A Secret Name

“…He has a name written that no one knows except himself” (Revelation 19:12, NET).

We pondered, thought, scratched our heads, and pondered some more. My wife and I deliberated long and hard about what we would name our newly adopted children. As Ethiopian children adopted into an American family, these kids needed names that would work in both cultures—names that would be not just acceptable, but communicate something positive. For our daughter, we selected Yerusalem, a name dear to many Ethiopians because of their reverence for the Holy City. And our son would be named Philipos, a name honored by Ethiopians because of Philip’s role in the Bible and also esteemed by our family because Grandpa’s name is Philip. Names were chosen with intention.

So we are not surprised that Jesus is intentionally given so many names in the Bible. Yet, how odd it is that He also has a secret name—“a name written that no one knows except himself” (Revelation 19:12). Why would Jesus possess a name that is not yet known?

The secret name carried by Jesus may be to demonstrate that no one is superior to Him and that no one can control Him. Elsewhere in the Bible, naming someone or something was paramount to demonstrating superiority or control over it. Adam named animals, Jesus refused to be named by demons, and parents named children. A secret name would imply that no other being has control over King Jesus, an appropriate thought for the picture of Jesus as warrior in Revelation 19.

The secret name of Jesus also reminds us that He is beyond full description. No single name can define Him. There is something mysterious—still hidden—about this One who was born in a manger.

Think of it—Jesus, Immanuel, Son of God—great names! But there is yet another name. The babe of Christmas remains mysterious and will stretch our imagination for all time.