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THE SON OF MAN
AMONG many titles applied to our Lord, and one of those most frequently used by himself, is "The Son of Man." Some have been inclined to consider this a concession on our Lord's part that he was a son of Joseph; but this is wholly wrong: he never acknowledged Joseph as his father. On the contrary, it will be noticed that this title which he applies to himself is used, not merely respecting his earthly life, but also as respects his present condition and glory. And from this fact some have swung to the other extreme, and claim that it indicates that our Lord is now a man in heaven--that he still retains human nature. This, as we shall endeavor to show, is a thought wholly without warrant, a misapprehension of the title, "The Son of Man." But meantime let us notice that such a thought is wholly at variance with the entire message of the Scripture teaching. The Scripture statement is most emphatic, that our Lord's humiliation to the human nature was not perpetual, but merely for the purpose of effecting man's redemption, paying man's penalty, and thereby incidentally proving his own fidelity to the Father, on account of which he was immediately
Notice carefully a few of the uses of this title by our Lord, as follows:
"The Son of Man shall send forth his angels," in the harvest of this Gospel age. Matt. 13:41
"So shall it be in the presence of the Son of Man," in the harvest, the end of this age. Matt. 24:27,37
"When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him." Matt. 25:31
"Of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of the Father." Mark 8:38
"What and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where he was before?" John 6:62
"He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man." John 3:13
These scriptures identify "The Son of Man" with the Lord of glory, and with the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself, and with the prehuman Logos, which came down from heaven and was made flesh. And evidently the Jews did not have the thought that the title "The Son of Man" signified the son of Joseph, or, in the ordinary sense, the son of a man, to receive life from a human father: this is shown by the fact that they inquired, saying, "We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth forever: and how sayest thou, The Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?" (John 12:34) The Jews evidently identified the expression, "The Son of Man," with their hoped-for Messiah, no doubt basing their hopes in large measure upon the statement of Daniel (7:13), "I saw in the night visions, and behold one like unto the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they
Nevertheless, even though assured that this title in no sense refers to Joseph's son, and though the evidence is conclusive that the human nature, taken for the purpose, was sacrificed forever, and that now he is a quickening spirit being of the highest order (Heb. 2:9,16; 1 Pet. 3:18; John 6:51; Phil. 2:9), the question still arises, Why did our Lord choose such a name, such a title? Have we not reason to suspect that there must be some particular reason for it, else this particular title would not be used, since each of our Lord's titles has a peculiar significance, when understood?
There is a most important reason for the use of this title. It is a title of high honor, because a perpetual reminder of his great Victory--of his faithful, humble obedience to all the Heavenly Father's arrangements, even unto death, even the death of the cross, by which he secured the title to all his present and prospective honor and glory, dignity and power, and the divine nature. By this title, "The Son of Man," both angels and men are referred directly to the great exhibition of humility on the part of the Only Begotten of the Father, and to the underlying principle of the divine government--he that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Thus every time this name is used it speaks a volume of valuable instruction to all who shall be taught of God, and who are desirous of honoring him, and doing those things which are well pleasing in his sight.
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