The Incomparable Names and Titles of Messiah Jesus
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
This is one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture, one that I’ve quoted in several Eye of Prophecy articles when it fit the theme of that article. One other article (The Wonder of It All, posted 12-21-13) also began with this passage. The article, The Child of Promise Part II (published 8-30-14) examined each part of the passage in detail.
In whatever context this verse was quoted, invariably it was to demonstrate that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah foretold by Isaiah and many other prophets. Moreover, the Messiah would not only be sent by God as a man, he would be (is) Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Everlasting Father!
In addition to the appellations found in Isaiah Chapter 9, Jesus (Yeshua) is known by several other titles. Some of which he ascribed to himself; other names given to him by the Holy Spirit inspired writers of Scripture.
Such as: The Son of God, Son of David, Son of Man, The Good Shepherd, The Bread of Life, Light of the World, Lamb of God, Lion from the Tribe of Judah, Redeemer, The Living Word of God, The Bright Morning Star, The Creator, King of Israel, King of all kings, Lord of all lords, Cornerstone Foundation (of the Church), The Mediator (between God and man), The Way, The Truth, The Resurrection and the Life, Lord of the Sabbath, The Gate, The Vine, The Branch, Alpha and Omega, Emmanuel (God with us), The Messiah, and I AM! (Yahweh).
If I have omitted one of your favorite titles, then add it to the list!
These names express not only who Jesus is, but also what he has done and will do upon his glorious return to the earth. They convey his origin (from the distant past, Micah 5:2) and eternal existence (The Beginning and the End, First and Last). He is from Everlasting to Everlasting.
Today we want to focus on the title that has been quoted as often or more than any other, especially during these last day’s eager expectation for Messiah’s appearance to bring peace to a woeful, war-torn world filled with apathy, anger, anguish, and apocalyptic anxiety.
Which is: PRINCE OF PEACE
Is Messiah Jesus the Prince of Peace? (Sar Shalom, in Hebrew)
The answer is emphatically expressed in Scripture. Yes he is … but not yet.
Why would I say such a thing? What do I mean by not yet or not now?
To adequately answer these questions, we need to define peace. Then we need to grasp the Biblical evidence that peace comes in two kinds and stages. One is internal and the other external. One is individual, the other is universal; one must come before the other. Before there can be peace between people, there first must be harmony between God and man.
A Ruler from the Distant Past
Let’s begin with another well-known verse of Scripture. One of many that announced the coming of Messiah.
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past” (Micah 5:2, italics for emphasis).
The italicized words in this verse clearly convey that this prophesied ruler of Israel would be of divine origin, and who but God is Divine. Yet as the prophet Micah tells us: he would come from Bethlehem. And as Isaiah says, he would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14).
Then a short while later, Micah writes: “…Then at last his fellow countrymen will return from exile to their own land. And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lord’s strength, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. Then his people will live there undisturbed, for he will be highly honored around the world. And he will be the source of peace” (Verses 3-5, italics for emphasis).
Thus, the context of the passage specifically links Messiah’s birth to deliverance of Israel (at last, signaling a lengthy passage of time) and ushering in peace throughout the world.
The primary point in this passage as related to today’s topic is that Messiah (Jesus) would bring peace to the world but not at the time when he first arrived on the earth as a baby born of a virgin in Bethlehem. As explicitly expressed in Isaiah 53, the Messiah must first suffer and die for the sins of his people (the Jews), but also for the sins of the whole world … Gentiles.
In so doing, he would bring peace, but not between peoples. Not then, not during his first visit to the earth. That would come later, upon his royal return.
Then the prophet Zechariah records the words of Messiah who speaks of the last days, of coming to dwell permanently with his people (the Jews), to include the Gentiles:
“The Lord says, ‘Shout and rejoice O beautiful Jerusalem, for I am coming to live among you. Many nations will join themselves to the Lord on that day, and they, too, will be my people. I will live among you, and you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me to you. The land of Judah will be the Lord’s special possession in the holy land, and he will once again choose Jerusalem to be his own city. Be silent before the Lord, all humanity, for he is springing into action from his holy dwelling’” (Zechariah 2:10-13, italics for emphasis).
How do we know it is Messiah speaking in this passage (italicized)? Because he speaks in the first person, and says that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies (God the Father) sent him.
