Wonderful Counselor

For to us a child is born. To us a son is given; and the government will be on his shoulders. His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

We have seen that the ‘Mighty God’ is also an ‘Everlasting Father’, and a ‘Prince of Peace’. In what way is he also a ‘Wonderful Counselor’?

The Hebrew word for ‘wonderful’ is peleh {פּלא – H6382}, meaning “a miracle”, or “a marvelous thing”:

Exo 15:[11] Who is like you, Yahweh, among the gods? Who is like you, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders {peleh}?

Psa 77:[14] You are the God who does wonders {peleh}. You have made your strength known among the peoples.

Psa 89:[5] The heavens will praise your wonders {peleh}, Yahweh; your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.

Isa 25:[1] Yahweh, you are my God. I will exalt you! I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful {peleh} things, things planned long ago, in complete faithfulness and truth.

The works of God are wonderful, and marvelous in the eyes of his people.

In what way is God also a ‘Counselor’? The Hebrew word for ‘counselor’ is yah-atz (יעץ – H3289), meaning “to advise, deliberate, resolve; to give or take counsel”:

Exo 18:[19] Listen now to my voice. I will give you counsel {yah-atz}, and God be with you. You represent the people before God, and bring the causes to God.

2Sa 7:[7] Hushai said to Absalom, “The counsel {yah-atz} that Ahithophel has given this time is not good.”

Psa 16:[7] I will bless Yahweh, who has given me counsel {yah-atz}. Yes, my heart instructs me in the night seasons.

Isa 45:[21] Declare and present it. Yes, let them take counsel {yah-atz} together. Who has shown this from ancient time? Who has declared it of old? Haven’t I, Yahweh? There is no other God besides me, a just God and a Savior; There is no one besides me.

In the Septuagint, the Hebrew word yah-atz is often translated by the Greek word boulay {βουλή – G1012} and its variants (such as sumboulos {σύμβουλος – G4825}, meaning “counselor”). Here is how boulay is used in the New Testament:

Luk 7:[30] But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the counsel {boulay} of God, not being baptized by him themselves.

Act 2:[23] him, being delivered up by the determined counsel {boulay} and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by the hand of lawless men, crucified and killed;

Act 20:[27] for I didn’t shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel {boulay} of God.

Eph 1:[11] in whom also we were assigned an inheritance, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel {boulay} of his will;

Heb 6:[17] In this way God, being determined to show more abundantly to the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel {boulay}, interposed with an oath;

So God is a “wonderful counselor” to his people, giving them “wonderful [and] marvelous” “advice or counsel”. And that ‘counsel’ consists partly of the written, or revealed, word of God, and partly in the internal guidance that God gives by his Spirit. Therefore, the first part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is the giving of the Scriptures, God’s Word, to his people. This is the doctrine of inspiration:

All of the Bible is given by inspiration of God and is thus without error. It is the very Word of God. It does not merely contain the Word of God, as if it contained the erroneous words of men mingled with the perfect words of God. The doctrine of inspiration is the first principle from which all biblical doctrines are derived. Its truth is revealed to man by God. [2Sa 7:28; 2Sa 23:2; Psa 12:6; Psa 25:5; Psa 111:7-8; Psa 119:43; Psa 119:89; Psa 138:2; Dan 10:21; Joh 17:17; Act 3:18; 1Co 2:4 1Co 2:12-16; 2Ti 2:15; 3:15-17; Heb 1:1-2; 2Pe 1:20-21; 2Pe 3:15]

Christian Confession of Faith, I.A.1

Here are some of the verses to which the Confession appeals:

2Sa 23:[2] “The Spirit of Yahweh spoke by me. His word was on my tongue.

Psa 12:[6] Yahweh’s words are flawless words, as silver refined in a clay furnace, purified seven times.

Joh 17:[17] Sanctify them in your truth. Your word is truth.

2Ti 3:[16] Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

God the Holy Spirit provides ‘wonderful counsel’ to his people through the inspired words of Scripture.

