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She Shall Call His Name “Immanuel”


Dr Grant C Richison


Matthew 1:21, And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”


Mary’s child was more than a child; He would be declared a “Son.” They would call His name “Jesus,” meaning Savior. His name represents His purpose. “Jesus” is from the Hebrew Jehovah is salvation. Joshua (Jehovah saves) is the Old Testament name for Jesus. “Jesus” is the human name and “Christ” is His official title. The name “Jesus” occurs 150 times in Matthew.

Matthew announced that God would act uniquely and graciously through Jesus. Jesus’ most single role is that of Savior. The word “He” is emphatic, demonstrating that “He and no other” will save people from their sins.

To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, Re 1:5

Jesus represented both man and God as a mediator in His humanity and deity. Jesus had to possess humanity to be the Savior. He was both God and man. He died in His humanity, not His deity. As God, He had eternal life and eternal life cannot die. Immutability cannot give up life.

The Son had to maintain both deity and humanity to maintain His right as mediator between God and man. Man is one party and God the other. Jesus represented both God and man in salvation. It was the physical birth of His humanity that qualified Him to represent man. He was born without a sin capacity and He never committed an act of sin, qualifying Him to die for our sins.

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time… 1 Ti 2:5, 6

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death… Heb 2:14-15

“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. Heb 10:5

By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. Heb 10:10-14

… who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 1 Pe 2:24

1:22, So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:  

Mary’s miraculous conception was a fulfillment of prophecy. Matthew quotes a 700-year-old prophecy to prove to the nation Israel that Jesus was the fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14.

Some of the credibility of Christianity rests on fulfilled prophecy. There are more than 300 prophecies of Jesus’ first coming. His fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 is just one of them.

1:23, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” 

This is a quotation from Isaiah 7:14. Isaiah gave this prophecy of the virgin birth as a “sign” of authenticity. The time of Isaiah chapter seven was when ungodly Ahaz, king of Judah, was on the throne. The coalition of two kings (King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah of Israel) opposed Ahaz. God sent Isaiah to tell Ahaz not to fear, for the plans of these kings would fail. Before a son born of a virgin reached the age where He could tell his right hand from his left, the two kings would no longer be a threat to Ahaz.

Isaiah rebuked Ahaz, but Ahaz did not believe Isaiah’s message (Is 7:10-12). God then gave Ahaz a sign in the face of the fact that he did not want one. Isaiah 7:14 was that sign, the sign of a virgin birth—or, better, the virgin conception. The idea of “virgin birth” is a misnomer; it was not a virgin birth but a virgin conception. Also, Mary could not have been the “mother of God” because she was not the mother of Jesus’ deity but of His humanity.

Isaiah 7:14 follows the principle of dual fulfillment. That is, there was a fulfillment in the history of Ahaz’s day and there was a fulfillment in Jesus’ day.

Isaiah 9:6 speaks of the “Son” as the “Mighty God.”

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Is 9:6

1:24, Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife,

Joseph, upon waking from his dream, took Mary as his wife and abandoned his plan to divorce her.

1:25, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.

Joseph did not have sex with Mary until after Jesus was born. They did eventually have sex and that produced a number of children (Mt 12:46; 13:55, 56; Mark 6:3; Jn 7:3, 5; Acts 1:14; 1 Co 9:5; Ga 1:19). By Joseph’s adopting Jesus, Jesus became the legal heir of Joseph.

Jesus Christ is both God and man. The New Testament nowhere explicitly calls Jesus “Immanuel,” which means God with us. However, Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy. The person of Jesus is indeed God with us. Jesus came to be “with us” by virgin conception. The New Testament does describe the God-man in Philippians 2:5-8 and other passages.