal name introduced by Isaiah at Is. 8:1 a parallelism ("Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz" means [a]"quick to the plunder; [b] swift to the spoil" - NIV footnote) but the very introduction to this Messianic name at Is. 9:6 is itself a parallelism: [a]"For unto us a child is born; [b] unto us a son is given." It would, therefore, be appropriate to find that this name, too, was in the form of a parallelism as translated by the Tanakh above.

So it is clear, even to a number of trinitarian scholars, that Is. 9:6 does not imply that Jesus is Jehovah God.

For much more, see:

Isa. 9:6 "Mighty God, Eternal Father" (Examining the Trinity)

Isa. 9:6 - NWT (Defending the New World Translation)

NAME - “Jesus,” “Immanuel,” and Is. 9:6 (Examining the Trinity)

BOWGOD (God and gods) (Examining the Trinity)

Does Isa. 9:6 prove that Jesus is God? (Search For Bible Truths)

One God in Three? (Pastor Russell; Heading: "No Trinity in the “Old Testament”')

How does the Codex Sinaiticus render Is. 9:6? (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers)

How is translated Isaiah 9:6 in old Aramaic Targums? (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers)

Or see the Scripture Index.