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Advent Day 1

The Book of Isaiah first mentioned the New Testament Emmanuel as Immanuel in the prophecy from Isa 7:14, “Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” In the context of Isa 7:14, Immanuel (Heb: אֵל; ‘El) means God with us; however, extended meanings of it include the everlasting God (Gen 21:33), Almighty God (Gen 35:11; 48:3; 49:25; Exod 6:3), the one God (Mal 2:10), the one, true God (Gen 31:35; Num 12:13–BDB Lexicon, p. 42). To the Hebrews it connotes a sense of extreme strength and power (BLB). Upon looking at Isa 9:6, the names Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace in the verse describe the very Child to be born, a Son to be given. All meanings not only reveal Jesus’ identity but also converge into the nature of Emmanuel, “God with us.”

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The Son from Matt 1:23, fulfills the son given in Isa 7:14. The kings of Israel and Syria converged to trouble Judah and dethrone Ahaz (Isa 7:6), a move the Lord said would not stand (7:7). Through Isaiah, the Lord conveyed three things to Ahaz, all based on faith and belief in Him: (1) Ahaz should “take heed and be quiet;” (3) “do not fear or be fainthearted;” and (3) the kings’ plots would not stand or come to pass.” Then, the Lord, Yahweh your God, offered King Ahaz a greater divine sign to reassure him of His power (v. 11) linked to God’s promise of deliverance (v. 7). The sign would foretell the lineage of David’s continuance for a future king through a seed according to the flesh: “Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isa 7:14). Immanuel means “God with us,” Thus, the prophet Isaiah challenged Ahaz to trust God (cf. Josh 1:9). Like other Old Testament leaders before him, God remained with them. For example, Abijah, king of Judah, believed that God was with His people when the army of Jeroboam outnumbered them. The Lord honored his faith with victory (2 Chron 13:12-15).

Ahaz did not commit himself to faith in God by relying on Him, “Neither will I tempt Yahweh,” The king refused (Isa 7:12). Instead, King Ahaz appealed to the king of Assyria (Tiglath-Pieleser III) for help, and thus, experienced tragic results–the Assyrian king offered support by making Judah a tributary of Assyria. God’s word remains infallible. King Ahaz followed the pattern of other unbelieving Hebrews before him who did not heed the Lord Jehovah’s voice, only to face dire consequences. For example, even though Joshua and Caleb argued to trust God and take possession of Canaan (Num 13:29; 14:19), the people murmured and followed the opinion of men: “Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” Consequently, the Lord would not let them see the land He swore to their fathers with the exception of Joshua and Caleb (14:23). Though God held back a remnant of believing Jews, Ahaz’ rejection of the Lord foretells the same unbelief of His chosen to the arrived Messiah Emmanuel. Traditional Jews still await the foretold Messiah. They reject Jesus over three core tenets (1): He did not usher in world peace (Isa 2:4), bring about political sovereignty for the Jews (2 Sam 7:11), nor protect them from their enemies (Jer 33:16).

Jan Paron 11.29.20  

From the Incarnational Theology of Emmanuel in the Book of Matthew.  

(1) Joseph Telushkin. Jewish Literacy. NY: William Morrow and Co., 1991.