Prince of Peace (Shalom)
Isaiah Chapter 9 tells us that Messiah is the Prince of Peace, but notice that this designation is the last of three other majestic titles—Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father.
By ascribing these names to the Messiah, Scripture is reinforcing other Biblical passages that reveal the attributes of the mighty Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For example, without using the word Trinity which is a theological term used to describe the Great Three in One God, we see that in the very beginning God declared, “Let us create man in our image” (Genesis 1:26).
The context of Isaiah Chapter 9—the only Bible passage that assigns the Messianic title of Prince of Peace—is unquestionably speaking of and attached to, “His government and its peace (that) will never end” (Isaiah 9:7). In other words, the end-time (second) coming of Messiah to finally establish the Kingdom of God on earth.
Shalom … The Hebrew Word for Peace
There are other Hebrew words for peace or the idea of peace, but the word Shalom is used most often in the Old Testament … 238 times in the New American Standard Bible. It is the word used in Isaiah Chapter 9 and Micah Chapter 5 that we just read.
According to Thayer’s Bible Dictionary (a great resource to define Greek and Hebrew words), Shalom means: “Completeness, soundness, welfare, health, prosperity, tranquility, and safety” especially as applied to human relationships. For millennia and still today it is the standard salutation of Israelis and Jews all over the world, for both greetings and farewells.
Innately imbedded in the concept of Shalom (peace) is, of course, absence of war and cessation of interpersonal conflicts between ethnic groups and societies.
Although the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God can be used, in a general sense, interchangeably as found in Scripture (specifically the New Testament), each concept also contains a unique connotation and specific reference point. Jesus came to earth to establish the Kingdom of God. Tragically, his own people refused to accept him as Messiah—despite the numerous miracles he performed and the unparalleled teaching and wisdom he imparted. Even after his resurrection from the dead, they still would not believe. Please see Eye of Prophecy article, Lazarus and Lazarus & The Sign of Jonah (Posted 1-14-17).
Yet this was all prophesied in Scripture, most notably in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. It was all part of God’s splendid plan for mankind—redemption through the perfect, once for all sacrifice of God’s very Son. It was the greatest sacrifice ever made by the highest price ever paid.
Therefore, Jesus established the Kingdom of Heaven in the hearts and minds of all who would believe and receive him as personal Savior. Which is how and why the angel announced the glorious news of Jesus’s birth, the arrival of the Messiah who would offer salvation to all people.
“…I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! … Suddenly the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased’” (Luke 2:10-14, italics for emphasis).
Greek Word for Peace … Eirene (pronounced i-rah’nay)
This Greek word for peace contains the same intrinsic meaning as the Hebrew word Shalom. Like the Hebrew word, its definition stands alone; however, both words are further defined and understood by the context of the passage. Yet with the Greek word as used in the New Testament, we find an expanded application (meaning).
Such as found in another verse that nearly all born-again believers have heard or read; one that many have memorized.
“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us” (Romans 5:1).
This is the peace that we have in our hearts and minds, a peace absent the enmity and division caused by sin; indeed, by the very sin nature we were born with, that separates every human being from God. It is peace with God, a prerequisite to “peace on earth” good will toward men.
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead (death means separation … here separation from God) because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” (Ephesians 2:4-5, first parenthesis mine, second parenthesis found in the text).
Thayer’s Dictionary defines the Greek word (Eirene) for peace as: “Christian tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ … no fear of God’s condemnation.”
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
The Kingdom of Heaven was and is still being established in the hearts and minds of all who believe and receive Messiah Jesus as their personal Savior. This heavenly kingdom on earth came through Messiah Jesus when he was crucified, buried, and when he arose from the dead.
(“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind” Matthew 13:47).
“After supper he took another cup of wine and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you’” (Luke 22:20).
So great a salvation truly gives believers in Messiah Jesus peace of mind and assurance of the heart.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NASB).
This is the peace that only the Holy Spirit can produce (as spiritual fruit) in the lives of believers in Messiah Jesus, to whom the Holy Spirit is given and in whom he dwells. “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Jesus promised this peace to his disciples (all believers):
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27, NASB).
The Lord promised believers that we can have protective peace of heart and mind that comes from a right standing with God (God and His Son’s righteousness imputed to us that pardons all our sins). Jesus also contrasted his peace to the (a) peace that the world thinks it can attain without acknowledgment of God in the affairs of people.
