Prince of Peace
Author: Skip Moen
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
What’s In A Name
Pele-yoez – So, you’re looking at these words in bold and thinking, “What is that? What is pele-yoez?” The answer, of course, is that Pele-yoez is His name! We have read this verse in translation so long that we don’t realize that Isaiah is telling us the name of the child, not the translated meaning of the child’s name. The full name of this child is Pele-yoez-el-gibbor-Abi-ad-sar-shalom. That’s right. His name is “wonderful counselor-mighty God-prince of peace.”
What difference does it make if we have the translation of the meaning or if we have the name itself? Well, in the Hebrew world, it makes a tremendous difference. You see, naming is not just a random act of selection in the ancient world. To name something is to designate its true essence. So, when we read the name “Adam,” we know that the root word adamah means that Adam is a man from the ground (the dust). That is his true essence – and in the end, that essence will prevail. Adam will return to his true essence – dust. Of course, Biblical names are generally like this. So, a name like Balaam (Numbers 22:5) is not just the name of a prophet who is to utter a curse against Israel. It is his essence – to swallow or devour the people. You will find these kinds of examples throughout the Old Testament.
Now, are you ready for a shock? “Jesus” is not the name of this child. This child has many names, as we can see from this verse in Isaiah, but Jesus is not one of them. You see, Jesus is a Greek derivation from a translated meaning of the Hebrew name. We end up with this word Jesus because the sound of the Y in Hebrew is phonetically a J sound in English. The real name of the child born to Miriam is Yeshua, which, of course, has a specific meaning that describes the essence of this person (by the way, this is not the same as Joshua, Yehoshua in Hebrew – “The Lord is salvation”). Yeshua means “salvation,” not “the Lord is salvation.” Why this change? Because this child is salvation. In other words, in the context and culture of ancient Israel, this child’s very name expresses His divinity.
Isaiah gives us another name of this child; a name of divine titles that describe the character of the one born to us. The first title is pele-yoez. Pele means “a miracle, a marvel, a wonder.” It is a word about the extraordinary, the astonishing and the tremendously significant. This word is always used in connection with God (except once in Lamentations). The second term, yoez, means not only to counsel and advise, but also to plan and execute. Both ideas are combined in the same root. The child that is born to us will be an astonishing and miraculous advisor who will also marvelously execute His plans. He will be someone totally unique, combining God’s purposes with miraculous counsel. He will know God’s perfect will and perfectly bring it to pass. His name is not two separate ideas, “wonderful” and “counselor.” It is a single unity of miraculous plan and execution. That is what we celebrate today.
And that’s only the first part of the name.