And his name shall be called … Everlasting Father. Isaiah 9:6

We have been getting to know God by His Christmas names, starting with a prophecy found in the book of Isaiah, which was written nearly 800 years before the Christ child was born in Bethlehem. So far, we have learned that His name is Wonderful Counselor and Mighty God. Next, Isaiah’s prophecy reads, “And his name shall be called … Everlasting Father" (Isaiah 9:6). Somebody said to me this week, “Oh, that name—Everlasting Father—is an easy one.” I beg to differ.

The name “Everlasting Father” takes us into the deep end of theology before it becomes practical and meaningful to us at Christmas. The name also clashes with our present culture. Upon hearing the name Everlasting Father, some people will ask, “In the spirit of inclusiveness and diversity, can we (should we) also call Jesus our Everlasting Mother?” The short answer to the question is no.

Everlasting Father or Mother?

Purposefully, God reveals Himself in the Bible through the male gender; He is our heavenly Father. For example, Jesus taught His disciples to pray to “Our Father in heaven,” not “Our Mother in heaven.” Does this mean God is misogynist? To suggest that God hates women is a ridiculous notion, given that He created men and women in His image equally (Genesis 1:26-27).

Then, one might ask, does the Fatherhood of God merely represent the cultural biases at the time the Bible was written? Do we need to update the Bible in a way that reflects egalitarianism and embraces today’s sudden belief in gender fluidity? The absurdity of that idea reflects a significant misunderstanding (or intentional neglect) of history, biology, and theology. I will leave the history and biology lessons as it relates to gender for another time. But a brief exploration of the theology of gender is worthwhile and necessary to an understanding of the name Everlasting Father.

The Bible’s creation story reaches an apex in the creation of human beings. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27) Despite strong cultural pressures to think otherwise, there is no reason to move away from a binary (male and female) understanding of our humanity. Besides, when it comes to gender, theology mirrors biology. With sensitivity, allow me to explain.

Just as the male gender is anatomically built to initiate sexual intercourse, and the female gender is built to respond, so grace is God’s male initiation and faith is our female response. The first person I heard make this insightful theological observation was Elizabeth Elliot, the wife of Jim Elliott, the well-known slain missionary. Elizabeth went on to point out how the Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). Because God initiates a relationship with us by His generous and loving disposition, He presents Himself as our Everlasting Father, not our Everlasting Mother.

Thus, don’t mess with gender! When we mess with gender in the spirit of inclusiveness and diversity, we mess with more than our biology and identity; we mess with the meaning of salvation and Christmas as God intended to communicate it.

Father and Son?

The name Everlasting Father presents another quandary. How is Jesus both “a son” and the “Everlasting Father” in Isaiah’s prophecy? Is Isaiah confused or must we clarify our understanding? Let’s choose the latter. 

One way to clarify any confusion is to see that Isaiah is not blending notions of the promised Messiah with the first person of the Holy Trinity, namely God the Father. Instead, Isaiah points us to the Messiah’s character and His relationship toward us, not the Messiah’s role within the Godhead. In other words, the child will grow up and relate to us in a fatherly manner, which we will discuss later.

For now, the mystery of the triune Godhead seems at work in the prophecy secondarily, without drifting into the dangerous theological waters called modalism—the early church heresy which taught that God the Son was the same person as God the Father.[i] Even “Wonderful Counselor” reminds us of the Holy Spirit, who is called “Counselor.” However, the second and third person of the Holy Trinity are not the same person. Rather, God is triune—one God who expresses Himself in three distinct persons and personalities.

In a fascinating dialogue with the Pharisees (John 8:12-58), Jesus clarified the relationship between Himself—God, the Son, the second person of the trinity—and God, the Father, by saying,

“If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires.” John 8:42-44a

The Pharisees claimed that Abraham was their father. That was true physically, but Jesus was speaking of a spiritual reality, which they had a hard time accepting. Then Jesus dropped a verbal bombshell into the already tense conversation by saying, “Before Abraham was I am” (8:58). The Savior’s antagonists knew that He was claiming to be God, one with the “I AM” who spoke to Moses through the burning bush, without erasing the mysterious distinctions within the Holy Trinity. Later, Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

The Fatherly Son

Now let’s explore the practical realities of a name like Everlasting Father, and the deep meaning it has for us at Christmas. To say, “His name shall be called … Everlasting Father” suggests that when this promised Child grows up, He will relate to us in a fatherly manner. In other words, we could call Him “the fatherly son.”

No term of endearment evokes more emotion in us than father. When we say or think the word father, we immediately associate it with memories and images of our own earthly father. Sometimes those memories are positive; sometimes they are negative. Because there are no perfect earthly fathers, our memories are often mixed. Do you feel a sense of loss this Christmas because your earthly father is no longer with you, or because your deep longings for a good father have gone unmet?

