O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

The Fulfillment of God’s Promises

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” has been translated from Latin several times with varying verses. One version featured seven titles for Jesus, highlighting His fulfillment of many Old Testament prophesies.

Jesus is the Son of God who ransomed the exiled captives. The story of Israel’s exile and captivity resounded with promises of a Messiah who would come and pay their ransom (Isaiah 13:1,14). Jesus said He came “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).

Jesus is Wisdom from on High, the one who orders everything mightily and shows the path of knowledge (Isaiah 11:2 and Matthew 12:42).

Jesus is the Lord of Might who came with clouds, majesty and awe when He gave Moses the Law on Sinai (Exodus 33:11). Later the prophets promised that one day the Law would be put in our minds and written on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33).

Jesus is the Rod of Jesse. Jesse was David’s father. God promised that from this lineage would come the Messiah.  Although Israel would be reduced to only a remnant, “a shoot [twig] will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit” (Isaiah 11:1).

Jesus is the Key of David. This key, mentioned in Isaiah 22:22, represented God-given authority. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” Jesus said God had given Him that authority (Revelation 3:7-8).

Jesus is the Dayspring, a symbol of the source of the sun as it springs forth each day (Isaiah 60:1). Jesus said He is the light of the world (John 8:12).

Jesus is the Desire of nations and King of Peace. Peace on earth will elude us until Jesus binds us together in one heart and mind (Haggai 2:6-7 and Luke 19:38).


To whom did Jesus give the key of authority in Matthew 16:19 and 18:18-20?

The word Dayspring is sometimes translated “rising sun” or “the East.”  Read Luke 1:76-79. What did Zechariah say about the coming Savior?

The carol with seven English verses can be found at www.hymnary.org/hymn/PsH/328

Nancy J. Baker

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