Isaiah prophesied, “Behold, a virgin will be with child, and bear a son; and she will call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14, NASB) Matthew 1:23 adds the note of explanation, “…which translated, means, ‘God with us.'” (NASB)
A new chapter in the cosmos: The birth of Immanuel, “God with us.”
Luke 2 records the encounter between the heavenly and the mortal as Jesus’ birth was announced: “And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.” (Luke 2:9, NASB) According to The Message translation, “Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified.” (Luke 2:9) The New King James uses the phrase “greatly afraid,” while the Complete Jewish Bible also states “terrified.” Ditto the Holman Christian Standard translation.
The angels quickly stated, “Do not be afraid.” And even though the angels did a quick follow-up with saying they brought “good news of great joy which will be for all the people,” the plan unfolding before the shepherds was hidden from their eyes at that moment.
And I think that is part of where we live out “Immanuel, God with us.” He is always at work, always putting things into His proper order, defining and refining…and we just don’t see the plan unfolding before our eyes.
I came across an interesting article on the internet by Dr. Connie Williams, who is an author/teacher/motivational speaker/prophetic voice through Connie Williams International. I encourage you not to look at it as a draw-a-line-in-the-sand-and-
God amazed those shepherds – and subsequently the whole world – through appearing, living, breathing as Immanuel in the persona of Jesus. John 1:12 teaches, “There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:9-14, NASB)
Dr. Williams states that she heard “the Word of the Lord” saying, “This is not a season of judgment because I’ve finished judgment in Christ. So when you see the sinkholes, when you see the tsunamis, when you see the hurricanes, when you see the tornado, know…that the earth is reacting to the manifestation of the sons of God. Never have there been a people on the earth such as these before. They’re already here. All I am doing is awakening what I put in them…this is a wake-up call. Hear the alarm going off. It’s time to wake up. For this is the season of discovery; this is a season of revelation knowledge. This is not a season of arguing and running to and fro. This is a season that I will expose Myself as your God…Get ready for Me to show Myself in spite of you. And on your least day, watch Me heal the sick. On your day when you forgot to pray, watch Me raise the dead. Because in this season it’s not about you, it’s not about your shortcomings, it’s not about your rights and wrongs and what you could or should have done, this is My day…get ready for Me to revolutionize science as you have known it; even the science of astronomy as you have known it. Everything that has not reflected Me, get ready for Me to bring everything in line so that it reflects Me…”*
I have read this several times, now (and there is more, not quoted). I consider its content in view of the key phrases that bring Scriptures to my mind: For instance, the phrase “the earth is reacting to the manifestation of the sons of God”, bounces me to Romans 8:19, “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God…” (Romans 8:19-21, NASB)
Do I comprehend the full scope and ramifications of Romans 8:19-21? No. And I won’t try to convince you that I do.
When I read the above phrase, “it’s not about your rights and wrongs and what you could or should have done, this is My day….” I think of Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians: “blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…in love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself…I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe…”
Do I have a thorough handle on comprehending and explaining “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints”? No…and, again, I won’t try to convince you that I do.
What I will try to convince you is that I think the ongoing, here-and-now manifestation of “Immanuel, God with us” may extend far beyond an expectation of specific eschatology, far beyond the parameters of what we – a corporate “we” who live everyday lives of grocery shopping-going to work-and serving others where we can – have ever anticipated or, possibly, dared to dream. Dared to picture ourselves a part of.
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known…” (I Cor. 13:12)
This is my prayer, Lord….expand my mirror to see a bigger You…and let me recognize the things around me that are coming into agreement with the surpassing greatness of Your power toward us who believe….