Which leads us to the common conclusion of most people on this planet: peace is between people, with no or little regard for the horse before the cart Biblical principle that we must first have peace with God.
To further emphasize that peace on earth between peoples and nations can only be achieved when there is individual peace with God, here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Messiah and the Jewish Festivals … An Extraordinary Connection! (Published 9-24-16):
To be sure, the Messiah would one day deliver Israel from all Gentile domination, but not until he first freed the people from themselves. Until the human heart is supernaturally changed by the righteousness that only God can give (as opposed to sin induced self-righteousness that only enslaves people), a kingdom (nation) cannot be changed from one of darkness to one of light.
A Stunning Statement by Messiah Jesus
As additional reinforcement to the Biblical premise that there are two different kinds of peace and that Jesus came to earth the first time to mediate peace with God by making us right with God, let’s look at a profound but perplexing statement by Jesus that contains the same Greek word eirene (peace). Perplexing, however, only if we fail to see that the Lord’s astonishing announcement is not a nullification of the peace that he gives to the hearts and minds of believers. Rather, his reference is to the transitory type of peace that the world wants and thinks it can achieve without any need to change the human heart from the inside out. A global peace that will one day be realized—but only through the return of Messiah Jesus to save the world from annihilation that comes from the pretense of making peace they really didn’t understand in the first place.
The Apostle Paul warned us of this deceptive peacetime that will result in destruction.
“For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. When people are saying, ‘Everything is peaceful and secure,’ then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape” (I Thessalonians 5:2-3).
Before we read the stunning statement of Jesus, let’s look at Webster’s Dictionary primary definitions of peace, most of which reflect the second kind of peace … peace on earth among nations.
“1. A state of tranquility or quiet: as a: freedom from civil disturbance, b: a state of security or order within a community provided by law or custom. 2: freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions. 3: harmony in personal relations. 4: a: a state or period of mutual concord between governments, b: a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity…”
That is kind of peace Jesus addressed when he said:
“I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other. From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against. Father will be divided against son…” (Luke 12:49-53a).
Amazing! At face value it seems that Jesus is negating all that he wants his followers to possess and present to others, including love, joy, peace, and unity.
The Lord says he would divide “people against each other,” yet this division begins within the family, which is the foundational fabric of communities, societies, and nations.
But there is no contradiction. When Jesus said he came to “set the world on fire,” he was referring to the fire of redemptive purification that ONLY the truth of Biblical salvation can ignite. Which is Jesus, himself, who declared that he is the Way, Truth, and Life. Jesus was referring to the “truth that sets us free” (John 8:32) from the bondage of incessant, incapacitating sin that produces all of the ills of human kind … exhibited rampantly and continuously in today’s wicked world. Such as those listed in the same passage in Galatians preceding the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).
*Note: Paul is not talking about perfection or that Christians don’t commit one or more of these wrong things. He is talking about unbelievers whose entire lifestyle is consumed with such things, because they are following the desires of their sinful nature. Christians still sin, but as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, we sin less, because that is not who or what we are any longer. We are a new creation in Christ with a burning desire to follow Messiah Jesus. We are not sinless, but by the grace of God, we do sin less.
“…At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (II Corinthians 5:16-17).
A True Peace That Divides
It is belief in and acceptance of the truth of the gospel (Jesus substitutionary sacrificial death on the cross) that sets us free from the penalty of sin and gives us eternal life in heaven, when we will be forever free from the very presence of sin, grief, pain, remorse, hostility, and death itself.
But this truth divides. It separates good from evil; light from darkness; right from wrong; honesty from lies; God’s righteousness given to us from self-righteous efforts of good works that vainly try to gain God’s favor; and true everlasting peace with God from man-made peace that produces only a temporary false sense of security and serenity. A semblance of safety that all too quickly disappears with the next war just around the corner.
That is why Jesus said he did not come (the first time) to bring peace to the earth. “Peace on earth” announced by the angel at Messiah’s birth is connected to and generously given to those, “with whom God is pleased” … meaning all who place their faith in God’s Son as Savior.
As the Son of God and God the Son, Jesus knew all too well that he must first die (which is why he was under such “a heavy burden” when he spoke these words) to redeem Jew and Gentile alike; before Jew and Gentile and before Gentile and Gentile could have peace with one another by being joined with Christ.
