Bethlehem Crèche | Photo by Allen Aaron White. Courtesy of Jack and Valerie Murray. © Copyright 2017 Nexus Prayer International

IMMANUEL or EMMANUEL?
Either way… God with Us!

Second Sunday of Advent | December 10, 2017

As both a continuation of my celebration of Advent1 this year, and in preparation for the final lesson of 2017 that I’ll be sharing with our Nexus Prayer group tomorrow morning at Saint Dunstan’s , I thought I’d share a few random thoughts here in my prayer journal about the reason for the season – the birth of Immanuel. Or is it Emmanuel?

From previous lessons and posts that I’ve shared, we know that embedded deeply within the ancient Hebrew of Psalm 46:10 there are no less than five unique names of God: Elohim, I Am, YHWH (Yahweh), Be, and an allusion to the Holy Trinity that is originally found in Genesis 1:1. But although not literally listed, there is yet another “name” to be found in Psalm 46 – namely (pun intended): Immanuel. Whether you prefer to use “Immanuel” from the ancient Hebrew found in Isaiah 7:14, or the transliterated2 Greek “Emmanuel” found in Matthew 1:21-23, I placed the word “name” above in quotes because technically neither are an actual name of Jesus. They are instead descriptions or titles.

There are many places in both the Old and New Testaments that declare how Jesus is to be referred to or called. The best examples were also provided to us by the prophet Isaiah when he wrote in Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Like the “name” Immanuel, none of those listed by Isaiah are actual, literal names, but rather titles or descriptives of the (coming) Messiah.

Interestingly, “Emmanuel” found in Matthew 1:21-23 appears only once in the entire New Testament, and although Isaiah makes a second mention of “Immanuel” in Isaiah 8:8, that reference is to the Jews of Israel, not the Messiah. So, there is actually only one reference to the coming Messiah in the Old Testament as well – the reference to the birth of Jesus some 735 years before it happened!

And what of the references to “Immanuel” in Psalm 46 that I spoke of? There are no less than three, but you’ll have to read my post on Emmanuel: God with Us from last Christmas to learn even more. But before continuing, why not take a moment and enjoy the following video “Immanuel: El is with Us”³ inspired by a Christmas Eve sermon delivered by Charles Spurgeon4.

 

NOTES & REFERENCES

1 Advent | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

2 Transliterated Greek or Romanized Hebrew | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

3 “Immanuel: El is with Us” Video | Courtesy of Qandnotu2 on YouTube | Published December 23, 2013 | Based on a sermon delivered by Charles Spurgeon on Christmas Eve, 1854.

4 Charles Haddon Spurgeon | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

5 Photo Credit: Bethlehem Crèche | Original photo by Allen Aaron White. With thanks and kind permission of Jack & Valerie Murray for allowing photography of their beautiful Nativity that is hand-carved from olive wood, originated in Bethlehem, and has a place of honor in their home every Christmas season. © Copyright 2017 Nexus Prayer International.

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