(Hebrew: God with us)
A title of the Messias in a series of prophecies (Isaias 7:1 to 9:7) delivered during the reign of King Achaz of Juda (735-727 B.C.).
Achaz seeks salvation from the danger presented by the war with Rasin, King of Syria, and Phacee, King of Northern Israel, in an alliance with the Assyrians.
Isaias in a first oracle inculcates the doctrine that in Jehovah, but in Him alone, salvation is to be found, and declares that lack of trust in Him will involve disaster: "If you will not believe, you shall not continue."
In another oracle, the Prophet offers to give any sign of God's protection that Achaz may ask.
The king, who is an idolater, does not deny Jehovah's power to work a miracle, but is doubtless equally convinced of the power of the gods of Assyria; he hypocritically refuses to "tempt the Lord."
Then God, through His prophet, gives a sign, which is not, as many have thought, the birth of Emmanuel, but the devastation of Juda.
When the House of David sees the country overrun, first by the Syrians and the Israelites of the north and then by those very Assyrians in whom they place their trust, then they will be reminded of Isaias's teaching that "salvation is in Jehovah."
With the prediction of the enemy's invasion, Isaias connects the prediction of the salvation which shall come through Emmanuel; he is not, however, enlightened as regards the date of the birth of Emmanuel.
He has a vision of the Virgin "conceiving and bringing forth a son"; he sees Him growing up in the midst of the poverty brought on by Achaz's wicked course, but he does not say that He will be born in the near future.
In Isaias 8, the name of Emmanuel evokes the assurance of final victory for His land; in Isaias 9, He is given names which are really applicable only to a king who is at the same time God.
Here at least Isaias seems to have a glimpse of the truth of the Incarnation.
New Catholic Dictionary