“For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
(Isaiah 9:6, NRSV )
When we speak of Father in a biblical or spiritual context, we normally think of God, the Father. So it may seem unusual for us to think of Jesus as Everlasting Father. Why does Isaiah make a reference to the one we will come to know as Jesus in the New Testament, as Everlasting Father?
The term “Everlasting Father” as such, is used only once in the Hebrew scriptures, here is Isaiah 9:6. However, in the Hebrew scriptures the term “everlasting” is used in connection with God in several important ways: God is the maker of an everlasting covenant (Genesis 17:7,13,19; I Chronicles 16:7); and God is described as being “from everlasting to everlasting”-meaning eternal and without end (Psalm 90:2); and God's love is “eternal” (Psalm 103:17). The term everlasting is also applied to the quality of life that the righteous will have with God (Daniel 12:1-3). In the New Testament, Jesus says that, “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life” (John 6:47-48).
In the New Testament, Jesus speaks of his eternal Fatherly nature when he explains that “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30). Jesus says to Philip, “Anyone who has seen me, you have seen the Father.” (John 14:9). John also speaks of the eternal nature of Jesus when he says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” (John 1:1). Many other references to Jesus affirm his eternal nature and his supremacy over all things (Colossians 1:15-22).
So, what can we take away from understanding Jesus as Everlasting Father? Jesus coming into the world as the incarnation of God was not simply a “one-time” earthly revelation. Jesus is the final revelation of the everlasting God and Father for all time. Through our faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, through our belief in Jesus' conquering death for all time in the resurrection, we have “eternal life”-life that has an eternal quality in the here and now, and will last for all eternity after we die. In Christ, we gain an understanding of the difference between the temporary and the eternal-the earth and its reality that will pass away, and the eternal spiritual realm which has no beginning and no ending and which has always been and always will be. In Christ, we not only see God the Father, but now through the Holy Spirit, we experience God the Father, as God does His work in and through us.
Jesus! Our Everlasting Father.