Isaiah 7:14 -- "The virgin shall call his name Immanuel."

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Puritan Board Freshman
I was revisiting some of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah, and I was wondering how this particular verse is accurate. Obviously, our Lord's name was not literally "Immanuel" (God with us). So, why does this verse explicitly say that his mother-given 'name' (not one of his names, or his title) will be something other than Jesus?


Puritan Board Junior
Would not this name and title given, be part of the gradual unfolding revelation in the Old Testament? The divulging of the deity of the child born, thus disclosing the Godman. Remembering John Owens catechism, the question is asked, How is God to be known? Answer, by His Names and Titles? This progressive revelation gave the saints a view of the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh.


Staff member
The poetic prophecy implies that she, not a human father, is proclaiming the nature of her child. I think it also conveys the idea that the fact of her giving birth as a virgin proclaims who the child is.

The structure is similar to Isaiah 9:6, "his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, ...." It isn't so much giving him a name to go by as it is a proclamation of who he is.

And Matthew certainly thinks it is connected with the events surrounding Jesus' birth:

"Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
'Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.'" Mat 1:22-23


Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Surely, Mary makes this very declaration in her heart, either sooner or later.

It is an old, and rather pedantic objection, when coming as (I'm not saying that you have here) from skeptics. Gen.49:10 declares, "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes...." So, should Messiah be named Shiloh? Above, Vic mentions another much closer example contextually.

Cymro (above) has stated the case already. The OT is a cumulative argument for the coming Messiah. It's frankly a hardheaded move to zero in on a single name or title, and then object when the Coming One arrives, and his "given name" is not the minimalist's choice.

It's also a have-cake-and-eat-it move. Does the objection come from someone who believes in predictive prophecy? Because really, this objection is only suitable for someone who (at the very least) believes Isaiah makes a true prediction, and that the meaning is "Messiah's given name will be X." But, quite often this is merely a "gotcha" attempt, and the one asking isn't still waiting for someone with the given name: Immanuel to fill this role. It is another excuse to evade recognizing Jesus as Lord.

And what about Matthew? Is he just really, really dense when it comes to understanding Isaiah?
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