The Son of Man

I had to cut this from my sermon last Sunday, but I think this is pretty cool…

When you read the gospels, you discover that Jesus referred to himself as “the Son of Man” more than any other title. And so when we get to the first chapter of the Book of Revelation, we again see “son of man” as a description of Jesus. And then we get a better idea why Jesus used that term for himself so often. Because in Revelation 1 we discover that what Jesus had in mind all along was what’s written in the Old Testament book of Daniel.

Let’s first remind ourselves what John writes in Revelation 1:12-18 (TNIV)—

“I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double–edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.’”

When we read these description of Jesus in Revelation 1, we see that the descriptions of God in the Old Testament are now used of Jesus.

Let’s take a look at some of the verses from Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14, 18 (TNIV)—

“As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened. …I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. …But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.”

Stick with me here. There are several things that are really cool from the above verses. Here we see that the son of man in Dan. 7:13 is a divine being dwelling in heaven with the Ancient of Days. And he is worshiped (only God is rightly worshiped!). And one thing I really like is that this passage is what Jesus had in mind when referring to himself as the “son of man.” We know that because when Jesus stood trial before the High Priest, he quotes the Daniel passage above, and let’s the High Priest (who knew the Daniel passage well) draw the implications for himself.

Here’s how it’s recorded in Mark 14:61-64 TNIV—

“Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ ‘I am,’ said Jesus. ‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.’ The high priest tore his clothes. ‘Why do we need any more witnesses?’ he asked. ‘You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?’ They all condemned him as worthy of death.”

Jesus claims he will fulfill this role as Daniel’s “Son of Man” when he comes at the end of the age to judge the world, and rule the restored earth in his kingdom—a kingdom that he will share rule with those who are his—they will be raised from death and possess it for ever and ever.

At the end of Jesus’ ministry, when he claimed to be this heavenly “son of man” predicted in Daniel’s vision, his opponents said he had committed blasphemy. That’s why they had him crucified. What do YOU think? What’s YOUR answer? Are you really living your life with all the true implications of your answer?

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