Emmanuel—God with Us

“She shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
—Matthew 1:21

DELIVERANCE FROM Gentile domination was the chief thing the Israelites comprehended in the Messianic promises. (Matt. 1:18-25) Even after Jesus was raised from the dead, his disciples still had this in mind when they asked him, “Wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”—Acts 1:6


The Divine purpose in the coming of the Messiah was much more comprehensive than this, for it embraced also a deliverance from sin. This is brought to our attention in the name ‘Jesus,’ which Joseph was instructed to give to Mary’s Son—“Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

It was Israel’s sins which led to their becoming a captive nation. Had they remained obedient to God and to his laws, he would have protected them from their enemies, and they would have remained a free nation under their God. Sin had brought both Jews and Gentiles into a far more dreadful bondage; because of it, the entire human race has been brought into captivity to death. It is deliverance, or salvation, from this bondage that is primarily referred to in our text.

To bring about a deliverance from death, it was necessary that Jesus be born into the world in a manner which would assure his separateness from sin. In the Divine providence, this was accomplished by the transfer of the life of God’s beloved Son, the Logos, to the womb of Mary, and his subsequent birth as a human child without the necessity of a human father. This was no more difficult for God to accomplish than was the original design for procreation which we have come to consider a ‘natural’ process. It is all quite beyond our comprehension.

The fact that Jesus partook of flesh and blood in this manner assured that he would be “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” (Heb. 7:26) This meant that as a perfect man he could give his life as a corresponding price for the forfeited life of father Adam, who before he transgressed the Divine law, also was perfect. Jesus said to the Jews, “The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51) Paul explained the philosophy of this, saying, “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”—I Cor. 15:22


The plan of God for the salvation both of Israel and the world from sin and death through Jesus was that he should die as the Redeemer at his First Advent, and rule as King and Deliverer at his Second Advent. He came to redeem the people just long enough in advance of God’s time to bring about the deliverance of the human race from death; to permit the calling, selection, and proving of a ‘little flock’ whom the Heavenly Father designed should live and reign with Jesus during the thousand years of his kingdom. It will be during that thousand years that the “dead, small and great,” will be awakened from the sleep of death, enlightened to know the will of God, and given an opportunity to obey and live forever.—Rev. 20:12


One of the prophecies stated that the foretold Deliverer should be called “Emmanuel,” which means, “God with us.” (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23) While this prophecy is mentioned in Matthew’s account of the birth of Jesus, this name did not come into general use during the Master’s lifetime. Apparently the name most generally used with reference to him was ‘Jesus,’ the name which the angel Gabriel instructed Joseph to give him.

Those who believe that Jesus was God incarnate in flesh have seized upon the name ‘Emmanuel’ as one means of attempting to prove this erroneous theory. They fail to see, or else ignore, the absurdities resulting from the notion that Jesus was his own father, and that the Heavenly Father was his own Son. It would mean that Jesus’ prayers to his Father were merely an act which he put on to impress the hearers and thereby secure their sympathy.

How beautifully simple and understandable is the fact that Jesus came to earth as an expression of God’s good will toward the human race; that God’s glorious character of love and wisdom and justice and power were demonstrated in the perfect One, Christ Jesus! The Scriptures tell us that Adam was created in the ‘image’ of God. Could anyone have seen Adam before he sinned, he would have seen God manifested in human flesh. So it was with Jesus. He was a perfect human image of his Heavenly Father.

God so loved the world that he had sent his Son to redeem the people from death, and in due time to restore them to life. He did not come to carry out his own plan, but God’s plan. Every testimony which Jesus gave on the subject emphasized that the words he spoke and the works he did were not his own, but those given to him by his Father. He did not speak and work for himself, but for God. Thus Emmanuel—‘God with us’—was a very appropriate title for him.


So high a position does Jesus occupy in the plan of God that the Heavenly Father has instructed that his Son should be honored even as he is honored. God has given command that “all the angels” should worship his Son. (Ps. 97:7; Heb. 1:6) No wonder he is prophetically described as “The mighty God,” and as “The everlasting Father.” (Isa. 9:6,7) It is the Heavenly Father’s wish that this Son be worshiped as a mighty God, for he has exalted him to his own right hand. And he will also be the ‘Father’ who will give everlasting life to the people, hence the ‘everlasting’ Father.

This is marvelous glory but it does not indicate that the Father and the Son are one, or ever were one in person. This is clearly shown by Jesus’ own statement to his Father concerning his disciples when, in prayer on their behalf, he said, “The glory which thou gavest me I have given them.”—John 17:22

At the time Jesus uttered these words, he had received the ‘glory’ from his Father only in part, and by promise. He had given it to his disciples by promise. Later when Jesus had actually been exalted to the right hand of his Father to sit with him in his throne, he confirmed the promise made to his disciples, saying, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”—Rev. 3:21

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