14th Day of Advent
13And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? 14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
This passage is one that is debated among scholars over the proper word for “virgin” that was intended in the original language. But beyond debates about linguistics, there is another scholarly debate about the proper interpretation of the passage. Some hold that the passage has a double reference—in effect two different meanings, one for Isaiah’s contemporaries and another related to the birth of Christ some 700 years later. Others believe that the birth of Christ is the only meaning intended by Isaiah.
The footnote on this text in the ESV Study Bible offers this excellent summation:
“Faithful interpreters can be found on either side of this debate. One should not, therefore, lose sight of those truths on which all agree: the prophet speaks authoritatively for God; Ahaz and his house stand under judgment; the prophetic sign directly meets the failures of Ahaz’s day; fulfillment of the prophecy comes about through direct divine intervention in human history; and the sign finds its final fulfillment in the virgin birth of Jesus the Messiah, who is literally, God with us.”
“Immanuel… God with us.” This is both a present fact and a future promise. I hope that this Advent season you will spend some time meditating and reflecting on the weight of the name “Immanuel”. God sent His Son to be with us. God dwells among His people! This was a magnificent promise when Jesus was born and it is a promise we cling to today as we look forward to Christ’s return.
“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” – Revelation 22:20
Questions to Ponder
- How can you spend time in praise today that God is with you and present?
- How does “God with us” give us hope for the 2nd coming of Christ?