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A Closer look at Isaiah 9:6 without Dogmatic Presuppositions
When the concept of the Trinity or Oneness doctrines are brought up in a discussion or a debate, Isaiah 9:6 will be the go-to 'proof' verse used by those who claim that 'Jesus is God.' What they will have a hard time considering is that this verse does not teach what they are trying to show evidence for.
Does this popular messianic verse describing the characteristics of Christ by the names given to him in certain English translations prove that he is God?
Well, we should know that cherry picking season is pretty much year round for many because that is the foundation their doctrines are built upon. They impose their own man-made denominational teachings by isolating particular verses on their own while not considering, and even ignoring the greater context of scripture.
The purpose of this article will be to explore in more detail the passage of Isaiah 9:6 by looking closer at some alternative renderings of this verse and the cultural significance and use of Hebrew names and places in an attempt to refute some of the popular notions imposed upon it.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be CALLED Wonderful Counselor, MIGHTY GOD, EVERLASTING [aḏ - 5703 [e] FATHER, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6 NIV
Most Trinitarian and Oneness doctrine believers use this verse by pointing to the name 'Mighty God' and 'Everlasting Father' as proof that their doctrines are true. For the Trinitarian, what they fail to understand is that in their doctrine Christ is not the Father; therefore, that particular name does not work because their creed states otherwise. For Oneness proponents this verse is used to prove that Christ is the Father.
So we must ask ourselves, does this verse actually teach that our Messiah is literally God Himself?
What you may discover is that both proponents have not rightly divided scripture in this particular scriptural passage.
Here is an alternative translation:
For a child is born to us, and a son is given to us, whose government is upon his shoulder: and his NAME is called the MESSENGER OF GREAT COUNSEL: for I will bring peace upon the princes, and health to him. – Isaiah 9:6 [Breton Septuagint Translation]
As you can see this rendering is quite different. Whatever the differences are, and what is common to both passages is that the child will be called, or given a name(s) in the verse. We must take note that within the ancient Hebrew culture that all because someone, something or a place has God’s name as part of a title does not necessitate it as being God Himself.
For example, the name Isaiah means, Isai = saves, and iah = Yah. When we put the two pieces together, we get Yahweh saves. Just by having the name of God in the name does not mean or imply that Isaiah was Yahweh Himself.
Mighty God, El Gibbor
What many Bible readers may not know is that not all the English translations rendering of 'Mighty God' from the Hebrew 'el gibbor' does not give the exact same name.
In battle God-like - NEB
God-hero - NAB
Divine hero - Moffat
When we look deeper into the NIV translation of Isaiah 9:6, we discover that 'el gibbor,' 'Mighty God' was derived from the Masoretic text. In contrast, the same verse reads quite differently from the Dead Sea Scrolls that were discovered a thousand years earlier where the name of the child is shown as singular, 'elgibor,' all one word, not in two. What this shows is that the older possibly more valid scrolls reveal that there may have been a scribal error where Masoretes erred in his transcription.
As in the example of Isaiah, the name, 'elgibor' given to the child would have been a conglomerate term signified in the name. Also, consider the name of Christ, Yah-shua meaning Yahweh is salvation, or Salvation of Yah signifying God’s own name in Yahshua’s name. The prophecy of his name was fulfilled (Matthew 1:21), but it did not signify that he was literally God Himself.
Isaiah 9:6 in English rendered from the Dead Sea Scrolls reads:
For a child is born unto us; and the government is upon his shoulder; And his NAME is called El Gibbor father of Ad, ruler of Jerusalem. – Isaiah 9:6 Dead Sea Scrolls
Again, what we can see from these three different renderings is that the child is given or called by different name(s). A given name does not necessitate that the individual is God Himself as in the example of Isai-ah and Yah-shua. Rather, they are agents, servants or appointed rulers acting in God’s authority. That is why it was common in the Hebrew culture for God’s name to be part of their own given names or describing a certain place meant to describe the attributes of Yahweh. For example, Jacob called an altar, 'El-Elohe-Israel.' By giving it a name, he was not saying that the altar was literally God, nor that the altar was literally Israel, but rather describing Jacob’s or Israel’s God.
The problem with imposing certain dogma on particular verses in scripture is that it brings a lot of confusion to those who have bought into man-made doctrines. They have diverged away from the proper contextual reading of certain verses and miss out on the true essence of the passage.
A Singular Descriptive Name
The descriptive name given to the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6 is actually given in scripture in singular form from the transliterated Hebrew that is rendered as, 'Pele-Joez-el-gibbor-abia-ad-Sar-Shalom,' or 'Pelejoezelgibborabiaadarshalom.' Most English translations give the 'name' in different titles as seen in the NIV version where there are commas separating the descriptive titles of the one singular name.
When many read Isaiah 9:6, they are confused because they have been taught doctrines where they must force their own eisegesis on the passage.
Since the many English translations have a separated capitalized name dissected from the one singular name, many read 'Mighty God' and believe that this verse means that Christ is literally the one true God.
Do the words 'el gibbor' mean 'Mighty God' as literally being Yahweh Himself?
Let’s look at another verse in similar vein.
