EZEKIEL 18:4 – What the Bible Teaches About SOUL and SPIRIT

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“The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4).

This brief text expresses a simple truth. Souls die. Against the speculations of some that there is something within a man, a “soul,” which remains alive after death, lingering as a disembodied spirit, the scriptures affirm to the contrary. Death is what it seems to be — death.

When a dog dies, what happens to the dog? It stops breathing, its body decays and returns to the elements. Thought and consciousness immediately terminate. There is no more dog. It does not go to some place prepared for old dogs, to chew bones in bliss, for there simply is no more dog. It is dead, it is gone, it is no more.

Death is the same for human beings. Death is the cessation of life. Psalm 146:4 describes what happens when a man dies. “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.”

“That which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other … they have all one breath … all go unto one place, all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. (Ecclesiastes 3:19, 20).

The Resurrection

However, unlike the animals, man has the hope of a resurrection from the dead. Animals were made to live for a limited period of time, procreate, age, and pass away as part of the cycle of nature. But man, the height of God’s physical creation, was created with the capacity to live forever. They appreciate life, plan for the future, and cherish the hope for continued life. Accordingly, the prospect of living forever was offered to Adam in the Garden of Eden, by God who created him.

This offer was contingent upon obedience, a test which Adam and Eve failed. But even after being expelled from the Garden, so robust was the human frame that Adam lived 930 years before death claimed his life (Genesis 5:5). Almost 4000 years after Adam sinned, Jesus died as a ransom for father Adam (1 Timothy 2:6), which allows Adam and his posterity a release from the death penalty — in other words, a resurrection from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:22). For the world, this will come during the Millennium so near at hand.

In the meantime, where are all the dead of past ages? They are simply dead. They silently await the resurrection, when they will be reconstituted as the persons they were before they died, to learn the lessons God has for them during the Kingdom on earth.

What is a Soul?

From our opening text, it is apparent that souls do die. The expression “immortal soul,” sometimes used among Christians, is not found in the Bible.

A soul is a living being, whether animal or human, and neither animals nor humans are immortal.

The Hebrew word for soul is nephesh, word number 5315 in Strong’s Concordance, which gives this definition: “A breathing creature, i.e. animal or (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense.”

Genesis 2:7 uses the word “soul” for Adam.

“The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Here the word nephesh, or soul, is defined as a living being, a body combined with the breathe of life. Thus we learn, that man does not possess a soul, but that he IS a soul, which means simply that man, when alive, is a living being.” Adam subsequently died, and he with all the others silently awaits the resurrection.

Animals as Souls

The “breath of life” which animates the human organism is no different than the breath of life given to the lower animals. In reference to the “beasts and every creeping thing” which perished in the Flood, we read, “All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died” (Genesis 7:21,22). Ecclesiastes 3:19-21 informs us that both man and beast “have all one breath, so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast.”

As Strong’s Concordance notes, animals are also souls — living beings. However, in the common English version this is hidden by the translation, which confuses the subject to many readers. When the word nephesh, soul, refers to an animal, the translators rendered it with some other word, such as creature or beast.

For example, Genesis 1:20 says “let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature [nephesh, soul]…”

Verse 21, God created great whales, and every living creature [nephesh, soul] that moveth…”

Verse 24, “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature [nephesh, soul] after his kind, cattle, and creeping things, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.”

Here are other texts of the same sort: Genesis 1:30, 2:14, 9:3, 4, 9, 10, 12, 18. And Isaiah 19:10, “… all that make sluices and ponds for fish [nephesh, souls].

This method of translating hides the fact that animals are souls. Were this fact more open and apparent, it would assist people to recognize that souls are not immortal, for no one supposes that animals are in any sense immortal.

Only once in the Old Testament did the translators render the word nephesh “soul” when it applied to animals, namely Numbers 31:28, where the word applies at one time both to people and animals: “one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the beeves, and of the asses, and of the sheep.”

