Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Son of God and Son of Man?

Son of God. Son of Man. Why does Jesus go by both titles? So, here's my take on it: First, you need to understand that neither one of these titles is to be taken literally. God did not literally have a son called Jesus. And Jesus was not literally the son of a man - He miraculously entered into the physical realm through the womb of a virgin. Both titles, the Son of God, and the Son of Man, are figurative, not literal, terms. 

Next, you need to understand what the figurative phrase "son of" means. Literally, it would express genealogy (James, son of Jebedee). But figuratively, this term implies someone who takes on the character or person of someone or something else. Think of the term "son of" meaning "the exact representation of". Below are some scriptural examples of the figurative use of "son of".

"Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means son of encouragement)." (Acts 4:36). “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come , except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." (2 Thessalonians 2:3 NKJV - perdition means damnation). "And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter), and James, the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means, "Sons of Thunder")." (Mark 3:16-17)  

There's no mention in the Bible of Peter literally having a biological son, however, Peter refers to Mark, who no doubt learned much from being with Peter, as his son, figuratively speaking. "She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark." (1 Peter 5:13)

Did Paul have sons? Not biologically, as far as we know. However, there are some who were close to him, learned from him, whom he influenced in many ways. "Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight." (1Timothy 1:18) "I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains." (Philemon 1:10)  Timothy and Onesimus were not Paul's biological sons, but were ones who he discipled. He was their spiritual mentor. They became like him. 

OK, now that it's been established that the phrase “son of” figuratively means “the exact representation of”, then you can grasp the idea that the two titles of Jesus, Son of Man and Son of God, are 'descriptive' titles. They describe who Jesus is - the exact representation of man and the exact representation of God.


A) Jesus "Son of Man"
The term "son of man" can simply imply humanity - or being human.  “Then He said to me, "Son of man, stand on your feet that I may speak with you!” (Ezekiel 2:1) In this case it means ‘human one’, and is used 93 times in Ezekiel to distinguish between Ezekiel the prophet, and the many non-human beings in his vision. Jesus took on the form of a human. He became the exact representation of a man.  "And being found in appearance as a man,  he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:8) So, Son of Man = Jesus appeared in the form of a man.

B) Jesus “Son of God”
The title Son of God describes the nature of who Jesus is - the exact representation of God. "The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." (Hebrews 1:3a). Jesus is the perfect ‘son of’ in the sense that He is the pure image of God – the same as God – he IS God in the flesh! "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." (John 1:14) He is Deity in human form! “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form…” (Colossians 2:9) He is, in very nature, God! He is equal to God! Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:6-7) All I can say is "WOW!"  So, "Son of God" = Jesus is the same as God.

In review, 
Son of Man” = the exact representation of a human, although God. 
Son of God”  = the exact representation of God, although human.

Does that make sense? But wait, there’s more to the story! Besides being 'descriptive' titles, both the terms Son of Man and Son of God are also used as 'Divine' titles of Jesus. They identify and declare who Jesus is.


A) Jesus "Son of Man"
It's interesting that the prophet Daniel uses the term “Son of Man”:  "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." (Daniel 7:13). In his prophetic vision, Daniel saw the Messiah figure who appeared to be in the form of man. Well, Jesus was the fulfillment of Daniel's vision. Daniel was seeing, in his vision, a prophecy of Jesus Himself. That's why Jesus took on this title, Son of Man, referring to Himself. And interestingly enough, Jesus always talked about Himself as the Son of Man in a third person perspective. “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death. (The words of Jesus, Matthew 20:18).
So, Son of ManA Divine Title of Messiah
When Jesus uses the phrase “Son of Man”, as referring to Himself, He is identifying and declaring Himself as the Messiah. Jesus uses the phrase Son of Man 84 times in the New Testament, referring to Himself. (NKJV)

B) Jesus "Son of God"
Even at first glance, the title Son of God implies someone not of this world - a divine being. Not only does the title Son of God imply the close association with God, or Jesus being of God, but it implies the unique identification of Jesus as the sole representation of God as the divine Messiah who came to earth as the one and only Savior. "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (John 20:31).  \
So, "Son of God" = A Divine Title of Messiah.
It's used 44 times in the New Testament, as referring to Jesus. (NKJV)

So, in summary....
The title ‘Son of Man’ has dual terminology as far as Jesus is concerned. It's a descriptive title, showing Jesus to be the exact representation of a human, although God. Yet it also serves as a divine title, identifying Jesus as the Messiah. 

Similarly, the title ‘Son of God’ also has dual terminology as far as Jesus is concerned. It's a descriptive title, showing Jesus to be the exact representation of God, although in the form of a man. Yet it also serves as a divine title, identifying Jesus as Divine.

Whew...that was a lot! You don't know how many times I've rewritten this!


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