They shall call His name Emmanuel or Jesus?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Phil310, Dec 9, 2005.

  1. Phil310

    Phil310
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    I have a nephew who has some pretty interesting questions about an apparent contradiction between Isaiah's prophecy in 7:14 and Matthew's account of its fulfillment in Matthew 1:20-23. Here is his concern. Any comments would be appreciated.

    Something I haven't really understood about a prophecy concerning the name of the Messiah. Maybe you can help answer it.

    In Isaiah 7:14 it says "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."

    In Matthew 1:20-23 it says "20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
    21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
    22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
    23 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."

    What I am not understanding from this prophecy is that in Isaiah 7:14 it says that the Messiah's name would be Immanuel, and his name would be part of the sign of how the people would recognize who He was.
    In Matthew 1:21, they don't name Him Emmanuel they name Him Jesus. That would to me seem like a contradiction, and that that part of prophecy wasn't fulfilled. The other thing that would seem like a contradiction is that right after the passage says that His name will be Jesus, it says this was done so it would fulfill that which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet saying there shall be a virgin who conceives a child and they shall call His name EMMANUEL. It just seems like that was a pretty clear contradiction right there, saying that they shall call His name Jesus to fulfill the prophecy that they shall call His name Emmanuel.
    Now to me, it would make sense that his name be something different since it was in Greek, but I would think that it should still have the same meaning. Since those two passages say that the two names mean something different, that still doesn't make sense to me.

    Is there something I'm not getting out of this?
    Thanks for the help! :)
     
  2. natters

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    My view is not very popular, and often misunderstood, but here goes: I believe the prophecy in Isa 7 was primarily fulfilled within a few year after it was given, and that an "almah" gave birth to a son and named him Immanuel, as a sign for King Ahaz (read the whole chapter). I believe that Matthew, writing under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, found "fulfillment" of this prophecy in the birth of Jesus, born of the virgin Mary. By "fulfillment", I do not mean in the sense of a primary resolution of the original prophecy, but rather as a way to find application, or secondary realization, of an Old Testament passage in the birth of Christ.

    I believe this because of the way Matthew uses fulfillment of OT scripture in chapters 1-2. For example, the OT passages correspoding to the "fulfillment" in 2:15 and 2:18 were not primarily about the birth of Christ either, yet the Holy Spirit inspired the connection nonetheless as Matthew wrote. To Jews of that day, this was a very powerful kind of scriptural interpretation.
     
  3. Keith M

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    Jesus was the name given to Him by His parents when He was born - similar to our naming our children when they are born.

    The Hebrew Immanuw'el is defined in Strong's as "symbolic and prophetic name of the Messiah, the Christ, prophesying that He would be born of a virgin and would be 'God with us.'" This would be more of a title than a given name, something like referring to the Queen of England as "Her Majesty."

    The Greek Emmanouel is defined in Strong's as "the title applied to the Messiah, born of the virgin, Mt. 1:23, Is. 7:14, because Jesus was God united with man, and showed that God was dwelling with man."

    Hope this helps! [​IMG]
     
  4. Pastor Larry

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    Many people in Scripture had two names but one was never used. For instance, does the name Benoni ring a bell? How about Jedidiah? Both are names of well known people, but their names were never used in Scripture.

    Isa 7:14 is a prophecy that could not have been fulfilled in Ahaz's time. It could be fulfilled only in the birth of Christ.

    The "name issue" is a common objection, but not really challenging given the use of names in the ANE.
     
  5. Phil310

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    Thank you for your help. I agree that Emmanuel is a title more than it is a name. This is what I passed on to him.
     
  6. natters

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    Then what do the next two verses, 15 and 16, mean, especially in context of verses 1-13?
     
  7. Pastor Larry

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    In Isaiah's mind (as evident from the Hebrew), the virgin he sees is currently pregnant and the next two verses are based off the scenario. She would be giving birth in the next few months. Before the baby she is currently pregnant with is 2-3 or 12-13 (depending on how you read that phrase), certain things will be happening. And they did.

    Of course, Scripture tells us that there was only one pregnant virgin, Mary, and that is the fulfillment. It is the only thing that makes sense in light of the passage without doing great injustice to the words.
     
  8. natters

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    The passage does not say the "almah" is currently pregnant. Also, it would be odd indeed to explain the prophecy would be fulfilled before a very specific point in the person's life, if it was to be fulfilled centuries before that person was even born. There would be no point to be so specific.
     
  9. Pastor Larry

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    Yes it does. THe "will" is in English, not in Hebrew. It perhaps arose from the LXX translation. It is a futurum instans, an imminent event of birth. The "with child" is not a verb. It is a predicate adjective describing the virgin. She is "virgin and pregnant" at the same time. There is no indication that she is not pregnant.

    But there is a further problem with your position: Was there a baby born to a virgin within two or three years? The answer is no. There wasn't. Every birth in that time was born normally. The text specifically describes a virgin being pregnant, and if there is any doubt from the OT, Matthew makes it clear that it is a virgo intacta that is in view.

