For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.—Isaiah 9:6
This is the first of the titles given to our Lord as the appointed monarch of God’s kingdom (Psalm 2:6). This marvelous appellation describes yet another of the manifold capabilities and roles of our heavenly king. The whole objective of the kingdom is to bring mankind up the highway of holiness and restore the perfection lost in Eden. Jesus, as the head of the Royal Priesthood, will wisely guide and counsel mankind toward that goal.
Jesus’ love for the human race moved him to make the sacrifice of himself for the sins of the world so they might be recovered. This recovery process consists of two parts: ransom and restitution. It is in the restitution of mankind where we see Jesus as a Wonderful Counselor.
In the Garden of Eden, Satan gave Mother Eve evil advice. Their conversation recorded in Genesis culminated in Satan’s direct statement, “Thou shalt not surely die.” This false and evil counsel deceived Eve and she broke God’s law. Adam, though not deceived, also broke God’s commandment to not eat of the fruit of that tree. This bad counsel has had its fruitage in the sad history of sin and death that followed.
Satan continued to deceive mankind with evil counsel during the subsequent ages. He troubled Job (see Job 1 and 2) trying to get him to curse God; he provoked David to sin against God (1 Chronicles 21:1); he even tried to get Jesus to disobey God (Matthew 4:1-11).
We contrast these terrible examples of Satan’s bad counsel with the wisdom and pure counsel Jesus will impart to the world of mankind. Jesus’ counsel will undo all the evil effects of sin, and restore mankind to the pristine relationship Adam first had with God in Eden. Jesus has the best and eternal interests of mankind at heart, because he loves them with the same love God has toward them (John 3:16, 17). He will provide the counsel of Jehovah for their everlasting joy: “The counsel of the LORD standeth forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations” (Psalm 33:11).
Qualified to Counsel
The world today seeks counselors to help solve an endless stream of personal and family problems. Those who counsel others, endeavoring to help them with and through their difficulties, are trained to understand the dynamics of emotions and decision-making. Thus they understand individual needs and can offer help through the maze of decisions and life choices.
Because Jesus is so vastly more qualified than any human being, he is to be the supreme counselor of mankind. The apostle Paul talked about these qualifying experiences in Hebrews and particularly that Jesus has been ordained a priest. The vocation of a priest is to be a counselor and is a kind of intermediary between mankind and God. This was certainly true of the priests under the Mosaic Law. Speaking of the high priests under that law Paul wrote: “For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity” (Hebrews 5:1,2).
Notice the heart qualification here. Those ancient high priests needed to have compassion on those they were to shepherd. This compassion came, in part, by a recognition of their own infirmities. We call this sympathy. Sympathy is compassion brought about by having the same experiences as those being counseled. Thus we have a true and accurate understanding of another because we have gone through the same experience ourselves.
This was certainly the case with Jesus even though he was perfect in the flesh. The apostle continued: “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 5:7-10).
Paul emphasizes that Jesus feared and offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears. This was an experience he shared with nearly every member of the human race! It was a qualifying experience which perfected his mind and heart; Paul said Jesus learned obedience from these sufferings. Jesus learned! In spite of the knowledge he had of his prehuman existence, he had never suffered for being obedient until his earthly ministry. The experience transformed his ability to understand the suffering of mankind from an intellectual sympathy to a heart-felt empathy because he had the same experiences. The end result was his perfection of mind and heart, his ultimate qualification to be the Wonderful Counselor that Isaiah prophetically anticipates.
The testimony of wisdom given in Proverbs 8:22-35 is interpreted by many to be a testimony of Jesus who is wisdom personified. But the preceding verses likewise may be applied to Jesus and have special relevance to the counsel Jesus will dispense to the world during his kingdom:
“O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.”—Proverbs 8:5-21
This will be the nature of the counsel given to mankind. It will be thorough, right, and effective. And it will be so appreciated by mankind that they will gratefully address Jesus as “Wonderful Counselor!” This wise and marvelous king will discern the needs of every human being and design a counseling regimen that will bring that person up the highway of holiness. There will be no emotional or psychological handicap that will stifle his good counsel. The only impediment will be willful and constant resistance on the part of those who are unwilling to “learn righteousness.”
“The Eyes of the Blind shall be Opened”
Isaiah 35 contains a beautiful picture of the kingdom of Christ including clear statements that the Lord will heal mind and body. The removal of blindness is not limited to physical sight. Blindness of the mind, including prejudice, pride, and selfishness, will succumb to the insights of the king. Weaknesses of the mind, including retardation, learning-disabilities, and fear, will be gradually replaced by intellect and strength as mankind is taught. These earth-wide trends will permit all who want to share in the abundant peace of the land to do so. The counsel of the king will prove successful to all who ultimately want it. The invitation and program will be wide! Isaiah uses the figure of a highway to describe the holiness there. Under inspiration he mentions “the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein” (Isaiah 35:8). This beautiful thought shows that Jesus will break through the thick wall of imperfection and lead many, even some who may actively resist him, to a point where the lessons eventually come together for them. Only this wise counselor can look into the hearts and minds of men to unlock them so they can grow: “The ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 35:10). The name of Jehovah will be glorified in the wise and loving counsel of his son.
Those who follow Jesus now are the beneficiaries of his loving counsel in their daily walk. He provides the waters of truth for growth. And when we all reach our heavenly home as faithful followers, the water of wise counsel which was given to us, will, in turn, become wells of water to provide the world that same counsel: “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).
What a wonderful hope to be associated with our High Priest Jesus as under-priests and to be coworkers with him in dispensing the wonderful counsel of the kingdom. Together with Jesus, and to the eternal glory of Jehovah, we will, “Teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean” (Ezekiel 44:23).
May all the Lord’s consecrated strive to maintain this kingdom vision of the blessing of all before our eyes and thus proclaim the glory of Jesus as “Wonderful Counselor.”