Furthermore, across America, approximately 18.3 million children will experience Christmas without a father in the home; that is about 1 in 4 children in the United States, which, sadly, has the highest rate of children living in single-parent households of any nation in the world. Indeed, fatherlessness in America has become an urgent social crisis.[ii]

However, Christmas brings good news of great joy because an Everlasting Father was born in Bethlehem! His name is Jesus, and He came “to save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:23). He also promises to be a father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:6). Jesus is and more than everything you ever dreamed a father could be. He is also everything you ever wanted from your earthly father. Let’s explore how.

Specifically, as our Everlasting Father, Jesus provides for His children. Santa asks, “What do you want for Christmas?” inviting us to self-indulge. But Jesus asks, “What do you need?” The difference between our wants, needs, and greeds is significant. The Apostle Paul reminded the Philippians, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). Our Everlasting Father has a supply chain that never runs dry. Out of the abundance of that supply, He provides for His children, as any good father would do.

Our Everlasting Father also protects His children. Let’s return to the Christmas story for a reminder. An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and warned him of Herod’s murderous intent, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child to destroy him” (Matthew 2:13). Never doubt the Everlasting Father’s ability or desire to protect you. Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”

Finally, our Everlasting Father prays for His children. Consider the intercessory prayer ministry of Jesus. He prayed for His disciples and us in John 17, which I call the real Lord’s prayer. In Luke 22:32, Jesus said to Peter, “But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” The Bible also teaches that Jesus intercedes for us from His exalted throne in heaven (Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25, 1 John 2:1).

He Keeps Going and Going

This Christmas, children around the world will receive gifts that require batteries to power a new toy. The Eveready Battery Company wants you to buy their batteries. For more than thirty years, they have been advertising how their batteries keep “going and going,” using a powerful icon known as the Energizer Bunny. Catherine Salvaggio is an advertising expert who writes, “This bright pink stuffed bunny has been traveling across our television screens, drum in hand, showing us the everlasting power of Energizer Eveready batteries. Likewise, the campaign and its icon have created a similarly everlasting presence in popular culture.”[iii]

Longer lasting than everlasting batteries and the Energizer Bunny is our Everlasting Father. What does it mean that Jesus is our Everlasting Father? To answer that question, we must return to the deep end of theology. Let’s begin by wrapping our minds around His eternal nature this Christmas. First, our Everlasting Father is preexistent.

The first four words of the Bible introduce us to God’s everlasting nature—“In the beginning God …” (Genesis 1:1). The Apostle John starts his gospel with a flashback to Genesis, saying, “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1). Before the beginning that marks time and history for human beings, God was there and always had been there. Before He spoke the worlds into existence and made us in His image, male and female, God existed eternally.

Because we are time-bound creatures, the concept of eternity is mind-boggling. Writing with the help of the Holy Spirit, Moses tried to unscramble the inscrutable, saying, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Psalm 90:2) David’s finite mind stretched as far as it could in both directions—to infinity and beyond!

The fact that our Everlasting Father has always existed is part of what makes Him God and worthy of our Christmas worship. And because He will never not exist, we can trust Him to always be there for His children; He keeps “going and going” for us like the Energizer Bunny.

Perhaps the concept of an Everlasting Father is foreign to you because your earthly father abandoned you, or he was aloof, distant, and seemingly uncaring. You never have to worry about that with Jesus. He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

My parents divorced when I was in high school. I did not realize the full effect of their breakup on me until I was a young adult in my early twenties. One day, a friend who was studying for his Masters degree in Psychology at the University of Houston shared an insightful thought with me: Children of divorced parents often struggle in relationships because they fear someone will leave them. His words struck my heart like a bolt of lightning.

In time, God healed my broken heart with truth from His holy word, the Bible. To a new generation of Israelites who were about to cross over the Jordan River and take possession of the Promised Land, Moses said, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). These words echo throughout Scripture in places like Joshua 1:5, Matthew 28:20, Hebrews 13:5 and John 14:18, where Jesus says, “I will not leave you as orphans.”

Jesus will never stop being your Everlasting Father; He is forever present.


[i] Modalism, the early church heresy, treated the Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—as a unity, not a trinity in the orthodox sense.


[ii] “Fatherlessness and its Effects on American Society,” Jack Brewer, American First Policy Institute, article accessed on December 17, 2022,


[iii] “The Big Idea that Keeps Going and Going,” Catherine Salvaggio, Accessed on December 17, 2022,

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“Every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

Romans 8:28 MSG