Messianic Apologetics
25 July, 2019

Yeshua the Messiah as the “Son of Man”

Quite frequently, lay readers of Holy Scripture can conclude that when Yeshua of Nazareth is referred to as the “Son of Man,” it regards Yeshua as a human being or in being identified with humanity, and that when Yeshua is referred to as the “Son of God” it only regards Yeshua as being, at the very least, supernatural. But is this really how these two titles are actually employed?

Those who hold to both a high and low Christology usually acknowledge that there is some association between Yeshua being referred to as the “Son of Man” in the Apostolic Writings ([ho] huios [tou] anthrōpou), and the figure of the bar enash or the “Son of Man” who is presented before the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7:13-14. As it is stated, “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” (Daniel 7:13-14, NASU). Ecumenical resources, involving both Jewish and Christian scholars, will lean toward this Danielic vision speaking of a high angel presented before God.[1] Those, who hold to a high Christology, will understandably look at the veneration given to this Son of Man who is “worshipped” (NIV), and draw the conclusion that given Yeshua’s own usage of the term, that He is to be regarded as genuinely God, and that the clues regarding Yeshua being God are indeed provided in the Prophets.[2]

Those who hold to both a high and low Christology will have to concede that whatever is intended by Yeshua of Nazareth being referred to as the “Son of God,” it is representative of a relationship that only Yeshua as the Son has to the Father (i.e., Matthew 11:25-27; Luke 10:21-22; John 3:16; 5:19-24; 14:13; 17:1).[3] It is then, of course, up to readers to decide, based on the context of how “Son of God” is employed (i.e. Matthew 26:63-64), as to whether or not the title “Son of God” implies some sort of Divine state of being or not. Too frequently overlooked, in association with the title “Son of God,” is how this terminology is employed with Yeshua of Nazareth embodying the hopes, aspirations, and destiny of Israel (i.e., Exodus 4:22-23; Jeremiah 31:1; Hosea 11:1; Malachi 2:10) and its king (2 Samuel 7:14; Psalm 2:7; 89:26-27).

NOTES

[1] “son of man,” in Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period, pp 597-598.

[2] Although having some liberal presuppositions, some interesting discussion is seen in “From Son of God to Son of Man,” in Daniel Boyarin, The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ (New York: The New Press, 2012), pp 25-38.

[3] “son of God,” in Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period, pp 596-597.