Isaiah 7:14, Immanuel: Prophecy of Jesus?

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Kaleef K. Karim

Isaiah 7:13-16 is a passage which is quoted by Trinitarians a lot, they use it as evidence that it is a Prophecy of Jesus coming and that the child named (Immanuel) in the verse is “Divine.” Is the name “Immanuel” really a Prophecy of Jesus and is the child Divine? We shall find out as we read further.

Related Article:
Isaiah 9:6 Messiah God?

Isaiah 7:13-16 (NIV) 13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 15 He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, 16 for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.

From the above verse we can see:

  • Isaiah is frustrated and says he will give a “SIGN” to Ahaz.
  • We see the child will be born from a “Virgin” (Trinitarian translation).
  • The child that is to be born will be named “Immanuel.”
  • The child will learn to reject evil…. “boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right.”

I will deal with  Isaiah 7:13-16 in four sections as written above.

1. “Sign to Ahaz

What sort of  “SIGN” would it be to Ahaz when he will never see it? How can this Prophecy be of Jesus when he (Messiah) came 700 years after Ahaz? If I say “I will show you a sign.” Shouldn’t I show you the “sign” sooner or later, while you are still alive? How can this passage make any sense if Christian trinitarians say ‘this is a Prophecy of Jesus?’ The correct view that is regarded by majority of Scholars is that the “sign” was fulfilled at the time of Ahaz, while he was alive. It would make no sense whatsoever if the “SIGN” to Ahaz comes 700 years later while he is dead.

2 Does “Almah” mean “virgin?”

The word “Virgin” in the original Hebrew language means “bethulah” not “Almah.” Trinitarians don’t know what to do with that verse but to change the actual meaning and make it out as if this is a Prophecy of Jesus. The word in Hebrew used in Isaiah 7:15 is “Almah” and the literal meaning of it is “young marriageable woman” not “virgin.” There are some truthful Christian scholars now admitting that the word does not mean “virgin” and agree with the Jewish position that it means “young marriageable woman.” Let’s see what these Scholars have to say about the word “Almah.”

A) Theodore Gerald Soares PH.D. Professor of religious Education in University of Chicago comments on the Hebrew word “Almah”:

The meaning of Almah, translated “virgin” is not certain. Generally it seems to signify a young marriageable woman, but it is possibly used of those already married, as we should have a bride. The Septuagint several times translates the word Almah, “young woman” (Exodus, 2:8; Pss. 46:1; 68:26; Song of Songs, 1:30- 6:8). In none of these passages is the idea of virginity implied.[1]

B) Professor H. G. Mitchell says:

“Note Almah means: ‘the young woman of marriageable age’ (indefinite use of the article) i.e. “young woman.”[2]

c) Stebbins has the same view as Professor Mitchell:

“The word Almah means marriageable age, and not necessarily unmarried.”[3]

D) G. W. Wade, G. Woosung Wade (D.D., Hon. D.D., Wales) – Prof. of Latin and Lecturer in Hebrew, St. David’s College:

“a ‘virgin’ better, a (literally, the) ‘young woman.’ The Heb. Word ‘Almah’ seems etymologically to mean a girl of marriageable age, whether actually married or not.”[4]

E) English Biblical Scholar Arthur Samuel Peake, one of the most famous Christian Bible commentators comments on the word Almah:

“The rendering ‘virgin’ is unjustifiable; for this bethulah would have been use: the word here, ‘almah’ means young woman or marriageable age, without any suggestion that she is not married.”[5]

F) Progfessor Edward L. Curtis:

“His mother is indicated by a very indefinite term, i.e., ‘the young woman of marriageable age,’ for that is the strict meaning of the original.”[6]

G) Last but not least we have Reverend, Professor G. Buchanan who goes in detail explaining the Hebrew word ‘Almah’:

“Virgin: but this rendering is unquestionably, and is now generally admitted to be, unjustifiable. The word Almah is fem. Of, youth, which is used in 1 sam 17:56 20:22 and corresponds to ghalaam (Arabic), a derivative not from the root, to conceal, which seems to be known in Arabic, but from ghallam, to be lustful; Almah means a girl, or a young woman, above the age of childhood and sexual immaturity (in this being specific than the synonymous), a person of the age at which sexual emotion awakens and becomes potent; it asserts neither virginity to women who were as a matter of fact certainly (Gn 24:43, Ex 28), or probably (Ca 1:3 6:8, Ps 68:26), virgins. On the other hand, it is also used in Pr 30:19 where the marvels of procreation and embryology (cp. Ps 139:13-16, Ec 11:5) seem to be alluded to, and the corresponding term (or terms) is used in Aramaic of persons certainly NOT virgin[7]

What we learned is the word “Almah” does NOT mean “Virgin”, this is according to these highly respected Scholars, that have been quoted. According to them, they are harmoniously in agreement, that the Hebrew word “Almah”  means “young marriageable woman.”

