May 08, 2014

El Gibbor: "the Mighty God"

Isaiah 9:1-7

He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlast-ing Father, Prince of Peace.
—Isaiah 9:6


In this brief but awe-inspiring verse we find four names for God that apply to the promised Savior, the Messiah, whom we know today is Jesus Christ. Let’s look today at the second name in this list, El Gibbor, which means “Mighty God.”

The Hebrew word gibbor, meaning “strong, mighty,” describes heroes like Nimrod, “a mighty warrior … a mighty hunter before the LORD” (Genesis 10:8-9), and the “mighty warriors” of King David of Israel (2 Samuel 23:8). It’s a word depicting bravery, courage, and action. All these are qualities of gibbor in the compound name El Gibbor, “the Mighty God.”

In our war-torn world, we often shrink away from military language to describe God today. But here God reveals himself in words that portray him as a great warrior. Should we shy away from describing our God that way? Not if that’s how he reveals himself.

Both physical and spiritual battles have raged across human history, with conflicts touching everyone who has ever lived. And the name El Gibbor, “Mighty God,” points to the day when all of God’s enemies, physical and spiritual, will be vanquished and all of creation will bow at the feet of Jesus, the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Can you think of any greater comfort and confidence as we engage in the battles of our daily lives?

Mighty God, we trust you for peace in our lives and our world, and we long for the day when all your enemies will be defeated. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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