    The prophecy wasn't fulfilled immediately. The prophecy was fulfilled seven hundred years later. But the vision served as a time marker for the coming problems resulting from Ahaz's rejection of God.

    In v. 14, the pronouns switch from singular (to Ahaz) to plural (to the nation). The sign was not for Ahaz; he had already rejected it. The sign was for the nation who needed to be assured that the coming invasion would not break the Davidic covenant. And the Messiah, born to a virgin, was the fulfillment of that promise, and the sign that the nation had not been abandoned.
     
  10. natters

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    Whether the "almah" was currently pregnant or not is beside the point in my view. I believe the prophecy was primarily fulfilled in Ahaz's time, but it was an "almah" birth, not a "virgin" birth. I do not know if the woman was Ahaz's wife or daughter, or Isaiah's, or what, but I believe that it was obvious to Ahaz who Isaiah was referring to. I believe that soon after, the woman game birth to a child who was named Emmanuel, and that before he was old enough to know right from wrong, Rezin king of Syria and Pekah king of Israel were overthrown, and thus were no longer a threat to Judah.

    I believe Matthew, writing inspired words, found applicable "fulfillment" of this event with Jesus, just as he did in Matt 2:15 and 2:18. I believe the Holy Spirit inspired the word "virgin" in Matthew's gospel, and that Mary was indeed a virgin, and gave birth to someone who was literally "God with us", even though the "almah" in Ahaz's day did not have a virgin birth (although she may have been a virgin at the time the prophecy was given).

    I know many disagree with me, and many often misunderstand what I am saying, but that's what I believe. [​IMG]
     
  11. Pastor Larry

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    But it's not beside the point in Isaiah's view, or Matthew's view, and theirs are the only ones that matter.

    Since "almah" in that context means "virgin" without any doubt whatsoever, an "almah birth" is a "virgin birth."

    But we do know who the woman was. It was Mary.

    But Ahaz didn't care. He had already refused a sign and Isaiah was no longer speaking to him.

    What kind of sign is that? That happened every single day in Israel. There is nothing "sign"-like about a woman giving birth to a child. The sign was the miraculous nature of hte birth.

    Matthew 2:15 and 18 are entirely different types of material that Isa 7:14.

    But you have a contradiction. Isaiah said "almah" and Matthew said that the "almah" was a "parthenos" who had not known a man. Whatever else might be true in life, you cannot be a virgin and not a virgin at the same time. If Matthew said that Isaiah was talking about a "parthenos" who had not "known a man," then it cannot be a woman in Ahaz's time who became pregnant by a man.
     
  12. Keith M

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    If I may, allow me to interject a thought here.

    The word virgin is linked here to the Hebrew almah (Strong's 5959). Almah is defined as a lass (as veiled or private): damsel, maid, virgin. Stating that almah indicated a virgin is right, but it was not right all the time. If there was a woman who was pregnant that was known to the king, then that woman obviously was a lass, a damsel, or a maid, but not a virgin.

    In this verse Matthew quotes the Isaiah passage above. He uses the Greek parthenos (Strong's 3933) which is defined as a maiden; by implication an unmarried daughter; virgin. I believe that Matthew's use of parthenos was inspired, and I also believe that Christ was born of a virgin. This miraculous virgin conception, IMHO, happened only once in history. That is what makes Christ's birth so, well, miraculous. Any young woman could have become pregnant and given birth to a male child, but certainly not a virgin unless she was "overshadowed" by the Holy Spirit.

    So the Isaiah prophecy could have been fulfilled within a short time span from when the prophecy was written, but its fulfillment could not have been through a virgin. On the other hand, when Matthew used the Isaiah passage to refer to Christ's birth, it was indeed a fulfillment through a virgin. [​IMG]
     
  13. Pastor Larry

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    Yes, but only one or the other. It can't be "fulfilled" both times. Matthew's explanation overrides whatever issues we might have. He explained exactly what Isaiah meant.
     
  14. Keith M

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    I would have to disagree with you on that point, Pastor Larry. Matthew was not seeking to explain what Isaiah meant, nor was he saying that a young woman in Isaiah's time did not have the child in question. IMHO, Matthew simply uses the Isaiah verse to show that Christ was born of a virgin. [​IMG]
     
  15. Dr. Bob

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    Was the "almah" already pregnant? Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

    All future. And all literally fulfilled in that era and later fulfilled prophetically through Jesus.
     
  16. natters

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    But we do know who the woman was. It was Mary.</font>[/QUOTE]That is a circular argument.

    But Ahaz didn't care. He had already refused a sign and Isaiah was no longer speaking to him.</font>[/QUOTE]Irrelevant. The sign was given anyways.

    What kind of sign is that? That happened every single day in Israel. There is nothing "sign"-like about a woman giving birth to a child. The sign was the miraculous nature of hte birth.</font>[/QUOTE]Depends who the "almah" was. I believe it was someone significant in Ahaz's life.

