Immanuel and the Significance of the Title

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Isaiah 7:14

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”

-This passage is quoted and applied to Jesus in Matt. 1:23. Some therefore think that Jesus is literally “God” with us.

-Isaiah the prophet is speaking against King Ahaz (7:10). Ahaz is the “you” spoken of in 7:14. This is a sign for Ahaz, which, according to 7:16, will demonstrate to him that God is indeed on his side when the land belonging to the two hostile kings (7:1, 4) is forsaken. Therefore, Isa. 7:14 found its original fulfillment during the ministry of the prophet     Isaiah.

-The Hebrew for Immanuel (עִמָּ֥נוּ אֵֽל) also shows up in Isa. 8:8, 10. Of particular interest is 8:10 where the prophet proclaims, “Devise a plan, but it will be thwarted; state a proposal, but it will not stand, for God is with us.” With God on the side of Israel, they are promised success and victory.

-When the evangelist Matthew uses Isa. 7:14 in Matt. 1:23, King Ahaz is no longer in view. Rather, the miraculous birth of Jesus apart from the aid of a human father will be a sign to Joseph that God is with his people. Cf. also Acts 10:38.

-Note esp. Neh. 11:7 and Prov. 30:1, where a figure is named Ithiel, a theophostic name which means “God is with me.”

-Eliab, in Num. 1:9, means “My God is the Father.”

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