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March 6, 2013

IMMANUEL, EMMANUEL (GOD WITH US): (See also Immanuel Part 2
Have you ever wondered if you should spell Immanuel with an “I” or an “E?” The answer is that both are correct! Immanuel with an “I” is a transliteration of the original Hebrew word composed of ‘Immanu (with us) and El (God), while Emmanuel with an “E” is a transliteration of the Greek “Emmanouel.” The NET Bible is one of the few translations that maintains this distinction, translating
Isa 7:14-note as Immanuel and Mt 1:23-note as Emmanuel. Inherent in the name IMMANUEL is the great mystery of godliness of the One Who “was revealed in the flesh” (1Ti 3:16-note), of the INFINITE becoming FINITE, of the promised Messiah Who is both Divine and Human, fully God and fully Man, Majesty (2Pe 1:16-note) veiled in Meekness (Mt 11:29KJV-note). He was God FOR us before He became God WITH us, and it was because He was FOR us that He became God WITH us. And so the King of glory became the servant of men (Php 2:7-8-note, Mk 10:45).

The Name IMMANUEL emphasizes the nearness of God. Christ’s birth brought the infinite, holy God within reach of finite, sinful man. God came to live with us so we could live with Him. The Son of God became the Son of Man that He might change the sons of men into sons of God (1Jn 3:1KJV-note), sons and daughters who can “now draw near with confidence (boldness) to the Throne of grace” through our Immanuel (Heb 4:16-note, Heb 10:19-22-note). And so Immanuel speaks of the incarnation of Christ, God in the flesh. John describes the revelation of Immanuel writing that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His (Shekinah) glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1:14-note) Spurgeon says in this great Name IMMANUEL “is eternity’s sonnet, heaven’s hallelujah, the shout of the glorified, the song of the redeemed, the chorus of angels, the everlasting oratorio of the great orchestra of the sky.” He adds that “John Wesley died with the words “The best of all is GOD IS WITH US” on his tongue. May God’s Spirit enable us to live with those very words ever on our hearts!” “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; Hail the incarnate Deity, Pleased as Man with men to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel.” (John Wesley) Let us praise the One Who is both transcendent and yet approachable, God Most High and yet God With Us, Immanuel!

While there are only 3 occurrences of Immanuel in Scripture (Isa 7:14-note, Isa 8:8-note, Mt 1:23-note), there are many passages that speak of the truth of God’s presence with His people. The Gospel of Matthew opens with “Behold!…IMMANUEL….GOD WITH US” (Mt 1:23-note) and closes with “Lo! I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, even to the end of the age! (Mt 28:20-note) J C Ryle writes that Immanuel promises to be “with us daily to pardon and forgive; with us daily to sanctify and strengthen; with us daily to defend and keep; with us daily to lead and to guide; with us in sorrow, and with us in joy; with us in sickness, and with us in health; with us in life, and with us in death; with us in time, and with us in eternity.” Wiersbe adds “What a tremendous assurance. “I am with you always!” In Mt 1:23, He was called “Immanuel,” God with us, and in Mt 28:20 He reaffirms that Name. He is with us through His Spirit, in His Word, by His providential care, and with His divine presence. This is the promise that carried Livingstone into the heart of darkest Africa and that encouraged and enabled messengers of Christ down through the years.” May the Truth of IMMANUEL, be an anchor to your soul when winds of trial blow.

As Matthew Henry said “By the light of nature we see God as a God above us (Ps 19:1-2-note); by the light of the law we see him as a God against us (Ro 3:19-20-note, Jas 2:10-note, Col 2:14-note); but by the light of the Gospel we see Him as EMMANUEL, GOD WITH US.” Let us meditate on His Name Immanuel. Indeed, His “Name…is wonderful.” (Jdg 13:18-note) “O LORD our Lord, how majestic is YOUR NAME in all the earth.” (Ps 8:1-note) “Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones, and give thanks to His holy NAME.” (Ps 30:4-note) “I will sing praise to the NAME of the LORD Most High.” (Ps 7:17-note) “And those who know (experientially, intimately) Your NAME (IMMANUEL) will put their trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek Thee.” (Ps 9:10) “O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His NAME together.” (Ps 34:3-note) “Blessed be His glorious NAME (IMMANUEL) forever; and may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen.” (Ps 72:19-note)

He is our IMMANUEL, GOD WITH US, at every stage of our spiritual life, for He has promised to never (Greek has 5 negatives emphasizing the impossibility that He will ever) desert us or forsake us (Heb 13:5-note). Even in the OT prior to the full revelation of Immanuel in Mt 1:23, we see that the heart of God is to be WITH His people. And so the phrase “I WILL BE WITH YOU” occurs 9x in the OT (Ge 26:3-note, Ge 31:3-note, Dt 31:23, Josh 1:5-note, Josh 3:7-note, Jdg 6:16-note, 1Ki 11:38, Isa 43:2). For example, in Isaiah 43, God gives a great promise of His presence to Israel (and applicable to all His children) declaring that “When (not “if”) you go through deep waters, I WILL BE WITH YOU (“I will be Immanuel to you”). When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2NLT) Because you belong to Him, Immanuel will preserve you in the midst of the trials by His presence and power! Believe it for it is the Word of Truth! Let us recall the three Hebrew boys who were thrown into the fiery furnace because they would rather burn rather bow (Da 3:17-18-note). Their courageous stand resulted in Nebuchadnezzar’s description of a “fourth (Man in the fire who) is like the Son of God” (Da 3:25KJV-note)! It is not some quality given to enable us to endure the trial nor is it a dramatic change of circumstances that makes victory possible, but it is the unfailing presence of a PERSON, the  “fourth Man in the fiery trial,” Jesus Christ, our IMMANUEL! In Genesis, we see the same pattern of GOD’S PRESENCE WITH Joseph in his trials! (Read Ge 39:2,3,5,21-note) Paul when faced with his imminent death, could still confidently declare in some of his very last words that “the LORD STOOD WITH ME and strengthened me.” (2Ti 4:16-note) So yes, beloved, Jesus, our IMMANUEL will be WITH US in every trial until the very end (cf Mt 28:20)! Jehovah is not a distant God but is IMMANUEL “a very present help in trouble” (Ps 46:1-note)!

Spurgeon comments on Isaiah 43:2: “Bridge there is none: we must go through the waters and feel the rush of the rivers. The PRESENCE OF GOD in the flood is better than a ferry-boat. TRIED we must be, but TRIUMPHANT we shall be; for JEHOVAH HIMSELF, Who is mightier than many waters, shall BE WITH US (IMMANUEL!). Whenever else He may be away from His people, the Lord will SURELY BE WITH THEM in difficulties and dangers. The sorrows of life may rise to an extraordinary height, but the Lord is equal to every occasion. The enemies of God can put in our way dangers of their own making, namely, persecutions and cruel mockings, which are like a burning fiery furnace. What then? We shall walk through the fires. GOD BEING WITH US, we shall not be burned; nay, not even the smell of fire shall remain upon us! Oh, the wonderful security of the heaven-born and heaven-bound pilgrim! Floods cannot drown him, nor fires burn him. THY PRESENCE, O Lord, is the protection of Thy saints from the varied perils of the road. Behold, in faith I commit myself unto Thee, and my spirit enters into rest.” AMEN! Indeed, Immanuel is a powerful, practical Name which is like “a strong tower that the righteous man or woman runs into and is safe, protected (literally “set on high’)” (Pr 18:10-note)

