“Behold, the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel” (which means, “God with us”). Matt 1:23

Some consider this passage is a proof that Jesus is God.

What are the reasons for this considering the same title is given to a child named Maher-shalal-hash-baz (Is. 8:3) and he wasn't God.

Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Is 7:14

  • Excellent question. I'm tired of people using this verse out of context to teach that Jesus is God when the original application was that God was with them through a child born hundreds of years before Jesus. Certainly no NT author used Mat. 1:23 to claim Jesus was almighty God. Commented Dec 7, 2020 at 15:59
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    @JesusSaves - Matthew re-purposes the quote from Isaiah and then translates it in a very provocative way, using "ho theos". As to the use of Matt 1:23 in the NT, that is a moot point because Jesus was NEVER addressed by the title, "Immanuel".
    – Dottard
    Commented Dec 7, 2020 at 21:05
  • Firstly those are two different prophecies and two different names. Secondly the child to be born is called God (Elohim Gibbor) “For 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.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭9:6‬ none of these were assigned to Isaiah’s son. Thirdly a second witness the child was God “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from olam.” ‭‭Micah‬ ‭5:2‬ Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 19:30

3 Answers 3


Both of these quotes are not proof that Jesus is G-d חלילה. Both quotes when read in context are perfectly clear.

The Immanuel quote is clearly talking about some event in time the prophet lived when read in context. It says "For before the child knows to reject the bad and choose the good, the ground whose two kings you dread shall be abandoned." (Isaiah 7:16). Furthermore, the name Immanuel means "G-d is with us" as in "G-d is on our side," not "G-d has become a human and physically dwells with us" חלילה. This verse was somehow bent by "Matthew" into a Christology of claiming that it somehow refers to the messiah being born of a virgin, when the quote has nothing to do with a virgin or the messiah.

This one was chosen over Maher-shalal-hash-baz for several reasons, the first being that the name Immanuel "G-d is with us" can easier be manipulated into the desired Christology than the name Maher-shalal-hash-baz "Hurry to the spoils." Furthermore, Maher-shalal-hash-baz is clearly not born of a virgin, which was "Matthew"'s desired claim as the previous verse says "I was intimate with the Prophetess [...]" (Isaiah 8:3).

  • We cannot suggest Matthew has misspoken, but rather we have misappropriated the text to, as you say, make it to fit a constructed paradigm. Thx for your input. Clearly there are parallels, but these should not be extrapolated to fit a human schema.
    – Steve
    Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 4:39
  • @user48152 We can be entirely sure that Matthew is incorrect. We have the documents to prove it. Matthew made the mistake of using "fulfillment citations" and because all of these "fulfillment citations" were either not related to the messiah or not fulfilled by jesus. He also sometimes makes up quotes that don't exist such as the "and he shall be called a nazarene." Furthermore, we see that when he misreads the Hebrew bible he makes jesus do something strange, like riding on two donkeys. Had he not used so many fulfillment citations, it would be more difficult to prove Matthew wrong.
    – aefrrs
    Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 0:14

I believe that in order to understand the correct meaning in any writing, the way that we read to the minute attention to details is very important. So, I think the key to understand Matt. 1:23 should focus on the phrase, “... THEY WILL CALL Him ...” that describes that Jesus is the NT temple (John 2:21; Col. 2:9; Heb. 9:11-12) from heaven in which the invisible God who IS Spirit and therefore incorporeal and omnipresent (John 4:24; Colossians 1:15) dwelt among His people as prophesied in Isa. 7:14. Please note that the phrase in Isa. 7:14 saying, “the ... woman ..., ... SHALL CALL his name ...” is consistent with Matt. 1:23. I believe that using Matt. 1:23 to say “Jesus is God” is out of the writer’s intent.


The answer to this question is as important as it is subtle.

In Hebrew, the title, "God", or "el" in this case, does not apply exclusively to YHWH. There are other examples where ordinary humans would (unblasphemously) be given the title such as:

  • Ex 4:16 - He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him.
  • Ex 7:1 - Then the LORD said to Moses, "See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.
  • Ex 21:6 - then his master must take him before the judges (אֱלהִים = god/s). He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.
  • Ex 22:8 - But if the thief is not found, the owner of the house must appear before the judges (אֱלהִים = god/s), and they must determine whether the owner of the house has laid hands on the other person's property.
  • Judges 5:8 - God chose new leaders (אֱלהִים = god/s) when war came to the city gates, but not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel.
  • 1 Sam 28:13 - The king said to her, "Don't be afraid. What do you see?" The woman said, "I see a ghostly figure (אֱלהִים = god/s, Samuel here) coming up out of the earth."
  • Ps 8:5 - You have made them [mankind] a little lower than the angels (אֱלהִים = god/s) and crowned them with glory and honor.
  • Ps 82:1 - God presides in the divine assembly; He renders judgment among the gods [= angels??]
  • Ps 82:6, 7 - I have said, ‘You are gods; you are all sons of the Most High.’ But like mortals you will die, and like rulers you will fall.”
  • Ps 138:1 - I give You thanks with all my heart; before the gods [= angels??] I sing Your praises.
  • Isa 7:14 - All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). NLT

Now, Greek is different. There are no cases in the NT Koine Greek where a human or even an angel is ever called (unblasphemously) "God". Further, Acts 10:25, 26, Rev 19:10, 22:8, 9, etc, all show that men and angels were never to be considered gods and should not be worshiped. [Yes, there are other texts about "not gods at all" (Acts 19:26, Gal 4:8, 1 Cor 5:10, 8:4, 7) and people wrongly making a "god of the stomach" (Phil 3:19), and about false gods of idols, etc - but that is the point - they are all false gods.]

Now, as Daniel Wallace correctly points out (GGBB), the Greek use of the article is important to understand. His flow-chart on page 231 makes this abundantly clear. If the the article is not anaphoric (it cannot be at Matt 1:23 because theos is the first instance in Matthew) and the person is the only one in its class, then the article is "Monadic" - denotes the supreme and only case.

Now, Matt 1:23 uses the phrase, describing Jesus, "ὁ Θεός" = ho theos = THE God. This further reflects Isaiah's later prophecy, discussing Messiah, in Isa 9:6 -

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

[Compare Isa 10:21 where the same Hebrew phrase, "mighty God" is used to describe YHWH.]

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 4:25

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