Immanuel – Intention (Spirit)
Matthew 1:23 is a quote from Isaiah 7:14
“See, a virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name him Immanuel,” which means, “God with us.”
So, this says Mary will name him Immanuel, right? Well, not really… it says “they” will name him that. Who is they? See, this verse starts with the singular “a virgin” and ends with a plural “they”. Here is the scripture from Isaiah in its entirety (Isaiah 7:14-16):
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Watch! The virgin is conceiving a child, and will give birth to a son, and his name will be called Immanuel. He’ll eat cheese and honey, when he knows enough to reject what’s wrong and choose what’s right. However, before the youth knows enough to reject what’s wrong and choose what’s right, the land whose two kings you dread will be devastated.”
Have you ever gone back to check the source of a quote? Is it important to read the quote in context? If so, this quote is a bit confusing to me. I notice Milk and Honey is now Cheese and Honey. Perhaps an indication of how long the time from entering into the promised land and the arrival of the Messiah? Milk lasts longer if you make cheese out of it, right? This also reminds me of a scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian where the people in the back of the crowd misheard Jesus at the Sermon of the Mount thinking he said, “Blessed are the Cheesemakers”, and began wondering which ones. But I digress. The last sentence in this section of scripture has potential to really hone in on who this is talking about, if we can just figure out who the dreaded kings are. (Could it be King Herod(s)?)
Back to the context of this quote from Isaiah, let’s look at the verses leading up to this to see if we can determine who is speaking (Isaiah 7:10-13):
Later on, the Lord spoke to Ahaz again: “Ask a sign from the Lord your God. Make it as deep as Sheol or as high as heaven above.” But Ahaz replied, “I won’t ask! I won’t put the Lord to the test.” In reply, the Lord announced, “Please listen, you household of David. Is it such a minor thing for you to try the patience of men? Must you also try the patience of my God?
There is the Lord speaking to Ahaz, the prophet. This Lord refers to the Lord your God as a separate entity. So, perhaps we can believe this Lord is the pre-incarnate Jesus? This Lord is trying to get Ahaz to test God. This specific test must be something that only The One Creator will be able to accomplish, and nobody from hell to heaven could do it. Ahaz thinks it is a trick, a test of his own piety. In fact, it is rhetorical. This isn’t a test of Ahaz, it is a test of the House of David (another clue) and a warning about trying the patience of “my God”. Interesting, it is no longer the “Lord your God”. If I were really trying to stretch this, I would say that there are three entities beside Ahaz in this. The Lord, The Lord your God, and My God. Ding-ding-ding! Put a feather in the Trinity hat!
Sorry, I get lost in these studies sometimes. I do question everything. The point here is the virgin birth is something unique in the omniverse. Something sets this entity apart from all others, and that is the title, Emmanuel. God with us. Is the “they” spoken of here “everybody”? It is the incarnation of the preincarnate only Begotten Son of God. The Birth of whom is a one-time occurrence in all time. Isaiah 9:6a says:
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given
This is two views of the same incident. First a child is born, that is from Mary’s point of view. Second, a Son is given, that is from God’s point of view.
The Fallen Angels had tried to implement the same and came up with Nephilim. An attempt to show it as no big deal, just as the Sorcerers in Egypt replicated turning staffs into snakes like Moses did. Magic is real. The Laws of the Universe are set and exploitable. Something sets the Magic apart from God’s Law, as was illustrated when Moses’ snake ate the other snakes before turning back into a staff. In the same way, Immanuel is unique (Isaiah 9:6-7):
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government will be upon his shoulder,
and his name is called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the growth of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will rule over his kingdom,
sitting on the throne of David,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and righteousness
from this time onward and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of the Heavenly Armies will accomplish this.
Immanuel – God with Us. Who is “us”? Is it simply mankind? Or is it all of Creation? Does Jesus save humanity only? Or all of creation? Looking ahead to the purpose of the incarnation, what we call Easter, when the incarnation is stopped on the cross, is Jesus reincarnated?
I leave those questions open and wish a Happy Christmas to all!