    Matthew 2:15 and 18 are entirely different types of material that Isa 7:14.</font>[/QUOTE]I don't understand what you mean.

    But you have a contradiction. Isaiah said "almah" and Matthew said that the "almah" was a "parthenos" who had not known a man. Whatever else might be true in life, you cannot be a virgin and not a virgin at the same time.</font>[/QUOTE]You can if there are two different women that "almah" is being applied to.

    Again, that is the assumption I am not willing to blindly accept. That's not how it worked in 2:15 and 2:18, so why here?

    Keith gets what I'm saying. [​IMG]
     
  17. Pastor Larry

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    So Matthew misused Isaiah's writing? That doesn't make sense. Either Isaiah meant what Matthew meant, or Matthew, under the inspiration of the Spirit, lied by saying Isaiah meant something he didn't mean. That doesn't make sense.

    All future? Not in the Hebrew, Bob. You should know that. The word "harah" (conceive) is a predicate adjective, describing the current state of the virgin.

    And literally fulfilled in that era and through Jesus? How? Who was the pregnant virgin the time of Isaiah? There is none. The point of Isaiah's prophecy is that this is a miraculous sign--a woman who is a virgin is pregnant. There is no indication of any pregnant virgin during the time of Ahaz and Isaiah. Again, you run into problems with the truthfulness of the text.
     
  18. natters

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    That's the part most people don't get immediately. [​IMG] No, Matthew didn't misuse Isaiah's writing, bur rather "fulfillment" doesn't always mean exactly what our modern Western minds think it means. Again consider 2:15 and 2:18 - were these also "misuse"? Of course not. This type of interpretation was very powerful to the Jews.
     
  19. Pastor Larry

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    That is a circular argument.</font>[/QUOTE]How is that circular? Matthew told us who the virgin was. That is not circular. That is revelatory.

    Irrelevant. The sign was given anyways.</font>[/QUOTE]But again, not to Ahaz. It was given to someone else. This doesn't come out in our English versions which is why many people make the mistake of thinking this was about Ahaz. The sign is to "you" plural ... the nation, the house of David, not Ahaz.

    Based on what though? What virgin was pregnant during Ahaz's time? That is the sign ... a pregnant virgin. It is not a virgin who later becomes pregnant. That would be no sign at all. It is a virgin that is pregnant.

    I don't understand what you mean.</font>[/QUOTE]They are historical events in which Matthew sees a likeness, or analogy. His use of Isa 7:14 is completely different.

    You can if there are two different women that "almah" is being applied to.</font>[/QUOTE]But that's just it ... It can't. It refers to one woman (singular) who is a virgin and pregnant at the same time. Again, this is simply what the text says. Your position requires (1) something the text does not say; and (2) a contradiction of Matthew's inspired explanation.

    Again, that is the assumption I am not willing to blindly accept. That's not how it worked in 2:15 and 2:18, so why here?</font>[/QUOTE]It is not an assumption at all. REad the texts. Isaiah says "a pregnant virgin will bear a child." Matthew says that Mary was that virgin, and she knew no man. Now, if Matthew said "Isaiah meant Mary and Jesus" then who are we to say that Isaiah meant something else? Shouldn't we go with Matthew on this?

    Part of this whole problem is the sensus plenior that meaning people like to read into Scripture ... multiple meanings of hte same words. It is an illegitimate hermeneutic. It cannot be sustained in the normal use of language.
     
  20. natters

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    I agree that Matthew applied to to Mary. It is circular to claim as proof that it only applied to Mary, since that is the position you are defending in the first place.

    I agree, but again, irrelevant. The sign was still given anyways as I said.

    Based on what though?
    </font>[/QUOTE]Context.

    The sign is not just that someone will get pregnant. I believe the sign is clearly stated: "a 'almah' shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings."


    Well, that's what we're debating. He prefixes his connection with Isa 7:14 with "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying," and he prefixes the fulfillment in 2:15 with exactly the same words. He prefixes 2:18 with "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,". How is his use of Isa 7:14 "completely different"?

    But that's just it ... It can't. It refers to one woman (singular) who is a virgin and pregnant at the same time. Again, this is simply what the text says. Your position requires (1) something the text does not say; and (2) a contradiction of Matthew's inspired explanation.
    </font>[/QUOTE]I disagree. Isa doesn't say "almah who is a virgin", he just says "almah".

    I read the text. It does not say that. In any of my several dozen English versions.

    I agree.

    But Matthew DIDN'T say "Isaiah meant Mary and Jesus", just as he didn't say "Hosea meant Mary and Jesus when Hosea said 'Out of Egypt I have called my son'."

    Then what of "Out of Egypt I have called my son"? Who is the "son" in this quote? In Hos 11:1, it is the nation of Israel. In Matt 2:15, it is Jesus.
     

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