Posted by: Hope | December 17, 2008

Jesus or Emmanuel?

I was reading a post made by Pistol Pete over at Necessary Therapy about the story of Jesus.

I came across a thought that really left me curious. Why is it that in the Old Testament it speaks of the virgin birth and how the child should be named Emmanuel, but in the New  Testament God tells Joseph to name the child Jesus. Why isn’t Jesus named Emmanuel?

What are your thoughts/explanations?




  1. My thoughts? They wanted Jesus to fulfill the prophecy so they just ignored the fact that he didn’t.

  2. Read Matthew 1:23, the name is not just in the OT. Jesus is referred to by many different names to express the many different facets that He encompasses as God incarnate.

  3. But that doesn’t change the fact that he wasn’t named Emmanuel. He was named Jesus. Sure, Emmanuel means god with us, Jesus doesn’t mean that.

    Why would god “change his mind” on what to name Jesus?

  4. I found this @
    It makes sense and is probably way more eloquent than I would paraphrase!

    “Question: “Why wasn’t Jesus named Immanuel?”

    Answer: In the prophecy of the virgin birth, Isaiah 7:14, the prophet Isaiah declared, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel.” This prophecy refers to the birth of Jesus in Matthew 1:22-23, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ which means, ‘God with us.'” This does not mean, however, that the Messiah’s name would actually be Immanuel.

    There are many names given to Jesus using the phrase “He shall be called,” both in the Old and New Testaments. This was a common way of saying that people would refer to Him in these various ways. Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah, “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). None of these titles was Jesus’ actual name, but these were descriptions people would use to refer to Him forever. Luke tells us Jesus “shall be called the Son of the Highest” (Luke 1:32) and “son of God” (1:35) and “the prophet of the Highest” (1:76), but none of these was His name.

    In two different places, the prophet Jeremiah says in referring to the coming Messiah, “And this is His name by which He shall be called, JEHOVAH, OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:5-6; 33:15-16). Now we know that God, the Father, is named Jehovah. Jesus was never actually called Jehovah as though it was His name, but His role was that of bringing the righteousness of Jehovah to those who would believe in Him, exchanging that righteousness for our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). Therefore, this is one of the many titles or “names” which belong to Him.

    In the same way, to say that Jesus would be called “Immanuel” means Jesus is God and that He dwelt among us in His incarnation and that He is always with us. Jesus was God in the flesh. Jesus was God making His dwelling among us (John 1:1,14). No, Jesus’ name was not Immanuel, but Jesus was the meaning of Immanuel, “God with us.” Immanuel is one of the many titles for Jesus, a description of who He is.”

  5. As Ruth said above, Immanuel is one of many titles, however his name never was Jesus. It was YHSHWH (YaHuSHuWaH), he nor anyone else back then heard or used the name Jesus. It carries the name of the father YHWH (YaHuWaH) and means YHWH saves.

  6. Heh, the virgin birth prophecy. That prophecy didn’t refer to Jesus. As the context makes clear, they’re it’s talking about an immediate birth of a virtuous and capable person who would allow Israel to prevail against its immediate foes. Furthermore, Isaiah 7:14 in the Hebrew states that the woman is currently with child, accentuating its immediacy. This is explained in more detail here:

    Second, the Hebrew word used in that passage, almah, does not refer to virginity. The correct word for virginity would be bethulah. Almah is a word used to describe a young, unmarried woman. Consider this passage from Proverbs 30 (NIV), which uses the exact same Hebrew word:

    18 “There are three things that are too amazing for me,
    four that I do not understand:

    19 the way of an eagle in the sky,
    the way of a snake on a rock,
    the way of a ship on the high seas,
    and the way of a man with a maiden [almah].

    20 “This is the way of an adulteress:
    She eats and wipes her mouth
    and says, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong.’

