Jesus, the Son of Man?
The concept of the Son of Man was not known until the time of Jesus. Jesus was the first to introduce this appellation, which was an idea or an expression He used many times in His teaching. Until now, however, many of us have assumed that with this expression or appellation, Jesus was referring to Himself.
If one were to examine the words of Jesus objectively, one would discover that He was in fact referring not to Himself but to another other than He. One would realise that in many places He referred to the Son of Man in the third person.
What we will try and do is to examine the evidence objectively and draw our conclusions from there. What is most important is for the individual to exercise his or her ability to think and also to intuitively perceive. Which is to say the individual must be able to use his or her intuition to examine these issues.
The idea of a Son of Man itself is not new, only the name is. Jesus Christ, towards the end of His ministry first introduced the name “Son of Man” as mentioned above especially when He started making predictions about the end of the world. In Matthew 24:27 we read “for as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” thereby indicating that someone called the Son of Man will come in the future.
Conventional interpretations have assumed however that this Son of Man was Jesus and that He was referring to Himself with these predictions. In Matthew 24:44 we read further “Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” This further illustrates the idea mentioned above that a “Son of Man” indeed is to be expected. Indeed everybody expects the “Coming of the Son of Man” but most of us who care to think about the matter assume just because that is the popular opinion then this Son of Man must be Jesus.
Who, however, is the Son of Man? We have to look into Jesus’ words for an answer to this question. We have already seen as mentioned above that a “Son of Man” is expected because Jesus promised the coming of a “Son of Man”. Jesus also called Himself the Son of God. The question is: are the names “Son of Man” and “Son of God” interchangeable? Are these two names referring to the same person? Let us look at John 16:7 for enlightenment on this matter “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away for if i go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him to you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgement: of sin because they believe not on me; of righteousness because I go the my Father and ye see me no more; of judgement because the prince of this world is judged.”
We will first examine this statement before we move on. Jesus had indicated here that He was going and that His disciples would no longer see Him and that He would send a Comforter who would not come until and unless He (Jesus) goes. The coming of the Comforter was dependent on the going away of Jesus. He then went ahead and described the role that this Comforter would play.
This Comforter will reprove the world of sin and righteousness and also of judgement. The Comforter would if we know the meaning of this word reprove, rebuke or so to speak judge the world concerning righteousness and sin and obviously bring the Judgement. The Comforter therefore is concerned with judgement, with judging mankind. Therefore Jesus will send a Comforter who would reprove or judge the world concerning righteousness and sin. He went further and said that He was doing this because “they believe not in me” thereby indicating that this Comforter is different from Him.
The Comforter will be sent because the world did not believe in Jesus. He also said that “ye see me no more” which is to say that there will be no second coming of Jesus in the way that we had imagined this. The one that we should be on the look out for is this Comforter. One could feel the tone that Jesus was using here. He was obviously not happy. He was sad that His Mission did not bear the fruit that normally It should have borne. Seeing the failure of mankind, he said that He was going back to the Father but that He was not going to leave us without a helper. He was going to send another helper to us, a Comforter.
The reference that Jesus made to the Comforter refers to a specific personal fulfilment of a Mission. A mission to reprove or in some Bible interpretations convince the world of sin and righteousness and judgement. To reprove the world of sin and judgement involves a personal fulfilment which would have to be carried out by someone meant for this task which in this case is this “Comforter.” We read further in John 14:25-26 “These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” Jesus here has identified the Comforter as the Holy Spirit, the Counselor. We must realise here that Jesus used the pronoun he which refers to an individual who would “teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” Obviously to teach would involve a personal fulfilment and to bring the words of Jesus to our remembrance would also require a personal fulfilment.
It is not possible to teach and bring Jesus’ words to our remembrance without a personal fulfilment involved. Jesus spoke in the third person. He referred to the Holy Spirit as he who would carry out all these. If the Comforter then is the Holy Spirit, it can be inferred that He is the one mentioned in connection with reproving the world of sin and righteousness.
We go further to examine in John 16:13-15 “Howbeit when the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear shall he speak and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me for he shall receive of mine and shall show it to you. All things that the Father hath are mine; therefore said I, that he shall take of mine and shall show it to you.” Jesus therefore has identified the Comforter as the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit and also called Him the Counselor. And Jesus has identified the task of this Counselor as being that of teaching the world all things and also guiding us into all truth. So the Holy Spirit, the Comforter according to Jesus is a guide, a teacher and a judge. We must note again that Jesus used the pronoun he. He did not say it which indicates that the Holy Spirit is not some amorphous substance that is widely believed but a personality on His own who would fulfil all that Jesus promised that He would.
Therefore from the words of Jesus Himself, we can clearly see that the Holy Spirit or the Comforter is a personality whom Jesus has promised and whose duties Jesus has clearly outlined and defined. The widespread belief that the outpouring of the Power of the Holy Spirit at Whitsuntide which came on the disciples was the fulfilment that Jesus referred to can be disputed by the fact that that outpouring did not fulfil any of the duties that Jesus already said would be fulfilled by the Holy Spirit. It did not reprove the world of any sin or righteousness, did not bring about the judgement nor was there a new teaching that reminded us of Jesus or glorified Him.
