Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Son of Man

     The phrase "son of man" (ben adam) is an idiom. It is used approximately
107 times in the Hebrew Bible. It is found 93 times in Ezekiel 2:1-47:6. In
each instance ben adam is literally translated in the Septuagint with the Greek
phrase huios anthropou.

     Yahweh called the prophet Ezekiel "son of man" in order to focus on the
prophet's humanity. It is equivalent to saying "O man," or "mortal" (NRSV)
Ezekiel is a human being in contrast to the Sovereign, eternal God, the creator
of all. Yahweh is not "a son of man" (ben adam) that he should change his
mind." (Num. 23:19) God is not a mortal or a human being. Yahweh spoke to
the nation of Israel, the people of God,  through Ezekiel, a human being, a man
of the same class as those to whom he prophesied.

     In one of the Aramaic portions of the Old Testament, the prophet Daniel
spoke of one like "a son of man" (kebar enas) who came "with the clouds
of heaven...to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him
was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and
languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which
shall  not  pass  away, and  his  kingdom one that  shall not be destroyed."
(Dan. 7:13-14; ESV) Bar enas emphasizes the humanity of the person
described  by  Daniel. He  is  like a "son of man", that is, a member of the
genus human being.

     The idiom  "Son of Man" (huios anthropou) occurs more than 80 times
in the Greek N.T. It  is found 14 times in Mark, 30 in Matthew, 25 in Luke,
12 in John, 1 in Acts, and  it  is used  with homois in Rev. 1:13 and 14:14.
Jesus is the "Son of Man" in that he was "made like his brothers in every
respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the
service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people." (Heb. 2:17;
ESV) But, there is more.

     As the "Son of Man" the Father has given him authority to execute judgment.
(Jno. 5:27) The Son of Man is identified with Yahweh. He is the "I Am." (Jno.
8:58; Ex. 3:14; Isa. 43:25) The Son of Man came down from heaven to be the
atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. (Jno. 3:13; 6:62) He is "the Lamb
of God;" the perfect sacrifice for the sins of humanity. (Jno. 1:29) The suffering
of the Son of Man is connected with the figure of the righteous servant of Yahweh
in Isa. 52:13-53:12. "He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth."
(1 Pet. 2:22) He was conceived in and born of a virgin (Mat. 1:23; Lk. 1:27,34)
Acknowledging the Son of Man will lead to being acknowledged in the presence
of the Father. (Mat. 10:32) "The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost."
(Lk. 19:10) The angel reminded the disciples at the empty tomb, "that the Son of
Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and rise on
the third day." (Lk. 24:7) He who was the Word in eternity "became flesh" and
died for the sins of the human race. (Jno. 1:14) He has received his kingdom,
glory, and honor, and he sits at the right hand of God. (Dan. 7:13-14; Heb. 1:3;
1 Pet. 3:22)

     Jesus is the "Son of Man" in that he was the perfect human being, truly human,
the ideal human being, the par excellent  human  being;  a  descendant  of  David
according to the flesh. (Mat. 22:42; Rom. 1:3) The "Son of Man" is the Messiah!

Copyright 2011

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