Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Friday 17 September |
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

What does the name “Emmanuel” mean?


Waiting For The Word | CC BY 2.0

Philip Kosloski - published on 12/09/18

In the Old Testament, it was said that "Emmanuel" would come and be a sign to the nations.

The word “Emmanuel” (or “Immanuel,” as it is also spelled) is often used in Christmas hymns and decorations.

But what does it mean?

The Hebrew name appears first in the book of the prophet Isaiah, where God speaks to king Ahaz of Judah and tells him to “Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven” (Isaiah 7:11). Refusing to ask for a sign, God decides to give one anyway.

[T}he Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. (Isaiah 7:14-15)

This was believed by some to be one of the names of the Messiah, the savior who would redeem Israel.

The author of the book of Matthew believed that the words of Isaiah were fulfilled with the coming of Jesus Christ and further explains the meaning of the name.

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1:22-23)

It is a highly symbolic name, one that refers to the reality that God is with us, visibly brought to fruition through the Incarnation of Jesus.


Read more:
What does the name “Jesus” mean?

IHS Crucifix

Read more:
What does the IHS monogram mean?

BibleJesus Christ

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Our favorite stories of celebrities who inspire us in daily life
Philip Kosloski
How receiving Holy Communion can drive away demons
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
Berthe and Marcel
Lauriane Vofo Kana
This couple has the longest marriage in France
As irmãs biológicas que se tornaram freiras no instituto Iesu Communio
Francisco Veneto
The 5 biological sisters who joined the religious life in just tw...
Philip Kosloski
Why is the feast of the Holy Cross celebrated on September 14?
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been known to f...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.