“And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor.”
This literally translates, “a wonder of a counselor.” What does this name mean? Let’s look at it in two parts.
“Wonderful.” The Hebrew word pala indicates “a phenomenon lying outside the realm of human explanation; that which is separated from the normal course of events.” The same word is used in Psalm 139:6 in just this way: “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it.” It describes something miraculous!
We often have a low view of the miraculous, and there- fore a limited sense of wonder. Does our sense of wonder go beyond all human explanation? Or have the successes of science and technology robbed us of our ability to worship a God of miracles? Do we honestly believe that the greatest “miracles” are not come-from-behind victories by our favorite sports team, or the latest in technological wizardry, or the wonder drug that calmed our hay fever?
All of those can be explained, but a real wonder is something beyond human explanation. The prophet Isaiah declared that the coming Christ would be a wonder. This not only describes what He does, it describes who He is. He, Himself, is the wonder!
“Counselor.” In its historical usage, the word pictured a king giving counsel to his people. Micah declared the dilemma of the Jewish captives in Babylon this way, “Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in your midst? Has your counselor perished?” (4:9). Long before the Child was born and the Son was given, Isaiah fore- told that God was planning to send a Counselor for the brokenhearted people of the world.
What is the evidence that Jesus Christ is the Wonderful Counselor? We see it fleshed out in a Person. We read of, reflect on, and appeal for help from the One “who became for us wisdom from God” (1 COR. 1:30).
When we take all that we know about Christ, it adds up to a marvelous truth— He is the God who is a “Wonder of a Counselor.”
His Wonder. If a wonder is anything that excites amazement, then it describes everything about the One who came in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. In 1 Timothy 3:16, Paul expressed the wonder of the Christ who clothed Himself in human flesh:
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.
The wonder of this brief statement disturbs philosophers, delights beggars, and comforts the brokenhearted. What He did for us in His redeeming work is beyond comprehension. Imagine what it will mean to enjoy for all eternity a loving relationship with the Creator, the Son of heaven who became sin for us (2 COR. 5:20-21). Think about it: the Son, God in every way, was still willing to bear our punishment for sin. That should stir our hearts in wonder!
His Counsel. Even as a child of 12, Jesus astounded Jewish rabbis with His wisdom (LK. 2:46-47). Luke recorded that “the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him” (2:40). In His public life, people were amazed at His wise counsel. “When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were aston- ished and said, ‘Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works?’” (MT. 13:54). Later, the apostle Paul wrote that in Him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (COL. 2:3).
Are we as astonished at the wonder of a counselor as Isaiah was? Are we captivated by His charm, insight, and practical genius? Where else can we be so assured of the acceptance and forgiveness and comfort of God?
What is the importance of the name “Wonderful Counselor” to believers today? Because the Wonderful Counselor is also our Creator and Savior, and because He is the fulfillment of all that both Old and New Testaments teach, His counsel is found wherever we can find the words and provisions of God. The Old Testament is His story. The New Testament Gospels are the record of His interactions with the people of His day. The letters of the rest of the New Testament represent the practical application of His teaching to life.
How then does our Wonderful Counselor help us with our problems and lead us to a place of security, satisfaction, and enjoyment? He does so through His Word and prayer (PS. 119:24; JAS. 1:5). He does so by reminding us that there is safety in a multitude of good counselors (PROV. 11:14). But most of all He does so with the assurance that because of who He is, He can help us in ways that go far beyond our ability to understand (PS. 32:8) or our own limitations.
Christ is able to give us the needed direction for life. How thankful we should be that Isaiah spoke of a Wonderful Counselor, who is also rightly named the “Mighty God.”