James Trimm, of SANJ, writes,
Is. 9:6, 7 ... anti-missionaries LOVE to claim this must be past tense.
Rabbi Singer is one of these.
In reality there is no such thing as tense in Hebrew grammer. Hebrew verbs do not take past, present and future forms, but perfect (completed action) or imperfect (incomplete action). Normally a verb in the perfect form would imply a past tense which is why Singer insists this must be past tense and that it therefore refers to Hezekiah.
In reality there is a special idom in Hebrew called the "Prophetic Perfect" this is where a prophet speaks of future events in the perfect form because he has seen them in the future where they have already happened. Another example of the prophetic perfect in Is. 5:13:Therefore my people ARE GONE into captivity...Now this verb is in the perfect form but it is clearly a future event because the captivity spoken of did not occur in Isaiah's lifetime.
In fact the Targum Jonathan to Isaiah 9:6-7 clearly identifies this figure as the Messiah. And the PEREK HA SHALOM; NUMBERS RABBAH XI, 16-20) has:Rabbi Jose the Galilean says: The name of the Messiah too is "peace"; as it is written: "God the mighty, the everlasting Father, the ruler of peace" (Quoting Is. 9:5-6 (6-7))So even the ancient sages understood Isaiah 9:5-6 (6-7 in some editions) to refer to a FUTURE MESSIAH. Why would they do this if this passage supposedly obviously speaks of the past? Obviously it does NOT have to be in the past tense. Like Isaiah 5:13 it is written in the prophetic perfect.
Now I do not know If Rabbi Singer makes these claims about Isaiah 9 because he is being dishonest, or because he just does not know Hebrew grammer that well.
The Holy One, blessed be He, wished to appoint Hezekiah as the Messiah, and Sennacherib as Gog and Magog; whereupon the Attribute of Justice said before the Holy One, blessed be He: 'Sovereign of the Universe! 'If Thou didst not make David the Messiah, who uttered so many hymns and psalms before Thee, wilt Thou appoint Hezekiah as such, who did not hymn Thee in spite of all these miracles which Thou wroughtest for him?' Thererfore it [sc. the mem] was closed. Straightway the earth exclaimed 'Soveriegn of the Universe! Let me utter song before Thee instead of this righteous man [Hezekiah], and make him the Messiah.' So it broke into song before Him, as it is written, From the uttersmost part of the earth we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. Then the Prince of the Universe said to Him: 'Soverieng of the Universe! It [the earth] hath fulfilled They desire [for songs of praise] on behalf of this righteous man. But a heavenly Voice cried out, 'It is my secret. It is my secret.'
Sanhedrin 94a, Soncino Press Edition
The Holy One, blessed be He, said: Let Hezekiah, who hath eight [shemoneh] names, come and mete out punishment to Sennacherib, who hath [likewise] eight. Hezekiah, as it is written, For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the govenment shal be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called [i] Wonderful, [ii] Counsellor, [iii] Judge, [iv]Mighty,[v] Father,[vi] Everlasting,[vii] Prince and [viii]Peace.
Sanhedrin 94a, Soncino Press Edition
R. Hillel said: There shall be no Messiah for Israel, because they have already enjoyed him in the days of Hezekiah. R. Joseph said: May God forgive him [for saying so]. Now when did Hezekiah flourish? During the first Temple. Yet Zechariah, prophesying in the days of the second proclaims, Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, thy king comth unto thee! he is just, and having salvation; lowly and riding upon an ass, and upon the colt the foal of an ass.
Sanhedrin 99a, Soncino Press Edition
The Angel of YHVH appeared to [Manoach's wife], and said to her, "Behold now, you are barren, and bear not: but you shall conceive, and bear a son. . . the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. Then the woman came and told her husband saying, 'A man of God came to me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very awesome . . . he did not tell me his name. . . And Manoach said to the Angel of YHVH, "What is your name, that when your sayings come to pass, we may honor you?" And the Angel of YHVH said unto him, "Why do you ask my name, seeing it is Wonderful?1"
" . . . and Manoach said to his wife, "We shall surely die, because we have seen God."
Judges 13:3,5-6 (partial), 17-18, 22
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful2, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9:6-71. 6383. pil'iy, pil-ee'; or paliy', paw-lee; from 6381; remarkable:-secret, wonderful.The only difference between the name 'Wonderful' in Judges 13, and the occurence in Isaiah chapter 9, is that the name in Isaiah 9 is missing a yud. The letter yud is a symbol of Divinity, as it is the first letter in the Name of God, YHVH, yud-heh-vav-heh. Yud is the "Y" of the Hebrew language, and occurs in many Biblical names such as Yeshua, Hezekiyah, and Y'hoshaphat. What connects these two words, Pele (Wonderful), and Pil'iy (Wonderful, Secret), is that these are the only two times in the entire Tanakh (unless the author has missed a reference), that the term is applied as someone's name. The two names here are referring to the same Person. The dropping of the yud (symbol of Divinity) in the reference to Isaiah 9 is a picture of the Incarnation of the Messiah, who emptied Himself (while never changing His nature), of His Divine Attributes, as it says in Colossians 2,
2. 6382. pele', peh-leh; from 6381; a miracle:-marvellous thing, wonder (-ful), (-fully).
