Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Son of Man

The meaning of the title Jesus used for Himself throughout His ministry becomes clear when Caiaphas demands, "I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God” (Matthew 26:63). Here Jesus not only affirms His identity as the Christ, but connects it with the title Son of Man from Daniel 7:13 “You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 22:69). This statement got immediate results, a death sentence. One of the most familiar names of the Messiah used by the rabbis was Anani, meaning “He who cometh in the clouds of heaven.” Jesus didn’t need to quote Daniel 7:14 which continues to describe the scope of His reign, “And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.”

Upon closer examination although the phrase “son of man” occurs 106 times in the Old Testament (93 times in Ezekiel), the combination of “Hebrew” words in the text “Son of Man” in Daniel 7:13 occurs nowhere else in the Bible. “Son” (Bar) is of Aramaic origin and occurs only 7 times in only Ezra and Daniel. “Man” (enash) is also of Aramaic origin and occurs 19 times in only Ezra and Daniel. So if Jesus used these words throughout His ministry his reference was extremely specific, even if obscure. Even Daniel is called “son of man” (8:17) like Ezekiel, but the words are (Ben ‘adam). Unfortunately we don’t have the exact words that Jesus used on each occasion for Son of Man, because they come to us via a Greek translation. The word “Bar” has slipped through even into our English New Testament (Matthew 16:17; Acts 13:6), so it was used by Jesus at times.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Hey Dennis!
Your entry here reminds me of my long-standing admiration for your bent for earnest study of the Scriptures. Ezra 7:10 says that "Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord, to practice it, and to teach his statutes and ordinances in Israel." That order of study, then practice, and finally teach is a pattern I yearn to live after. Thank you for modelling it for me over the years.
Your bud,