Jesus often called himself the “son of man”.1 Two such occasions are recorded in Mat. 8:18-20 and Mark 14:61-62:

{18} Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. {19} And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” {20} And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Mat. 8:18-20)

{61} …the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”  (Mark 14:61-62)

When Jesus calls himself the “son of man”, he is making a connection between himself and the “son of man” phrases mentioned in the Old Testament, specifically, in the Book of Daniel.

In Dan. 7:13-14, the prophet Daniel sees a vision involving “one like a son of man”:

{13} “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. [14} And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

Notice the strong connection between Dan. 7:13 and Jesus’ words in Mark 14:61-61.

By calling himself the “son of man”, Jesus was identifying himself as the fulfilment of the “one like a son of man” that Daniel saw in this prophetic vision.

Jesus would have known from Dan. 7:13-14 that (a) he would one day ascend to Heaven to be with God (the “Ancient of Days” in the vision), and that (b) God would give him a kingdom on the earth that would last for ever. (a) has already happened (Acts 1:9; Acts 7:54-60). We are waiting for Jesus to return (Acts 1:11) to set up his kingdom on the earth in fulfilment of (b).


Notes

1. In the Gospels, Jesus is referred to as the “son of man” 79 times (ESV. Some of the occasions are repeated between the Gospels; all of them are Jesus’ words referring to himself). “…’the Son of Man’ is by far the most frequent title that Jesus applies to himself” (Tom Gaston, “The Son of Man” in Christadelphian eJournal of Biblical Interpretation, Vol. 1. No. 4. Oct 2007, p. 5).

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