Terry R. Baughman
“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.” (Isaiah 9:6).
“His Name shall Be … Wonderful, Counselor.”
“Wonderful” is such a — wonderful word. Often the word is a impulsive interjection when we hear good news, “Why that is wonderful!” Thinking about it, the simplest definition is that it is a description of something “full of wonder.” Wonderful is used to describe something that is awe-inspiring, amazing, or inspirational. Wonderful is an accurate description of our great God. He is the embodiment of the attribute. He is wonderful!
Sometimes language is so limited. We use the words at our disposal but find they are inadequate to fully describe the immensity of God’s attributes or the Divine quality of His character. So we use modifiers, adjectives and word pictures to convey the magnitude of His magnificence. Other times the simplest words best suit the situation and one succinct word or phrase carries the burden of delivery adequately. Jesus is just wonderful!
In the Old Testament times of the Judges an angel delivered a promise in a message to Manoah and his wife that a special son would be born to them who would bring deliverance to Israel. Manoah asked for his name, so when the promise was fulfilled he might bless him, “The Angel of the Lord said to him, ‘Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?’” (Judges 13:18). Because of the multitude of wonderful works performed by the Lord He is rightfully called Wonderful!
The Christ-child prophesied by Isaiah was also to be a counselor. A counselor is one who gives wise instruction and insight. At the age of twelve He confounded the teachers of the Law in the Temple by His understanding. When Jesus began His ministry and concluded the Sermon on the Mount it was noted that no one had ever taught like Him. “They were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:22).
Jesus also promised the coming of His Spirit to be a comforter or counselor for us. The same remarkable ministry Jesus demonstrated while living on earth is available through the power of the Holy Spirit. Through His gifts He has given a word of wisdom, the gift of knowledge, and discerning of spirits. The Counselor is still with us; even in us!
Some translations have opted to use wonderful as an adjective modifying Counselor. They eliminate the comma between indicating one attribute. Put together, He is the “Wonderful Counselor!” He is not just a counselor but an outstanding, awe-inspiring counselor. Though it may seem like a minor inflection of meaning, both translations are valid. He is Wonderful; He is the Counselor, and He is also the wonderful Counselor!
His Name shall Be!
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—” (John 14:16).