I’ve got a secret. Can you guess my secret? Can you keep a secret? So it’s often said. I even heard of a kids’ club, entry into which required the telling of a secret. The entire world seems to highly value its secrets, whether it be business, government, or personal secrets.
It might be a bit surprising to learn that our Savior-God also has a secret. We read from Judges 13:18: “And the angel of the Lord said to him, ‘Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?’” (KJV) At the time, Israel had been ruled by the heathen Philistines for forty years, again a result of God’s judgment upon their idolatry and apostasy. But one godly couple had been praying for a son, and God answered their prayers. The Angel of the Lord Himself brought this good news to them. Their son would be Samson, who would later deliver his people from the hand of their Philistine enemies.
The Angel of the Lord had first appeared to Manoah’s wife, giving her strict instructions, for her promised son was to be a Nazirite—a son set apart for the service of the Lord. Manoah had not been present at this first appearance, was unsure of the identity of the visitor, and so prayed for His return. Manoah had questions; he wanted more information.
In His return the Angel simply repeated what He had told Manoah’s wife, but that did not satisfy Manoah’s curiosity. He tried to obtain more information by acting very hospitably toward this stranger, not realizing He was the Angel of the Lord. But the Lord held firm.
Still Manoah insisted, asking, “What is Your name, so that when Your words come to pass we may honor You?” (Judges 13:17) As a true son of Israel, Manoah should have known better, for he already knew the name of his God. To honor His Son with another name was presumptuous.
And so the Angel gave a most intriguing answer: His name was “Secret,” meaning it was too marvelous even for Manoah to comprehend. Neither was His name meant for manipulation or prideful usage. It is a name before which a sinner can only stand in awe. The name “Secret” is also translated “Wonderful” in Isaiah 9:6, where it is cited to describe the promised Messiah: “And His name will be called Wonderful.” When the time was fulfilled, He who is Wonderful “became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
Do you know a secret, this secret? Indeed, the psalmist wrote that “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him.” (Psalm 25:14) In Old Testament times, God revealed His secret to His prophets, but not fully; certainly not all at once. Then the Secret Himself came, manifested Himself as Wonderful, and promised to send the Teacher of all things (John 14:26).
The secret was revealed to Saint Paul, who wrote that he knew the mystery of Christ, which was not known in ages past, but is now revealed by the Spirit (Ephesians 3:3-5). This wonderful Gospel secret, this mystery of Christ, is that He is God incarnate, that by His substitutionary death He redeemed all sinners and atoned for their sin, and that His wonderful, saving name is meant for and is to be proclaimed throughout all nations.
Do you know this secret? Yes, by the grace of God and the whispering of the Holy Spirit you do. Can you keep a secret?
Shame on us if we do! This gracious secret is now meant to be shared. The world might think it foolish and incomprehensible, but to those who believe God it is life and salvation. So join the club—the chosen Gospeleers. Tell the secret!
Eau Claire, Wisconsin.