“Immanuel” hasn’t come yet
This famous passage from Isaiah has always been used by Christians to confirm the virgin birth of Jesus, and identify the Messiah. Jewish interpretations indicate it was referring to a son that would be born to King Ahaz or to the prophet Isaiah. Was either one correct?
Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
This is the traditional English translation of this passage in Isaiah.
Let us start at the beginning, and put this in context.
Level One – historical context
The nation of Israel had been divided into a northern kingdom (confusingly called “Israel,” Ephraim, or 10 tribes) and a southern kingdom (Judah and Benjamin, 2 tribes)
The 2 kings of Syria and Israel (Ephraim, northern kingdom) had joined forces, to come against King Ahaz of Judah (southern kingdom).
Isaiah was a prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah. He was sent by God to tell king Ahaz of Judah not to be afraid. God is promising that these other 2 kings will not defeat, and take over Judah.
Isa 7:1 And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, [that] Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it.
Isa 7:2 And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind.
Isa 7:3 Then said the LORD unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field;
Isa 7:4 And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah.
Isa 7:5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying,
Isa 7:6 Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, [even] the son of Tabeal
Isa 7:7 Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.
The next passage is prophetic. It predicts the lifetime of Ephraim (Israel, northern kingdom) as only 65 years from that date. This proved true in history, as Syria eventually overcame this territory, creating bondage for those captured, and the Diaspora, which continues to this day.
Isa 7:8 For the head of Syria [is] Damascus, and the head of Damascus [is] Rezin; and within threescore and five years (65years) shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people.
In the next section, the Lord encourages Ahaz to ask for a sign, Ahaz refuses, and so the Lord just gives the sign anyhow, that what He, the Lord, says is true.
Isa 7:10 Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying,
Isa 7:11 Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.
Isa 7:12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD
Isa 7:13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; [Is it] a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?
Here is the sign that the Lord gave king Ahaz as assurance that the 2 kings would not take over Judah. While King Ahaz was alive, this promise was kept.
Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin [maiden] shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Isa 7:15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
Isa 7:16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that you abhor shall be forsaken of both her kings.
Now, stop for a moment. This sign can only possibly point to the sons of 3 people. A son the mother would name Immanuel? So see how the prophecy lines up with them:
1. a. King Ahaz had a son, called Hezekiah, not Immanuel (2 Kings 16:20)
b. Prophet Isaiah had a son, called Maher – Shalel – Has – Baz, not
Immanuel (Is 8:3)
c. Mary and Joseph, had a son, called Jesus (Yehsua), not Immanuel.
2. Notice the child would live during a time of prosperity for Israel, so that children would eat delicacies. During the time of Ahaz and Mary and Joseph, Judah was under pressure from enemies and not prospering as an independent entity.
3. While the child is still very young, the land north of Ahaz with the 2 kings would be forsaken. History proves this true, as the land was eventually devastated within the 65 years prophesied.
Looking past Level One.
So what happened to the son named Immanuel? Who is this child? Is this child a person, or a symbol of something else? Not even Jesus was once called Immanuel during his lifetime, or thereafter.
If one looks further, Immanuel is only mentioned once more, in all of scripture. It is a reference to a future time, when Judah is actually invaded by the king of Assyria, as Judah becomes sinful, like the northern kingdom.
Isa 8:8 And he [king of Assyria] shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach [even] to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.
Is the name Immanuel reserved for someone who is present during this next invasion? Israel has been invaded multiple times, but so far, no one named Immanuel was there to respond. When Jesus was here, it was the Romans that had invaded, not the Assyrians. What time is this in reference to?
Level Two – modern times
Take a look at this verse again. I have added extra dimensions to it, based on all meanings of the Hebrew words used.
Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign;
Behold, a virgin [young woman, a maid, or marriageable age, or newly married]
and bear [ bring forth, travail, produce in distress, declare one’s birth]
and shall call [ to make a loud call, to summon, invite, call unto for help]
his name Immanuel.
Where else have we seen this prophecy about the young woman and child in scripture?
Rev 12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
Rev 12:2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
Rev 12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
Rev 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and [to] his throne.
This young woman is the united Israel as a people. She was born in 1948. She is travailing in pain, calling out for her Messiah, to deliver her from the King of Assyria.
She will be the one to call her Messiah Immanuel, which means God with us.
She seems to loose this Messianic hope as the child is taken away from her, so soon after the birth of the hope. The dragon uses politics, and the hate of her neighbors, to rob the woman of her land, the womb that gives forth her hope, and devour the child.
Israel first lost 2/3 the British mandated land within a year of issue in 1921. The UN Partition plan in 1947 took another half of what remained, and gave it to the Arabs. Jordan then attempted to annex the West Bank in 1949. This lasted until 1967, when in the 6 day war, Israel got its property back. Israel then returned the Sinai area in 1982 in a peace agreement. The Palestinian authority then took hold of more property, rebelled against Israel rule, and initiated ongoing terrorist attacks.
Just as Israel once before saw her child leave her, and ascend to heaven 2000 years ago, modern Israel is seeing her child leave her again, as the dragon continually attacks her and robs her of her hope.
How can she hold on to her child as her womb (land) is constantly wounded, torn apart, divided, and given to her enemies?
Compare the divided land in the time of Ahaz to modern Israel. This is the womb of the Messiah. It is divided, so it cannot bring forth the child.
The child is the hope and land of her Messiah. Only When Israel is reunited with her child, and the Messianic hope becomes a reality, will she give Him the name she is destined to give Him – Immanuel !!!
Level Three – the 65 years and the near future
Can a prophecy be fulfilled twice? Invasions are not new to Israel. Will something happen to the West Bank, which for all practical purposes is the “northern part” of Israel (similar geographically to the ancient Ephraim, northern kingdom)?
How long will God allow Israel’s enemies to hold onto the womb of the young maiden Israel?
Isa 7:8 For the head of Syria [is] Damascus, and the head of Damascus [is] Rezin; and within threescore and five years (65 years) shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people.
Is there a time limit to this Palestinian occupation of the land of Israel?
The land was first partitioned in 1947, and reinforced in 1949. Could the 65 year promise be renewed once again? Only time will tell.
1947 + 65 = 2012
1949 + 65 = 2014
With things the way they are, how could this happen?
Well, we are still waiting for the Gog and Magog (Ezechiel 38) invasion of Israel, which, by the way would fulfill the Assyrian king invasion of the Isaiah prophecy as well. What is nice about this war, is that, despite terrible odds, Israel is victorious.
This would be a good time to reclaim land. This would be a good time to heal the womb of Israel, and reinstate the hope of the Messiah.
This victorious time would be a good incentive for the final aliyah, the final return of all remaining Jews to Israel, in preparation for its Messianic destiny.
Is it possible that the young maiden Israel, who has given up her child unto heaven as a deferred hope, can call Him back again at this time?
If so, maybe we will finally hear the name Immanuel being called unto, and spoken by the woman Israel, toward the child that delivers her.