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The Eternal Son

“Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given” (Isaiah 9:6).

This verse, so popular at Christmas time, presents two truths: the Son of God is fully human and eternally Son. The first part says He became man—“a Child is born.” When Luke wrote that “unto you is born this day … a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11), he conveyed the same message. Both the Hebrew and Greek words for “born” refer to child-bearing.

The latter part of the verse says that the “Son is given.” The reference here is to eternal sonship. In Hebrew, the word “given” does not refer to birth or beginning, but to “bringing forth with purpose” the Son who already existed. John recorded His being brought forth in these words: “God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).

Our Lord did not become the Son of God—that He always was, is, and will be (Hebrews 13:8). But He did become man. The Son is as eternal as the Father. He is God’s expression of eternal relationship and purpose. Thinking about this helps us grow in our appreciation of the Son coming from glory to die for our sins (John 17:5; Hebrews 1:3), and returning to glory taking many sons (including us) with Him (John 17:24; Hebrews 2:9-11).

The whole truth is not just that “a Child is born,” but also that “a Son is given.” Those who focus on the first part may only enjoy His coming for the Christmas season. Those who also grab hold of the second part can enjoy His coming for all seasons—even for eternity.

—Larry Ondrejack, adapted