Jesus refers to himself as the Son of Man; but what does that mean?
For the Jewish people around 25 AD living under the oppression of Rome, they would have known Daniel 7 very well. They have been taught about their slaver in Egypt, Babylon, and now currently under the rule of Rome. Daniel 7:13 gave them hope of a coming person; “ONE LIKE a son of man”. This individual was not a man but was LIKE a man and he was coming. This One like a son of man was given authority and sovereign power over all people and all people will worship him (Daniel 7:14). After continued slavery by different nations through their history, this individual would usher in a kingdom that would never be destroyed. This person is the messiah the save them from Roman rule and establish their nation again.
Then Jesus shows up, begins working miracles making big claims and declares that he is THE son of man. He was declaring that he is that messiah. Except it was not what they were expecting. Jesus did not lead a massive revolt against Rome. He was not the grand messiah dominating Rome and the rest of the world; the way they expected.
How was He the “one like a son of man”?
Jesus was given authority to forgive sins, work miracles, control the elements and defeat death. That was the authority, glory, and sovereign power described in Daniel 7:13. The power of God himself. His kingdom is made up of all those who trusted in the coming messiah and now have faith that he is that messiah. He saved them from not just Rome, but the whole world itself. He eternally saved souls.
“son of man”
This phrase simple means someone who his human. Daniel tried to describe a deity that was visibly similar to a man. The Holy Spirit gave Daniel the phrase “one like a son of man” to describe what God was showing him in his vision. But this also has implications of the identity of Jesus.
John 1:1, 14 Tells us that Jesus was God and God came down and clothed himself in the flesh, human flesh. Jesus being deity and coming from heaven (Daniel 7:13) was also a man in the flesh but God in spirit. This is known as the hypostatic union.
Is the Prophecy Fulfilled?
Besides Jesus claiming to be that very One that Daniel is talking about; that does not mean what Daniel saw has happened. His prophecy also resembles Revelations and can even be describing Jesus’ second coming. Regardless, Jesus made it clear that HE is the One in Daniels vision.
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