What better name to talk about, then that of JESUS whom we wish to become a copy of in character likeness.
If our goal in life is to BECOME LIKE Jesus and to SUFFER with Jesus so we can reign with him and bring joy to our Heavenly Father, helping all mankind walk up the highway of holiness in the Messianic Kingdom soon to begin, then this involves to “see him” (Hebrews 2:9) through study and reflection upon the Divine words of God in the Bible so we can understand and appreciate our Lord and Master’s character and in this way, develop into Christ.
Jesus had many titles throughout the Bible, such as: High Priest, Lamb, Bridegroom, Lord, Christ, Captain of our Salvation, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Redeemer, Savior etc. Each title gives us a little different dimension of the character of our Lord Jesus—his attributes and his accomplishments.
The title “the Son of Man” is not used just by the prophets, or by God, or by many others… but, Jesus uses it many times in reference to himself, and it appears nearly 200 times in the King James Version of the Bible, and in 14 different Books of the Bible from Numbers to Revelation. Almost half of these instances are in the 4 Gospels and the other half, in the Book of Ezekiel.
“So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son (STRONGS # 5207 – ‘huios’) of Man (STRONGS #444 – ‘anthropos’) and drink his blood, you have no life in you’ “ (John 6:53).
Why is this title so profusely used?
Because God doesn’t want us to miss the important significance and meaning of this very special title.
1. WHAT DOES THIS TITLE “THE SON OF MAN” MEAN?
“How much less man, (STRONGS #H582 ‘enowsh’) that is a worm? and the son (STRONGS #1121 ‘ben’) of man, (STRONGS #120 ‘adam’) which is a worm?” (Job 25:6).
Two different men being contrasted in this verse are:
- the first “man” mentioned is Adam—the fallen man and his progeny;
- the second “man” mentioned is Jesus—the Son of Man.
The word “son” here comes from a Hebrew word that means a builder of the family.
The second “man” word mentioned is the word Adam and it means a human being.
This teaches us that the son of man (Jesus) is a relative of Adam and is a builder of the human family.
Let us contrast this now with the New Testament scripture in John 6:53. Here the word “son” simply denotes “kingship.” The word “man” here, comes from the Greek word “anthropos”—from which our English word “anthropology” comes from which denotes a human being.
So we are taught here that the son of man is related to the human family.
As we examine things further, we see far greater beautiful lessons beyond just the word study basics in this title “the Son of Man.”
2. TO WHOM DOES THIS TITLE “THE SON OF MAN” APPLY?
It applies of course to Jesus. BUT, to which phase of Jesus’s existence, as Jesus has 4 phases of existence:
- The Prehuman Logos—before he was born of a woman on earth as a perfect human?
- The man Christ Jesus?
- The man in the grave Jesus?
- The exalted Divine Immortal Jesus?
Let us look at all four phases of Jesus’s life for the answers.
A cautionary note: not all verses in the Bible that talk about the son of man refer to Jesus, hence the context of the scripture(s) must be examined to determine who is being referred to.
E.g. “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation” (Psalm 146:3).
Obviously this is not referring to Jesus but rather to ordinary lowly man; an ordinary member of the human family. The Psalmist here is not teaching us about Jesus, but teaching us to put our TRUST IN GOD in contrast to ordinary man.
Let us begin by considering some verses that deal with the SECOND phase of Jesus’ life.
PHASE 2 of Jesus’ life: THE MAN CHRIST JESUS
In the Book of Ezekiel the term “the son of man” appears 93 times in the King James Version of the Bible.
Why is this title used so many times here in this Book?
Well, in Ezekiel, God frequently refers to the man and prophet himself, Ezekiel, as “the son of man.”
E.g. When God first called Ezekiel to be a prophet for Israel, he labelled him, or called him “Son of man.”
“And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee” (Ezekiel 2:1).
In many instances in the Book of Ezekiel, there is a striking parallel between the prophet Ezekiel and the man Jesus.
Let’s look at some of these “connectors” between the man Jesus and the man Ezekiel:-
- Ezekiel’s name means “the strength of Jehovah.” Jesus is prophetically referred to as ‘the strength or the arm of Jehovah’ E.g. Psalm 98.
