Isaiah 7:14 – Therefore [Jehovah]* Himself giveth to you a sign, Lo, the Virgin is conceiving, And is bringing forth a son, And hath called his name Immanuel. (Note: The Great Isaiah Scroll has the holy name in Isaiah 7:14)
Isaiah 8:8 – and it shall sweep onward into Judah; it shall overflow and pass through; it shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of its wings shall fill the breadth of your land, Immanuel.
Matthew 1:23 – “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son. They shall call his name Immanuel;” which is, being interpreted, “God with us.”
This scripture is evidently cited by trinitarians and oneness believers because it has the name, Immanuel, and since Matthew applies the statement in Isaiah 7:14 to Jesus, and since the name Immanuel means “God is with us”, it is being imagined and assumed that this is proof that Jesus is Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the only Most High. Trinitarians would further imagine and assume that two persons of their alleged triune God are being spoken of in Isaiah 7:14, one who is the alleged “first person” of their alleged triune God, and another who is the alleged “second person” of their alleged triune God.
Of course, simply bearing the name expressing that “God is with us” does not mean that the one bearing that name is the God that the name declares is with us. The bearer of any name in which God is declared as being or doing something does not mean that the bearer of the name is God who is being declared by those names as being or doing whatever is being spoken of. Many in the Old Testament bore names that declared God as being or doing something, and no one thinks to apply the meaning of the name to the bearer so as to make the bearer of the name into God who is declared to as being or doing by the name.
In other words, for example, the name “Jehu” means “He is Jah” or “Jah is He.” Does that mean the man who bore the name Jehu is, in reality, Jehovah? Likewise with the name Eliathath, which means “God has come”. Are we to think that Eliathath is God Almighty because of the name given to him? We can look at another name, “Elnathan”, meaning “God has given”; does it mean that the bearer of this name is God who does the giving? When Abraham called the place where he sacrificed the ram “Jehovah-jireh”, meaning “Jehovah will provide”, was he saying that the place was Jehovah Himself? Did the name Daniel, meaning “Judgment of God”, mean that Daniel was God?
The name “Immanuel”, however, is not the personal name of Jesus, for the scriptures as translated by most translations show that personal name in English as “Jesus”, meaning “Jah saves” or “Jah is savior”. The name “Jesus” attributes salvation to the God and Father of Jesus. Likewise, the name “Immanuel” is a titular name, not the personal name of the one being spoken of being born.
Why should Immanuel be a name given to Jesus? Because by means of Jesus, God is with his people. How so? The scriptures tell us in Acts 10:38; “How God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” Here “God” is depicted as one doing the anointing of Jesus, and is said to be with Jesus. (See Isaiah 61:1) If God was with Jesus, then, through Jesus, God was with his people. Bearing the titular name Immanuel does not mean that Jesus was his God who was with Jesus.
Additionally, Isaiah 8:8 is speaking of Sennacherib, a king of Assyria, would “pass through Judah.” This prophecy refers to
King Sennacherib, for Tiglath-pileser, who slew Pekah and Rezin, did not pass through Judah. Through Isaiah, the people of Judah were told that Jehovah would take care of them and they were not even to defend themselves. The army of Sennacherib did come to Judah. After prophesying about Tiglath-pileser, Isaiah abruptly starts to prophesy about Sennacherib and uses the same language. Sennacherib would overflow into Judah; in fact, he flooded the land almost to the capital (“the neck”), and there he had his spokesman call up to the people, “You had better give in and submit peaceably because your God is not able to defend you.” Isaiah counseled the people not to worry, for God would fight the battle. King Sennacherib was likened to a tremendous bird such as an eagle or a vulture. So large was the bird that “the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy [Immanuel’s] land.” To those hearing the prophecy in Isaiah’s day, “Immanuel” was Judah. The land of Judah was pictured as a person, the neck or head being Jerusalem. The name “Immanuel” depicts how God was with Judah. Judah was delivered from Sennacherib not by battle instruments but by Jehovah’s destroying angel in one night. Thus God was with Judah in that God fought for Judah. Thus, the name Immanuel as used in Isaiah 8:8 is speaking of God being with his people, that his favor and strength was with his people so as to deliver his people, not that God was a man dwelling amongst the people.
Outside the Bible, we cannot say for sure whether in any baby in Bible times was ever name “Immanuel” or not. We know that in later Jewish history, several have held the name Immanuel, without any thought that the bearer of the name was God Almighty.
For further study, see: