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Is God with us? Yes!! Jesus was born to the virgin Mary. He lived among us as God’s son. He was crucified, arose from the dead and now sits at the right hand of God. We have His power through the Holy Spirit.

This prophecy, by Isaiah, is huge. The concept of a virgin birth, is unthinkable. God did it, in Jesus. This is the foundation in our faith. God is so very good to us. God sent Jesus and God is with us.

Hallelujah!! God is with us.

We can be confident and shout it out. God is with us.

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: “Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted. The Lord will bring upon you and upon your people and upon your father’s house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah—the king of Assyria!

English Standard Version. (2016). (Is 7:10–17). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

The emphasis on God’s presence in this crisis receives special significance in the naming of a child: Immanuel. Isaiah challenges Ahaz to ask for a sign, so that he might “stand firm in [his] faith” (v. 9b). The king piously refuses. Knowing that Ahaz has set his heart on a political solution, Isaiah rebukes him. Ahaz is impatient with the solution of faith and looks toward Assyria for a novel approach. The Lord has a sign for Ahaz, the house of David, and all who would hear it. The sign is the “Immanuel”.

Much controversy has surrounded the meaning of the sign: What is the meaning of “virgin” and who is the child? The validity of the sign lies in a miracle or event and must be of significance to Ahaz. The birth of the Messiah was a miracle but would be of little relevance to Ahaz in his time. If the sign was to strengthen the Word of God in Ahaz’s time, it may have been that Isaiah spoke of a woman in the royal court or of his own wife. The child could not be Hezekiah, however, since he was already born by this time. Though Isaiah’s son is not the Immanuel, he is a sign of the Immanuel, in that Judah is spared. Through Isaiah God assures Judah that his promises to David will come to pass. The Lord has not abandoned the house of David! The Lord marshals the Assyrians to remedy this crisis.

As problematic as the interpretation of this passage is, the quotation in Matthew is authoritative. It focuses on Jesus the Messiah as the Immanuel, the Savior sent by the Father. Ahaz may have looked for a fulfillment and witnessed the desolation of Aram, but he did not understand the total prophetic witness.

When Mary and Joseph were betrothed, Mary was found to be pregnant, but Joseph knew that the child was not his because he had not had relations with her. To explain what happened, an angel appeared to him in a dream and said,

Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

(Matthew 1:20-21, NIV)

The Gospel writer Matthew, who was addressing a Jewish audience primarily, then referred to the prophecy from Isaiah 7:14, written more than 700 years before the birth of Jesus:

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means, ‘God with us.

(Matthew 1:22-23, NIV)

In the fullness of time, God sent his Son. When Jesus was born all doubt about Isaiah’s prophecy faded away. Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled the prophet’s words because he was fully man yet still fully God. He came to live in Israel with his people, as Isaiah had foretold. The name Jesus, incidentally, or Yeshua in Hebrew, means “the LORD is salvation.”

The Meaning of Immanuel

According to Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, the name Immanuel was given to a child born in the time of King Ahaz. It was meant as a sign to the king that Judah would be given a reprieve from attacks by Israel and Syria.

The name was symbolic of the fact that God would demonstrate his presence through the deliverance of his people. It is generally agreed that a larger application existed as well—that this was a prophecy of the birth of the incarnate God, Jesus the Messiah.

The Concept of Immanuel

The idea of God’s special presence living among his people goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden, with God walking and talking with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day.

God manifested his presence with the people of Israel in many ways, as in the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night:

And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.

(Exodus 13:21, ESV)

Jesus told his disciples, “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” (Matthew 18:20, NLT) Before his ascension to heaven, the Messiah made this promise to his followers: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20, NIV). That promise is repeated in the last book of the Bible, in Revelation 21:3:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

(NIV)

Before Jesus returned to heaven, he told his followers that the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, would dwell with them: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.” (John 14:16, NIV)

During the Christmas season, Christians sing the hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” as a reminder of God’s promise to send a Savior. The words were translated into English from a 12th century Latin hymn by John M. Neale in 1851. The song’s verses repeat various prophetic phrases from Isaiah that foretold the birth of Jesus the Messiah, God who is with us.

Digging Deeper – What does the virgin birth of Jesus mean?

If you want to dig deeper, here are some additional resources. The virgin birth of Jesus is central to the discussion of who Jesus is and His divinity.

Wayne Grudem Systematic Theology

When we speak of the humanity of the Messiah [Christ] it is appropriate to begin with a consideration of the virgin birth of the Messiah [Christ]. Scripture clearly asserts that Jesus was conceived in the womb of his mother Mary by a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit and without a human father.[1]

Baker Encyclopedia

Doctrine, from the birth narratives of Matthew 1 and Luke 1–2, which states that Jesus the Christ was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. This doctrine has been at the heart of discussions involving the person and nature of Christ; the whole concept of the incarnation as well as of the divine and human natures focuses upon this historical event as its foundation. At the same time, rationalists and literary critics make this one of the first biblical events to be denied on the grounds of its obvious supernatural basis and so-called “mythical” form. [2]

Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary

Among the few OT prophecies that allude to Christ’s birth (e.g., Mic. 5:2), the only one that the NT interprets as a reference to a virginal conception is in Isaiah (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23). During the reign of Ahaz over the Southern Kingdom of Judah, Isaiah foretold that a virgin would conceive and give birth to a son whose name would be Immanuel (Isa. 7:14). There are questions concerning the way this prophecy was initially fulfilled in Ahaz’s day, as well as debate about the meaning of the Hebrew word translated as “virgin.” The word used in Isa. 7:14 is one of two words in the OT that refer to young women. The more generic betulah (approximately 60 times) was used to refer to virgins (Gen. 24:16; Deut. 22:16–17), maidens who may not have been virgins (Esther 2:17–19), and symbolically to Israel (Jer. 14:17). The less common almah (approximately 9 times), which is used in Isa. 7:14, likewise referred to virgins (Gen. 24:43), but some translators argue that it was also used to refer to maidens who were not necessarily virgins (Prov. 30:19). The semantic versatility of almah does not, however, conclusively eliminate the possibility that a virginal conception was being conveyed in Isa. 7:14, though of course the reference to Isaiah’s wife would preclude that she was a virgin. Almah certainly could be translated “virgin,” and in Matthew’s use of the text, “virgin” would be the appropriate translation.[3]

Easton’s Bible Dictionary

In a prophecy concerning our Lord, Isaiah (7:14) says, “A virgin [R.V. marg., ‘the virgin’] shall conceive, and bear a son” (comp. Luke 1:31–35). The people of the land of Zidon are thus referred to by Isaiah (23:12), “O thou oppressed virgin, daughter of Zidon;” and of the people of Israel, Jeremiah (18:13) says, “The virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing.”[4]

[1] Grudem, W. (2020). Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Second Edition, p. 663). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic.

[2] Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Virgin Birth of Jesus. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 2, p. 2124). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

[3] Berry, E. (2003). Virgin, Virgin Birth. In C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen, & T. C. Butler (Eds.), Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (pp. 1653–1654). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[4] Easton, M. G. (1893). In Illustrated Bible Dictionary and Treasury of Biblical History, Biography, Geography, Doctrine, and Literature. New York: Harper & Brothers.