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I have often heard it suggested that by Isaiah referring to the Messiah as "Everlasting Father" as a name, or part of his name, Isaiah is saying that the Messiah was to be "fully God" or something to that effect.

However, it struck me yesterday that Abram also underwent a name change, received a covenant and was promised abundant generations of descendants, making him "the father of faith" and the father of the Jewish people, and ultimately the father of the faithful gentiles as well. I'm wondering if Isaiah's "everlasting father" refers not to God but to the perpetual descendants that would arise through the Messiah.

[Isa 9:6-7 NLT] (6) For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (7) His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven's Armies will make this happen!

[Gen 17:1-8 NLT] (1) When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am El-Shaddai--'God Almighty.' Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. (2) I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants." (3) At this, Abram fell face down on the ground. Then God said to him, (4) "This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations! (5) What's more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. (6) I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them! (7) "I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. (8) And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God."

In "covenant eschatology", the kingdom of God, established in the first 70 years of the first century AD, never, ever, ever ends but instead continues to save sinners forever. This will ultimately reach an uncountable number of descendants from Jesus, spiritually speaking.

Is Isaiah asserting equivalence with God? Or an everlasting kingdom that continuously adds descendants forever?

  • Names don't work like this is Hebrew culture, neither in OT times or now. You may be reading messages into the text that aren't intended. אביעד, "Eternal Father" is a really common first name in Israel today as ever, among the non-religious as well as the religious, as is עמנואל Immanuel, God is with us. And שר שלום, Prince of Peace, is a common family name. No one bats an eyelash at this type of naming. They are names with a little prayer inside them, exhortations of great expectations, middle eastern dramatics if you will,entirely in character with the culture. – Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim Dec 9 at 16:04
  • Would a modern Jew by the name of אביעד, not associate their name with Father Abe? – Ruminator Dec 9 at 16:57
  • The name Aviad, אביעד, actually doesn't sound like "Eternal Father". It sounds in Hebrew like "Above Eternity" or "Beyond Time", or even "Before Time", and that's the interpretation of RADAK and other traditional commentaries in this verse. The construct form of אב, father, here is אבי, in the sense of "first of" or "creator of", as in Genesis 4:20,21, Job 38:28. This is a common Semitic usage of "father" or "mother" in construct form, not in the sense of parent but in the sense of antecedent or creator or primary or superlative. Think "Mother of all wars". – Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim 2 days ago
  • Okay I get that, but at the end of the day oh, wouldn't it be Abraham that would be that father in this case? John 53“Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?” – Ruminator 2 days ago
  • Not necessarily. These names all appear to refer to God. "Beyond Time" could also be a moniker for God. – Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim 2 days ago
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I think the answer is most directly pulled right from the text in Isaiah and then buttressed by the larger testimony of Scripture. There is a singular male child given and four masculine singular pronouns:

The government on His shoulders... He will be called... His government won't end... He will rule...

Later, in Galatians, Paul clarifies for us that the promises made to Abraham and his offspring were ultimately referring singularly to Christ and fulfilled in Christ.

Christ is that Son of David whom David himself refers to as Lord; which point Jesus himself lays out for the Pharisees from Psalm 110

Since Isaiah 9:6-7 is speaking of Christ and, since Christ is the Son of God by his own testimony and the testimony of Almighty God, and taking into account that, in God's creative economy, like begets like it stands to reason that Isaiah is indeed assigning divine equivalence to this son who is given since He is the unique Son of God.

God possesses perfect and infinite integrity, therefore there is no ontological difference between who He is (Father) what He says (Son) and what He does (Spirit).

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