The second part of the Holy Spirit’s ministry is unwritten, and given directly to the people of God internally, though the internal leading of the Spirit is never in conflict with the written word of God (Isa 8:20, Joh 5:39, Act 17:11, Rom 6:17, Eph 1:13). This continuing ‘counsel’ that the Holy Spirit provides to the people of God begins with Regeneration:

Regeneration (also known as the new birth) is that grace in which the Holy Spirit brings a sinner from spiritual death to spiritual life, takes away his old heart and old spirit, implants within him a new heart and a new spirit, and indwells him. He is made a new creation, dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ, so that he is no longer totally depraved and no longer serves sin. God’s grace in regeneration is irresistible; that is, no man is able to resist the motions of the Holy Spirit to regenerate him. Regeneration is never preceded by any condition the sinner meets, can meet, or is enabled to meet. [Deu 30:6; Jer 24:7; Eze 11:19-20; Eze 36:25-27; Zec 4:6; Joh 1:13; Joh 3:3-8; Joh 6:37,44,63; Joh 10:3-5,27; Joh 17:2; Rom 5:5; Rom 6:1-22; Rom 7:6; Rom 8:2,5-16,30; 1Co 15:45; Eph 2:5; Eph 4:22-24; Col 2:11-13; Tit 3:5; Heb 9:13-15; 1Pe 1:23]

Christian Confession of Faith, V.C.1

Regeneration is never a result of the actions of the sinner; it is always a free gift of God, through grace:

Deu 30:[6] Yahweh your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live.

Jer 24:[7] I will give them a heart to know me, that I am Yahweh: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God; for they shall return to me with their whole heart.

John 6:[37] All those whom the Father gives me will come to me. He who comes to me I will in no way throw out. … [44] No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day. … [63] It is the spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life.

Tit 3:[5] not by works of righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy, he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

The ‘counsel’ of God, given by the Holy Spirit, continues throughout the life of a regenerated person. This is because the ministry of the Holy Spirit is not even to glorify himself, but to glorify Jesus Christ; which is accomplished by causing his regenerate people to seek Jesus, and causing them to become more and more like Jesus:

Conversion is that grace in which the Holy Spirit causes the sinner to repent and believe the gospel. The regenerate person is given a knowledge and understanding of the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the work of Jesus Christ alone and the realization that he was unregenerate when he believed a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner. He counts all of his former life and deeds, whether religious or irreligious, as dead works, evil deeds, and fruit unto death. Conversion is the immediate and inevitable fruit of regeneration; therefore, a person may not be regenerated without being converted. There has never existed and will never exist a regenerate person who is ignorant of the gospel. Scripture rejects the lie that an unregenerate person can be under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, since the Holy Spirit only leads people to Jesus Christ and His righteousness as the only ground of salvation. [Deu 4:34-35; Isa 45:6,20-25; Mat 13:23; Mar 16:16; Joh 6:40; Joh 8:32; Joh 16:8-11; Joh 17:3; Act 16:14-15; Rom 1:16-17; Rom 3:26; Rom 6:17,21; Rom 7:6; 1Co 2:10-12; 2Co 4:2-6; Eph 1:13; Phi 3:7-8; 2Th 2:13-14; Heb 9:14; 1Jo 5:20]

Christian Confession of Faith, V.C.3

Here are some of the verses the Confession refers to in this section:

Isa 45:[6] that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is no one besides me. I am Yahweh, and there is no one else.

Joh 16:[8] When he has come, he will convict the world about sin, about righteousness, and about judgment; [9] about sin, because they don’t believe in me; [10] about righteousness, because I am going to my Father, and you won’t see me any more; [11] about judgment, because the prince of this world has been judged.

Rom 6:[17] But thanks be to God, that, whereas you were bondservants of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were delivered.

1Co 2:[12] But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that were freely given to us by God.

1Th 2:[13] But we are bound to always give thanks to God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth; [14] to which he called you through our Good News, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Heb 9:[14] how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without defect to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

From these verses, it should be obvious that Conversion, being a gift of the Holy Spirit, is a fruit of Regeneration, not the other way around (See also: Mat 7:18, Luk 6:43-44, Jam 3:12, 1Jo 3:9). This gift was predestined for them by God the Father, purchased for them by Jesus Christ, and applied to them by the Holy Spirit. Thus, the ministry of the Holy Spirit is in complete harmony with the ministry of the Father and the ministry of the Son, as the Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus Christ, through the Gospel.

10 My God alone art thou,
Teach me thy righteousness:
Thy Sp’rit’s good, lead me to
The land of uprightness.
(Psalm 143, 2nd Selection, The Psalms of David in Metre)

See Also:

Jehovah Our Banner (Yahweh-Nissi)

Deadly Ignorance

V. Soteriology – The Doctrine of Salvation