Drinking Deeply

Monday, January 09, 2006 at 5:17 PM

Immanuel - God with us (and against you)

I came across an interesting sequence of passages today and it blew me away. Looking at the prophecies about Immanuel, I always used it in a "comforter" term. "Do not fear, for God's name is Immanuel, God is with us." Indeed, that is one of the aspects of the name, but the other aspect is one that the text showed me today, namely that of God as warrior.

Isaiah 7:14;18
14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

18In that day the LORD will whistle for the fly that is at the end of the streams of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. 19And they will all come and settle in the steep ravines, and in the clefts of the rocks, and on all the thornbushes, and on all the pastures.
The prophecy. (Now, it's interesting to look at how the NT sees this prophecy vs. how the OT does. It is, I admit, something that I do not quite understand completely, but I will bypass that for now) God will be comfortor. He will call those from far away and they will live in areas previously uninhabitable. But then...

Isaiah 8:9-10
9Be broken, you peoples, and be shattered;
give ear, all you far countries;
strap on your armor and be shattered;
strap on your armor and be shattered.
10Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing;
speak a word, but it will not stand,
for God is with us.
God is with us... Does that remind us of something? "Immanuel" again! But what is the context this time? God is not just our comforter, but He is our warrior. He stands against the nations that plot in vain. They will be broken.

We see another echo of this in the prophecies of Isaiah 9, some of my favorite passages:

Isaiah 9:6-7
6For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

What is this? A promise of God's reign, a time of of peace established and upheld with justice and with righteousness. But what does it come with?

Isaiah 9:7-12.

8The Lord has sent a word against Jacob,
and it will fall on Israel;
9and all the people will know,
Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria,
who say in pride and in arrogance of heart:
10"The bricks have fallen,
but we will build with dressed stones;
the sycamores have been cut down,
but we will put cedars in their place."
11But the LORD raises the adversaries of Rezin against him,
and stirs up his enemies.
12The Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west
devour Israel with open mouth.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still.
A promise of judgment against all the unrighteous. A promise that God, though He is the prince of peace, is also a vengeful and angry God, that when He says His name will be called Immanuel, it means "God is with us" and it also implies that "God is against you."

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Blogger Doug E. said...

Great post! We must never both aspects. I am reminded of Revelation where Christ comes in all force to destroy evil.

God Bless,



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