Son of Man, The
People generally have assumed over the centuries that Jesus was identical with the Son of Man; and this view was accepted without further ado by the adherents of the Christian faith. If, however, the Words of Jesus were to be examined critically and objectively, one would find unequivocal references to another other than He, Who He referred to in the third person.
Jesus Himself in His Words gave unequivocal proof of the existence of another Who is the Spirit of Truth, the Counsellor and the Judge. If we read John 14. 16 He said ‘I will pray to the Father and He will give you another Counsellor, to be with you for ever’. These few words of Jesus clearly did not refer to Himself. He said that He would pray to the Father to send another other than He, Who would be with us for ever, thereby stressing the fact that His own Mission could only be a temporary one and that there is Another Who would be sent to dwell with us for ever.
There is no other way of interpreting these clear words other than in the sense in which they are given. He continued further in John 14. 25-27 ‘These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counsellor, 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’ and continued in verse 30….. ‘I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me…….’.
Many Christians want to interpret this promise of the sending of the Counsellor or the Holy Spirit Whom Jesus said He would pray the Father to send, and Who will teach us all things, at Whitsuntide when the power from the Holy Spirit filled the disciples and tongues of flames were distributed among them. What happened at Whitsuntide was the outpouring, the outflow of power from the Holy Spirit and not perhaps the Holy Spirit Himself.
Jesus in His Words referred to the Holy Spirit as He; He will teach us all things; He will bring to your remembrance all that I have said. This is a prophecy of something that lies in the future. It is a promise that this Counsellor will personally come and teach us all things; He will personally bring the teachings of Jesus to our remembrance.
This power that came upon the disciples at Whitsuntide was not personal, did not teach us all things, did not bring to our remembrance the teachings of Jesus. He is the One Jesus called the Ruler of the world; “the Ruler of the world is coming but He has no power over me”, which signifies that this Ruler of the world is of equal strength and importance to Jesus.
The happening at Whitsuntide obviously is not a personal fulfilment, the disciples at that time were given the power they needed in order for them to be able to grow into their tasks and fulfil them. The power filled them and enabled them to fulfil their destinies. This had nothing to do with what Jesus said about His praying that the Counsellor be sent to us and dwell with us forever and teach us all things. None of the things that Jesus said would be fulfilled by the Counsellor, the Spirit of Truth was fulfilled at Whitsuntide. There was no new teaching, there was no bringing to our remembrance what Jesus had taught us, there was no convincing the world concerning sin and righteousness and there was no Judgement.
Further proof that Jesus could not be speaking about Himself and that a personal fulfilment is involved, which means that someone would have to come down personally is given in John 16. 12-15 when He said “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of Truth comes He will guide you into all Truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for He will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that He will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
It is difficult to understand how we have neglected to examine and understand these clear Words of Jesus for centuries. These Words of His need no further explanation or clarification. They simply have to be examined and interpreted as they were given by every individual for himself.
First, He spoke in the third person, referring clearly to another Person, secondly, He said that He could not continue to talk to us because at that point we could not bear; in order words we would not be able to understand the many things that He could tell us.
After realising this fact of our inability to grasp His teachings, He now gave a promise of the coming of Another, Who would be able to guide us further into all Truth. This Person Who would guide us into all Truth had already been identified by Jesus to be the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, the Counsellor, not perhaps Jesus Himself. Jesus also called Him the Ruler of this world Who had no power over Him (Jesus), which means that they are equals.
Now, nobody else can give the undimmed Truth but He Who comes from the Truth Itself, no one else can be the Counsellor, Who could guide us to all Truth but He Who comes from God Himself, and by this Jesus had identified this Counsellor also to be a part of the Creator Himself, to be Someone, Who like Jesus has also come directly from God. Such a One can only be a part of the Holy Trinity.
He called Him the Holy Spirit, Who we all know to be the third Personality in the Trinity. We must not confuse the Holy Spirit with the power which emanates from Him, which is called the “Power of the Holy Spirit” and which the disciples received at Whitsuntide. These are not one and the same thing. The Holy Spirit is not amorphous or intangible, but a Personality, otherwise He would not be a Part of the Trinity. He is God “the Holy Spirit”, personal, independently working, yet has the Power of God working through Him, just like Jesus is a Personality in the Holy Trinity, independent, yet firmly linked to the Father.
