Is Jesus Son of Man or Son of God?

Both Adam and Jesus are God’s Children (Luke 3:38). But the Son of Man is different from God’s Son (Matthew 16:13-20. “How much less man, that is a worm? And the son of man, which is a worm?” (Job 25:6) (KJV). “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:2-3).

According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “Son of man” is the translation of one Hebrew and one Aramaic phrase used in the Hebrew Bible. In Hebrew, the term is ben-adam, while in Aramaic its equivalent bar-adam is used. In post-biblical literature, the similar terms bar-Anosh and bar-Nasha also appear. The Hebrew expression “son of man” (בן–אדם i.e. ben-‘adam) appears one hundred and seven times in the Hebrew Bible. This is the most common Hebrew construction for the singular, appearing 93 times in the Book of Ezekiel alone and 14 times elsewhere. In thirty-two cases, the phrase appears in intermediate plural form “sons of men”. As generally interpreted by Jews, “son of man” denotes mankind generally in contrast to deity or godhead, with special reference to their weakness and frailty.

The Son of Man is the one who was crucified and got resurrected on the third day, according to Scriptures. The same Son of Man was seen by the disciples ascending up to Heaven. Two men who appeared confirmed that the same Son of Man would come in like manner, as seen go up to Heaven (Acts 1:11). Jesus appears as not separating Himself from humanity. Although resurrected, the world does not know Him, just as Jesus said:

“Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.’ Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, ‘But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?’ Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. ‘All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you’” (John 14:19-26) (NIV) (Emphasis mine).

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Jesus refers to God’s children, not known in this world, which could also not know Jesus (Matthew 16:17). But Peter accurately described Jesus as Son of the living God, not Son of Man, necessarily. However, Jesus is not the only Son of God. But before we come to that let us analyze the term ‘son of man’ as described in the Bible. Jesus says, “In a little while,” (meaning the time leading to the episode at Pentecost), the disciples would see Him. But the world would not see Him. The term Son of Man or Sons of Man refers to Adam’s Children. However, Adam was also God’s Son, (Luke 3:38). But his children are sons of man (Adam). Scriptures below, describe both Jesus and humans as sons of Man:

“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14) (KJV).

The Son of Man referred to in the above Scripture is Jesus. But the Saints are also sons of man, considering that they are Adam’s descendants. The dominion being referred to is similar to the dominion originally intended for humanity (Genesis 1:26).

“And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:27) (KJV). But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even for ever and ever” (Daniel 7:18) (KJV).

“And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31) Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day (Luke 9:22) (KJV).

To Pilate, Jesus talks about Himself as Son of Man, not God’s Son. “Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64). At some stage His accusers also demanded:

 “If you are the Messiah,” they said, “tell us.” Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.” They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.” (Luke 22:67-71) (NIV).

The Son of Man being ridiculed represents us, not necessarily viewed as the unknown God’s Son. Jesus ascended to Heaven so that He is no longer visible to ordinary people. Yet Jesus is visible to the Saints, through whom He manifests Himself. Yet the world cannot know Him (John 14:19). His brothers are also viewed as Sons of Man, just as Jesus was (Matthew 25:45).

“But there is a place where someone has testified:What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor and put everything under their feet.’ In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present, we do not see everything subject to them. But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:6-9) (NIV).

“And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” Matthew 20:28) KJV).

Those failing to understand the description of ‘Son of Man’ may be confused by the Trinity doctrine. Just like those living in times of Jesus, were confused. The key lies in what Jesus said to Peter (Matthew 16:13-20). Jesus is one of God’s children, mentioned throughout the Bible.

“The sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown” (Genesis 6:2-4) (NIV).

“Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’” (Exodus 4:22-23) (NIV).

Talking of Solomon, God said:  He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever” (1Chronicles 22:10) (NIV) David was also God’s Son: “I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: “He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father” (Psalms 2:7) (NIV).

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9)

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men” (Luke 6:35) (NIV).

“Jesus said to them, ‘The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection’” (Luke 20:34-36) (NIV).

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13) (NIV).

“He did not say this on his own, but the as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one” (John 11:51-52) (NIV)

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him, we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:15-16) (NIV).

The key datum is in that God’s children are not known, in this world—although, recognized as Sons of Man, just like Jesus was. It remains far-fetched that God’s children can be known. Those knowing them could also be God’s children. Those rewarded for kindly acts (Matthew 25:31-40), who John infers, as numbering 144 000 (Revelation 7:3-8) are God’s Servants. However, a Servant is different from a Son, serving in a different capacity. While the Servants are rewarded, the Sons are treated differently. When carefully following the thread of the 144 000, the servants are also honored highly. But are different from His brothers, to whom Jesus divulges the Kingdom’s secrets (John 15:15).

“Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?’ I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, ‘they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes’” (Revelation 7:13-17) (NIV).

These are not mentioned as having, necessarily, fed others, like the first group. They were, actually, fed by others. Theirs was to serve the Lord, day and night, going through tribulations. Just as Jesus was treated badly, they were similarly treated. Jesus says they comprise those in prisons, and those unable to clothe or feed themselves (Matthew 25:35-40). These are not different from Jesus. Those identifying with this truth are blessed—as not commonly taught in Christianity, yet clearly revealed in Scriptures.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.

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