- There is a striking resemblance between the Book of Ezekiel and the Book of Revelation. The Book of Ezekiel is full of symbolism (often labelled as the Apokalypse of the Old Testament), just as the Book of Revelation is full of symbolism too.
- Ezekiel’s prophetic work overshadowed the prophetic work of Jesus’ ministry.
- God sent Ezekiel to prophecy amongst a rebellious people. God sent Jesus to minister amongst a rebellious and stiff-necked generation.
- God instructed Ezekiel to speak in symbols or parables as we read in Ezekiel 17. Jesus was directed to speak in parables.
- God instructed Ezekiel to prophecy against the selfish leaders of the nation of Israel. God directed Jesus to condemn Israel’s selfish leaders.
- Ezekiel foretold the restoration of Israel and the times of restitution. Jesus likewise taught restitution and he taught that he came to save that which was lost.
So as pointed out, many of the Old Testament scriptures in the Book of Ezekiel apply to Ezekiel but also apply to Jesus. In one sense we might think of Jesus as being “The Greater Ezekiel” just like Jesus is referred to as “The Greater than Jonah.”
Let us now look at some scriptures referring to Jesus as the son of man.
“What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty!” (Psalm 8:4-5)
The “man” in this prophecy is the first man Adam, who was created perfect.
“The son of man” here refers to Adam’s posterity, and God’s intended design for them, but, this term is also connected to Jesus as the Apostle Paul quotes this exact verse in Hebrews 2:9:
“But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
God created Adam one step below the angels, and perfect. God gave Adam to be King of the Earth, so long as he obeyed God. Adam was to be the supreme Earthly ruler over the Creatures of the land, air, and water. He was crowned. Similarly when Jesus became a man, God created him one step below the angels. God intended that the Son of Man would purchase the right to be earth’s supreme leader and be the king over the creatures of the air, land and water.
But “the Son of Man” title means more than gaining the legal right to be king over all the earth. In Hebrews 2:9, the Apostle Paul explains, that “the Son of Man” title means that Jesus was destined to suffer death.
This leads us to the next scripture that talks about the son of man referring to Jesus.
“And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:27-28).
In this text Jesus describes himself but tells us two more things about “the Son of Man”:-
- That he would give his life—his death would not be an ordinary death but a unique, “one of a kind” death and Jesus gives this death a name. He calls it a RANSOM death. This idea of the ransom means a corresponding/purchase price that would be used to buy out everything that Adam and his progeny lost, this includes Adam’s crown. The son of man’s sacrificed life would be substituted for Adam’s forfeited life. This transfers the death sentence from the man Adam to the man Jesus. So the son of man’s death creates the redemptive price to free every human being from the curse of death.
- The Son of Man would be humble… and he would humble himself to the very MAXIMUM…to death on a cross.
Yet another text referring to Jesus as “the son of man” is in John 3:14-15:
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
Jesus here reflects back to Ancient Israel. We can see this if we look at the Holy words of the Bible, in the Book of Numbers 21:8:-
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.”
Similarly in John 3, Jesus is telling us that he is the anti-typical copper serpent. And anyone believing that the son of man is the great antidote for sin, will be healed.
The pole represents the crucifix—the pole on which our Lord Jesus died. It was an extremely painful death. So not only was the Son of man destined to die, but was to do so in the most painful way.
The sufferings of the Son of man are directly related to the eradication of sin.
What is the connection between the sufferings and the healings?
The Apostle Paul answers this in Hebrews 2:10, where he explains that the son of man’s sacrificial sufferings and painful experiences perfected him as a New Creature.
Our beloved Master and King Jesus and the world’s Saviour suffered throughout his ministry. He was was abused, neglected, opposed, betrayed, humiliated, accused, exhausted… and the list goes on!
All of our beloved Lord’s sufferings were part of the great Son of Man’s offering for sin. We are sure of this, as we are explained of it, in Isaiah 53:10.
“Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.”
