Immanuel – 2 Nephi 17:14-16

14 Therefore, the Lord himself shall give you a sign—Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil and to choose the good.
16 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.
(2 Nephi 17:14-16, Isaiah 7:14-16)

Before quoting thirteen consecutive chapters from the book of Isaiah, Nephi explained why he chose to include these chapters in his book: “My soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ,” he wrote. “And now I write some of the words of Isaiah, that whoso of my people shall see these words may lift up their hearts and rejoice for all men” (2 Nephi 11:4, 8).

If Nephi’s purpose in quoting these chapters was to prove that Jesus is the Christ so that we can be filled with joy, then we ought to ask ourselves while we read, “How do these words increase my faith in Jesus Christ.

In the passage above, Isaiah introduced a name for the Savior which has great significance. Like many of Isaiah’s prophecies, this one has multiple meanings. The immediate purpose of the prophecy was to calm the fears of King Ahaz and his people (the kingdom of Judah), by reassuring them that God was with them, and within a few short years, the two kingdoms that currently threatened them—Israel and Syria—would no longer be a threat to them. The name of the child in the prophecy, “Immanuel,” means “God with us” in Hebrew (Guide to the Scriptures, “Immanuel“).

For Christians, this prophecy has a deeper significance, pointing to the birth of the Son of God 700 years later. We know Him by many names, each of which emphasizes an aspect of His mission:

  • Christ and Messiah (“The Anointed One“) emphasize the fact that He was chosen by His Father to make salvation possible for us. (See Russell M. Nelson, “Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives,” General Conference, April 2017, footnote 3).
  • Jehovah (“I Am”) emphasizes His eternal existence, and reminds us that He is the God referred to most frequently in the Old Testament.
  • Immanuel (“God with us”) reminds us that He is intimately aware of each of us and is willing and able to heal us and help us overcome the challenges we face.

In 2017, after studying everything Jesus said and did that is recorded in the standard works, President Russell M. Nelson taught us three things we can do to invite the power of the Savior into our lives:

  1. Learn about Him. “The more we know about the Savior’s ministry and mission—the more we understand His doctrine and what He did for us—the more we know that He can provide the power that we need for our lives.”
  2. Have confidence in Him. “True disciples of Jesus Christ are willing to stand out, speak up, and be different from the people of the world. They are undaunted, devoted, and courageous.”
  3. Reach up to Him. “When you reach up for the Lord’s power in your life with the same intensity that a drowning person has when grasping and gasping for air, power from Jesus Christ will be yours…. When you spiritually stretch beyond anything you have ever done before, then His power will flow into you” (“Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives,” General Conference, April 2017)

Today, I will remember the significance of the name “Immanuel.” I will remember that Jesus Christ is not only the Creator of the Universe but is also aware of my needs and willing to help and heal me as soon as I choose to reach out to Him and receive His power.

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