The Difference Between the Human Soul and the Animal Soul

The difference between the soul of a human and an animal is in the construction of the organism, particularly in the formation of the brain. Although some organisms of some of the lower animals may seem to be superior to man’s (such as a dog’s keen sense of smell and hearing and an eagle’s eyesight), God in his great wisdom created man in his own image, thus giving man the ability to reason, and to have a moral sense of right and wrong — possessing a conscience (1 John 3:20-22). Man has the ability to love and obey Jehovah-God as well as to love (agape) his enemies or those who do or wish him wrong through, striving to see all things through the eyes of their Bridegroom — Christ Jesus. He died as a “ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6) because of his great love of the Heavenly Father — stemming from a love for righteousness which comes from a knowledge, understanding and experience of the results of obeying the Heavenly Father, which permits the highest and purest form of joy to be felt, that joy that is felt through the eyes of faith, that joy that our Lord Jesus had in bringing the Heavenly Father joy, as reflected in his words: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” (John 4:34, ESV).

Other Hidden References

There are other important places where the translators also obscured the use of nephesh. “There were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body [nephesh, soul] of a man … those men said unto him, We are defiled by the dead body [nephesh, soul] of a man … If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body [nephesh, soul] …” (Numbers 9:6, 7, 10). If the translation use “soul” in these places, it would be apparent to the reader that souls simply die. When Samson toppled the house of Dagon, he prayed to God: “Let me [my nephesh, soul] die with the Philistines” (Judges 16:30).

Expanded Use

The texts above give us the proper meaning of the word soul, namely any living being. However, Strong’s Concordance shows that nephesh is sometimes used figuratively for one’s life, being, or vitality. Here are two examples of this. (1) When Rachel was dying at the birth of Benjamin, Genesis 35:18 says “As her soul was in departing (for she died) … she called his name Benomi: but his father called him Benjamin.” (2) 1 Kings 17:21, speaking of the raisin of a young boy by Elijah, says he cried to God “let this child’s soul come into him again.” In both of these cases the word “life” or “being” is the meaning intended.

Sometimes the word is used of one’s deepest thoughts or feelings, distinguished from the mere body. Thus 2 Kings 4:27 says of a troubled woman, “her soul is vexed in her.” Language is flexible, and the word nephesh is used flexibly. But none of these cases are any predicate for believing some conscious force called “soul” mysteriously lingers after death. Death is death. It is the cessation of life.

Soul in the New Testament

The New Testament Greek word for soul is psuche. Whenever the word “soul” appears in the common English version of the New Testament, it is from this word (Strong’s number 5590).

1 Corinthians 15:45 uses psuche as the counterpart of the Hebrew nephesh, which serves to equate the two words. “The first man Adam was made a living soul [psuche].” This expression clearly draws from Genesis 2:7, where nephesh is used. This word is frequently rendered life. “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it” (Mark 8:35). “I lay down my life (John 10:17). “They seek my life (Romans 11:3), and many other examples. In these cases “life” refers to the being, the person. The same meaning attaches when the word is rendered “soul,” as in Acts 2:43, “fear came upon every soul” — every person, or being.

Revelation 8:9 and 16:3 apply the word to sea creatures. Revelation 6:9 and 20:4 use the term metaphorically of the spent life of the saints, awaiting the resurrection. John 12:27 says of Jesus “now is my soul troubled.” Thus there is a breadth in this Greek word that matches the breadth of its Hebrew counterpart.

In the Old Testament the condition of death is expressed by the Hebrew sheol, and its Greek counterpart in the New Testament is hades. This was the condition into which Jesus’ “soul,” psuche, passed for three days until his resurrection, for a soul, psuche, dies and is later raised from the dead.

The Soul Is Not Immortal

If the soul were truly immortal, the soul would be indestructible, yet it is not, because each human born under the curse of Adamic condemnation, dies until the curse shall be lifted up from humanity once Christ’s ransom price has been applied to all mankind. By then the Bride of Christ will have completed their share in the sin offering — and the antityical “atonement day” sin offering thus completed. The High Priest in Leviticus 16 made atonement for  himself, his sons, and then, finally, for the sins of the people (the world of mankind). God warned Adam that if he disobeyed God’s rule, then as a living soul Adam would cease to exist. We read about this in Genesis 2:17, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” In Ezekiel 18:4 God said, “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth it shall die.” This means that the person who sins shall die, and since all are born in sin, the entire human race has been dying for nearly 6000 years. Here are two examples of Scriptures about death being the consequence of sin:

“So death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12, NASV).

Every soul [person] sins and, as a consequence, every soul dies (Romans 6:16,23).

