Summary: The only time that Jesus is called, "Immanuel" is here in Matthew 1:23. The name Immanuel, gives us insight into who was Jesus.

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Matthew 1:23

The only time that Jesus is called, "Immanuel" is here in Matthew 1:23. The name Immanuel, gives us insight into who was Jesus. He was God with us. In Jesus Christ, God is among us. He is walking in our midst! John said, "and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). The eternal son of God, who had glory with the Father, in eternity past, who created the world, humbled Himself, took the form of a bond-servant, and was made in the likeness of men (John 17:5; Col. 1:16; Phil. 2:7).

As a result of becoming like a man, God did what He could never do if He never left His heavenly abode. He could never have fulfilled the whole law (1 Pet. 2:22). He could never have offered His own blood for our sins (Heb. 9:11-12). He could never became our great high priest (Heb. 5:1), because high priests are taken from among men.

There are various reasons given for the necessity of the virgin birth. The virgin birth was necessary to create a sinless man. Jesus is described as "the holy child” in Luke 1:35. The fact Jesus was described, as “the holy child" may refer to His sinlessness, or simply that He was set apart for a purpose. This theory seems to indicate that the father transmits sin to his offspring, while the mother contributes nothing. This is not Biblical.

There is the claim the virgin birth was necessary to prevent Jesus from cohabitating with a soul that would have been created at conception. The difficulty with this understanding is that the Bible is relatively silent with respect to when human souls come into existence. It has also been claimed the virgin birth was simply a demonstration of Jesus’ supernatural character from the start of His earthly existence. From the day of His conception in the womb of Mary, it was plain that Jesus was no mere man, but rather, the God-man, who would be the Messiah.

In the genealogy we find a reason why the virgin birth was necessary, verse 11. “Josiah was the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.” Another name for for Jeconiah was Jehoiachin, who was the last king in Judah before Babylon came and exiled the nation. God’s judgment came upon him as a result of the apostasy of Judah. God said, "even though Jeconiah, the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah were a signet ring on My right hand, yet I would pull you off; and I shall give you over into the hand of those who are seeking your life, yes, into the hand of those whom you dread, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans" (Jeremiah 22:24, 25). In verse 30 it is written, "Write this man down childless, A man who will not prosper in his days; for no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah.” Jeconiah had other sons and daughters, as the genealogy in Matthew indicates, "and to Jeconiah was born Shealtiel" (Matthew 1:12). Yet, this man was to be considered childless. None of his offspring would sit on the throne of David.

How could Jesus sit upon the throne if a descendent of Jeconiah was prohibited from sitting on the throne? God promised David He would give to him a lamp through his sons always (2 Kings 8:19).

If the sinfulness of a king wasn’t sufficient to nullify the promise of God to David, is the sin of Judah as a nation sufficient to nullify the promise? How could God be faithful to both of these promises? Jesus was from the royal line of David, through Joseph. Yet, he was not from the blood of Joseph. He was from the blood of Mary. This genealogy in Matthew indicates the legal, royal line, into which Jesus was born. If we are right, the genealogy in Luke indicates the actual blood-line of Jesus, which shows Him to be of the line of David, though not through Jeconiah, whose offspring were prohibited from ever sitting on the throne of David. The virgin birth is the only way to overcome this curse.

In Matthew 1:21 we find another reason for the virgin birth, "you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins." In the message from the throne of God to Joseph two names are given to Jesus. In verse 21, His name will be Jesus, for He will save. In verse 23, His name will be Immanuel, for He is God with us. Jesus was given the name, Immanuel, to represent His being, God with us. The name Jesus, represents his purpose, God saves.

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