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What Does Son Of Man Mean In The Bible

What Is The Meaning Of The Son Of Man

The Meaning of “Son of Man” in Christianity

Through studying the Bible, its easy to see the Lord Jesus repeatedly prophesied that His return would be the coming of the Son of man. For example, For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west so shall also the coming of the Son of man be . Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes . For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven so shall also the Son of man be in His day. But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation . So, understanding what Son of man really means is critical for us welcoming the Lord. Many people, however, dont understand the meaning of the Son of man. Then what does it mean? Lets fellowship and explore this issue below.

So, the Son of man means Gods Spirit clothed in flesh, that is, the realization of Gods Spirit in a fleshly body with normal humanity and normal thinking. He becomes an ordinary and normal person to work and speak among men. The incarnate Son of man is possessed of both normal humanity and complete divinity. Although He appears very common and normal from the outside, He is able to take on Gods work, and express the truth to save mankind. This is the incarnate Son of man, the practical God Himself.

So Who Is The Son Of Man

In the phrase Son of Man Jesus appropriated scriptural language for a human being but used it with some particularity to refer to himself. In addition, on some occasions, Jesus linked bar enash with the heavenly son of man from Daniel 7 and its messianic connotations. But he also added a pattern of suffering and exaltation . Therefore, Jesus used son of man to refer to himself and his messianic role to usher in Gods reign after he went through the crucible of suffering and the triumph of exaltation. Thus, son of man refers to Jesus own distinctive yet tantalizingly cryptic form of self-reference that Israels deliverer was a man, the man, an anointed man who would suffer, die, and then receive all authority and power i.e., the Messiah.

What Does The Title Son Of Man Mean

Ive heard a number of good and bad explanations for the title Son of Man over the years and Ive largely tried to avoid getting into the weeds on this matter because I have primarily focused on studying the early parts of the Old Testament, however, there this term is used so often in the New Testament that we really need to understand what it means and what it does not mean. In this article we will dive into the Old Testament, as well as extra-biblical literature such as the book of Enoch, in order to build an understanding of this title for Jesus. We will also touch a bit on history and culture and how it plays into the development of messianic themes for the Jewish people.

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In The Old Testament Son Of Man Means Human Being

We read in Psalm 8:

What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?

Note that ben adam can be translated, literally, as son of Adam, and it is set in parallel to enosh, for mankind. Hence the NIV footnote: What is a human being that you are mindful of him/a son of man that you care for him? A son of man/Adam means human being.

Similarly, in Ezekiel, the Hebrew ben adam is used for Gods address to Ezekiel, and it seems to mean something like mere mortal man.

Son of man , stand up on your feet and I will speak to you. As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. He said: Son of man , I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day.

Because of this background, some translators apply this human aspect to the title Son of Man in the Gospels, and they render Jesus self-reference as either Son of Adam or the Human One .

The Identity Of The Son Of Man

What does it mean that Jesus is the Son of Man?

Any Bible reader will instinctively recognize that all this takes its place in the larger sweep of Messianic expectation that finds its fulfillment in Jesus the Messiah, the uniquely qualified divine-human king. And in fact Jesus himself confirms this for us, explicitly associating himself with Daniels son of man . This is in fact his favorite self-designation, recurring some eighty times in the Gospels, and becomes on his lips a Messianic title. Jesus is the Son of God. He is also the Son of Man.

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Jesus Christ The Son Of Man


The designation Son of Man means, for Jesus, both that he is human as we are, a son of Adam, and that he is the coming Messiah, who has been given authority by the Most High and reigns over his kingdom through his weakness, seen most clearly at the cross.


While the expression son of man occurs frequently in the OT as a synonym for man, the book of Daniel also uses it to refer to the coming divine ruler who will be given authority and a kingdom by God both of these usages form the background of the Jesuss own self-designation as the Son of Man. We understand how this Son of Man will reign his kingdom, then, by the way that Jesus himself takes up the authority given to him by God to rule, namely, in his suffering, death, and resurrection on our behalf. We know, therefore, that this Son of Man rules his kingdom by means of his weakness, though he will one day come again in power to finally destroy all of his enemies and take his rightful place as the visible king of creation.

Son Of God Or Son Of Man

Jesus often referred to himself as the Son of Man. Born of a human mother, he was a fully human man but also fully God. His incarnation meant he came to earth and took on human flesh. He was like us in every way except sin.

The title Son of Man goes much deeper, though. Jesus was speaking of the prophecy in Daniel 7:13-14. Jews of his day, and especially the religious leaders, would have been familiar with that reference.

In addition, Son of Man was a title of the Messiah, the anointed one of God who would free the Jewish people from bondage. The Messiah had long been expected, but the high priest and others refused to believe Jesus was that person. Many thought the Messiah would be a military leader who would liberate them from Roman rule. They could not grasp a servant Messiah who would sacrifice himself on the cross to free them from the bondage of sin.

As Jesus preached throughout Israel, he knew it would have been considered blasphemous to call himself the Son of God. Using that title about himself would have ended his ministry prematurely. During his trial by the religious leaders, Jesus answered their question that he was the Son of God, and the high priest tore his own robe in horror, accusing Jesus of blasphemy.

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The Son Of Man In The Last Days Has Appeared

Now we have known what Son of man really means, then its easy to understand the meaning of the Lord returning as the Son of man prophesied repeatedly in the Bible. It means that God will still become flesh to do His work in the last days, and that just like the Lord Jesus, He will come to the earth in the image of an ordinary, normal Son of man to save mankind. Just as it says in the prophecy, For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven so shall also the Son of man be in His day. But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation .

