Henry J. Heinz’s first business enterprise was a failure and he was declared bankrupt. Legally Heinz was not required to pay back those debts, but he was determined to preserve the value of his name, so he repaid every penny of those debts. His next attempt to start a business was a success and ultimately became known as H. J. Heinz Company. Although Henry J. Heinz died in 1919, the company he founded is still the beneficiary of his good name.
The most glorious and meaningful of all names is unquestionably the name of Jesus. Isaiah, the “Gospel Prophet,” lists five qualities in His name that describe His character and His work: “his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6, KJV). We will examine the meaning and significance of each of these individually.
I. HIS NAME IS WONDERFUL
Before the conversion of William Miller from doubt and skepticism to a firm and unshakeable confidence in Christ, he wrote of his remarkable experience: “I was truly wretched, but did not understand the cause. . . . Suddenly . . . the character of a Saviour was vividly impressed upon my mind. . . . I immediately felt how lovely such a being must be, and imagined that I could cast myself into the arms of, and trust in the mercy of, such a one. . . . I saw that the Bible did bring to view just such a Saviour as I needed . . . in Jesus I found a friend. The Saviour became to me the chiefest among ten thousand.”1
Ellen G. White records having a similar revelation: “I seemed to be sitting in abject despair, with my face in my hands, reflecting like this: If Jesus were upon earth, I would go to Him, throw myself at His feet, and tell Him all my sufferings. He would not turn away from me, . . . and I should love and serve Him always.”2 Her wish to see the Saviour was granted, and a beautiful angel ushered her into the presence of Christ.
She describes her reactions: “In a moment I stood before Jesus. There was no mistaking that beautiful countenance. Such a radiant expression of benevolence and majesty could belong to no other. As His gaze rested upon me, I knew at once that He was acquainted with every circumstance of my life and all my inner thoughts and feelings. . . . The sound of His sweet voice thrilled my heart with a happiness it had never before experienced. I was too joyful to utter a word, but, overcome with ineffable happiness, sank prostrate at His feet. . . . His smile filled my soul with gladness. His presence filled me with holy reverence and an inexpressible love.”3
Why is Jesus called wonderful?
Because He took the sinner’s place
And died to save a guilty race;
Because He stooped to bear the shame:
Forever WONDERFUL is His name.
II. JESUS IS COUNSELOR
We have been warned that, “There is danger that men will receive the counsel of men, when by so doing they will disregard the counsel of God.”4
How comprehensive are the counsels of God?
When desiring inner peace—John 14; Romans 8.
When you are anxious for loved ones—Psalm 121; Luke 17.
When you are discouraged—Psalms 22, 23, 42, and 43.
When sorrow overtakes you—Psalm 46; Matthew 28.
When you are tempted—Psalms 15, 19, 139; 1 Corinthians 10:12–13.
Jesus invites us to ask for His counsel. “Sometimes we pour our troubles into human ears, and tell our afflictions to those who cannot help us, and neglect to confide all to Jesus, who is able to change the sorrowful way to paths of joy and peace.”5
Why is Jesus called Counselor?
Because He bids me come and ask
For guidance in my daily task.
In Him alone all wisdom’s found;
So be His name with honor crowned.
III. JESUS IS THE MIGHTY GOD
The psalmist asks the question, “Who is this King of glory?” He answers, “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle” (24:8, KJV).
What evidence do we have of His might? His power is not only displayed in nature and in the star-studded heavens. His power is mightily demonstrated in human lives that have been changed and transformed.
“I know a life that is lost to God,
Bound down by the things of earth,
But I know a name, a precious name,
That can bring that soul new birth.”
Isaiah asks, “Who is this who comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he who is splendid in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? ‘It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save’” (63:1, ESV).
Why is Jesus called Mighty God?
Because, though veiled in lowly guise,
He came from far beyond the skies,
To all the world the tidings tell,
His name is blest Immanuel.
IV. JESUS IS THE EVERLASTING FATHER
If “mighty God” was amazing, this is more so. Do we not keep Father and Son distinct? But if they are distinct, they are yet one. Jesus claims, “I and the Father are one”—for eternity. The psalmist affirms, “Your name, O Lord, endures forever, your renown, O Lord, throughout all ages” (135:13, ESV). To us the Son of the Father has all the attributes of Fatherhood. As a father pities his children, so the Lord Jesus has compassion on the multitude. Jesus is to be more than king. He is to be a Father to His people. He is to gather the lambs in His arm and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are young.
Why is Jesus called The Everlasting Father?
Because He lived a life below
That men might thus His Father know;
The spirit then He bears witness plain—
Now “Abba Father,” born again.
V. JESUS IS THE PRINCE OF PEACE
He came as the Prince of Peace to the Remnant, to His own; not to those who cry “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace, but to those only who find peace through the blood of the cross. How does He make peace? (1) By making God and man one in His Person—by becoming flesh and dwelling among us, (2) by making man and God one in His death, and (3) by reconciling man to man in His life. “Walk in newness of life,” (Rom 6:4, ESV), says the apostle; and among the signs of it: “So far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Rom 12:18, ESV).
Peace, then, means something. It means the disposition to avoid unnecessary causes of hostility. It means mutual courtesy. It means firm resistance upon one’s own rights, but the recognition at the same time of others’ rights, and straightforward readiness to respect them. It means refusing to be irritated by petty grievances. Jesus personified these qualities and invites us to model the same.
Why is Jesus called the Prince of Peace?
Because, as once by shepherds heard,
“Good will to men.” This blessed word
Proclaimed while angel chorus rang,
Will be proclaimed the world around
Till He as King is crowned.
Then all earth’s wars and strife shall cease;
The world shall own Him PRINCE OF PEACE.
Charles Spurgeon ended a sermon titled “The Eternal Name” in London’s Exeter Hall with this impassioned tribute to Jesus’ imperishable name: “Let my name perish, but let Christ’s name last forever. . . . Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, crown Him Lord of all. You will not hear me say anything else. These are my last words in Exeter Hall for this time. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, crown Him Lord of all.”
- Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press, 1911), 318–319.
- Ellen G. White, Early Writings (Washington, DC: Review and Herald, 1882), 79–80.
- Ibid., 80–81.
- Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press, 1904), 8:146.
- Ellen G. White, Our High Calling (Washington, DC: Review and Herald, 1961), 97.