*Note: The Greek noun eirene stems from the verb eiro which means “to join.” For you ladies out there, the Greek noun (for peace) is a feminine noun. Not only grammatically, but rightfully so! For the most part, women much more than men long for peace between peoples (starting with their husband!) that provide them with a lasting sense of security, tranquility, and contentment.
However, before there can be peace and harmony between people, God’s truth needs to be embedded in our hearts and minds. This leads to real peace with God, with our self, and with others.
So, once again I’ll ask the question, which is just as rhetorical as when asked earlier in this article; but with, I hope, a better understanding of the answer.
Is Jesus the Prince of Peace?
Yes, but not yet.
Soon, when he returns to judge the world’s final rebellion against the Most High God, and to establish the Kingdom of God on earth with truth, justice, and Shalom.
During the Great Tribulation there will be incredible wickedness on this earth, perpetrated by Satan through his man of sin, Antichrist Nero, and the false prophet; and with appalling approval of billions of people who have shaken their fist at Almighty God. As King David proclaimed long ago:
“The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one (Messiah Jesus). ‘Let us break their chains,’ they cry, ‘and free ourselves from slavery to God’” (Psalm 2:2-3, parenthesis mine).
Here is God’s reaction, as continued in this passage, which contains an indisputable reference to Messiah as God’s Son (also found in Psalm 110 … please see Eye of Prophecy articles, Does God Really Have a Son?, Part I and II, posted 10-31 & 11-7-15):
“But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then in anger he rebukes them, terrifying them with his fierce fury. For the Lord declares, ‘I have placed my chosen king on the throne in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.’
“The king proclaims the Lord’s decree: ‘The Lord said to me, You are my son. Today I have become your Father. Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession’” (Psalms 2:4-8).
Then, near the end of the Great Tribulation—the end of this epoch age of human history as we know it, we hear:
“And I heard a voice from the altar, saying, ‘Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, your judgments are true and just’” (Revelation 16:7).
For thousands of years, God has patiently allowed the human race to prove that it can achieve true peace (not only absence of war but total tranquility in societies) with God and among themselves. You don’t have to know all that much history to realize how miserably we have failed in accomplishing this otherwise noble endeavor. Would-be messiahs down through the ages have tried without success. In fact, most rulers misused their power and abused their people to establish their own kind of “peace” through subjugation of freedom itself.
Scripture is crystal clear: There is only one Man who can bring peace to the human race. First, he enabled those who believed and received him as personal Savior to have peace with God by returning and reuniting them back to God.
“For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone…” (I Timothy 2:5-6). Without this freedom from enslavement to sin and the repulsive repercussions of the wrong things we do, there can be no peace in us or around us.
Messiah Jesus is the author and finisher of the New Covenant between God and his chosen people, the Jews; a marvelous New Way to God that also includes the Gentiles.
“But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it” (Hebrews 8:6-7).
One glorious result of the New Covenant of Grace will be perfect peace during the Millennial Reign of Christ Jesus on this earth as foretold by the prophet Isaiah:
“…For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore” (Isaiah 2:3b-4).
Is Peace on Earth really possible? Will it actually happen?
Absolutely! Messiah Jesus will return as the Prince of Peace to see to it. When that happens,
“His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity…” (Isaiah 9:7).
Things to Ponder
It is said, “Be careful what you wish for.”
Those who want nothing to do with God, who don’t believe that God’s unequivocal truth is found in His Word, the Bible; who reject the very idea of absolute truth to show us what is universally right and wrong, good and evil, life and death, then they’ll get what they want.
They will be free from “slavery to God.”
But, oh, what a tormented non-peaceful “freedom” that will be.
They will also seal their destiny. If they believe the lie that acceptance of God’s plan of salvation means “slavery to God” instead of freedom from slavery to sin and selfishness, then the Lord will give them the “peace” and “freedom” to join many others in the Lake of Fire. Ever so sadly, they will be eternally separated from the God who loved them enough to sacrifice his only Son; who wanted to save them from themselves and the lies that Satan, through false religions, vain philosophies, and false messiahs (culminating with The Anti-Messiah), foisted on them.
“This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them … Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth” (II Thessalonians 2:9-12).
In closing, let’s listen to the words of Jesus quoted earlier, this time from the New Living Translation and with the promise of his return:
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again…” (John 14:27-28).
“Amen! Come Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20b).