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Historic Jesus
Son of Man

Son of Man was Jesus' favorite title for himself. Adopting a term found in the Old Testament Book of Daniel and in an intertestamental Jewish book known as the Similitudes of Enoch, Jesus used it to mean someone who was fully human and at the same time fully divine. The term meant the exalted Lord who will come in great glory. The Son of Man "has come to seek and to save the lost," and in the last days will come with the angelic hosts to judge the good and the bad.

The title Son of Man is often used interchangeably with "Son of God" and with "Messiah." It is used whenever it is predicted that Jesus would suffer and give his life as a ransom for others in accordance with the Scripture, and that he would rise again from the dead. The suffering of the Son of Man is connected with Isaiah's description of the suffering servant of God (52.13-53.12), in which the Son of Man is seen there as a teacher with a decisive message that is rejected by the leaders of the nation.

When the Son of Man comes again to judge those who rejected his message, his appearance will be sudden and unexpected. But it will be clearly announced by angelic trumpets and therefore known to all.

When Jesus spoke of himself as the Son of Man, he referred to his dual nature as both man and God. He also referred to his mission to bring hope to social and religious outcasts and new life to sinners. Jesus introduced a new age that would dawn with his return in glory to judge all people. He would accomplish this mission only through his death and his subsequent triumph over death.