Son of Man

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In the NT, a designation of Jesus, with one exception (Acts 7: 56), used only by Himself. In the Aramaic of NT times, it seems that the phrase could be used almost as a paraphrase for ‘I’, and in some cases parallel passages in another Gospel have ‘I’ or ‘Me’. In the OT the corresponding Hebrew expression is often a synonym for ‘man’, i.e. a human being. In Dan. 7: 13, however, ‘one like a son of man’ occurs in the context of the final establishment of God's kingdom, and is used as a symbol representative of God's elect. In Dan. it denotes some angelic being; the identification with an individual leader or Messiah is not found until the Similitudes of Enoch and 2 Esdras, in passages probably too late to have influenced the Gospels. The element of mystery about the phrase in the Gospels confirms the view that it was not an established Messianic title before the time of Jesus. Later readers of the Gospels have seen ‘Son of Man’ as denoting the humility of Christ's incarnate humanity as contrasted with the majesty of His Divinity denoted by ‘Son of God’, and as emphasizing His universalist role in contrast with the nationalist conceptions associated with the title ‘Son of David’.

Subjects: Biblical Studies.

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