“For a Child [yeled] will be born to us, a Son [yelad] 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” (Isa. 9:6).

 

Oneness advocates see phrase, “Eternal Father” as a proof text to the notion that the Messiah is the Father – However, Consider this:

 

1) Fallacy of equivocation by asserting that the term “father” (Heb. Ab) has only one meaning. The NT identification of God the Father. Contra the fact that the term “father” (ab) has various meanings in the OT, depending on the context. Further, asserting that the unitarian supposition (i.e., only the Father) many Oneness advocate appeal also to Mail. 2:10. However, neither this passage nor Mal. 2:10 teaches that only the Father is God, rather speaking of God as Creator (see point 4 below). 

 

2) Shem. The word translated “NAME” (shem, LXX – onoma) as in “His name will be called” (shem + qara) was Not a formal title for God, but rather it denoted the essence or essential characteristics, or authority of who someone is (cf. E. J. Young)[1]. This was clearly the Semitic concept of “name.” Hence, as to the essence and character of the Messiah, He is Wonderful ,[2] Counselor, Mighty God, Father Eternal (Heb.) and Prince of Peace.

 

3) When the term “father” is applied to God (or Yahweh) in the OT, it typically denoted His parental, providential character to His children—namely, Israel. For example:  

  • Exod. 4:22-23: “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Israel is My son, My firstborn. 23 So I said to you, ‘Let My son go that he may serve Me’; but you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn.'” 
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  • Ps. 103:13: “Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.” 
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  • Isa. 63:16: “You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us And Israel does not recognize us. You, O Lord, are our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Your name” (cf.  Jer. 31:9).

Note – – the term “father” was never a standard recurring Epithet for God in the OT—only used of God fifteen times.   

 

 4) Linguistically, – Ab carries the meaning of “possessor, “founder,” or “source.”  For example, 2 Sam. 23:31 speaks of Abialbon– “father (or possessor) of strength,” strong one. In Exodus 6:24, “Abiasaph”–father [possessor] of gathering,”

 As with Malachi 2:10, – corresponding with that meaning, the term “father” carries the idea of “possessor,” “founder,” “source”- as with His role as Creator (cf. Duet. 32:6; Isa. 64:8; Mal. 2:10). So, the Messiah “possesses,” that is, the source of eternity—He is the Creator of all things .     

 

5) Syntactically, the Hebrew term ab (“father”) precedes the word translated “eternal.” Thus, abiad (אֲבִיעַ֖ד), from the Hebrew ab (“father”) and ad (“forever, ever perpetuity”). Thus, literally, “father eternal” (not “eternal father”)—indicating the eternal nature of the Messiah.

Targums of Isa 9:6[3]: “For us a child is born, to us a son is given . . . and his name will be called the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, existing forever [or “HE who lives forever”]. The Messiah in whose days peace shall increase upon us” (Targum Johnathan).  

 

Conclusion 

So according to lexical-semantic of abiad (ab, “father” and ad, “eternal, forever”), the Messiah is the “father,” that is, the possessor, source of eternity—the Creator of all things, as the NT indicates (John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17; 1 Cor. 8:6; Heb. 1:2, 10-12; 2:10). He is the YHWH of Ps. 102:25-27; cf. Heb. 1:10-12), the unchangeable Creator (He lives forever). But not the person of the Father or Holy Spirit. He is the Son of God (Dan. 7:9-14; Mark 14:61-14; John 5:17-18; 17:5; 2 John 1:3; Rev. 5:13-14)   

There has never been a Jewish commentator, Rabbi, church Father, nor Christian scholar that has interpreted Isa. 9:6 as Oneness teachers do. Oneness teachers must prove that Jesus is specifically called the Father of the Son of God (i.e., His own Father). 

The Oneness view opposes historical and contemporary scholarship at every turn. The Jesus Christ of biblical revelation is God the Son, unipersonal and preexistent, who is the Son of the Father, the only Jesus that can save.

 


“Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love” (2 John 1:3).


Notes

[1] E. J. Young, Commentary on the Book of Isaiah, 1972.

[2] The Hebrew term translated “Wonderful” (pele) is from the same root word (both from pala) as in Judges 13:18: “seeing it is wonderful.”

[3] The Targum was an ancient Aramaic translation providing explanations and paraphrases of the Hebrew Old Testament. In the post-exilic period, Aramaic began to be broadly spoken in the Jewish community in conjunction with Hebrew. There is solid evidence indicating that the targumic usage of the Memra (“Word”) was the background for John’s Logos theology.

 

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