The happening at Whitsuntide is the outpouring of Power by the Holy Spirit which is an annual event in which the Creator renews the power for the sustenance of the entire Creation. This event at Whitsuntide corresponds to an outpouring of this renewal of vital energy which energy or Power everyone is in a position to absorb for himself if open to it. The disciples, being psychically open at that time were able to absorb of this Power which gave them the impetus to accomplish all they did and fulfil their destinies. As human beings and at the present time it is perfectly possible if we open ourselves enough to receive of this Power and experience what the disciples experienced at the time.
There was therefore no personal fulfilment for mankind at Whitsuntide. That event did not fulfil the prophecy of Jesus concerning the coming of the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit whom He referred to as the Son of Man. We quote Matthew 24:27 again “For as lightning cometh out of the east and shineth even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” From this point onwards in the chapter, Jesus described in some detail what the conditions on earth would be like during the time of the Son of Man and also what the mission of this Son of Man would be.
Matthew 24:37-40 As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. (38) For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, (39) and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man. (40) Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left. This clearly proves that this Son of Man is connected with the Judgment, with reproving the world of all sins and in all logic corresponds with the aforementioned attributes of the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit.
We have seen above that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, the Counselor and He is concerned with Judgment. But we also have Jesus here speaking about a “Son of Man” who is concerned with the same issues of judgment. If the facts are examined objectively, we would conclude that the Holy Spirit is identical with the Son of Man since they have the same characteristics and duties. These characteristics and duties should stipulate an identical personality.
Jesus had called Himself the Son of God from Matthew 16:16-17 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (17) And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” It is difficult to imagine that He could also have called Himself the Son of Man. Jesus never referred to Himself personally concerning the Judgment, He always referred to the “Spirit of Truth”, “the Counselor” or the “Son of Man” in this regard. Therefore, we have two personalities based on the words of Jesus alone: Jesus, the Son of God and the Spirit of Truth, the Counselor or the Son of Man.
We could go further however by considering the Old Testament and the Revelations and indeed other works to see whether we can be a bit more clear about the Son of Man whose characteristics must define His identity. Jesus had linked Him with the Judgment. In Isaiah 9:6-7 we read “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (7) Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore…. Isaiah has prophesied that a Child would be given to mankind whose name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor (the exact word of Jesus) and the government shall be upon his shoulders (ruler of the world) as Jesus called Him. In John 14:30 we read “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me;” Jesus here has clearly distinguished Himself from this ruler of this world who He referred to as the Holy Spirit, the Son of Man. Isaiah went on to say that “he shall establish his kingdom with judgement.” Clearly indicating that this “Child” that will be born will be concerned with the Judgment which is a characteristic identical with the promised Counselor or the Spirit of Truth of Jesus.
Isaiah 7:14-15 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Imman’u-el. (15) He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. Being able to refuse evil and choose the good indicates that this “Child” called Imanuel is concerned with judgment and bears an identical personality with the Counsellor, the Son of Man or the Spirit of Truth whose duties indicates an identical personality (the same person).
We look into the works of Virgil. In the 4th Eclogues we read from line 4: “Ours is the coming era foretold in the prophecy: Born of time, a great new cycle of centuries begins. Justice returns to earth, the Golden Age returns and its first born comes down from heaven above…..For with him shall hearts of iron cease and hearts of gold inherit the whole earth….All stains of our past wickedness being cleansed away. This child shall enter into the life of the gods, behold them walking with antique heroes, and himself be seen of them and rule a world made peaceful by his father’s virtuous acts.”
Virgil here has identified that a Child would be born whose reign would be characterised by world peace and harmony. Jesus says the same. Isaiah says the same. They have all identified the characteristics of this Child. A Child concerned with righteousness and Judgment. It would be logical for us to assume that Isaiah, Jesus and Virgil spoke of the same person. Isaiah spoke of Imanuel Whose reign would be characterised by peace, Jesus spoke of the Son of Man Whose reign would be characterised by the same. Virgil predicted the birth of a Child whose reign shall bring peace. Identical characteristics must stipulate an identical personality. Hence Imanuel prophesied by Isaiah is the Son of Man, the Spirit of Truth of Jesus and the Child of Virgil.
We all in the past have assumed that the Child mentioned by Isaiah was Jesus not even noticing that the names are different and that Jesus’ roles and duties did not correspond to what Isaiah said would be the duties and roles of Imanuel. The coming Spirit of Truth was thought to have been fulfilled at Whitsuntide forgetting that Jesus had promised a personal fulfilment and that specific conditions on earth must mark the appearance of the Son of Man for example wars, famine and all kinds of tribulations which were not present at the time of the happening at Whitsuntide. The Child of Virgil has largely been ignored and the few scholars who concerned themselves with it have interpreted the prophesy in too earthly a way. They indicated that this Child may be that of Augustus, not realising that here was a prophecy of the greatest depth and importance.