But God in his great love provided redemption from death for all sinful souls, or persons, through the gift of his beloved Son, Christ Jesus, who died as a corresponding ransom price to free mankind from the prison house of death. All of Adam’s progeny lost life through Adamic transgression and thus have inherited sin and imperfection. The Apostle Paul wrote that “in Adam all die,” adding to this, “even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” And again, “Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:21,22). The Prophet Isaiah wrote that Christ’s “soul” was made an offering for sin, and also that he “poured out his soul unto death” (Isaiah 53:10,12).

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Adam and all past generations of his children have fallen asleep in death, but they have not “perished,” because through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, and by the exercise of divine power, they are to be awakened in the resurrection and given an opportunity to believe. Then, upon the basis of their belief and obedience, they may live forever.

Those called to discipleship in the present life are given an opportunity to inherit eternal life by accepting Jesus as their personal Redeemer and responding to the invitation to take up their cross and follow him, gladly lay down their lives with him, and be planted together in the likeness of his death (Roman 6:3-6). These are referred to in Revelation 20:4 as the “souls” which are “beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God.”

The Apostle Paul wrote, “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished” (1 Corinthians 15:17,18). Thus, Paul speaks of Christians who die as merely being “asleep,” and not in any sense perishing in death.

Genesis 12:11-13 (NASB) says Abraham was afraid that his soul would not live, and thus, that he would die. “It came about when he [Abram] came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman; and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, This is his wife; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I (“my soul,” nephesh) may live on account of you.” If the Hebrew word nephesh meant an indestructible immortal soul, Abram’s soul could not have died (Br. Peter Karavas, 2011).

Jesus emphasized this same important truth in an admonition to his disciples to meet courageously any and all opposition against them and any persecuted unto death, saying, “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [Gehenna] (Matthew 10:28). Jesus here refers to the possibility of permanent cessation of life by God for the incorrigible, which the Bible terms as “second death.”

“This does not imply that the soul can live apart from the body, for actually the body is the organism of the soul. Rather, Jesus is speaking from the standpoint of the divine plan to awaken the dead in the resurrection. It was from this standpoint that Paul could say that Christians who fell asleep in death had not ‘perished.’ If an enemy puts a Christian to death, he has not perished as a soul. The body dies, but the person, the soul, merely ‘sleeps’ until the resurrection. But if a Christian becomes a willful sinner and is not worthy of a resurrection, then death means extinction of that person, or soul, forever.

“Jesus explained this from another standpoint, as recorded in Luke 20:37,38 ‘Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.’ Jesus did not say that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had gone to heaven to live with God. He simply explained that because there is to be a resurrection of the dead, and these faithful servants will be restored to life, God does not consider them as having gone out of existence — they ‘live unto him,’ or, to him they are alive.

“So it is with all God’s faithful servants of the past. They may have been ‘sawn asunder’ by their enemies; they may have been thrown to the lions, or beheaded, or burned at the stake, but to God they still live, they have not ‘perished,’ for he has the power and will use that power to awaken them from the sleep of death.

“The ‘souls’ which are ‘beheaded,’ as mentioned in Revelation 20:4, are brought forth in the ‘first resurrection’ to live and reign with Christ a thousand years. The ‘souls’ that died serving God during the ages preceding Jesus’ first advent will come forth to a ‘better resurrection,’ to serve as ‘princes in all the earth’ Hebrews 11:35; Psalm 45:16” (The Dawn – and Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, January 1959 issue).

Lazarus – An Example that the Soul is not immortal

In John 11:11 Jesus said “Lazarus sleepeth.” Lazarus was dead for four days (John 11:39). Surely Jesus would not have retrieved Lazarus from the bliss of heaven. For those four days Lazarus did not go anywhere, nor did he see anyone, nor did he speak, eat, feel, or think. He was simply dead. When he was raised to life he began again to do all those things. In this respect the whole world sleeps in death, waiting for the resurrection — unaware of what is transpiring in the meantime, because the dead do not sense, feel or think anything. “The living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5). “There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

In John 5:28,29 Jesus said that the hour is coming when all in their graves will come forth. If their souls were already in heaven, then there would be no need for Jesus to say that he would bring them forth from the grave? If physical bodies were needed in heaven, how have these presumably immortal souls survived without them? Scripture also tells us that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable” (1 Corinthians 15:50).

