Rev. Hanko is a minister emeritus in the Protestant Reformed Churches.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
Unto us a child is born.
Amazing wonder! The prophet Isaiah sees, as it were, the virgin Mary, who in utter amazement asks the visiting angel, “How shall these things be?” The angel answers her with the simple and deeply profound words, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” How clear, yet how profound!
He is the Son of God, yet He is also Son of Man, completely divine, yet also completely human. Of Him it was said, “Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.” The Prince of Peace. My Jesus, my Lord!
Unto us a Son is given.
We can trace His genealogy all the way back to the dawn of history. God has eternally prepared our Mediator, our Savior and Lord. He is Adam’s son, out of the loins of Abraham, from the tribe of Judah, of the seed of David, Mary’s child.
The moment we fell, through the transgression of our first parents, God came to us. No, we did not come to Him. He came to us. Though we had willfully rebelled against our Maker, transgressed His covenant, and broke the bond of fellowship, so that we became enemies of God and died under His curse, God came to reconcile us unto Himself and to bring us into a most intimate covenant fellowship with Him. He is the God of the impossible. He brought salvation.
God said, I will put enmity between thee, Satan-Deceiver, and the woman, between thy seed and her seed. Her Seed will bruise thy head, even as thou wilt bruise His heel. He is God’s gift, not to humanity, but to God’s people, His elect of all the ages.
He is the Christ, prepared from all eternity, promised throughout the entire dispensation of shadows, hoped for by all the early saints. He appeared many times during the old dispensation as the Angel of Jehovah representing God’s cause among His people. He entered into this world of enmity and warfare, of sin and death, to fight the battle of the Lord and to overcome all the powers of darkness as the mighty Conqueror.
Mighty Prince. The government shall be upon His shoulders.
He wears no distinguishing uniform, has no epaulets on His shoulders or stars and bars on His sleeves. He does not ride a mighty steed with dangling sword or saber. Nor does He gather about Himself a large, well-trained army.
Even as He entered this world in all the weakness of sinful flesh, He was always the lowly, obedient Servant, authorized from all eternity to carry out the counsel and will of our Almighty God. He came in all the weakness of sinful flesh, like unto the brethren, to do the Father’s will. He is the Seed of the Woman, appointed to crush the head of Satan, to destroy all the powers of darkness, and to bring His people to eternal glory with the Father in heaven.
He is well qualified for the task entrusted to Him. He is completely fitted as no other to assault all the powers of darkness, to conquer and destroy them, to deliver us from the bondage of sin and death and bring us into the glorious liberty of the sons of God in Father’s house with its many mansions.
His exalted names designate His qualifications. Who was ever given more majestic names than He? His name is above all other names, for He is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Everlasting Father. Each of these names evinces the truth that He is the very Son of God, the revelation of the Father, born of the virgin, Immanuel, God with us!
He is Wonderful Counselor. In times past, as the Angel of Jehovah, He had said: “Why askest thou after my name, seeing it is secret (Wonderful)?” (Jud. 13:14). Even though He has given us many names whereby we may know Him and speak to Him and of Him, there is no name that can possibly express all the fullness of the infinite God. This Prince of God is none other than the Most High God Himself, who dwells in the unsearchable light of His own glory, far beyond all that is creature.
That fully qualifies Him to be Wonderful Counselor. He is Wisdom, possessing a wisdom far beyond all that sages know. He can say: “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary” (Is. 50:4). He says: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28, 29). Or again, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see” (Rev. 3:18).
He is also Mighty God. He could say: “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. …When he prepared the heavens I was there; when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: … when he appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him” (Prov. 8:22-30).
When this mighty God tabernacled among us He healed the sick; He caused the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and the lame to walk; lepers were cleansed and dead were raised. Even the winds and the waves obeyed Him, causing Peter to cry out: “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:4).
He spoke with divine authority as He daily taught the people. He brought separation among them. Many listened to Him, heard His teachings, and turned their backs to Him, preferring the bread that perishes to the Bread of eternal life. He raised the ire of scribes and Pharisees, chief priests and rulers, for they feared losing their power and were determined to kill Him. But, on the other hand, He drew to Himself sinners who washed His feet with their tears and humbly confessed: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” For all whom the Father gives to Him do come to Him, and He in no wise casts them out.
He surrendered Himself into the hands of sinful men to be judged by the highest authorities of the church and of the world. They all brought condemnation upon themselves, for they all admitted that He was innocent of any crime, a Lamb without spot of blemish, yet condemned Him for insisting that He was the Christ sent of God, the King of kings and Lord of lords. Even in that, they served a divine purpose, for He gave Himself to be crucified and thus to bring the sacrifice for sin for all those given Him of the Father. The good Shepherd laid down His life for His sheep, arose from the dead as the mighty Conqueror over sin and death and is exalted as Lord of glory in the highest heavens.
The Lord unto His Christ hath said,
Sit Thou at My right hand
Until I make Thy enemies
Submit to Thy command.
A scepter prospered by the Lord
Thy mighty hand shall wield;
From Zion Thou shalt rule the world,
And all Thy foes shall yield.
He is also Everlasting Father. Literally we read: Father of eternity. He is indeed the eternal God. We may wonder for a moment that the Son of God, who rests in the bosom of the Father, the First Person, should also be called Father. Is there not a contradiction here? Yet, upon second thought, we realize that the triune God is one God. When we pray, we pray to all three persons and address them all three as “Our Father who art in heaven.” May we never forget, Christ is fully, completely, eternally God.
He is Head of His church. All things were made by Him and for Him. He is our Advocate before the Father, who through Him bestows on us every spiritual blessing for time and eternity. In Him we are rightful heirs of salvation, renewed by His Spirit in His likeness, and changed from children of darkness into sons and daughters of the living God, to dwell in His presence, to reflect His glory, and to tell His praises.
He is the Prince of Peace.
As very God and very man He is fully qualified to accomplish the work entrusted to Him from eternity. No one but God could perform that task. The very God against whom we so grievously sinned, whom we have offended, denied, and cast out of our thoughts and life, is the very God who loves us with an eternal love so great that the Father was willing to sacrifice His Son, and the Son was willing to give His life, in order to deliver us from the bondage of sin and bring us into His life and fellowship.
He is the mighty Conqueror. The Christ of God took on all the weakness of sinful flesh, placed Himself under the burden of God’s wrath against our sins, fought against Satan even unto the depths of hell, crushed his head under His mighty heel, overcame hell and sin, death and the grave, and triumphantly entered into glory to receive a name above all names. All power was entrusted to Him in heaven and on earth.
He is Shiloh. He breaks into our sin-hardened hearts by His Spirit, powerfully renews us with His glorified life, banishes sin, takes dominion, and creates in our hearts the peace that passes all understanding, the beginning of heavenly joy and blessedness.
He reigns forever over His people as Shepherd-King. I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake…. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Now the King in Thy strength shall be joyful, O Lord,
Thy salvation shall make Him rejoice;
For the wish of His heart thou didst freely accord,
The request of His suppliant voice.