“Son of Man”: holy title or human reference?

Jesus’ “Son of Man” title is seen as a holy title connected to this reference:

  • “In my vision at night 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.” ~ Daniel 7:13–14 NIV

Slight problem.  It says “all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him“.  I’m pretty sure that is and has never been the case with Jesus.  It’s another reason Christians evangelize, they want this prophesy to be fulfilled in order to justify their belief in Jesus as Messiah.  Even the side note on this passage suggests a little bit of word tweaking for Christian purposes:

Alright, so Jesus’ prophetic use of the title “Son of Man” is questionable.  He likely intended it to have this effect though, utilizing the double meaning of the phrase which is also used in the Old Testament to describe a human being or human beings when used as “sons of men”.  Ezekiel is the Old Testament book it occurs in the most.

That being said, I have just updated the graphic on the Christianity Simplified blog to read, “Jesus claimed the title “Son of Man”, but aren’t we all children of humanity?”  Readers of the Bible should focus more on the human elements that Jesus demonstrated, rather than on the Saviour claims, as Jesus’ humanity is where the true value of the story lays.

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8 Responses to “Son of Man”: holy title or human reference?

  1. Neil Rickert says:

    “Son of man” is clearly a human reference. And it probably should be seen as a denial of the virgin birth.

  2. Howie says:

    Both “son of man” and “son of God” are phrases which can be interpreted in many different ways. We are all called children or sons of god in several places in the bible (Deuteronomy 14:1, Hosea 1:10), and God is called our Father. Many different sects within Christianity have had severe divisions based on the interpretations of these confusing terms.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      I can totally see how there is no agreeable consensus on these terms. It blew my mind when I first started reading the Bible, seeing Jesus refer to himself as Son of Man when all I ever heard before that he was Son of God.

      Not to mention how the nuances of different translations affects this issue directly as in the example I explored in an earlier post:
      https://christianitysimplified.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/bible-translation-alert-luke-2270/

      Wikipedia’s “Son of Man” posting even mentions, with references, that scholars don’t even agree on this issue. It seems like a rather significant issue that needs resolution in order to be able to understand Christianity properly!

  3. nikeyo says:

    Have you looked into the extra-biblical surrounding Jewish texts that use the phrase “son of Man”? You may find it useful in understanding Jesus’ usage.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      From my understanding it is used more as a contrast to the idea of God, and is focused in a human sense. Is that what you mean?

      • nikeyo says:

        Kind of. One of the newest found usages was found on the Gabriel stone, which the translation from was only just recently circulated. The others are some loose folklore-ish tales, like that of the re-telling of the birth of Enoch. Interesting stuff.

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