We hear it a lot during Christmas in carols and we use it as a cute baby name. Most people know that it is the name of Jesus. However, why is not not as popular as Jesus or Christ? Well, to understand this and more about the name, we must first start by investigating what the name stands for in the Bible.
Emannuel meaning in the Bible?
Emmanuel (also Immanuel) is a transliteration of two Hebrew words – Immanu and el. Immanu means “with us” while el means “God.” Emmanuel therefore means “God with us.”
The name Emmanuel was first mentioned in the book of Isaiah. Check it out;
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14
This was a prophetic declaration of the coming Messiah. From this scripture, we can infer that the name Immanuel refers to Jesus Christ.
Reasons why Jesus is Emmanuel
1. It was prophesied
As we already established, Prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of Christ in Isiaih 7:14. There are many other prophecies by other prophets, and the Messiah was given many names. For instance in Isiah 9:6, the Messiah was to be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, everlasting father, and prince of peace. But in Isaiah 7:14, the name Immanuel is used. We know the prophet was talking about Jesus for two reasons. First, he mentions the virgin birth. As we know, Jesus was born of a virgin by the name of Mary and this confirms the prophecy.
Secondly, we know the prophet was talking about Jesus because the Bible says so. In Mathew’s account of the gospel, he explains the virgin birth of Jesus Christ by making reference to the prophecy of Isaiah;
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Mathew 1:23-24
So, apostle Mathew confirms to us that the prophecy of Immanuel was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
2. Jesus represented God’s presence
When God created Adam and Eve, he placed them in Eden – a palace where they experienced God’s real presence. But after the fall, the presence of God became elusive. So much so that at some point, man tried using human effort to reach God (Genesis 11). As a response to this need, God raised Abraham as one of his prophets and then started a relationship with mankind through prophets. This ultimately led to Moses who would then construct the Tabernacle which was the first tangible experience the descendants of Abraham had with God’s presence. Solomon would later build the temple based on the same pattern and Israel knew they could count on encountering god in his temple.
Fast forward to the time of Jesus and he made a remark that rubbed the religious class the wrong way.
Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. John 2:19
The Jews were not amused because they knew it took years to build the temple and they figured it was impossible to build it in three days. But as the scripture explains, Jesus was referring to himself as the temple. He was hinting at his resurrection which would occur after three days. By referring to himself as the temple, Jesus was making it clear that he represented God’s presence on earth.
In another instance, he told his disciples that they should be glad that he was about to leave them. He said;
It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. John 16:7
Because he represented God’s presence, there was no need to send the Holy Spirit while He was still here. But after he left, sending the Holy Spirit became crucial. The fact that Jesus was the temple that represented God’s presence is proof that he was the Emmanuel – a God with us.
3. Jesus was God incarnate
As we have already seen, the word Emmanuel means God with us. In many ways, it means that in the literal sense of the word. Jesus the son of God was incarnated in the flesh and he became one of us. In the words of scripture;
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14
After Jesus was born of an earthly father and mother, he proceeded to lead a natural life up until his death and resurrection. Even though he was still God, he was also a man. As the writer of Hebrews observes, he was in every way similar to us except that he was sinless (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus would often refer to himself as the son of man. For instance:
- The son of man has no place to lay his head (Matthew 8:20)
- The son of man has authority on earth (Matthew 9:6)
- The Son of Man came eating and drinking, (Math. 11:19)
- The son of man will also be ashamed of him (Mark 8:38)
- When the son of man comes (Luke 18:8)
The reason Jesus referred to himself so often as the son of man is that he wanted us to remember that he was not only the son of God but also the son of man. In other words, he was God the incarnate – Emmanuel.
To sum it up, the name Emmanuel (sometimes spelled as Immanuel) is one of the names of Jesus that translates to “God with us.” The coming of the Messiah was a way of revealing that God still cares for his people and wants to save them. It was his way of saying, “I am with you – I am Emmanuel.”