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Why Isn't His Name Emmanuel?


While we are debating how to pronounce the name of the Messiah – is it Yeshuah, Yashuah, Yahoshua, Yahushua, Yahusha, or something else entirely – we have this little issue concerning prophecy in Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) which is echoed in Mattithyahu (Matthew)1.

Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 7:10-16
Moreover, YAHUAH spoke again to Achaz, saying:  11 Ask you a sign of YAHUAH ELOHAYKA; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. 12 But Achaz said: I will not ask, neither will I tempt את eth-YAHUAH. 13 And he said: Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary את eth-my ELOHIYM also? 14 Therefore ADONAI himself shall give you a sign; Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanu’el. 15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. 16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that you abhor shall be forsaken of both her kings.

Mattithyahu (Matthew) 1:22-23
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of YAHUAH by the prophet, saying:23 Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanu’el, which being interpreted is, our EL is with us.

Let’s begin with the last first.  Does the Hebrew word Immanu’el mean our EL is with us?  That is the first question.

Strong's 6005 gives us the following information concerning this name Immanu’el (עִמָּנוּאֵל). Strong’s goes on to tell us the meaning is with us (is) God; Immanuel, a type name of Isaiah's son.  

So, let us start with the first syllable which is im (עִם) (Strong's 5973) and this word usually means with (i.e. in conjunction with), in varied applications; specifically, equally with; often with prepositional prefix (and then usually unrepresented in English).

Next, we have the syllable nu (נו), which when attached as a suffix, means our.  Consider the word avinu (אבינו), meaning our father found in Bere’shiyth (Genesis) 19:31.  We find this throughout the Eth CEPHER in the use of the word ELOHAYNU, meaning our ELOHIYM

Finally, the last syllable is EL, which we find at the end of many words, such as Yashar’el, meaning the upright [Yashar] (or the prince of) EL – the shepherd staff in the hand of YAH. 

Putting the three together, we have our with EL.  “Us” would be another matter, as the word in Hebrew is anachnu.  So, the EL with us would be El im anachnu

Now, there is another word which may tell us more about this phrase.  Be patient with this discussion if you will, because it is dangerous.  With that being said, consider the logic:

Let’s start with the Hebrew for the verse found in Yesha’yahu 7:14:

לכן (L’ken)  יתן (nathan)  אדני (ADONAI)  הוא (hua)  לכם (oth) אות (l’kemo)  הנה (hineh)  העלמה (ha’alma)  הרה (hareh)  וילדת (v’yeladah)  בן (ben)  וקראת (v’qara’oth)  שׁמו (shemo)  עמנו  אל׃ (imnu’EL).

Surely gives ADONAI, he accordingly sign, behold a maiden with child, an infant son, callings the name of Immanu’EL.   

Should we restructure this into a more common semantic, we have:

Surely ADONAI, he gives a sign accordingly: Behold! A maiden with child, an infant son, whose name is called Immanu’el. 

So we see a bifurcated phrase, which is to say, one of two people could be named Immanu’el: either 1) the maiden with child; or 2) the infant son. 

Let’s stay with this concept, as we review the passage in Mattithyahu (Matthew).

Mat 1:23  ιδου (horaho) η (hay) παρθενος (parthenos) εν (en) γαστρι (gastare) εξει (ekho) και (kai) τεξεται (tiktoe) υιον (uihos) και (kai) καλεσουσιν (kalesousin) το (to) ονομα (onomah) αυτου (autou) εμμανουηλ (Emmanuel) ο (o) εστιν (estil) μεθερμηνευομενον (methermeneuo) μεθ (metah) ημων (ego) ο θεος 

Behold a maiden in with child held and to be delivered a son and callings the name, himself/herself/itself Emmanuel, who is interpreted with me the EL.

Critical in this Greek phrase are two ideas: First, is this word autou.  This word, like the word autos, is gender neutral: it can mean himself, herself, itself. This gives us a considerable ambiguity throughout all of the Greek text, particularly when you are discussing a concept that has not been identified as either male or female. 

