Immanuel: What’s in a Name?

Immanuel is one of the most beautiful and deep Hebrew names. And yet it is uncommon in Israel today. The reason might have to do with Yeshua.

| Topics: Hebrew Names
Not many babies are named Immanuel. Could that have something to do with rabbinical opposition to the prophecies pointing to Yeshua?
Not many babies are named Immanuel. Could that have something to do with rabbinical opposition to the prophecies pointing to Yeshua? Photo: Pixabay

The name Immanuel, so significant and beautiful, is not common in Israel. I personally have known only one or two people with this moniker. I wonder why? The name has a wonderful meaning: “GOD IS WITH US.” It also sounds poetic to the ear – like singing. And so the question arises:

“Why is it not in common use in Israel?”

In my opinion, there is one main reason for this. As we know, this name is mentioned in the book of Isaiah:

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and you shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14 )

This is actually another name for Yeshua the Messiah. This name appears in Isaiah’s prophecy about the timing of Messiah’s birth to the young woman, the virgin Miriam. But in traditional Judaism they do not accept this interpretation, and in fact they do not accept Yeshua of Nazareth as the Messiah of Israel. The time for that has not yet come.

This, in my humble opinion, is the main reason that such a wonderful name with such deep meaning is not commonly used among our people, whereas in other cultures (France, Portugal, England, etc.) this name, even though it is in Hebrew, is very common.

And yet one can still find this name, here and there, in modern Israel and modern Jewish experience:

  • Immanuel – an Israeli local council located in the Judea and Samaria region.
  • Immanuel – the name of the first Hebrew naval ship during the settlement period at the end of the 19th century.
  • Beit Immanuel (Ramat Gan) – an urban cultural center in memory of the pilot Immanuel Rothstein, who was killed in the War of Independence.
  • Simcha Immanuel – Professor of Talmud at the Hebrew University.
  • David Immanuel – the first Jew to serve as the governor of a state in the USA (Georgia).
  • Beit Immanuel – a residential building for 12 families in the City of David in Jerusalem, in memory of Lt. Col. Immanuel Moreno, who was killed in the Second Lebanon War.

I believe that a person’s name has a direct effect on the mindset with which he walks in the world, and therefore I find this name to be simply beautiful, with a wonderful and deep meaning. To be called Immanuel is, in my eyes, like the privilege of being a messenger of God. And how we need more such messengers in our world today!

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2 responses to “Immanuel: What’s in a Name?”

  1. Taylor Sealy says:

    The article seems right to me, for what it is worth. I have wondered also how Isaiah’s prophecy about the name Immanuel matches Yeshua. I don’t know Hebrew but have noticed that there is a way in American English (more common in the past) of indicating that a person embodies a characteristic by saying “I am so ____, my ‘middle name’ is ____.” And fill in the blank with the characteristic. Maybe like Yeshua is so much “God with Us”, he will be called “God With Us”.?

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