What is the Meaning of 'Immanuel'


Immanuel is not a really common name.  The first  person that came to me with that name was the 18th century philosopher named Immanuel Kant.  Two others came to mind from the sports arenas.  Immanuel Quickley, playing basketball for the New Your knickerbockers.  Immanuel Sanders, a wide -receceiver for the Buffalo Bills.


In the Bible, Immanuel is a masculine Hebrew name meaning “God with us” or “God is with us.” 


There are alternate spelling of this word.  With the original text of the Bible not being in English, it must be translated.  Different English translations of the Bible use different translation processes.  The process that produces the different spelling is called transliteration.


Immanuel with an "I" is a transliteration of the original Hebrew word composed of “Immanu” (with us) and El (God).  In the New Testament Emmanuel with an "E" is a transliteration of the Greek "Emmanouel."  The first letter in the Greek is the letter “epsilon,” and become our letter ‘E’ when transliterated into English.


Let’s read the two verses, one from the O.T and one from the N.T.


Isaiah 7:14 NKJV


14    Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. 


Matthew 1:22-23 KJV


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.


If you were to investigate the Septuagint, Isaiah 7:14 shows this name starting with Epsilon.  The Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Old Testament. This process of translation occurred about 200 years before Christ.


Most of the modern Bible translations do render the N.T. verse beginning with the letter ‘I.”


Immanuel and Emmanuel may be translated as a name, but its biblical meaning goes much deeper.   Although it says in Isaiah 7:14 “thou shalt call his name Immanuel,” Mary and Joseph didn’t give their son that name.


Instead, they followed the directions given specifically to them in Matthew 1:21 (Joseph in a dream) and Luke 1:31 (Mary by the angel Gabriel) to name Him Jesus.


As seen in Matthew 1:23 above, the meaning of Immanuel is “God with us.”  The promised child was given the name of Jesus but was also Immanuel, God in the flesh.


God put Himself on display for us to know and understand Him through Jesus becoming Immanuel.


John 1:14 NKJV


14    And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.


For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6 NIV)


While it is true that in Jesus God was with us physically.  That lasted for a little more than thirty years.  But there is a time, promised by God, when He will be with us again, and this time it will last forever.