Thursday, December 23, 2010

Emmanuel - God with Us!

Today is Theological Thursday

Today we will look at the word

Εμμανουηλ (em-man-oo-ale’)

This word literally means "with us [is] God." We translate it to mean, "God is with us." We find this word used three (3) times in the Bible; Isaiah 7:14; 8:8, Matthew 1:23.

The Hebrew word "Immanuel" and the Greek word "Emmanouel" signify a proper name in each of these three (3) passages. This is the name that is given to the promised child of the "alma", more literally, unmarried woman of Isaiah 7:14 and the "parthenos", or virgin of Matthew 1:23.

The unique thing about this name is that it describes this baby's nature and his mission. This name describes his messianic work of atonement and redemption. Walter Elwell noted in essence that by itself this proper name doesn't prove that Mary's baby would be "the Son of God." He makes the case that this baby was the Son of God with a Messianic mission by drawing our attention to passages such as John 1:1, 18, 20:28, Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8; II Peter 1:1; I John 5:20.

These passages help us to understand that this proper name, Emmanuel, was intended by God to convey to us more than the idea that God was active through Jesus to protect His people. As a matter of fact, Jesus, or Emmanuel was to given to describe the incarnate baby's divine nature.

When we look at the preposition "with" we can see how this name implies the work of Christ as Savior and Messiah. Think for a minute on the two (2) parties that are on each side of this wonderful proposition. One one side is God, who is holy with no sin and unable to look on sin. On the other side is the human race, which Romans 3 makes very clear contains no one who is sinless, righteous, holy, or perfect. Human beings deserve God's wrath and have no grounds to blame God or even resist God when God judges, opposes, and stands against them.

Yet, just as this wonderful name suggests, God reveals His Son as "God with us." God will no longer be opposed or against us when this incarnate one finishes the work of atonement on the cross. Emmanuel, or God with us will fulfill the Messianic role provided as a result of God's grace, redeem his people, and once again, be God with us.

Jesus demonstrates this portion of the messianic mission emanating from the incarnation when He declares, "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20, (ESV)

Walter A. Elwell, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 2nd edition, 2001), p.596

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, volume 2ed. G. W. Bromley, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982), p. 807


Larri said...


Merry CHRISTmas! :o)

Persis said...

All that is wrapped up in the Incarnation is amazing!

Anonymous said...

"And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20

What an amazing promise of God's security for all He has chosen to be in Christ Jesus.

I'm thankful He didn't say, "I am only with those who live a perfect sinless life always, to the end of the age" :-)