The Five Digit Name.

T. Oliver.

That the human hand has five digits is common knowledge and each of them forming part of the hand has its own peculiar characteristics and functions, so we find in the prophetic statement of Isaiah 750 years before the even that God would put His hand into human affairs in a way radically different from his current intervention in the prophets, even in Isaiah, the grandest of them. The virgin's son would be called Immanuel, meaning "God with us." But two chapters further on the fingers of that hand are clearly identified in connection with the government on the throne of David and endless peace being the consequence. In contrast with the war-ridden condition in the world, it will indeed be a happy day! "His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father (lit. the Father of Eternity), the Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6).

Corresponding to the thumb on the hand His name is Wonderful, i.e., not merely that the coming Son would excite wonder amongst His contemporaries. That fact had abundant testimony. But a vastly deeper intelligence was conveyed in the usage of the word. The Hebrew word may be presented in English characters as "Pehleh" which really conveys the idea of an enigma, an inexplicable mystery, transcending all philosophic conception not to speak of expression. His humanity is inscrutable except in the channel of revelation. He is the miraculous intrusion of the eternal hand of God in time! In the Holy Scripture the same word occurs in the record of the incident when the Angel of the Lord intimated the birth of Samson to Manoah and his wife. In answer to Manoah's question he said "why askest thou after my name seeing it is secret (Pahlah)" Judges 13:18). Shortly afterwards he ascended to heaven in the flame of the burnt offering on the altar, Who else could ascend in the savour of the burnt offering but the One who would be subsequently described as the mystery of Godliness (1 Tim. 3:16).

Corresponding to the forefinger is the name Counselor which conveys the idea presented in the New Testament in the Greek word "Parakletos" translated in John's Gospel four times as "Comforter" relative to the Holy Ghost, and once in John's epistle translated "Advocate," relative to the One who has gone up to the Father's presence, representing our case in heaven, and as antecedent to the Holy Ghost coming down to earth to carry on the work. The literal thought in the meaning of the word is that One who is competent is called to our side to help, consequently it implies guidance for the person who entrusts his case implicitly to the Paraklete.

Corresponding to the middle finger of the hand is the name "The Mighty God." Not only is this central as to position but central as to significance! Who could possibly manifest all the other characteristics unless he were the Mighty God, i.e., the singular El signifying unity of power and action. God is One. (1 Tim. 2:5). The plural Elohim occurs more frequently and signifies creatorial of the Trinity in Unity of action; the absolute supreme Deity in perfect harmony. Needless to say these terms transcend human comprehension. We endeavour simply to distinguish and use scriptural terms as they are used in Scripture.

Corresponding to the third finger of the hand is the name "Everlasting Father" of A.V., but literally, "the Father of Eternity." That is the logical consequence of the preceding title. Eternity is infinite for all purposes yet there is one who took eternity in the "Cradle" of His hand, so only God is really infinite. The thought is stupendous! The One who is the Son of God's love created all things in heaven and in earth visible (thrones and dominions) and invisible (principalities and powers). All created by and for Him! He is (not was, because "He is" implies the present) before all things and by Him all things subsist (Col. 1:16-17). All the glories of creation are relative. The Creator alone is absolute and supreme! But an even greater thought than that is enunciated in the expression "Father of Eternity." He Who is the Son is its Author!

Corresponding to the little finger on the hand is the last title, viz., the "Prince of Peace." Although that may be simpler than the others as being in the realm of our comprehension, it involves the others as antecedents, because no one could be the Prince of Peace but He Who in His essence is The Mighty God and the Father of Eternity. He alone could make peace through the blood of His cross (Col. 1:20). By Him alone will complete reconciliation of all things be effected. From time to time men have conjured with these ideas, conceiving an Utopian state evolved by human effort and resting on the supposition of human consistency. In recent years Peace Palaces have been erected at the Hague and at Geneva with the evident intent of ultimately ushering in a millennial state on the aforementioned basis. All through the histories of such movements ominous underground rumblings should have made the authors and promulgators of the ideas very uneasy, yet they hailed the result of "the War to end war" as something permanent. Suddenly the volcano, on which their peace and safety slumbered, blew up, blasting all the hopes of men and demonstrating the fallacy of the idea! There is no other peace of lasting value than the one which is God-given and commences with the individual who has not to wait for peace as the groaning creation has to do for the advent of its deliverer! The Colossian passage already cited goes on to say "you who were formerly alienated and enemies in mind by wicked works yet now has He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death" (Col. 1:21, 22). On the night of His betrayal He could say to His own in the upper room, "Peace I leave with you," in anticipation of the accomplishment of the work of redemption. That was the peerless legacy which will yet be communicated to all creation. The Prince of Peace will administer absolute justice! The government, not only of David's kingdom, but of the wide universe, will be borne lightly on His shoulder. The government of a small part of the world has defied the wit of man to perform properly. So periodically the rulers shuffle off the burden to the shoulders of others, as the responsibility incurred and the obloquy of failure would be too great to carry for any length of time.