Seeking After Immortality

The Bible never equates immortality with the soul of common man, only with the saints, and then only as a gift for faithfulness (Romans 2:7, 1 Corinthians 15:53-54). The sleeping, unconscious dead will one day be awakened from their graves (John 5:28,29; Job 14:11-15; Psalm 17:15; Acts 24:15,16). At that time, ‘the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea’ (Isaiah 11:9). ‘Many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths’ (Micah 4:2). In God’s kingdom on earth, mankind will be raised from the dead and have their first real opportunity to learn God’s ways of righteousness because Satan will be bound and will no longer be able to deceive the world (Revelation 20:3) (Br. Peter Karavas, 2011).

The Dead Raised To Life In the Resurrection Age

“Possibly the spirit that returns to God contains the unique ‘data’ of each individual can be compared to computer information on a removable disk. The resurrection of an individual could be a recreation after the pattern of Adam. The original body had passed to dust so a new one, either spiritual or fleshly, would be created. The individual again comes to life when the (unique?) spirit is returned to the body and he becomes a living soul again. Whatever the exact process is, we know the resurrected fleshly body will be in its intended perfected state. Job intimates that the flesh will be fresher than a child’s and will have the beauty and vitality of youth (Job 33:25)” (Robert Davis, The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom article.)

Spirit

The word “spirit” in the Old Testament is usually from the Hebrew ruach, and in the New Testament it is usually from the Greek pneuma. Both terms refer to breath, inhalation, or the movement of air, whether gentle or forceful. But as these are invisible forces, the words are applied by extension to the “spirit” of a person which is the invisible mental force, personality, influence, or disposition of a person.

Thus the Old Testament uses ruach when speaking of the “spirit” of Jacob, Elijah, Cyrus, Zerubbabel, Joshua, God, and others. The New Testament uses pneuma when speaking of the “spirit” of Paul, Christ, and God.

These words are also used to describe the influence of various non-personal but good “spirits” — the spirit of Truth, Holiness, Life, Faith, Wisdom, Grace and Glory and of an opposite spirit of Jealousy, Judgment, Burning, Heaviness, Infirmity, Divination, Bondage, Slumber, Fear and Error.

Ruach also refers to the “spirit of life” which we receive from God, which figuratively “returns” to him when we die. “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7). This does not imply a transport of persons. It applies to the motivating force of life, of both good and bad people alike.

Both words sometimes refer to the essence of a person, that is, their identity, character, personality. In this sense Jesus commended his “spirit” to God when he died, which was restored on the third day when God raised Jesus from the dead (Luke 23:46, Psalms 31:5).

In this sense also Paul speaks of the “spirits of just men,” the faithful Ancient Worthies of the Old Testament, who were matured by the things they suffered, and await their resurrection reward in the Kingdom (Hebrews 12:23, 11:40).

None of these cases teach that any conscious entity persists after the death of a person, except metaphorically, in the memory of God. Not until the resurrection does a person who has died live again as a conscious, sentient being. The great hope for the world lies in such a Resurrection from the Dead. “There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust” (Acts 24:15). “The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth” (John 5:28,29).

This assurance was secured for us at great cost, both by God who gave His dearest treasure, his son Jesus, and by Jesus who labored in his ministry for 3 ½ years, suffered accusation from the religious leaders of his day, and died for our sins on the cross.

“Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust … [to] bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh” (1 Peter 3:18). “By man [Adam] came death, by man [Jesus] came also the resurrection of the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:21).

For the saints of the Gospel Age, this resurrection occurs during the present “Harvest” period. For the remainder of the world, the resurrection will occur during the coming Millennium.

Do Angels Have a Soul?

As with human being, angels are souls, for they are the union of the spirit of life, together with a body, in this case a spiritual body. “The first man Adam was made a living soul…” (1 Corinthians 15:45). It would be the same with the angelic hosts, but on a higher scale. “There are also celestial bodies … but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another” (1 Corinthians 15:40).

