God with us: Jesus and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

One of the most overt references to the divine identity of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew is the fact that his name is “Emmanuel,” God with us. Christ’s “with-ness” is reinforced at the end of the Gospel when He tells His disciples: “Lo I am with you always to the very end of the age.” This “Emmanuel” language, I would argue, has significant roots in the OT and identifies Jesus with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. A brief search for the phrase “I am with you” in the OT produced the following results:

(Gen 26:24 ESV) And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham’s sake.”

(Gen 28:15 ESV) Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

(Isa 41:10 ESV) fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

(Isa 43:5 ESV) Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.

(Jer 1:8 ESV) Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD.”

(Jer 1:19 ESV) They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the LORD, to deliver you.”

(Jer 15:20 ESV) And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, declares the LORD.

(Jer 30:11 ESV) For I am with you to save you, declares the LORD; I will make a full end of all the nations among whom I scattered you, but of you I will not make a full end. I will discipline you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.

(Jer 42:11 ESV) Do not fear the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid. Do not fear him, declares the LORD, for I am with you, to save you and to deliver you from his hand.

(Jer 46:28 ESV) Fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the LORD, for I am with you. I will make a full end of all the nations to which I have driven you, but of you I will not make a full end. I will discipline you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.”

(Hag 1:13 ESV) Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke to the people with the LORD’s message, “I am with you, declares the LORD.”

(Hag 2:4 ESV) Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the LORD. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the LORD. Work, for I am with you, declares the LORD of hosts,

(Mat 28:20 ESV) And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Notice especially the similarity between Matthew 28:20 and Gen. 28:15. I don’t have my LXX handy to do a comparison of the Greek (if anyone knows of an online LXX let me know), but I would almost bet that the similarities are there in the Greek too. Surely it is no coincidence that Jesus speaks like YHWH when He says: “Lo, I am with you…”

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About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
This entry was posted in Divine Identity. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to God with us: Jesus and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

  1. Kristofer says:

    Use the Online Bible, available at http://www.onlinebible.net/downloads.html.

    Then download the extra versions (including Greek, Hebrew, Latin, etc.) at http://www.onlinebible.net/bibles.html.

    It typically opens up with the AV. Right click in the AV tab, then select Open/Close Alternate Versions.

    You can add a variety of other study helps too, virtually all free. A lot of the helps are Reformed, but those are easily identified and ignored.

  2. Pr. John A. Frahm says:

    Good observation.

    The NIV does a disservice with the translation “surely”. “Idou” isn’t surely, it is “look” or “see” or “behold.”

    The spoken and sacramental gospel has a location. Kleinig has a great article on God’s self-localization in the Old Testament as a continuing modus operandi in the New. The “idou” of Matthew 28 points us to the apostolic mandates (means of grace/marks of the church) whereby Christ is with us always to the very end of the age in a concrete way. Much more than “May the force be with you.”

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