It’s a secret

A characteristic of God that differentiates him from man is that he is eternal, there is no beginning or end to his existence. Because Jesus was born as a man, it is natural to assume that he did not exist before he was born in Bethlehem. Perhaps that is why he made several visits to Earth before then to establish he existence beforehand.

“And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art baren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son” (Judges 13:3). The woman’s name is not mentioned even though she is clearly a significant person to have had the privilege of a personal visit from God.

The woman describes her visitor as a man of God whose “countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible” (Judges 13:6). The word translated terrible, yârê’ (yaw – ray´) means stand in awe. Today we might say that the angel looked very awesome, but there is an element of holiness that would have been lost in the translation.

After the woman tells her husband, he prays that the man of God will visit him also. “And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her” (Judges 13:9). Eventually, Manoah joins his wife and has a conversation with the angel of the LORD and determines that he and his wife have seen God.

At one point, Manoah asks the angel of the LORD, “what is your name?…And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name. seeing that it is secret?” (Judges 13:17, 18). The word translated secret, pâlîy’ (paw – lee´) means wonderful. So in a sense, the angel was revealing his identity without actually telling Manoah his name. Isaiah wrote of the Messiah that “his name shall be called Wonderful” (Isaiah 9:6).

When the angel told Manoah that his name was secret, he may have been intentionally revealing his identity without giving his name away. If the angel had said his name was Jesus, it would not have made sense to Manoah that he was speaking to the pre-incarnate Christ because God was known to the Israelites as Jehovah. Rather than using his name the Israelites often referred to God by the characteristics that distinguished him from man.

The word paliy’ is derived from the word pâlâ’ (paw – law´) which means “to be marvelous, be extraordinary, be beyond one’s power to do, do wonderful acts” (6381). Another word that is derived from pala’ is pele’ (peh – leh´) which means “a miracle” (6382). Only God can do the miraculous and being able to appear on Earth before you have been born is definitely a miracle.

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