Revelations from the Word

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Immanuel, God with us

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, God with us. Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus" (Matthew 1:20-25).

The behaviour of king Ahaz allows us to understand this prophetic word: "You will give him the name Immanuel". Ahaz was 20 years old when he reigned as king of Judah. The kings of Syria and Israel came against him; then he and his people trembled like the leaves of the trees. God sent the prophet Isaiah to say to him, "Don't be afraid, do not lose heart… if you believe you will survive" (Isaiah 7:4-9). Because of the unbelief of the king and to confirm that He was Immanuel, God gave him a sign, "the virgin [almah, young girl] will be with child, and will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). And God kept his word for this was accomplished through the union of the prophet Isaiah and the prophetess (young girl) who gave birth to a son; and before that happened (Isaiah 8:1-4), the Lord showed that he was with His people (2 Kings 16:5). History shows us that Ahaz did not put his trust in God and later called the king of Assyria to help him. Ahaz did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord (2 Kings 16:2).

Isaiah said, "I hope in the Lord, I put my trust in him. Here am I and the children the Lord has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel" (Isaiah 8:17-18). In fact, only a small remnant put their trust in God and came back to the land of Israel after the deportation to Babylon. And this was a sign for all Israel for Mary, the young girl (virgin), gave birth to a son who was called 'Jesus'. In the letter to the Hebrews it is written that Jesus would be born in the midst of this remnant to accomplish the plans of God: to be a man among men so that by his sacrifice he would be able to make powerless the devil who had the keys of death and kept men in slavery (Hebrews 2:13-18).

Jesus was not able to be called Immanuel just by coming to earth, he stripped himself of all his divine attributes by becoming a man and humiliating himself by his death on the cross (Philippians 2:5-9). However he rose from the dead, ascended to God and received the Holy Spirit in order to pour him out on the believers (Acts 2:32-33). Now Jesus Christ is with us every day, until his return (Matthew 28:20) by the Holy Spirit. Jesus was made first 'Yeshua', 'God saves', before being 'Immanuel', 'God with us' by his Spirit. We are able then to be "more than conquerors" in all things, for "if God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:28-39). The only condition is to hope in God and to trust in Him, knowing that all things work together for the good of those who love God.