    It seems to me these issues are far more destructive to the credibility of Matthew, who took this passage to be a prophecy for Jesus, presumably based upon an inaccurate Greek translation of the Old Testament, than is the piddling issue of his name being Immanuel. After all, Immanuel could be considered a title, not a name. It also doesn’t necessarily mean that the person himself was “god with us”, but instead his existence and activities would be demonstration that God was with the Jews.

    • so a young woman having a baby would be a sign? That happens all the time!! context and sense please.

    • In Mathew 1 it is known that Mary was pregnant before she was married to Joseph. Also, Jesus conquered Israel’s immediate foe, Rome; check the location of Jesus’s church, the Catholic church. Just incase there is doubt, by immediate, it means “current”, it does not mean the immediate foe would be immediately conquered. There is no better proof of Jesus being the messiah than the location of the Catholic church. Jesus fulfilled all Jewish prophecies. It would be nice if we were all Jews who accepted Jesus as the messiah.

  7. Jesus wasnt emmanual….mathew got the prophesy wrong…remember mathew is human as well as the rest of the disciples and didnt know the prophesy had already been fulfilled…emmanual was b4 jesus time..emanual was sent as a sigtn to king azuris in isiah 7 as a sign to show that GOD IS WITH US stating that God is on our side and have the strength knowing you can war and win..not that emmanual was God..jesus was the perfect son of God…as we are sons and daughters of God….only Jesus was perfect..and the only perfect son of God at that time and possibly all God offered up his only perfect son as a sacrifice…Jesus never said he was God only that he was one with God as in he was perfect and is perfect..thats why he sits at the throne with God our Father..When the disciples called Jesus Lord they meant that they served him.Lord meant in they were his servants not that he was God..and i personally believe that some of them might have looked at him as if he were God but not seeing it was Gid working through him…in Revalations it states to John that he should pray only to God the fgather..when the bible states that you have power in the name of Jesus…it means that the name of Jesus is his works and what God has shown us through Jesus we as sons and daughters of God can and also will do..and believe me we do continue to carry on Jesus’s works…when Jesus says in the bible believe in me and you will go to Heaven he means follow my lead and listen to my words and obey what i say and you will not be condemned to the lake of fire..not just to believe he existed and your good..noipe not at all…if my wife believes in me and has faith in me she would do anything i say without question knowing i am right..thats what Jesus meant by saying BELIEVE IN ME AND YOU WILL ESCAPE CONDEMNATION..REPENTING AND OBEYING GOD IS WHAT GETS YOU INTO HEAVEN..READ THE SCRIPTURES IN ALMOST EVERY BOOK THATS WHAT IT SAYS..STOP POLLUTING THE TRUTH..GOD BE WITH YOU AND OPEN YOURSELVES TO UNDERSTANDING..IN JESUS NAME AMEN..AND IN JESUS NAME WALK…

  8. context matters so much in understanding ancient texts. the idea that we can walk up to it and read it like it was written yesterday is just ridiculous. isaiah lived in a specific time and place in a specific set of circumstances and was writing to the people where he was – not to us.

    some history:

    based on the text its a solid guess that the prophecy refers to isaiahs own son.

    with that said i pretty much agree with jason except for his conclusion about matthew using a poor greek translation.

    the fact is that in the hebrew culture using ancient prophecy was a valid means of drawing on history to support the present situation without doing violence to authenticity. its very similar to the way people say so and so is the new michael jordan. matthew didnt get it wrong – he looked at the situation of isaiahs time and saw similarities with his own. then he transported the ideas forward by saying jesus is god with us.

    if you look thru matthew he does this a bunch. he continues to tie jesus (and his hebrew equivalent names) to those prohecies to strengthen his case that jesus is the peoples savior.

    also – if you look at matthew 1:21-23 he says they were naming him jesus in conjunction with the isaiah reference to his name being immanuel. so either matthew was an unparalleled moron or he knew the diff and used it for a purpose. im strongly inclined to go with the second explanation.

    as for the virginity of mary i dont know. i wasnt her obgyn. but i believe jesus life was miraculous so its no stretch for me that his birth was as well.

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