3 Does the name “Immanuel” indicate the child will be Divine, a Prophecy of Jesus?

Now the name “Immanuel” according to Trinitarian view it means “God with us.” When they say that, what they mean is the “child is divine”, God Incarnate in other words. When we take a closer look “Immanuel” only means “God is with us”, in other words God will be with his people in time comfort, nothing to do with the “Child being Divine.” Now let’s turn our attention to these Scholars, mostly Christian, let us see what their view is on Isaiah 7:13-16, and who is it about i.e is it about Jesus or someone else?

A) Professor George S. Goodspeed writes:

“The appearance of the symbolical name of Immanuel in 7:14 and 8:18 is coexistent with the dark and desolate experiences of Assyrian invasion. “God is with us” not after these pass away.”[8]

Professor George mentions nothing about “Immanuel” being “God Incarnate” i.e a prophecy of Jesus. He makes it clear this is about the “Assyrian invasion.”

B) Professor C.R Brown says:

“The fact that Jehovah is sore displeased with Ahaz is based upon his wearing God, by occasioning him to exhaust all means for the recovery of the king’s loyalty, without success. The sign which the Lord gives, therefore, while pointing to relief from the allied armies, points also to distress from Assyria herself; hence the sign involves a threat as well as a promise. We now come to the Prophecy of Immanuel. It is to be remarked first, that the same name Hebrew consonants permit us to render, thou (Ahaz) shalt call, thou shalt call, or she is about to call… The Article in Isaiah 7:14, most naturally refers to some well-known woman, had in mind by both Isaiah and the royal house, and perhaps present when the words were spoken. This is made yet more probable by the individuality involved in the name Immanuel, and by the fact that the land of Judah is afterward called Immanuel’s Land (Isaiah 8:8)[9]

C) Reverend Professor Theodore Gerald Soares, D. D., University of Chicago:

“Isaiah uttered the striking oracle, 7:13-17. There is nothing to indicate that the sign which was to be given was the miraculous conception of a child. The oracle would have been the same if the prophet said, “behold, a maiden shall be married and shall bear a son.” Etc. The sign is in the name of the child, and in the political conditions occurring within the time of the child’s birth and growth.”[10]

D) Professor H.G Mitchell:

“Shall call,” etc., should be “will call,” i.e., when temporary deliverance from Rezin comes, mothers will think that Jehovah has espoused their cause and so “ will call” etc., “Immanuel,” is name which describes not the child but the condition of the land at the time when the name is given i.e., not “God with us,” but “God is with us”[11]

E) Stebbins says:

“The common objection made to referring this Prophecy to Christ is, that a child to be born seven hundred years afterward could be no sign to Ahaz that Jerusalem would not be taken by the approaching army.

Stebbins goes further & writes:

“what then was this sign? It was, that a young female there present should bear a son, and that before he should have learned to choose the good and refuses the evil, the land of Syria and Israel, over which Rezin and Pekah ruled should become desolate; be overcome by the enemy and their kingdoms destroyed. Such is the obvious meaning of this Prophecy. [12]

F) Biblical Scholar Arthur Samuel Peake’s commentary:

“10-17 The sign of Immanuel- This incident probably took place only a few days after the foregoing, before Ahaz had publicly committed himself to his policy. Isaiah’s words which are loaded with cultic overtones are reminiscent of a dusnastic oracle. Indicating a young woman, possibly among the company present, certainly known to them, he decales that she is pregnant and will soon bear a son who will be named Immanuel (‘God is with us’). Probably the young woman was one of the wives of the king… The name Immanuel means ‘God is with us’ not ‘God with us’; there is no reference in it to an incarnation of God.”[13]

G) W.R.F. Browning comments on Isaiah 7, Prophecy of Immanuel:

