by Eric D. Huntsman, from Good Tidings of Great Joy, 77
The fact that the Babe of Bethlehem was far more than a simple baby is made clear by the messianic titles ascribed to him in the prophetic description of Isaiah 9:6. Some scholars have tried to find this passage’s original application in the hopes for the recently born Hezekiah, who would go on to be one of Judah’s few righteous kings and hence, in some ways, a type of the coming Messiah. Nevertheless, this prophecy does not fit Hezekiah in all of its details, and its ultimate fulfillment is found clearly in Jesus Christ. After proclaiming, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder,” Isaiah lists four titles, each consisting of a noun and its modifier:
The Mighty God
The Everlasting Father
The Prince of Peace
A punctuation error in early English translations divided “Wonderful Counselor” into two different titles, separating them by a comma that disrupts the Hebrew construction. This mistake has been perpetuated most famously in the well-known Messiah chorus “For unto Us a Child Is Born,” where Handel accentuated the incorrect punctuation by placing dramatic rests between the words “Wonderful” and “Counselor.” Jesus as the Wonderful Counselor refers to his awesome wisdom and his ability to direct us and console us in all things.