All of Jesus’s sufferings are what qualified our Lord the MEDIATOR for sin. It was part of the “SIN OFFERING PROGRAM” which develops the Mediator (head—Christ Jesus, and his body—the 144,000 Bride of Christ; the Elect members), and the Mediator eradicates sin through the future, soon to begin, New (Law) Covenant “Program” which will be inaugurated once the 144,000 Bride is complete and the wedding of the Lamb has taken place, when the Mediatorial Kingdom shall commence and this New Covenant will begin with natural Israel being ministered to by the Ancient Worthies (i.e. the Prophets of Old from Esau right up to John the Baptist) who will be the first to bring peace on earth after their resurrection and during the end of Armageddon / Jacob’s Trouble (Micah 5:5).
In future when humanity shall look upon Jesus CHRIST (complete)—the copper servant, and follow and obey, they shall be healed.
PHASE 3 of Jesus’ life: JESUS IN THE GRAVE
In Matthew 12:40 we read, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
The scribes and the Pharisees told Jesus they wanted a sign from him and not just wanted his teaching and miracles. So Jesus identified himself as “the greater Jonah.”
The prophet Jonah’s incarceration in the great fish pictured Jesus’ 3 day death. For parts of 3 days (50 hours), our Lord Jesus was in oblivion—he did not exist for parts of 3 days because that is what death means.
“Sheoul” (in Hebrew) and “hades” (in Greek) means oblivion or death.
Jesus was faithful to the very end of his life, and when he drew his last earthly breath he was still faithful…
Jesus did not make any mistakes …
Jesus did not sin …
Jesus did not go astray …
Jesus did nothing wrong …
And at the moment of Jesus, death, he had irreversibly secured the title “the Son of Man” and all of the rights and privileges that were destined to be a part of that.
Jesus dies an unjust death.
Jesus died a perfect man, who’s life was taken from him.
And even though the son of man was dead, he still held the LEGAL RIGHT TO BE ALIVE. So, it would be entirely right to refer to Jesus even when he was in oblivion (death) as still the Son of man.
PHASE 4 of Jesus’ life: THE RESURRECTED & EXALTED JESUS
“And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of Man be risen from the dead” (Matthew 17:9).
Jesus here makes the point that the son of man would be RAISED after his death. But raised to what? Not raised to manhood, as Jesus came to forever sacrifice his humanity.
When Jesus was raised he was immediately rewarded with the Divine nature. We are sure of this, when we read in John 5:26, “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself…”
God did not give the Logos immortality.
God did not give the man Jesus immortality.
God gave the resurrected Jesus immortality.
Yet, even though Jesus was given Divine nature, he still said he would be the “Son of Man;” he did not renounce his title upon his resurrection.
Let’s look at Daniel 7:13-14:
“I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven one like a son of man was coming, and He came up to the ancient of days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and his kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.”
As we consider all of Daniel chapter 7, we recall God gave Daniel a huge vision of 5 universal empires and at the end of his vision, he sees one likened to “a son of man”–the Divine Jesus.
At his resurrection, God gave Jesus ALL power.
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18).
So how do we harmonize Matthew 28:18 with Daniel 7:13-14?
Daniel’s vision teaches us when Jesus would begin to exercise his power (and not just when he would acquire his power) over the kingdoms of this world at his return (invisible presence—“parousia,” in 1874) during the time of trouble (as represented in the clouds.)
In Matthew 24:30 Jesus confirms that after being rewarded with Divinity, he was still rightly called “the Son of Man” upon his “parousia” since 1874:-
“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
PHASE 1 of Jesus’ life: JESUS AS THE LOGOS
In John 3:13 (Diaglott) we read, “And no one has ascended into heaven except the Son of Man who descended from heaven.”
Here Jesus is recalling his prehuman existence with the Heavenly Father, and as the Logos.
How could Jesus be called the son of man BEFORE he became a man?
Well because the man Jesus is the same personality as the Logos.
The Logos did not die when his spirit nature was exchange for his human nature.
Rather we believe that the life principle (that was infused in the Logos, whereby the Logos was begotten of the Father) was transferred to the womb of Mary and put into the foetus of Jesus. It was a transfer of the life principle not a death. Hence the LOGOS DID NOT DIE. Proof of this is in John 1:14: “And the Word (Logos) was made flesh…” There is nothing here that talks about a death, but rather there was a transfer of life.
