Who was the Prophet Emmanuel


On the instruction of the angel, Mary gave her son the name Jesus in a dream. Can Jesus still be the Messiah named "Immanuel", whom the prophet Isaiah (Isa 7:14) foretold? E. H., Berlin

In the Old Testament, names are often first of all a bearer of meaning and less clear identification. Just think of the name changes from Abram to Abraham or from Saul to Paul. Nevertheless, it is strange that Joseph receives the instruction in a dream to take Mary to himself and to give her son the name Jesus, so that God's prophecy may be fulfilled through Isaiah: “Look, the virgin will conceive and become a son they give birth, and he will be given the name Immanuel (God-with-us). "

For the evangelist Matthew this is not a contradiction. Matthew wants to show that the prophets' prophecies were fulfilled in the person and history of Jesus. The congregation to which Matthew belonged did not see itself as a new Christian congregation, but as the true continuation of the people of Israel called to God by Jesus. Hence, for him, Jesus was the fulfillment of all of Jewish law and the prophets of the Old Testament. And he wanted to prove this with written evidence.

The fact that there is no identical name for "Jesus" and "Immanuel" in this specific case did not bother Matthew. The meaning of the name "Immanuel" was consistent with the Messiah Jesus. To this day it is no problem for Christians to read, in addition to the Immanuel prophecy in Isa. 7, those of the peacemaking child in Isa. 9, the scion from the family tree of Jesse who creates justice in Isa to see him fulfilled. For who else could create this ultimate peace and this divine justice on earth?

For Christians, Isaiah's prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus. However, from today's perspective one has to admit that this is a purely Christian interpretation of the texts. Other, historically obvious interpretations are just as possible as other Jewish messianic interpretations.

By Christoph Buysch