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Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name;

make known among the nations what he has done,

and proclaim that his name is exalted. Isaiah 12:4 [1]

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

International gathering of Christian students

Here we stand, at the beginning of new decade, intensely aware of how fleeting was the last one. It’s fitting to reflect on these great prophesies from Isaiah. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

…And his name shall be called…. In the Hebrew mindset, your name was not like the sticky tag you get at a low-budget conference, “Hello. My name is _______.” Your name was meant to show your very essence and character. And when God tells us his own name, we learn deeply of his identity and mission. His name is “a powerful expression of his personal rule and activity…. the side of Yahweh which is turned towards men, in which Yahweh reveals himself.”[2]

…And his name shall be called…. This infant carries titles only the divine-human King can bear. Wonderful Counselor. The one who delivers his people by miracles casts his holy light into our confusion and despair. Mighty God. The Warrior Messiah sends consuming fire against his enemies—and ours. Everlasting Father. He tenderly cares for his beloved with authority and inexhaustible compassion. Prince of Peace. He reconciles his people to God through the cross, where divine fury against sworn enemies fell upon his holy Son. The punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

…And his name shall be called…. In the bright light of New Testament fulfillment, something astonishing happens: God’s name becomes Jesus’ name. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Read this as “Christ, who is Yahweh”! Behold the mystery of the Incarnation, crystal clear yet far beyond our comprehension. Behold it—and worship! Someday every human being will, either willingly or under compulsion. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

…And his name shall be called…. Consider this one important matter that we can easily miss: Who is doing the “calling”? Certainly it’s the LORD who tells us this baby’s names, just as he would reveal the name “Jesus” to Joseph and Mary. But Isaiah shows us more. Unto us a child is born…and his name shall be called…. We as the Lord’s people call the Christ by those names. We who walked in darkness have seen a great light, and therefore, we call upon his name. This is the call of faith, whole-hearted and submissive trust in his person and work, which is the only reasonable and appropriate response to that revelation.

…And his name shall be called…. We don’t possess these special names of Jesus as a kind of secret knowledge given only to initiates of the lodge. Make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. And on the micro level, …whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Our every word and every act must reflect the majesty of Jesus’ name to those around us. When we succeed, his name is honored. And when we fail, we repent, and his name is honored.

Our deepest desire is that the glory of Jesus’ name—all of his names!—will be the driving force behind our ministry, here and around the world. We often feel this and pray this: “God, our name means nothing. But Jesus’ name is everything! So grant repentance and faith and transformation to this couple, to this family, to this church, to this nation. We must have this glory for Jesus!”

And may you see the glory of those names written across your life this year. His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

[1] Scripture quotes (ESV unless noted) cited or alluded to are Isa 12:4 (NIV); 9:6 40:8; 53:5 (NIV); Luke 2:11; Phil 2:9-11; Matt 1:21, Luke 1:31; Isa 9:2; Col 3:17

[2] Colin Brown (ed.), The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Vol. 2, “Name” (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House), p. 648. “Yahweh” is the Hebrew word that most translations render as “LORD.”


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