3. WHAT IS THE REAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS TITLE?
In some ways it seems like this title “the Son of Man” is meagre…insignificant… inconsequential… just an ordinary title… one that merely refers to the fact that Jesus was human… there would perhaps seem other far greater titles to use, such as “Son of God” or “Christ–the Anointed.”
So why did Jesus use “the Son of Man” title (in reference to himself) over 85 times in the KJV? Here are 2 possible suggestions why:-
Firstly, the Logos held a position of very high honour and dignity—above the angels and above all other spirit beings. He was God’s only firstborn, begotten Son (John 1:14). God appointed the Logos as His master craftsman (Proverbs 8:30). And Jesus made a contract with our heavenly Father to give up the second highest place in creation! He humbled himself to manhood, and not just manhood but to the poorest level of manhood and to temporal deprivation. As we read in Matthew 8:20, the Son of man did not even have a place to lay his head. Jesus was definitely no home owner—which we all today may take for granted.
Besides giving up his glorious celestial nature and his position next to our Divine Father’s place in heaven, Jesus voluntarily attached himself to the dying human race, to the diseased and degenerate human race.
Would we attach ourselves to such an undesirable situation?
Jesus humbled himself to abuse…
Jesus humbled himself to misrepresentation…
Jesus humbled himself to pain…
Jesus humbled himself to opposition…
Jesus humbled himself to accept death… to accept crucifixion (the worst death sentence humanly possible).
Nobody ever humbled himself more than our beloved Jesus,
and nobody ever will.
Jesus’ humility was not just an exercise, like a “see if he could do it” kind of thing. It created the ultimate purchase price that Jesus would not use to buy a single thing for himself – not one thing!… and it was Jesus’ humility that fully developed him as a New Creature.
So Jesus stressed this title ‘the son of man’ as in it, is embedded unsurpassed and incomparable humility.
Secondly, in this title is the answer to God’s universal rule for advancement and promotion, as brought to our attention in Luke 14:11 :
Because Jesus exercised incomparable HUMILITY and ABASEMENT, God gave him an incomparable name (and position) above any other name that is named (Philippians 2:9).
Jesus’ exalted name is not just an honorary title, but one of full of meaning and action. It means OVERCOMING… it means VICTORY over Adamic death. Jesus was given all power over heaven and earth to rebuild everything that he bought and to re-install God-likeness in everything in heaven and on earth, including the earth itself.
Jesus will use his incomparable power (not as a great leader to oppress but) to liberate; to buy back Adam’s lost possessions—happiness, life, health, kingship over the earth, which Adam was meant to get at the beginning, but had lost.
Jesus does not buy one of these things back for himself but buys them back to give then away… to give them back to Adam and his progeny.
Our Lord Jesus’ HUMILITY qualified him to be the chief part of the Mediator of the New Law Covenant.
The son of man title speaks volumes about Jesus.
It speaks volumes about his incomparable humility and his incomparable exaltation.
It speak volumes about every aspect of Jesus’ life and about his sacrifice; about his sufferings; about his generosity; about his willingness; about his faithfulness; about his loyalty; about his purpose; about everything Jesus has already accomplished and everything he will yet accomplish; they are all contained in this “son of man” title.
Perhaps this title “the Son of Man” speaks more about Jesus than any other single title we know. Why?
Because perhaps we could say that the most important character quality we must possess is HUMILITY—that allows one to OBEY Godly principles with patient cheerful endurance.
HUMILITY IS THE ANTIDOTE to the most dangerous and most poisonous character failure of all: Pride.
It was PRIDE that caused Lucifer to disobey, rebel and eventually be destroyed forever.
The opposite of pride is HUMILITY.
It is HUMILITY that will allow one to be more than an overcomers, by surrendering one’s entire will to doing what our Heavenly Father would indicate is HIS will and doing so moment by moment, surrendering up that that which would feed the flesh, and rather feeding the spiritual mind in Christ so that the embryonic New Creature can develop in maturity into the likeness of our Bridegroom who is the love of our life and our EVERYTHING.
——- “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:10). ——-
The following post was created from the words of a discourse by Br. Wes Cramer about the SON OF MAN.