Strong's ConcordanceLet this mind be in you, which was also in Messiah Yeshua: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also had highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Yeshua the Messiah is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
R. Yose the Galilean said: "The name of the Messiah is Peace, for it is said, Everlasting Father, Prince Peace (Isa. 9:5) . . ." R. Yose the Galilean said: "Great is peace, for in that hour in which King Messiah is revealed to Israel, he begns with peace, for it is said, How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger of good tidings who announceth peace (Isa. 52:7)."
Pereq Shalom, p. 101, cited in The Messiah Texts, by Raphael Patai, p. 21
He said to him: ‘I have yet to raise up the Messiah,’ of whom it is written, For a child is born to us (Isa. IX, 5). Until I come unto my Lord unto Seir (Gen. XXXIII, I4). R. Samuel b. Nahman said: We have searched all the Scriptures and we have nowhere found [it stated] that Jacob ever came together with Esau at Seir. What then is the meaning of, 'Unto Seir’? Jacob [meant] to say to him: 'I have yet to raise up judges and saviours to exact punishment from you.’ Whence this? For it is said, And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau (Obad. I, 21). Israel asked God: ‘Master of the Universe, how long shall we remain subjected to him?' He replied: 'Until the day comes of which it is written, There shall step forth a star out of Jacob and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel (Num. XXIV, 17); when a star shall step forth from Jacob and devour the stubble of Esau.’
Midrash Rabbah - Deuteronomy I:20, cited from YashaNet, Study on Matthew,
The Messiah is called by eight names: Yinnon, Tzemach, Pele ["Miracle"]. Yo'etz ["Counsellor"], Mashiah ["Messiah"], El ["God"], Gibbor ["Hero"], and Avi 'Ad Shalom ["Eternal Father of Peace"]
S. Buber's note, Mid. Mishle, p. 87, cited in The Messiah Texts, by Raphael Patai, p. 22
. . . it is also written of a scion of Judah (trans. note: Hezekiah, who was of the Tribe of Judah, and the Messiah, who will spring from the same Tribe) And his name is called "Wonderful in counsel is God the Mighty (El Gibbor)' (Isa. 95)
Pesikta Rabbati, Piska 46.3, translated by William Braude, vol. II, Yale University Press edition, pg. 793
"The prophet saith to the house of David, A child has been born to us, a son has been given to us; and he has taken the law upon himself to keep it, and his name has been called from of old, Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, he who lives forever, the Anointed one (or Messiah), in whose days peace shall increase upon us" - (Is. 9:6)
Targum Isaiah, (Stenning, TI, 32), cited in Josh McDowell's, New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, pg. 174
As for the expression El Gibbor, the whole verse in which this occurs in an epitome of the holy supernal faith. The word "Wonderful" alludes to the supernal Wisdom, which is wondrous and concealed beyond the reach of all; "Counsellor" is the supernal stream which issues forth perenially and counsels all and waters all; "El" refers to Abraham, "Gibbor" to Issac, and "Everlasting Father" to Jacob, who lays hold of both sides and attains perfection. The "Prince of Peace" is the Zaddik, who brings peace to the world, peace to the House, peace to the Matrona.
Zohar IV, Zav 31a, Soncino Press Edition, pg. 384.
(This does not refer directly to the Divinity of the Moshiach)
R. Judah, commenting on the verse, "let there be a fimament in the midst of the waters", said: 'Did not that firmament divide the upper from the lower waters there would be conflict between them. But that firmament keeps the peace between them, and the world is established only on peace. God is also called "peace"; He is peace, His name is peace, and all is bound together in peace.' R. Abba said: "I see that this supreme Holy Name is altogether peace, and altogether one, and paths diverge from it in all directions.
Zohar IV, Vayikra 11a,Soncino Press Edition, pg. 347
(This quote is not related to Messiah, nor directly to Isaiah 9:6, but I include it as worth noting.)
"There is no reason why we should take El in this name of the Messiah in any other sense than in Immanu-El; not to mention the fact that El in Isaiah is always a name of God, and that the prophet was ever strongly conscious of the antithesis between El and Adam, as ch. 31:3 (cf. Hosea 11:9) clearly shows."
Franz Delitzch, Biblical Commentary on the Prophecies of Isaiah, pg. 252, cited in Mcdowell's New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, pg. 177