In the Old Testament, it was said that “Emmanuel” would come and be a sign to the nations.
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.
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?