Apart from God Himself, who could reveal the mysteries of Gods six-thousand-year management plan? Who could judge and expose the root of mankinds sin? Who could save us from the bondage of sin and purify us? Almighty Gods work completely proves that Almighty God is the incarnate Son of man in the last days, and is Christ. Only by accepting the truths expressed by Almighty God can we attain full salvation and enter the heavenly kingdom.


Why Is Jesus Called The Son Of Man

What does “Son of Man” Mean?
  • John Piper
  • 202119 Apr

Let me give a common understanding and then a more sophisticated historical understanding.

The common understanding is that “Son of God” implies his deitywhich it doesand that “Son of Man” implies his humanity, which it does too.

He was a son of man, that is, a human being. And he is the Son of God, in that he has always existed as the Eternally Begotten One who comes forth from the Father forever. He always has, and he always will. He is the Second Person of the Trinity with all of the divine nature fully in him.

He is born of a virgin. He had a human father but he didn’t have sex with this virgin until Jesus was conceived. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary. Thus he is humanfully human. The Bible wants to emphasize that he is fully human.

So that’s the common understanding: he is both divine and he is humantwo natures, one person.

The more sophisticated and important historical insight is that the term “Son of Man” doesn’t merely align him with humanity. It is probably taken from Daniel 7, And if you read that chapter you’ll see that the Son of Man is a very exalted figure: not just a human figure but an exalted figure. It was Jesus’ favorite self-designation.

So I hope that helps. “Son of Man” has the double meaning of human being and, according to Daniel 7, the exalted heavenly one. And Jesus means to communicate both of those.

© Desiring God. Used with permission. See original article here.

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What Does Son Of Man Mean

“For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” Romans 5:15

“For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” Romans 5:17

“For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:19

One man, the Son of Man, Jesus, is the bridge between the Father and all humanity. There are so many titles that have been given to Jesus in the Bible. Each one of them reveals another aspect of Jesus’ character and helps us better understand who he is. This title, the Son of Man, is no different than the others. The fact is he took his divinity, wrapped it in humanity, and became the Son of Man. To sum it up best, he became like us so that we could become like him. I have discovered that the more you know about Jesus, the more you fall in love with him, and this title of the Son of Man is truly no different.

Further Reading

El & Baal The Northern Influence

This section of the article is going to dive into what many would call speculation. For those that are familiar with the Old Testament, it is quite noticeable that some of the Hebrew scriptures have a northern Canaanite/Israelite bend to them. Its not quite as common since the scriptures were compiled and edited by Judah after Israel had been taken captive by the Assyrians. The scriptures spend much time criticizing the Israel for their worship of Baal and adopting customs of the northern people, such as Assyria and Phoenicia. While this might seem unimportant to the discussion, I believe its necessary. But to understand we have to look more at the religion of the Israelites, who were essentially Canaanites.

Baals father, El, is described as the ancient of days and an old wise gray bearded deity that presides over the heavenly councils. Baal essentially acts as Els right hand. The possibility that the Baal motif influenced the Son of Man concept is one seriously worth looking into. At the very least, they were probably aware of the Baal narrative. A mirror of this motif is the elevation of Marduk in the Babylonian pantheon by defeating the sea serpent like Baal. Another parallel exists in the defeat of Typhon by Zeus. Whether or not these religious views influence the Israelite religion is hard to determine but it certainly made the concept accessible to the Jewish people.

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Why Does Jesus Call Himself The Son Of Man

Here are a few instances in the New Testament where Jesus refers to himself as the Son of Man.

“Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'” Matthew 8:20

“If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

“‘But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.’ So he said to the paralyzed man, ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.'” Luke 5:24

“Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’Who is he, sir?’ the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him in fact, he is the one speaking with you.'” John 9:35-37

1. It Is a Reminder of His Humanity

The use of this term by Jesus, similarly to how it was used in the Old Testament, points to his humanity. The meaning does not change. It speaks to the fact that Jesus, while he was completely God, he was also completely human. It is Jesus’ humanity that allows him to empathize with us. He can feel everything we feel. He can understand when we are hurt. He knows what it is like to be tired, tempted, betrayed, and even to experience death. Everything you could ever experience in life, he has experienced because of his humanity. This is what the writer in Hebrews was referring to.

Who Is The Son Of Man In The Bible

Who Was Methuselah in the Bible?

The term Son of Man is used in the Old Testament. The book of Ezekiel uses the term 93 times. Here are some common uses of the Son of Man within the Old Testament.

“He said to me, ‘Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.’ As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. He said: ‘Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day.'” Ezekiel 2:1-3

“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Numbers 23:19

“What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?” Psalm 8:4

In these instances, the term Son of Man can refer to a specific person as it did with Ezekiel, or it can be a more general term as it appears in Number 23. When the Son of Man was used in the Bible, specifically the Old Testament, it most often pointed to our humanity. There was usually no divine nature or attribute attached to it. In Numbers, it was used to show a distinction between the humanity of men and the divinity of God. It was saying that God is not like us. With this being the case, it is interesting that Jesus uses these same words, the Son of Man, to describe himself.

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What Is The Meaning Of The Parable Of The Lost Son

Answer: The Parable of the Lost Son is a story told by Jesus in order to illustrate the importance of repentance and forgiveness.

In the story, a son who has left his father and squandered his inheritance represents the prodigal son.

The father in the story represents God, who lovingly welcomes the son back when he repents and returns home.


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