Monday Morning Prophecy #10 – He Would Be Called Immanuel (God With Us)

cross-pictureLast week we looked at the virgin birth of the Messiah foretold hundreds of years before Jesus was born.  This week we will look at another amazing prophecy surrounding the birth of the Messiah.  Hundreds of years before he was born, the prophet Isaiah tells us about the “name” of the Messiah:

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” [Isaiah 7:14]

In the gospel of Matthew, we are told that Jesus is the fulfillment of this prophecy:

But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).   [Matthew 1:20-23]

So, the obvious question is, if Jesus was named Jesus, how is he the fulfillment of a prophecy that says he will be named Immanuel?  Good question!  In the Old Testament, names were much more than just the way a person was referred to.  Names had meanings and they meant a lot more than the meanings you find in the book of 10,000 baby names on your local book store shelf.  Names told you something about a person.  Here are some examples:

  • Adam means “man” (Genesis 2:20)
  • Abraham means “father of a multitude” (Genesis 17:5)
  • Isaac means “he laughs” (Genesis 17:19)
  • Moses means “taken out” (Exodus 2:10)
  • The 12 Sons of Israel (Genesis 29:31-35, Genesis 30:1-22; Genesis 35:16-18)
  • Nabal means “fool” (1 Samuel 25:25)

In Isaiah 9:6, Isaiah writes about the Messiah that “his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  Clearly he was not implying that these would be the “name” by which he was referred, but these would be names that described him in some way.  In the same way “Immanuel” is a descriptive name meaning “God with us,” and Matthew tells his readers the obvious – that in the birth of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, God was now physically with his people.

As an aside, this also serves as further proof of the authenticity of the Bible.  Had Matthew been making up his gospel, it would have been easy for him to have Mary or Joseph simply refer to Jesus by the name “Immanuel” a couple of times to prove the fulfillment of this prophecy.  Instead, he stays true to the meaning and intent of the original prophecy and simply explains that Jesus taking on human flesh and living amongst his people is the true fulfillment of the prophecy that the Messiah would be called “God with us!”

Return to the Monday Morning Prophecy index page.

Image courtesy of Abby Reed

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