The God of Peace: The Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace

Mar 31, 2023 | INSIGHTS

In the great prophecy we read in Isaiah 9, the prophet foretells the birth of the Messiah, and the titles he gives Him reveal that this coming King is One who desires to be in intimate relationship with His people.

These names of God were announced even as the fearsome and mighty Assyrians were on the warpath – a force every bit as ruthless as the Russian armies that have laid waste large parts of Chechnya, Aleppo and Ukraine. To speak of the glorious coming king as the Prince of Peace at such a time was indeed a prophetic declaration; and all the more so as He is both Prince of Peace and yet also the One who will bring judgement on Assyria, as Isaiah makes clear in chapter 10.

This Son to be born – not only to Israel, but to the whole world – is the One on whose shoulders the government will rest; the One who is concerned for the welfare of nations as well as of individuals; the One who looks forward to the day when He will bring all the nations and kingdoms together in brotherhood under His rule, to become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah; the One who is the Prince of Peace, and whose reign will know no end. (Rev. 11:15)

This ‘One’ came in the person of Jesus, at a time when the might of Rome held sway in Palestine, carrying in Himself a deep peace, and offering that same quality to others, and making peace between God and man, not only for the Jews of His time, but for all people, everywhere.

There will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honour Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan — The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. The government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Is. 9:1-2, 6-7)

What riches there are to be found in these verses! Here He is referred to not as ‘Elohim,’ which can be used to indicate ‘gods’ generally, but rather as ‘El’, the Mighty God, which is only ever used with reference to Lord God Almighty. ‘Almighty’ conveys His strength and power, and His warrior rulership: the Prince of Peace and the Everlasting Father.

He is the Wonderful Counsellor, the ultimate mind in the Universe. The Counsellor sees and uncovers the forces at work in any given situation, just as He does in our lives today, giving us the discernment to recognise the forces that are at work, including directly satanic ones. It is to the Lord’s glory that we become more alert and all-seeing ourselves, notwithstanding that our knowledge can only ever be highly partial.

What paradoxes the Scriptures, like life itself, present us with! Only in Jesus do we find the perfect balance between infinite tenderness and decisive action; He is the Lover of the Song of Songs and the ‘Man of War’ who scattered the Egyptian armies which were pursuing Moses and the Israelites; the One who sees the widow’s mite and admires the spunky faith of the Canaanite woman, and the Conqueror who is coming back to Earth to reclaim His own. (Exod. 15:3, Rev. 6:2)

On the night of Jesus’ birth, angels appeared to shepherds in the fields of Jerusalem, with a message of peace: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favour rests!” (Lk. 2:14)

Thirty-three years later, the Lord Jesus repeated that message of peace to the Jewish men on whom His favour rested: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (Jn. 14:27)

Later still, Paul declared the message of peace over Gentile believers, who had also, through Jesus, become those favoured by God:

For He is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in His flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that He might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end. And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. (Ephesians 2:14-17)

Our mission has always been to announce the Kingdom of God, to declare that there is a new King in town, greater than all the other kings and warmongers put together, and that He is the Prince of Peace. As the everlasting Father (the word in Hebrew is abyad, and translates literally as ‘The Father of eternity’), He is indeed the Lord of Time, and the Resolver of all Mysteries. No wonder the prophets wrote about future events sometimes in the present and sometimes in the past tense, for all is clear to the Lord who dwells outside of time as we perceive it.

In every sense, ours is a prophetic faith. When Jesus comes again, He will handle the great issues of the day, whether of State or Church; concerned with how everything and everyone is to be on renewed Earth, from science to commerce, and from child care to environmental issues. As the Father everlasting – the Lord of Time – ‘He will judge the world in righteousness, and administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness.’ (Ps. 9:8)

When Jesus said that the peacemakers are blessed, for they will be called children of God (Matt. 5:9), He was speaking of far more than military peace. As envoys of peace, we are seeking not only the cessation of physical wars, but rather the peace that comes from being right with God.

In Hebrew, the phrase translated ‘Prince of Peace’ is ‘Sar shalom.’ Sar is a word with military connections, meaning ‘the Captain,’ ‘the One who is in charge.’ We find the word used again, for example, in Joshua 5:14, in relation to the Commander of the Lord’s army who appeared to Joshua. Shalom, of course, speaks of completion and wholesomeness. Praise God that we have such a captain of our souls who directs our steps and has assignments in mind for each one of us, in conjunction with others.

And so Isaiah, even in the face of Assyria’s war plans, could declare the good news that the Captain of the Hosts of the Lord, the Prince of Peace delights to bring wholeness to nations and individuals alike. In our prayers for the world, therefore, especially in the light of the many, many wars being waged across the face of it, we have the privilege of sharing the heart of One who intensely desires that none should be lost for eternity, but that all should turn to Him and be saved.

Mighty God, Wonderful Counsellor, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, we worship You today. Lead and guide us in all our ways we pray: in the planning, the practice and the outcomes. For Jesus’ sake.

Photo by Cdoncel on Unsplash

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