The Biblical Meaning Of Emmanuel And Why It’s Important

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Published by Kimberly Wall


Co-Founder, Disciple Group Leader, Author

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As we approach the holiday season, we can all agree that one particular term appears in various Christmas carolsImmanuel. Still, there’s Emmanuel to consider. What is Emmanuel meaning in the Bible?

How similar or different are these two? Why are there two distinct differences between what seems to be the same thing? It’s not always clear. You may be familiar with the name in the lead-up to Christmas, but do you understand what it represents? The message is often repeated throughout Christmas lectures, but not everyone knows its meaning.

What Is The Meaning Of Emmanuel In The Bible?

Emmanuel” is a Hebrew word that means “God with us.” Immanuel is another common alternative translation. They both refer to the same thing but use different spellings. Emmanuel is mentioned three times in the Bible: twice in Isaiah and once in Matthew. Emmanuel is a name, plain and simple.

The name was assigned to a kid in the Old Testament to warn that Judah[1] would find safety from Israel and Syria’s attacks. The name reminded God, our everlasting Father, that he had not abandoned his people and would come through to save them. Matthew elaborates on the meaning of this name by quoting Isaiah 7:14, which is found in the New Testament.

Jesus Christ offers an even greater fulfillment of the prophecy than what was already present in the Old Testament. Emmanuel suggests that God would make his home among his people. Until then, the Israelites had only seen a prototype of this abode, but God was confined to the temple, within the holiest of holies.

However, everything alters with Jesus’s arrival. The dream Joseph has in which he hears the promise transforms his life. The way he had always pictured God crumbled, and with it, the faith of the whole nation of Israel. This is true not only for Israel but for modern society. Everything shifts when God becomes one of us in Emmanuel.

What Is The Difference Between Emmanuel And Immanuel?

The Bible uses both Immanuel and Emmanuel to refer to God’s Messiah. Hebrew and Chaldee/Aramaic record the Old Testament’s text. They used the Greek language to write the New Testament. Immanuel is more common in the Old Testament, while Emmanuel is more common in the New.

They can be found in two verses. Since the original Bible text is not written in English, a translation is required. The Bibles available in English are translated in a variety of ways. Transliteration is the method by which the changed spelling is achieved.

The Hebrew name for Jesus, which consists of the words “Immanu,” meaning “with us,” and “El,” meaning God, is transliterated as “Immanuel” in English, while the Greek word and name for Jesus, “Emmanuel,” is spelled with an “E” in English. Some English Bibles, however, depart from this Hebrew name and Greek translation.

Transliteration is the process of converting the sounds of one language into those of another, while translation is the process of converting the meaning of one language into another. Immanuel and Emmanuel both refer to the same person.

pope holding a cross and emmanuel meaning in the bible

Why Is The Name Emmanuel Important?

God’s constant presence among his people is a central motif throughout the Bible, and the name Emmanuel reflects that. The concept of “God with us” encapsulates God’s promises toward Israel and those who put their faith in Him.

From the time of Abraham and Isaac in the Old Testament to the time of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the church throughout the New Testament, the Mighty God finds a way to be present with his people through sacrifice and mercy, leading up to God’s last act in Revelation.

The ultimate fulfillment of this idea is Jesus’ identification with humanity by becoming a man and His execution on the cross for sin. In this way, the name “Emmanuel” captures the spirit of Christmas. By giving the world Jesus, His one and only son and the Savior of all men, God has provided a means for himself to be among us.

What Is The Significance Of Emmanuel Today?

Many of us believe that God is waiting for us to make our lives perfect before he accepts us as his children. Nevertheless, Emmanuel reveals an alternative perspective. He tracked us down, and now he wants to help us tidy up. He is not repulsed by our squalor, depravity, or shattered condition. He seems to be drawn toward it. Emmanuel represents a God who longs so much for his people that he’ll go to any lengths to win them back.

Through Emmanuel, we see that God is compassionate. He knows how we feel since he’s been where we are and experienced the same things we have. Emmanuel is God with us, which signifies that God feels our pain. This demonstrates that God is more concerned with our hearts than our ability to perform perfectly. Instead, he seeks to establish a connection with us and is open to rearranging his priorities.

Christians are distinct because we believe in a God who can empathize with their plight since He has been there. While we see that God is an impersonal cosmic force that could care less about human affairs, he’s a God who’s willing to put himself through it. As a result of the Fall, everyone on Earth is in pain, including God.

As far as we know, no other faith posits a God who is prepared to take on pain and anguish on behalf of his followers—a God who thoroughly and empathetically relates to his human creation. Emmanuel is a declaration that God is kind and sympathetic. The concept of Emmanuel extends beyond the idea of a God who has sympathy for us. It expands on the concept in a significant way.

God didn’t assume human form and experience life as a human being to get empathy for our plight. He did it to rescue us from our predicament. It’s not the truth or the faces that help while you’re going through pain. Telling someone they have your support and that things are not hopeless makes a huge difference.

God made the ultimate sacrifice by coming to Earth to share in our plight while He was hunting for us. Instead of explaining why suffering occurs, He says, “I am still with you, and I’ll never abandon you.”

He assures us that this will pass before He returns to us. Everything will make sense eventually, but until then, know that you are not alone in your pain. Its ultimate significance is how we put the Emmanuel message into practice in the present. Emmanuel is more than a hope to keep; it’s a way of life.

God among us ought to alter our approach to everyday living. There should be an internal and external reaction to Emmanuel on our part. It ought to impact not only us but others close to us. When we feel alone or discouraged, we must remind ourselves that God is with us. In our modern world, Emmanuel is as relevant as ever.

God did not merely settle in a Jewish neighborhood of the first century; he seeks to do the same in yours. He’s here with us, and he’s helping us. It’s a stipulation of our faith that we act in this way. Christians must believe that God will eventually bring good out of evil and restore the world to its former glory. We understand that God is with us until that day arrives. The way we act in public is the second part.

In the same way that Jesus, His one and only son, came to live among us and share our pain, we are to do this for others around us. The question that never goes away, as Philip Yancey puts it in his book of the same name, is: “In times when God does not seem to be there, it is up to us to be his representatives.”

The truth about Emmanuel, “God with us,” is often only known to the world via his followers. When we believe in the hope of Emmanuel, we have a responsibility to share our beliefs with others. We don’t need solutions to their problems—not even Jesus did. Just be here instead. Just as God is always with us, we should always be there for those around us. We must invite Emmanuel to live inside us and transform how we relate to the world.

carved image of jesus and emmanuel meaning in the bible


Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection allow us to inherit the gift of Emmanuel, God, with us. This is different from having God as a companion on our journey through life. But God with us, in the sense that He dwells inside us, gives us might where there was once only weakness, bravery where there was once only fear, and new life where there was once only death.

Jesus, Emmanuel, means that we are never alone. When we say God is with us, we are never left wondering what God wants from us or whether or not our efforts are reasonable enough. We may rest if we remember that He dwells within us, cherishes us, and never abandons us.

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