Only these Two can give the undimmed Truth from God, because only these Two are Parts of Him. Jesus therefore could not have promised another Bringer of Truth but the other Personality in the Holy Trinity. He, the Holy Spirit, just like Jesus will not speak on His own authority but whatever He hears He will proclaim. Jesus took from the Father and gave to us. The Holy Spirit, Who Jesus promised cannot but do the same. Jesus said “He will glorify me, He will take what is mine and declare it to you”. This is clear enough. If He was speaking about Himself, why speak in this manner? If we examine the Words of Jesus in all simplicity and ignore current popular interpretations, we cannot arrive at any other conclusion than what these words plainly say.
The promise of the Coming of the Holy Spirit; this prophecy, concerning His Coming, which we have failed to recognise and pay attention to, is one of the worst things that can befall mankind; and the consequences of this neglect would be disastrous in the extreme. Not only would the Holy Spirit bring a New Teaching, He will also bring the Judgement. These facts show that we must be sufficiently alert so as not to miss this New Teaching and His time and as a result be in a position to escape the disastrous consequences of the Judgement, to be able to save ourselves in time.
Our neglect and failure to recognise this prophecy turns our gazes in another direction and makes us lose precious time with the great danger that the vast majority of us run the great risk of missing the last opportunity of Grace which Jesus promised us through the Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth will reprove the world of sin, will guide us into all Truth.” In this lies the promise of a New Teaching, a new World Teacher, Who through His Words is to offer us the last opportunity to change ourselves for the better before a terrible Judgement overtakes us. Nothing is more important today than the promise of the Coming of the Son of Man because His time has come and it is our duty to look for His new Teaching.
“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 Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 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 forevermore.” Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 9. 6-7.
Isaiah here, prophesied the coming of a Counsellor Who would establish a Kingdom and uphold it with Justice and Righteousness forevermore. These are the exact credentials of the Counsellor Whom Jesus spoke of. The Counsellor Who would abide with us forevermore. The fact that this Counsellor is not identical with Jesus is even manifest in the Name of the Counsellor Whom Isaiah was allowed to prophesy. His Name is Imanuel.
“Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son and shall call His name Imanuel” Isaiah 7. 14. The name of the Counsellor therefore, Who would abide with us forever and Who would establish a Kingdom and uphold it with Justice and Righteousness is Imanuel.
The Mission and characteristics of this Counsellor, Imanuel Whom Isaiah prophesied is completely identical to Whom Jesus spoke of. Jesus spoke of a Counsellor, Isaiah spoke of the same. Jesus spoke of abiding with us forever, Isaiah spoke of the same. Jesus spoke of upholding the world with Justice and Righteousness, Isaiah did the same. Jesus spoke of Him as Judge, Isaiah did the same when he said in Isaiah 7. 15 that “He shall eat curds and honey when He knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good”.
Isaiah, therefore prophesied a Counsellor, a Judge, Who will abide with us forever and Jesus did the same. These are identical credentials, which stipulates an identical Personality, the same Person. Therefore, Isaiah prophesied Imanuel, the Judge, the Counsellor, the World Teacher. Jesus promised and called Him the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, the Counsellor. After all the Names are different; One is Jesus Who is Love, the Other is Imanuel, the Holy Spirit Who is Justice.
What is important at this point, is whether the characteristics and credentials of the Person mentioned by Isaiah are identical with those mentioned by Jesus so that after having examined these facts ourselves and thought about them, we would become convinced and realise that over thousands of years, the reason why we still lack understanding is because of our failure to examine these matters thoroughly.
Jesus Christ called the Counsellor, the Son of Man; ‘…..but when the Son of Man cometh…’ and since He is to judge, then He must be concerned with Justice, with Divine Justice, and since we know that the third Personality in the Holy Trinity is Justice, then Jesus must be speaking of this third Personality. Since Isaiah also said that He shall uphold the world with Justice and Righteousness, he, obviously must also be referring to this third Personality in the Holy Trinity, Whose task it is to judge. Isaiah therefore prophesied the Coming of the Holy Spirit Whose Name is Imanuel, the Son of Man, Whom Jesus promised. In the Bible therefore, there are two prophecies; Isaiah prophesied Imanuel, the Holy Spirit, the Son of Man. The Angel however, who spoke to Mary in the Annunciation, prophesied Jesus, the Son of God. After all the Names are different.
