As I have stated a few times on this blog, I have received many questions over the past several months. I have been very slow at attempting to answer them, but today I wanted to answer one more.
Question: Why does it say Jesus' name will be 'Everlasting Father?' It makes sense that he is the father or creator of all things, but it just seems like the only time he is referred to by that title. All other times we have a distinction between him and 'the Father.'
The question stems from that very familiar passage in Isaiah 9:6 which is in reference to the coming Messiah, which we know to refer to Jesus. Isaiah writes,
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
It's a good question. How is it that the Son of God is referred to as Everlasting Father? The first thing that should be fully understood is that Isaiah is not confusing Jesus, the second member of the Trinity, with THE FATHER, the first member of the Trinity (I use first and second by way of classification, not by way of showing superiority or importance). The Son of God is NOT the Father and the Father is NOT the Son. While they are uniquely the same in their substance, they are separate and distinct Persons. We would do well to avoid the heresy of Modalism that says there is just one God who has manifested Himself in different ways throughout history. When Jesus came to this earth, the Father was distinct from Him and fully in heaven (whatever that fully means).
So, as the question states, Jesus is separate from the Father, but He is still referred to here as Everlasting Father. Then, what does that mean? How is He Father? I will turn the conversation over to my dear friend, Charles Spurgeon, at this point to help with this answer.
"First, He is federally a Father representing those who are in him, as the head of a tribe represents his descendants . . . Adam is the father of all living; he federally stood for us in the garden, and federally fell and ruined us all. He was the representative man by whose disobedience we should have been blessed, through whose disobedience we have been made sinners. The curse of the fall comes upon us because Adam stood in a relation towards us in which none of us stand towards our fellows. He was the representative head for us; and what a fall was there when he fell! for every one of us in his loins fell in him . . . The only other man who is a representative man before God is the second Adam, the man Christ Jesus, the Lord from heaven."
He goes on to say,
"In our first birth we come under the fatherhood of the fallen one; in our second birth we enter into the fatherhood of the innocent and perfect One. In our first fatherhood we wear the image of the earthly; in the second we receive the image of the heavenly. Through our relation to Adam we become corrupt and weak, and the body is put into the grave in dishonor, in corruption, in weakness, in shame; but when we come under the dominion of the second Adam we receive strength, and quickening, and inward spiritual life, and therefore our body rises again like seed sown with rises to a glorious harvest in the image of the heavenly, with honor, and power, and happiness, and eternal life."
And so, mainly, when Jesus is referred to as the Everlasting Father, it is a reference to the fact that He will be the Second Adam, in whom we find our hope. Spurgeon goes on in an article entitled His Name--The Everlasting Father to make the argument that there is another way in which Jesus is considered Father. He says that Jesus Christ is a Father in the sense of a Founder. He says,
"Our Lord Jesus Christ, who brought life and immortality to light, and introduced a new phase of worship to this world is, in that respect, a Father; he is the Father of all Christians, the Father of Christianity, the Father of the entire system under which grace reigns through righteousness. Jesus is the Father of a great doctrinal system. All the great truths, which we are in the habit of delivering in your hearing as the precious truths of God sent down from heaven, fell first, clearly and powerfully, from the lips of Jesus."
Those are just two of the five ways that Spurgeon argues that Jesus is the Everlasting Father. Read the article for the other reasons. The question remains. Is He your Father federally. Are you 'In Christ' in the sense that you are now under the new Adam? Is He your Father in the sense that you believe the gospel He gave? If not, I would strongly encourage you to read the gospel accounts to investigate His claims and actions.