The second is the word ego, which in the Greek means I or me (me, myself, or I). It does not mean we, or us.  So, the phrase which apparently was added to a Hebrew gospel of Matthew to give meaning to the Hebrew name found there, does not give the accurate meaning. 

Let’s see if there may be something else. 

Marqus (Mark) 14:36
And he said: Abba, Father, all things are possible to you; take this cup away from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what you will.

What is this word Abba? It is an affectionate form of Ab, (or Av) which means father. Now consider the word for mother, which is Im, and the affectionate form is Imma. Now to be sure, Im (Strong’s H517) the word for mother is spelled (אֵם), whereas im the word for with is spelled (עִם).  The tedusha of these words is also interesting.  The word for mother is spelled aleph-mem safit, meaning the closed (virgin) womb which births the Godhead.  The word for with is spelled ayin-mem safit, meaning the closed (virgin) womb which births nothing.  

But . . . if the true spelling of Immanu’el (עִמָּנוּאֵל) is instead (אמָּנוּאֵל), then we have something entirely different, because suddenly imma (mother) nu (our) EL (EL) – our mother of EL.  So we may have solved the question in the first verse, to whom the verse refers:

Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 7:14
Therefore ADONAI gives a sign accordingly: Behold! A maiden with child, an infant son, whose name is called Immanu’el. 

Consider that this verse may be naming the maiden, and not the child.

If so, we can resolve the ambiguity in Mattithyahu as well, as follows:

Mattithyahu (Matthew) 1:23
Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call her name Immanu’el, which being interpreted is: our EL is with me.

There are those who theorize that Immanu’el was the name of Yesha’yahu’s son.  Let’s take a look.  First, one of Yesha’yahu’s sons is named She’ar Yashuv (which, interpreted means, a remnant shall return):

Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 7:3
Then YAHUAH said to El-Yesha`yahu, Go forth now to meet Achaz, you, and She’ar Yashuv your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field;

Second, Yesha’yahu had a second son (assuming the prophetess was his wife), whose name was Maher-Shalal-Chash-Baz, (which, interpreted means, spoil quickly, plunder quickly).

Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 8:1-4
YAHUAH said to me: Take a great roll, and write in it with a man's pen concerning Maher-Shalal-Chash-Baz.  2 And I took to me faithful witnesses to record, את eth Uriyahu the priest, and את eth-Zakaryahu the son of Yeverekyahu.  3 And I went to the prophetess; and she conceived, and bore a son. Then said YAHUAH to me: Call his name Maher-Shalal-Chash-Baz. 4 For before the child shall have knowledge to cry: My father, and my mother, את eth-the riches of Damascus and את eth-the spoil of Shomeron shall be taken away before the king of Ashshur.

Does Yesha’yahu 7:14 predict this birth as a sign to Achaz? Or is it a latter day sign?  Or, as is the case in more Hebraic prophecy, is it a multi-faceted prophecy, with multiple realizations?  Bear in mind that Yesha’yahu’s woman had already given birth to a son.  Is it reasonable to assume that this prophetess mentioned in 8:3 is his woman, given that the Scripture says he went to her, and she conceived and bore a son? Of course it is.  Did she name her second born Immanu’el? No, she didn’t. 

Does the verse then refer to the woman giving birth, and not the son being born?  I believe the answer in both cases is: yes.

Let’s summarize our conclusion here.  Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 7:14 is likely referring to the name of the mother (whose identity appears first in the sentence) and not the infant son, inferring that her name is called Immanu’el.  This is backed by the second homophonic witness, that imma’nu’el would be our mother of EL.  Finally, the Greek word autou, being gender neutral, allows for the flexibility in the verse in Matthew to render the following interpretation: Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call her name Immanu’el, which being interpreted is: our EL is with me.

Radical, eh?  But doesn’t it answer so many questions?

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