Commentary on Isaiah 9:6 Father of Eternity

For believers in Jesus, Isaiah 9:6 is a powerful passage speaking about the Messiah. A traditional translation is:

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace (NASB).

When I was taking a course on Messianic prophecy, the professor mentioned that Eternal Father would be better translated Father of Eternity. This intrigued me especially since I had been studying Hebrew. I wanted to look this up for myself. It certainly made sense to me as I considered the triune nature of God. I believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus is the Son and not the Father, but if He is the Father of Eternity, that makes a whole lot of sense to me. In the Hebrew and Jewish versions, the verse is Isaiah 9:5.

In reference to Jesus in John 1:3, it says that all things came into being through Him. Colossians 1:16 says that all things were created by Him. If all things were created by Him, it fits perfectly that He is the Father of eternity or time. Eternal Father makes me think of God the Father and not God the Son.

The phrase that is used for what is usually translated Eternal Father is Aviad. The first part is Avi, which would be translated “Father of” or “my Father.” In Hebrew, av is father. Avi is used in a construct form throughout the Bible. Many names start out with “father of” or “my father” such as Abimelech. In our English we have the hard b sound instead of a v. Abimelech means father of the king or my father is king. Compare אֲבִימֶלֶךְ (Abimelech) to אֲבִיעַד (Aviad). In Hebrew the letters are read right to left.

The second part is the word ad. The word can be translated as time or eternity. It also has some other translations like until or as far as, but those definitions do not fit the context. Often the word ad is used with the word olam and translated forever like in Genesis 13:15. The phrase ad-olam is used to speak of Abram’s descendants inheriting the land forever.

I don’t understand why most translations do not translate the phrase Father of, but I was glad to see one new translation follow the Hebrew better. The Tree of Life version uses “My Father of Eternity.” The translation follows the Hebrew numbering so the verse is Isaiah 9:5. If Isaiah 9:6 (9:5 Hebrew) really speaks of Jesus the Messiah, then the translation “Father of Eternity” fits better than “Eternal Father.” Father of Eternity is true to the Hebrew. Even though the Father and Son are one, they are still distinct and it is best to avoid confusion when possible.

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