This is the 18th in a series of articles on the Trinity, excerpted from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available through Amazon and other booksellers.
Prophetic portions of the Old Testament anticipate a coming Messiah. While explicit references to his deity are rare, key passages offer clues of the Anointed One’s eternal nature and divine power.
Isaiah 9:6-7 is one example: “For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the LORD of Armies will accomplish this.”
Since the Israelites are strict monotheists, the very idea of “Mighty God, Eternal Father” coming to sit on King David’s throne and rule forever no doubt fuels great wonder and encouragement in God’s people. The name “Mighty God” means more than a godlike person, for the same Hebrew term, El Gibhor, is applied elsewhere in the Old Testament to Yahweh (Isa. 10:21; Jer. 32:18). Isaiah understands that the Messiah is God in the same sense of the term.
As for “Everlasting Father,” Isaiah does not mean to confuse the Father and the Messiah as if they are the same person. Rather, the prophet uses a Jewish idiom to describe the Messiah’s relationship to time, not His relationship with the other members of the Trinity. The Messiah is everlasting, just as God the Father is called the “Ancient of Days” in Daniel 7:9. It is similar to Micah’s messianic prophecy, which declares, “His origin is from antiquity, from ancient times” (Mic. 5:2).