The strong among THE MIGHTY [elei gibborim] shall speak to him out of the midst of hell with them that help him: they are gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword. – Ezekiel 32:21
Shall speak to him the strong [EL - Strong's #410] of the mighty [gibbowr - Strong's #1368] from the of midst Sheol. – Ezekiel 32:21 Interlinear
A Closer Look at Elohim
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In this passage 'gibbor' is in the plural, but does not reference a Supreme Being as God. It refers to strength, power and might. By following this same pattern, 'el gibbor' in Isaiah 9:6 could also be rendered as, 'Mighty One of Strength,' or 'Mighty and Strong' instead of 'Mighty God.'
In the Hebrew, 'el' can mean God, or god (lowercase) as a man. Yahweh is the supreme 'El' and rules over the ones called 'el.' In the plural, 'elohim' can be men who are referred to as gods. In either designation, men are not literally God, but are designated or anointed as belonging to God as part of His domain. When Isaiah called our Messiah, 'Immanuel' the name was not intended to identify Yahshua as God, but 'God with us,' meaning Yahweh working through him as His appointed vessel.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin will conceive, and bear a son, and shall CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL. – Isaiah 7:14
"Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son. They shall call HIS NAME Immanuel;" which is, being interpreted, "GOD WITH US." – Matthew 1:23
The word 'gibbor' occurs many times in the Hebrew texts used both in singular and plural forms rendering it in English as 'mighty man,' 'mighty men or 'warrior(s).' This can clearly be understood as a designation based on the associated adjectives.
There is another reference to 'Mighty God' in the next chapter of Isaiah.
A remnant will return, even the remnant of Jacob, to the MIGHTY GOD. - Isaiah 10:21
Many see this verse as an eschatological prophecy that will happen in the future where the Israelite’s will return to Yahweh after a great attack and rely upon Him.
Trinitarians and Oneness proponents will point to Isaiah 9:6 in an attempt to prove that Christ is God, but have they considered to look also at Isaiah 10:21 that is in close proximity?
This prophetic verse speaks of the Israleite’s who will present themselves before Yahweh’s agent, Christ our Saviour (Yahshua Messiah). He has been given the name, 'Mighty God' because the Father will do His mighty work through him. 'Mighty God' is the title given to the Messiah who is the anointed strong one of Yahweh.
Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from that time on, even forever. THE ZEAL OF YAHWEH OF ARMIES will perform this. – Isaiah 9:7
Yahweh's purposes will be fulfilled through Yahshua our Messiah who has been called, 'Mighty God' and the 'Zeal of Yahweh of Armies.'
The name 'Mighty God' fits the context of the prophetic return of Yahshua Messiah as a 'mighty warrior' to establish the Kingdom of God on earth bringing destruction to those who oppose him.
The Anointed Representative of God
Yahshua our Messiah bears many names because he is the anointed representative of God our Father. Yahweh will accomplish His purposes and works through His Son. Yahshua came in his Father’s name and the Father does the works through him. The names that he was called represents Yahweh in the context of all the things that He will do through His Messiah.
In considering the context of Isaiah 9:6, it does not signify the dogma of the Trinity or the Oneness doctrine at all, but rather is about Yahweh’s appointed ruler, a man anointed by Him to reign on the throne of David (v. 7).
Isaiah 9:6 will always be a favourite verse for Trinitarians and Oneness folk to silence their opposition. At face value and isolated on its own, it looks like the child named in the verse is indeed God. To the contrary, when we make a more thorough examination, the claims and assertions they make start to become absurd because their eisegesis requires that the verse must be butchered and abused to promote their own religious man-made agendas.
There is no God besides our Father, Yahweh and there is nothing equal to Him. The child in Isaiah 9:6 is not mentioned as being God Himself, yet many must imagine and assume things into the verse that are simply not there. When we come to understand that Yahshua our Messiah is God’s appointed agent who comes in the name (authority) of his Father, the clarity of the verse resonates about the man the child will become.
More Alternative Renderings of Isaiah 9:6
Wonder-Counsellor, Divine Champion, Father Ever, Captain of Peace. - Byington Bible
A wonder of a counsellor, a divine hero, a father for all time, a peaceful prince. - Moffatt Bible
In purpose wonderful, in battle God-like, Father for all time, Prince of Peace. - New English Bible
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty Hero, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. - Revised English Bible
Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty One, Potentate, Prince of Peace, FATHER OF THE AGE TO COME. - The Septuagint 21, as found in the Codex Alexandrinus, translated by Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton, c. 1850.
Our Father in heaven is a unipersonal God who speaks through His Son. Yahweh anointed and raised up a Son who was given a singular name in Isaiah 9:6, 'Pelejoezelgibborabiaadarshalom.' This name describes what God was going to do through His agent to bring salvation to the world. Knowing the purpose and intent of how the ancient Israelite's used names reveals what God would do through His human representative. Through God’s Messiah, Yahweh would accomplish His works because Yahshua would come in His Father’s name.
Why is our Messiah called, 'Mighty God' and 'Eternal Father?'
It is because Yahshua is the man that our one Mighty God and Eternal Father will accomplish His purposes.
Yahshua is called Emmanuel, 'God with us' because our one God the Father would be with His people in plan and purpose through him.
God’s plans and purposes will be accomplished through His Son who He anointed to be King of King and Lord of Lords.
On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. – Revelation 19:16
Two Meanings for "Everlasting" (second half of video)
Have you used Isaiah 9:6 to prove that "Jesus is God?"
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