Son of Man Son of God Matt 8:20 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Jesus Christ is both the Son of man and the Son of God. Are these titles ambiguous and confusing, creating doubt as to his true identity? Or do these designations have enough significance to warrant the use of both of them in the Bible. Let’s see.
Son of Man refers to:
Men in general – Num 23:19 – son of man just means a descendant of another man who would be prone to lie or repent. See Job 25:6. Other places where the word man, and the phrase son of man occur together are similar to Job 25:6. See Ps 8:4 and many other Old Testament references. In Ps 80:17 the reference is to Jesus Christ.
Ezekiel, in connection with the second coming – Ezek 2:1 – and all the other references to Ezekiel as the Son of man connect him to prophecy, particularly the prophecy of the second coming of Jesus [Matt 24:27, 30, 37, 44; Matt 26:64, etc]. Daniel’s vision concerning the second coming of Jesus in Dan 7:13 refers to the Son of man. See Dan 8:17 where Daniel is called son of man in a reference that concerns “the time of the end.”
Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah – Matt 8:20 – Jesus referred to himself as the Son of man. He is called the Son of man 83 times in the New Testament, 80 times in the gospels and one each in Acts 7:56, Rev 1:13, 14:14. In Acts 7:56 Stephen saw Jesus standing on the right hand of God and called him the Son of man. Clearly, Jesus was ready to return if Israel had accepted the preaching of Stephen and Jesus as their Messiah. The references in Revelation are certainly to the time of the end and the impending return of Jesus. Therefore, the designation Son of man is a Jewish connotation and relates Jesus to Abraham and David by natural descent [Matt 1:1; 22:42].
Son of God refers to Jesus as:
Seen by Nebuchadnezzar [pre-incarnate appearance] – Dan 3:25 – Nebuchadnezzar saw a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ in the fiery furnace. He would have known about him from Daniel. Ps 2:7 and Prov 30:4 prophesy of the Son of God even though he hadn’t been physically born as the Son of man yet.
Prophesied by Gabriel [virgin birth] – Lk 1:35 – Gabriel confessed that Mary’s firstborn son would be the Son of God.
Known by devils – Matt 4:3, 6 – the devils obviously knew who he was [Matt 8:29].
Believed by disciples and others – Matt 14:33 – the disciples knew he was the Son of God by his miracles and the centurion by his death and the signs accompanying his death [Matt 27:54].
Professed by Jesus – Jn 9:35-37 – Jesus professed that he was the Son of God, though he most commonly referred to himself as the Son of man. See Jn 5:17-18 and Jn 10:36
Revealed to the Church – Rom 1:3-4 – show his humanity and his deity. Paul never referred to Jesus as the Son of man. The Son of man is a Jewish designation and primarily concerns Jesus’ work in the kingdom of heaven. The Son of God is a Church Age designation and primarily concerns Jesus’ work in the kingdom of God.
Conclusion: There is no ambiguity here. Jesus is both the Son of man and the Son of God, since he is a descendant of David and a descendant of God. He is the only person who can fulfill 1 Tim 2:5.
One fellow said that if the Bible had simply called him God, the Son, it would have removed all doubt as to his deity. But the truth is that nothing would change. All who believe that Jesus is God believe that from the Bible the way that it is written. And all who don’t believe that Jesus is God wouldn’t believe it if it were spelled out for them in any other fashion. You can’t make it much clearer than 1 Jn 5:20 and 1 Tim 3:16. And if God did make it any clearer than that, they would just revise the words to obscure his identity like they have done in the modern Bibles.