In your daily experience, do you know Jesus as IMMANUEL, GOD WITH YOU? How was “God with you” today? Many of us are like the children of Israel asking “Is the LORD among us or not?” (Ex 17:7-note) We need to remind ourselves of the truth that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.” (Heb 13:8-note) What we need even more than deliverance from trouble is the sure knowledge that God is our IMMANUEL in the midst of trouble. The secret of peace is not a plan or program but a Person, Immanuel, God with us (Read Ps 20:7-note). Indeed, the wonderful Name Immanuel is an antidote for our fear, even as Moses reminded Israel declaring that “the LORD is WITH US; do not FEAR” (Nu 14:9-note) When danger threatens or calamity strikes, we can be assured of Immanuel’s personal presence to comfort and calm us. And so when we experience fearful thoughts, we recall to mind David’s affirmation “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I FEAR no evil, (Why?) for YOU ARE WITH ME, Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.” (Ps 23:4-note). As Spurgeon affirms, Jesus Christ is “Immanuel, God with us in our nature, in our sorrow, in our lifework, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather we with Him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph, and Second Advent splendour.”

Who is Immanuel today? Spurgeon answers that “Jesus came, and the ever-blessed Son in His own proper Person, was the delight of His people’s eyes. At the time of the Redeemer’s ascension, the Holy Spirit became the Head of the present church age (Jn 16:7-note, Lk 24:49, Acts 2:33-note), and His power (Acts 1:8-note) was gloriously manifested in (Acts 2:4-note) and after Pentecost (Acts 16:7). He remains at this hour the PRESENT IMMANUELGOD WITH US, (Read Ro 8:9-note, Php 1:19-note, Gal 4:6-note) dwelling in (1Cor 6:19-note, 1Cor 3:16, 2Co 6:16) and with His people, making alive (Ro 8:2-note, 2Cor 3:5-6-note), guiding (Jn 16:13-note), and ruling in their midst (1Cor 12:11, Acts 13:2,4-note, Acts 10:19-note, Acts 11:12-note, Acts 16:6-note, Acts 20:28-note). Is the Spirit’s presence recognized as it ought to be? Are we sufficiently anxious to obtain the Spirit’s enabling power (Acts 1:8-note, Eph 3:16-note) or sufficiently watchful lest we provoke Him to withdraw His aid? (Eph 4:29-30-note1Th 5:18-19-note) Without Him we can do NOTHING (Jn 6:63-note, Jn 15:5-note), but by His almighty energy the most extraordinary results can be produced (Eph 3:20-note): everything depends upon His manifesting or concealing His power (Ro 15:19-note, Acts 1:8-note). Do we always look up to the Spirit both for our inner life and our outward service with the respectful dependence which is fitting? Do we not too often run before His call and act independently of His aid (Ro 7:6-note, 1Cor 15:10-note)? Condescending and tender, He does not weary of us, but awaits to be gracious still.”

Spurgeon leaves us with a good prayer to pray: “Blessed Immanuel, we gladly obey Thee! In Thee our darkness ends and from the shadow of death we rise to the Light of life. It is salvation to be obedient to Thee. It is the end of gloom to her that was in anguish to bow herself before Thee. May God the Holy Spirit take of the things of Christ and show them unto us, and then we shall all cry— “Go worship at Immanuel’s feet! See in His face what wonders meet! Earth is too narrow to express; His worth, His grace, His righteousness.” to which we add “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”

Michael Card’s “Immanuel, God is With Us!

A sign shall be given, A virgin will conceive
A human baby bearing undiminished Deity
The Glory of the nations, a Light for all to see
And Hope for all who will embrace His warm reality.

And if GOD IS WITH US, who could stand against us?

For all those who live in the shadow of death
A Glorious Light has dawned
For all those who stumble in the darkness
Behold, your Light has come.

So what will be your answer? Will you hear the call
Of Him Who did not spare His Son but gave Him for us all
On earth there is no power, there is no depth nor height
That could ever separate us from the love of God in Christ.


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  1. keijo permalink

    Is the wonderful when we belong to God even today and forever in the HOly Spirits power and victory in jesus blood for us all who has been called by Go to living in grace and in happy life to his glory and thanksgiving in the light and in the power with us and we will win so many the people to salvation in Jesus name ,thanks and bless,keijo sweden

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