“And His name will be called… Everlasting Father.”
Shrouded in Mystery.
Like the name “Mighty God”, for centuries this name, “Everlasting Father”, was shrouded in mystery. What mortal could bear such a title? In Isaiah 9:6 the Messiah is described as both a Son (“unto us a Son is given”) and a Father (“His name will be called… Everlasting Father”). What is the meaning of the name “Everlasting Father”? The symbolic use of the Hebrew word father was an expression for “possessor of,” meaning that He became a child in time (through His birth), but He is the Father (and possessor) of eternity. This reveals several aspects of His character:
He inhabits and possesses eternity. “For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones’” (ISA. 57:15).
His name is eternal. “His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in Him; all nations shall call Him blessed” (PS. 72:17).
He is the eternal provider. “He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son’” (REV. 21:6-7).
He is eternal in all that He is and all that He does. This implies two crucial truths claimed for God’s Messiah in both Old and New Testaments:
- He is preexistent. “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (PS. 90:2).
- He is self-existent. In Exodus 3 God calls Himself “I Am.” This name defines the God who is. He is totally independent of His creation and of time. He is the God who is Alpha and Omega, the God of the eternal present tense. As self-existent, He is completely self-dependent.
What is the evidence that Jesus Christ is the “Everlasting Father”?
In John 8:12-58, a fascinating dialogue occurs between Jesus and His religious antag- onists, the Pharisees. Jesus called God His Father. The Pharisees called Abraham their father. So Jesus said that if Abraham were their father they would do the works of Abraham. They responded that at least they were not born of sexual sin (implying that Mary had been sexually active before marriage), and then matched Jesus’ claim that all have one Father—God. To this Jesus replied:
If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do (jn. 8:42-44).
The Pharisees were making their claim to Abraham and to the God of Abraham, but Jesus didn’t back down. Instead, He clarified that their link to Abraham was merely physical. Then He made the most amazing statement of all: “Before Abraham was, I am” (JN. 8:58). In the mind of the Pharisees, Jesus had now gone too far. They recognized that by such a claim He was making Himself equal with God—the “I Am” of the burning bush in Exodus 3:14. This claim so infuriated them that they picked up stones to kill Him.
In retrospect, we can see more than the Pharisees’ rage. We also see One who by His miraculous life, death, and resurrection has shown His right to the name Isaiah’s prophecy had declared 600 years before Jesus’ birth.
The truth of the eternality of the Messiah has come under continuous attack for centuries. But the inescapable fact is that all who reject the eternality of Christ also reject His deity. The two are inseparable! If Jesus is not eternal, He is not God—and vice versa. Isaiah clearly said that when Messiah came, He would be the physical embodiment of the Everlasting Father.
The ability of Christ to be a timeless source of fatherly protection and provision is claimed in a number of ways in the New Testament.
- His character is described as eternally consistent and unchanging, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (HEBREWS 13:8).
- His New Testament title Alpha and Omega (REV. 1:8) uses the first (alpha) and last (omega) letters of the Greek alphabet to symbolize that Christ is before everything and will surpass everything.
- He declared that His divine judgment will be eternal (MT. 18:8).
- John the Baptist, whose birth preceded Jesus, still recognized the eternality of Christ when he said, “This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me’” (JN. 1:30). He is the eternal One!
What is the importance of the name “Everlasting Father” to believers today?
The self-existence of Christ means that He will not leave us as all earthly fathers eventually must. This, among many other facts, makes the incarnation an amazing thing. The eternal God took upon Himself the limitations of a human body so that He could bring us into an everlasting relationship with Himself. Even though this world is marked by unfairness, inequity, and suffering, those who believe in God’s Messiah are in the hands of an Eternal Father and Provider. As the author of Hebrews says:
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (HEB. 13:5).
This is the Father who will never leave us:
- He provides the strength of “everlasting arms” (DT. 33:27).
- He ministers with an “everlasting consolation” (2 TH. 2:16).
- He performs His work with “everlasting power” (1 TIM. 6:16).
- He rules over an “everlasting kingdom” (2 PET. 2:11).
- He maintains an eternal presence (MT. 28:20).
- He gives us life that is eternal (JN. 14:19).
- He graciously provides for those who realize that eternal values are what really count (MT. 6:33).
These eternal values are not easy to consider, but we cannot afford to ignore them. It is of enormous benefit for us to ponder the timelessness of our God. If He were only God for the length of our lifetime on earth, He would still deserve our reverence and trust, but as the God of eternity, He is worthy of our unending devotion and most careful attention.
A. W. Tozer said that the most important thing about us is what we believe about God. In that light, consider Tozer’s words:
Few of us have let our hearts gaze in wonder at the I AM, the self-existent Self, back of which no creature can think. Such thoughts are too painful for us. We prefer to think where it will do more good—about how to make a better mousetrap, for instance, or how to make two blades of grass grow where one grew before. And for this we are now paying a too heavy price in the secularization of our religion, and the decay of our inner lives (The Knowledge of The Holy, p.34).
May we take time to ponder Christ, the timeless One who invaded time to rescue us from sin and self, the Father of Eternity who has given His life so that we may have eternal peace with God and with one another.