O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Saturday, December 1, AD 2012


Something for the weekend.  Tomorrow Advent gets under way and to rush it a bit we have my favorite version of O Come O Come Emmanuel, which has always sounded to me as if a group of Zealots were singing it.  Emmanuel or Immanuel, “God With Us”, comes from the seventh chapter of Isaiah:

10  And the Lord spoke again to Achaz, saying:

 11  Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God either unto the depth of hell, or unto the height above.

 12  And Achaz said: I will not ask, and I will not tempt the Lord.

  13  And he said: Hear ye therefore, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to be grievous to men, that you are grievous to my God also?

  14  Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel.  

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6 Responses to O Come, O Come Emmanuel

  • Great message Donald.

  • Thank you Philip and have a happy Advent.


    Into Bethlehem, the city of bread – Our Savior came.
    For the Eucharist, bread of life is yet another name.
    He lay in a manger that gives animals food for life.
    In a bitter cold cave, life began in intended strife.

    Heavenly angels came to proclaim to shepherds great joy,
    and announce the birth of Our Savior as a baby boy.
    Shepherds were overcome by awe and associated fear.
    Fear gave in to joy for the glorious sounds they could hear.

    Power and might of the heavenly host calmed shepherd’s fears.
    They were truly assured that God was indeed very near.
    Many said let us go so we can view this divine sight.
    They were in awe of Mother and Child in glorious light.

    For their humility they were God’s most honored choices,
    to be privileged as first to hear the heralds’ voices.
    Three wise men were proceeding on a journey from afar.
    They were promised to be guided by a special bright star.

    The sight of wondrous displays were such a heavenly cue,
    so that everyone would then understand worship was due.
    The world has surely strayed so far from the message heard,
    it has never had a greater need for the Incarnate Word.

    Bob Rowland

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  • “No matter how desperate our situation in this world, God is with us. Nations rise and fall, triumphs and disasters come our way, and through it all God is with us. That is the great meaning of Advent.”

    Thank you,Donald, for this powerful Post and the Hymns.

  • Thank you Mary and have a happy Advent!

Messianic Prophecies: Isaiah 7: 11-16 and 9: 1-7

Saturday, December 3, AD 2011

Something for the weekend.  Lo How a Rose Ere Blooming.  Continuing on with our Advent examination of major Messianic prophecies, we come to Isaiah 7: 11-16:

11 Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the  depth, or in the height above.

12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.

13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?

14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and 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 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.

and Isaiah 1-7:

1Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.

2The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

3Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.

4For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.

5For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.

6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Saint Cyril of Alexandria commented upon this passage:

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6 Responses to Messianic Prophecies: Isaiah 7: 11-16 and 9: 1-7

  • With all due respect to St. Cyril of Alexandria, is there any reason why this prophecy could not refer BOTH to the birth of Hezekiah and to the birth of Christ?

    The mother of Hezekiah would have been a young unmarried woman — which in that culture was normally synonymous with being a virgin — at the time. Isaiah was saying that by the time the son she would eventually have with King Ahaz had reached the age of reason, “the land that thou abhorrest” (Assyria?) would no longer be a military threat, and the country would enter an era of relative peace and prosperity. Hezekiah would go on to be one of Israel’s greatest and holiest kings, sort of a second coming of David in some ways.

    Even if that was Isaiah’s intended meaning, why could not God have meant it as a foreshadowing of the ultimate salvation to come through His Son? God does sometimes speak through people even when they don’t realize it. For example, when the high priest Caiphas talked about it being better that “one man should die for the people”.

  • Possibly Elaine, although as Saint Cyril points out many portions of the prophecies simply do not apply to Hezekiah. Of course it is not only Christians who have seen these as Messianic prophecies, but also many Jews down through the ages. There is of course an understandable irritation by some Jewish scholars that Christians seek to use Old Testament passages to assert that they foretell Christ, but there is also a strong tradition of Jewish scholarship that sees such passages as foretelling the Messiah, although they reject that Christ was he. Such an expectation was commonplace in the time of Christ as this passage from the Roman historian Suetonius’ Life of Vespasian indicates:

    “There had spread over all the Orient an old and established belief, that it was fated for men coming from Judaea to rule the world. This prediction, referring to the emperor of Rome -as afterwards appeared from the event- the people of Judaea took to themselves”.

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  • Isaiah 9:6 prophesied that the child will be called “God the Mighty.” Why would a newborn baby be called God? Therefore, this prophecy refers to Jesus Christ.

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