Saturday, July 26, 2008

Man's son?

The New Testament has Jesus & others referring to the Christ as the “Son of Man” 82 times. The one instance of the phrase being used to refer to mankind is where the author of Hebrews quotes Psalms (Heb. 2:6). Even in Christ’s post-ascension realm (Heaven), He is titled in this way (Acts 7:56), as well as described in His appearance this way (Rev. 1:13, 14:14).

Matthew 16:13-16 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

This shows the frequency Jesus has taken this title at this point in His ministry, for He first of all asks the question referring to Himself in the third person, but His disciples knew who He was talking about. “Son of Man” does firstly speak to His full acceptance of a humble human existence, but note the Spirit has Peter speaking of Him as the “Son of the living God” as well. This further confirms the doctrine of Jesus as fully man and fully God concurrently, for both claims are present tense. His standing as “Son of God” was not subsequent to His measure of obedience as the “Son of Man”, despite the heresy of some false teachers.

“Son of Man” is used 12 times prior to Ezekiel; generally in the same manner that Hebrews 2:6 uses it- to refer to the pale banality of man in comparison with God. The phrase proclaims the humility of man, & Jesus had great humility as He trudged towards a cross He would bear for the sin of others. But in the light of Christ, we perceive Ezekiel as a prophetic type of Christ. The expression’s usage spikes tremendously in the book of Ezekiel. The phrase is used in almost every chapter & is introduced in chapter 2:

Ezekiel 1:28-2:10 Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking. (1) And he said to me, "Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you." (2) And as he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. (3) And he said to me, "Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. (Matt. 15:24) They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. (4) The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD.' (5) And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them. (6) And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions. Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. (7) And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house. (8) "But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Be not rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you." (9) And when I looked, behold, a hand was stretched out to me, and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. (10) And he spread it before me. And it had writing on the front and on the back, and there were written on it words of lamentation and mourning and woe.

As Isaiah 52-53 describes, Jesus’ earthly ministry was one filled with “lamentation and mourning and woe.” The OT is filled with fractional archetypes of the coming Christ, though it should be noted that none expressed the fullness of the Christ alone. David & Boaz foretold a measure of Christ's authority & power, while Joseph & Ezekiel foreshadowed a degree of His suffering, humility, & weakness in the face of unrepentant sin for the sake of love.

Ezekiel 3:25-27 And you, O son of man, behold, cords will be placed upon you, and you shall be bound with them, so that you cannot go out among the people. And I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and unable to reprove them, for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD.' He who will hear, let him hear; and he who will refuse to hear, let him refuse, for they are a rebellious house.

Anyone familiar with Jesus' ministry can see the parallels between these two “Son of Man” ministers. Ezekiel was likewise tasked with speaking a hard message to a rebellious generation.

Daniel 7:13-14 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. (14) 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.

The "son of man" is the subject of this passage, but verse 14 makes clear this is no ordinary man. "Son of man" refers to a human & was Jesus' favorite self-title in the course of His ministry, but "all peoples ...serving him" can only refer to God alone. Thus, the dual nature of the Christ in O.T. prophecy.

John 5:24-27 "Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man."

Both the Son of God & Son of Man in one Person...


MrsEvenSo... said...

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness!

I appreciate your teaching. Thank you for your diligence and perseverance.

Zoarean's Purse said...

Thanks, Margie; I appreciate your comments here, & in class too!