Emmanuel: The greek transliteration of the Hebrew Immanuel- ‘God with us’- and used by Matt 1:23 when quoting Isa 7:14. The name was a sign given by the prophet to king*Ahaz in 734BCE and was part of his warning not to put his trust in *Assyria as a defence against the combined forces of *Syria and Israel who were threatening *Judah. They would be destroyed before the child to be called Immanuel shortly to be born to a young woman (the Hebrew word in Isaiah 7:14 does not necessarily denote a virgin) would be old enough to discern the difference between *good and evil*. The sign being offered by Isaiah was thus of an assurance of the protecting power of God at a dangerous moment.[14]

H) Reverend G. Buchanan:

The promise is that within a few weeks, or days even, God’s act of deliverance will be in every one’s mouth. The alternative rendering ‘shall be with child and bring forth,’ would postpone the deliverance for the best part of a year, whereas the narrative seems to suggest that Isaiah expected it at once.—‘And shall call his name’ MT rightly punctuates and unusual form of the 3rd pers. Fem.: the child is to receive his name in the ordinary way, viz. From his mother: see Hastings, DB iii.480b; prophets who wished to use their children’s names as signs naturally availed themselves of the less usual naming by the father… ‘Thou shalt call would, of course, imply that the child was to be a son of Ahaz.[15]

What we see from most of the Scholars quoted, they all unanimously agree Isaiah 7:13-16 is not a Prophecy of Jesus. Secondly they all agreed that the Child that was to be born i.e “Immanuel” was not Divine. This was a Prophecy of Ahaz that was fulfilled already in Ahaz lifetime not 700 years later.

(4) “Immanuel” will have to know what is wrong and right and grow up to reject evil?

This is the last section I am going to deal with. When ever a Trinitarian quotes Isaiah 7, thee so-called Prophecy of Jesus, they quote verses 13,14 and the beginning of verse 15 “He will be eating curds and honey” and they stop. Why do they always do that? There is something special in the verses after, you will see as you read further. Here is the passage:

Isaiah 7:15 He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, 16 for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.

So “God” (Immanuel according to Christians is Yahweh) has to learn what is good and evil? Let’s get over it again shall we. God who created the heavens and the earth has to grow up like any ordinary kid and he has to learn between wrong and right? Does that make any sense at all, to say “God will grow up” and God will be a boy who will have to learn about right and wrong, good and bad? So in other words God doesn’t know the difference between what is good and bad, he has to learn? Ridiculous, blasphemy! We now know why the Christian trinitarians hide the verses and never quote it. It is perfectly clear if anyone with common sense who reads these verses will see that Isaiah 7:13-16 does not in any way indicate anything about the Child (Immanuel) being Divine nor is it a Prophecy of Jesus.
Here is parallel Translations for passage 15-16:

New International Version (©2011)
He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.

New Living Translation (©2007)
By the time this child is old enough to choose what is right and reject what is wrong, he will be eating yoghurt and honey, for before the child is that old, the lands of the two kings you fear so much will both be deserted.

English Standard Version (©2001)
He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, for before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted.

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
“He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good, for before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken.

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, for before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)
By the time he learns to reject what is bad and choose what is good, he will be eating butter and honey, for before the boy knows to reject what is bad and choose what is good, the land of the two kings you dread will be abandoned.

International Standard Version (©2012)
He’ll eat cheese and honey, when he knows enough to reject what’s wrong and choose what’s right. However, before the youth knows enough to reject what’s wrong and choose what’s right, the land whose two kings you dread will be devastated.”

NET Bible (©2006)
He will eat sour milk and honey, which will help him know how to reject evil and choose what is right. Here is why this will be so: Before the child knows how to reject evil and choose what is right, the land whose two kings you fear will be desolate.

GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)
He will eat cheese and honey until he knows how to reject evil and choose good. Indeed, before the boy knows how to reject evil and choose good, the land of the two kings who terrify you will be deserted.

King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
Curds and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, for before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that you dread shall be forsaken by both her kings.

American King James Version
Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, 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.

American Standard Version
Butter and honey shall he eat, when he knoweth to refuse the evil, and choose the good, for before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land whose two kings thou abhorrest shall be forsaken.


Conclusion:
1. Isaiah gave a “sign” to Ahaz and it was fulfilled during the lifetime of Ahaz while he was still alive not 700 years after as I stated earlier.