The Son of Man is not at the same time the Son of God; and Imanuel is not at the same time Jesus; and the Holy Spirit is not at the same time the Love of God, Jesus. Jesus Christ personifies the Love of God, whereas the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost personifies Divine Justice.
He is concerned with Justice and the Laws of God and the earliest references to Him and His activity can be found in Genesis 1. 2 when it is said that “the Spirit of God was moving upon the face of the waters” because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. Jesus called Him the Ruler of the world because the entire Creation (World) came to be through Him and Isaiah was permitted to say of Him that “…the government will be upon His shoulders…”. Isaiah was allowed further to say of Him in chapter 11. 2-5 that “the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes sees or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist, and faithfulness the girdle of his loins”.
Through these, the characteristics of the Judge are clearly seen. His Word is the Judge for mankind, and as Isaiah has written, “He will smite the earth with the rod of His mouth”, which is His Word. These happenings and the credentials of the World Judge, of the Holy Spirit, of Imanuel can even be read quite clearly in the Revelations.
John, in his Revelations, was clearly allowed to differentiate between the Son of Man and Jesus, as for example when he said, in Revelation 1. 4 ‘Grace to you and peace from him, who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ…’.
Who is this Who is, Who was, and Who is to come? He cannot be any other than He Who Jesus promised to reprove the world of all sins, the Spirit of Truth Whom Isaiah called Imanuel. John, here in his Revelations has clearly revealed the presence of Two Personalities: Jesus and the Other, “Who is, Who was, and Who is to come”. “Then I turned to see the Voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lamp stands, and in the midst of the lamp stands, One, like a Son of Man, clothed in a long robe and with a golden girdle round His breast; His head and His hair were white as white wool, white as snow; His eyes were like a flame of fire, His feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and His Voice was like the sound of many waters,….. and from His mouth issued a sharp two edged sword, and His face was like the sun shining in full strength.” [Revelations 1.12-16.]
Every description of the Son of Man always mentioned something coming out from His mouth which is His Word, with which He will come to judge. And the evidence that this Personality Whom John referred to is the Judge is given further on what John wrote in the letters to the Angels of the seven Churches, Revelation 2. 7. “He who has an ear let him hear what the spirit says to the Churches. To him who conquers, I will grant to eat of the tree of life…”.
He who ears let him hear what the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth says to the Churches. It is not difficult to grasp all this if one understands the meaning of the Name Imanuel which means “God with us”. This Name describes His activity, describes Who He is and What He is. His Name embodies What He is to us, What He personifies for us; a Part of God given to us forever to be our Counsellor, our Teacher. This Part of God, Who already bears in His Name His Role for us is also referred to in Revelations 21. 3 “….Behold the Dwelling of God is with men, He will dwell with them and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them….”
This dwelling of God with men, this reference that God Himself will be with men already embodies and identifies this God as Imanuel because this is What His Name signifies. The same consistency runs through each of these facts which is a sign of the Perfection of God. Further, we read in Revelation 21. 5-8 “And He Who sits upon the Throne said ‘Behold I make all things new……It is done! I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty, I will give from the fountain of the water of life without payment. He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son.”
These Words proceeds from Him Who sits upon the Throne and Who has promised to be the God of those who conquer. This promise, to be the God of those who conquer, can only be fulfilled by Him Who will dwell with us forever, Who is Imanuel, the Son of Man. He is that Son of God, Who has been given to man, through Whom man exists; given to man to be an everlasting Mediator between God and His Creatures.
Therefore, “…unto us a Son is given…”, unto us men, a Son of God is given to dwell with us forever. Therefore, “God with us.” What we have to bear in mind is the consistency which have been manifested and revealed in the Bible about His Personality, His Role and His Activity right from Genesis, through Isaiah and the Gospels, right down to the writings of John in the Revelations. No contradiction exists about this Personality, Whose Name embodies the conception of what He is to us.