——-

Acknowledgment & References

We are thankful for the permission of sharing content from a study titled “Soul and Spirit,” drawn from a study by Br. Gilbert Rice, featured in the “Faithbuilders Fellowship” Journal.
http://www.2043ad.com/journal/2006/01_jan_06.pdf

“Immortality and the Human Soul,” The Bible versus Tradition—Article IV, April 1959 in The Dawn – A Herald of Christ’s Presence (Monthly Magazine) Rutherford, NJ, USA.
http://www.dawnbible.com/1959/5904tbs1.htm

“Immortality of the Soul” by Br. Peter Karavas. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, May-June 2011.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2011/11mj_3.htm

“The Resurrection of the Dead” by Br. Robert Davis. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom.
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/doc_14.htm

Suggested Further Reading

Volume 5 of “Studies in the Scriptures” — “The Atonement Between God and Man” by Br. Charles Taze Russell, pages 383-404, Study 13, “Hopes For Life Everlasting and Immortality Secured by the Atonement.”

“What Is the Soul?” by Br. Robert Seklemian
http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/contents/treatises/seklemians%20discourses.htm

ACTS 23:6 — HOPE & RESURRECTION. Part A: What Is Jesus All About?https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/03/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-a-what-is-jesus-all-about/

ACTS 23:6 — HOPE & RESURRECTION. Part B: Will Mankind Resurrect With the Same Mind?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/05/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-b-will-mankind-resurrect-with-the-same-mind/

ACTS 23:6 — HOPE & RESURRECTION. Part C: The Order of the Resurrection Process
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/11/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-c-the-order-of-the-resurrection-process/

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What Does the Word “HELL” Really Mean?

Truth About Hell

The Hebrew word for HELL in the Bible is “sheol” = a state of rest… unconsciousness… sleep… not some burning forever place of torture which the Papal (anti-Christ) System developed!

In Job 14:13-15 (ESV) we read:

“13 Oh that you would hide me in (the grave) Sheol, that you would conceal me until your wrath be past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me! 14 If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my service I would wait, till my renewal[a] should come. 15 You would call, and I would answer you; you would long for the work of your hands.”

Was the prophet Job here praying to go to a place he would burn in pain for eternally?

No, certainly not! How could people ever get such an idea?! Back in Constantine’s day, Church leaders wanted to keep the people in the churches through the fear of hell doctrine! For many centuries people thus, have gone to Church for fear of this doctrine. But what does the BIBLE really say in the original Greek and Hebrew? The video and the content of each of the booklets share below, explains this well.

Job was praying to go to a place of rest where he would be out of pain until GOD would raise up everyone in the resurrection.

[Note: See Posts about the Resurrection here:

Throughout the ages Satan has convinced people of lies! Hell is one such doctrine he has blinded the masses of humanity on. His first lie about death was already in Genesis 3:4,

“But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die.'”

Since Adam and Eve’s disobedience, is mankind dying? Yes!

The Bible explains that eventually the condition of death itself will be destroyed forever.

Please consider the following video explaining all about HELL. We hope and trust you will receive much blessings from the words of Br. Michael Nekora as we refresh the mind upon Divine Words of Scripture.

“The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26

When the thousand years of Christ’s reign with the His “bride” shall be completed and after the final battle of Gog and Magog (Revelation 20:7-15) and after all evil is destroyed there shall finally come the glorious time when the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4). 

The Truth About Hell Video

 

Recommended Further Reading: 

  • The Truth About Hell booklet, the Dawn Bible Association.

http://www.dawnbible.com/booklets/hell.htm

  • When A Man Dies booklet, the Dawn Bible Association.

http://www.dawnbible.com/booklets/dies.htm

  • What Everyone Should Know About Being Saved booklet, the Chicago Bible Students.

http://www.heraldmag.org/bookstore/booklet_saved.htm

  • What Say the Scriptures About Hell, The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine.

http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/doc_16.htm

 

“If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.”John 7:17

 

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How Does “the Son of Man” Title, Speak Volumes About Jesus?

sun on hand gesture

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:

  1. The Prehuman Logos—before he was born of a woman on earth as a perfect human?
  2. The man Christ Jesus?
  3. The man in the grave Jesus?
  4. 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”:-

  1. That he would give his lifehis 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.
  2. 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 crucifixthe 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 (headChrist 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 servantand follow and obeythey 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 oblivionhe 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 dignityabove 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 ownerwhich 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 :

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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 liberateto 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 HUMILITYthat 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). ——-

Acknowledgement:

The following post was created from the words of a discourse by Br. Wes Cramer about the SON OF MAN.

The URL for this post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/06/10/how-does-the-son-of-man-title-speak-volumes-about-jesus/

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