2. The word “virgin” that is used by most hard-headed Christian Trinitarians has also been answered in detail. According to all them (the Scholars I quoted), they unanimously agreed “Almah” does not mean “virgin.” The word for “virgin” in Hebrew is “Bethulah” not “Almah.” They all quite clearly stated that the Hebrew word “Almah” means “young marriageable woman” not “virgin.”

3. The amount of quotes I used for Isaiah 7:13-16 by the Scholars, again agreed that this could not be a Prophecy of Jesus, instead it was a Prophecy that was fulfilled at the time Ahaz.

4. I went over Isaiah 7:15-16 that it could not be a Prophecy of Jesus, since verses 15-16 mention that  “Immanuel” (God according to Christians) has to learn what is good and bad and learn to refuse evil. Doesn’t God already know these things? I will let you decide. In the verses it is mentioned that they will “name him Immanuel.” How come Jesus was never called by the name “Immanuel” in his life time? Where did his mother or step father, disciples who knew him best, ever call him by the name “Immanuel?” Again it is evident that this could not be a Prophecy of Jesus.

References:

[1]Theodore Gerald Soares, The Biblical World Volume 23, No. 6, page 477
[2]
H. G. Mitchell The Old and New Testament Student Volume 12, No. 6, page 377
[3]
R. P. Stebbins. Journal of the Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis. volume 5. page 80-82
[4]
G. W. Wade. The Book of the Prophet Isaiah. page 48
[5]
Arthur Samuel Peake. A commentary on the Bible page 442
[6]
Edward L. Curtis. The Old and New Testament Student. Vol. 11, No. 5. page 278
[7]
professor of Hebrew Reverend G. Buchanan. The international critical commentary on the Holy scripture of the Old and New Testament, page 127
[8]
George S. Goodspeed The Biblical World Volume 9, Page 198
[9]
C.R. Brown. Journal of Biblical Literature. Exegesis of Isaiah Volume 9, No.1. page 121-123.
[10]
Theodore Gerald Soares. The Biblical World: volume 23 number 6. page 418
[11]
H.G Mitchell The Old and New Testament Student Volume 12, No. 6, page 377
[12]
R. P. Stebbins Journal of the Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis. Volume 5, page 80-82
[13]
Arthur Samuel Peake. A commentary on the Bible page 442
[14]
W.R.F. Browning. Dictionary of the Bible page 115
[15]
Reverend. G. Buchanan, The international critical commentary on the Holy scripture of the Old and New Testament page 127

 

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19 Responses »

  1. //Emmanuel will have to know wright and wrong//

    My friend the missionaries didn’t write the New Testament books so don’t accuse them of NT writings.
    If your a problem understanding the incarnation you probably won’t understand the growth of Jesus on earth from a baby to an older boy then to a man. Did you also expect him to know how to speak immediately after birth since God knows how to speak already?

    • Hi Costar

      Since he is GOD-INCARNATE, why does God (Jesus) have to learn what is good and bad, when he knows already?? Or does it make more sense and agree with me that the passage NO WAY is a Messianic Prophecy?

      • Jesus was 100% God and 100% Man. Jesus needed to be brought up in the same statues and decretes as any jewish child to be accepted by the jews. They are very strict with their own culture and he need to follow their custums. Since he was 100% Man he need to follow exactly what any man goes through since chilbirth. Does it makes sense that a baby knows how to speak before developing the muscles of his jaw. Therefore he needed to also learn good from bad to understand us humans! This is why the Bible states in Hebrew 4:15- For we do not have a high priest who is unabe to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way just as we are but with out sin.

  2. This prophecy is still sealed. The prophecy was given in the time of king Ahaz but was not for that time and was not for him. This prophecy is only given to the house of Judah. Divine speech which is sealed with two signs given to Isaiah. These two signs are the two olive trees seen by Zechariah in his visions. This prophecy is not a dual fulfillment or a child birth. The prophecy is a coronation.

  3. ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.’ The angle who came to Mary whilst she was awake (Luke), and the angle who appeared in Joseph’s dream (Matthew) asked that the child be named Jesus. Why would they ask the child be named Jesus if the child was supposed to be Immanuel of the seven hundred ‘sealed’ prophecy? Did Mary ever call him Immanuel? Why would anyone refer to Immanuel as ‘the Son of God’ when he should be God?
    15 ‘He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right,’ Did this apply to Jesus?
    16 ‘for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.’ Did this take place in the time of Jesus?

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