Is Jesus God?: The Son of Man

Below are my notes for the video which you can use if you'd like. (Note: They were not intended to be comprehensive, they were just video notes! So there is plenty more to this issue, and there are plenty more references that could have been listed even for the arguments used. Also, I did not follow the notes to a 'T' while making the video. Cheers :-)

  • Background
    • Example verses
      • Mk 2:10
      • Mk 2:28
      • Mk 13:27
    • Prevalence
      • Jesus’ preferred title
      • Number of times used:
      • Not found outside Gospels/Acts
    • Specificity
      • Exclusively used for Jesus
      • Almost exclusively used by Jesus
  • Old Testament Use of The Son of Man in Ezekiel
    • Lowly
      • Ezekiel 3:25 - As for you, son of man, they will put ropes on you and bind you with them so that you cannot go out among them. (Spirit of the Lord is talking)
      • Ezekiel 12:8 - Son of man, eat your bread with trembling and drink your water with quivering and anxiety. (The Word of the Lord is saying something)
    • Used only in address
    • Not used to describe an eschatological figure
  • Old Testament Use of The Son of Man in Daniel
    • Beyond doubt that the Gospels intend to evoke Dan 7
      • Mk 14:62
      • Mk 13:27: Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN CLOUDS with great power and glory. And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.
    • The characteristics of the SoM in Daniel 7
      • One like a son of man (not quite titular; doesn't pose a problem)
      • Comes with the clouds of heaven
        • Is 19:1
      • Given an everlasting kingdom
      • Given eternal dominion over that kingdom
      • That all people, nation, and men of every language might serve him
        • Latruo used about 130 times in the Greek OT/NT
        • Each time it is a service due only to God
    • Jesus claims Daniel 7 for himself
      • Very clearly in Mk 14
      • Elucidates his cryptic references throughout the rest of the Gospel
      • In doing so, he claims all the characteristics of the Danielic Son of Man
        • Divine entrance
        • Heaven is his Kingdom
        • He has eternal dominion over it
        • For eternity, he will be served by a service due only to God
      • He does this in context of claiming to sit at the right hand of God.
  • Conclusion: Mark portrays Jesus claiming to be the divine Son of Man


  1. No doubt, this is a good case for Jesus' divine status, but if I'm not mistaken, in second-temple Judaism, wasn't there a strong monotheism with a willingness to accommodate a "chief agent" figure? I haven't done much study into this, but I've heard scholars talk about (though I haven't yet seen their argumentation) a "chief agent" who can have control over the divine retinue, in which case the NT writers would have been drawing on this category for their christology. What do you think of this?

  2. And sorry that I keep talking so much.

  3. GAP--

    You are correct in thinking that there was "a" strong monotheism with a willingness to accommodate a "chief agent" figure. It's not known how widely held this belief was. Although I haven't done enough research into this area, I can tell you that there are some proponents of that view in NT studies when it comes to Dan 7:13, the most notable of which is probably J. Collins, who thinks the one like a Son of Man is an angel.

    One thing I'd like to mention is that the presence of such a view does not necessitate that this is what Mark had in mind. I think the I AM of 6:50 and perhaps 14:62 would nudge me in favor of a higher Christology than simply a "second power".

    Also, it is possible that the imagery of service excludes the second power from being lesser than YHWH.

    But you're certainly right in that I need to give more time to investigating and responding to this theory. I'll get on that ;-) Cheers.

    P.S. Don't apologize for your frequent commentary - I really appreciate it and it keeps me on my toes. Cheers.

  4. Thanks for responding, and it's nice to know I'm not coming off as trolly.

    "One thing I'd like to mention is that the presence of such a view does not necessitate that this is what Mark had in mind."

    I never thought about it like that. Heh, I kept thinking Mark absolutely must have been thinking the same way as everyone else at the time.

    "I think the I AM of 6:50 and perhaps 14:62 would nudge me in favor of a higher Christology than simply a 'second power'."

    Can't 6:50 be translated "It is I"? Regarding 14:62--are you saying that his answer of "I am" was a reference to YHWH's title "I AM WHO I AM" (or "I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE")? I've heard this argument a couple of times but have not been convinced, since there's not much in the surrounding context that would indicate that he meant this. It just sounds like a simple affirmative response. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke include Jesus' trial before the Sanhedrin as well, and though in their accounts Jesus uses Daniel similarly to how he does in Mark, he doesn't say "I am," but gives a more ambiguous answer. Clearly, Jesus' Matthean and Lukan answers are both affirmative, judging by the Sanhedrin's response, so it seems that the Synoptic picture of Jesus' answer is just a "yes" answer, rather than a claim on the divine title "I AM WHO I AM."

    Anyway, I have an additional question that may not be directly related to Mark's christology of the Son of Man, but is kind of related to how Mark (and early Christians) used or misused Daniel. (Hopefully this won't go too off topic.) Later in Daniel 7, the text gives the interpretation of the vision. This interpretation seems to indicate in verse 22 that the Son of Man was just a symbol of God's "holy ones" (probably the children of Israel). Though I have a hard time conceiving of how the writer could have depicted the Son of Man as riding on the clouds (I've checked all the references to clouds in the Tanakh and can confirm that only God rides them) and being "served" (Aramaic pelach; every time the word is used in Daniel, it's used in reference to God or false gods) and not mean that he was divine in some way, it really looks like the writer means to speak of Israel. So was Mark misusing the passage?

  5. "Heh, I kept thinking Mark absolutely must have been thinking the same way as everyone else at the time."

    I'm assuming this is sarcasm :-) Quite cheeky of you, but this precisely demonstrates the flaw in your logic. It assumes that, just because the opinion exists, it was a unanimous opinion, or even a majority opinion. Given the wide diversity of Jewish opinion in the second temple era, especially if we account for the plethora of perspectives developing out of the diaspora, the mere existence of an opinion says nothing about widespread belief. In fact, we couldn't even be sure Mark had heard of such of an opinion.

    The reason Mark 6:50 is quite plausibly an "I AM" statement is because of the context. Here, Jesus is walking on water and speaks the words "I am". 3 points should be stressed here:

    1 - The Septuagint says YHWH alone walks on water as if on dry land (LXX Job 9:8 -- "Who alone has stretched out the heavens, and walks on the sea as on firm ground.")
    2 - This verse echoes of Psalm 43:1-2 -- "Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. And if thou pass through water, I am with thee". Again, God talking to Israel.
    3 - This follows shortly after the other sea miracle, Jesus calming the storm in Mark 4:38-39, which hearken back to Psalm 107:25-29. Here, YHWH is the one who calms storms.

    So, in context, Jesus has calmed a storm (something that only YHWH does), he walks on water (something that only YHWH does), then he tells the ones whom he's called by name to not be frightened (something that YHWH did) and says "Ego Eimi". There's too much YHWH specific context here for this to be a mere coincidence.

    Regarding 14:62, I'm not saying it certainly is an "I AM" statement here; it might not be. Clearly, Matthew wasn't convinced that it was. But I do think that it reminds us of the "I AM" tradition being ascribed to Jesus in Mk 6:50. Since John is often considered to be independent of the Synoptics, his use of the "I AM" strengthens the case for the use of this phrase by the Historical Jesus in such a manner that it was recognized as the "I AM" phrase.

    Finally, referring to Mark's interpretation of the passage, there is a concept called "Double prophecy" in which a prophecy is fulfilled on two occasions. Two examples of this are the Genesis statement by Abraham "God will provide the lamb" (referring to the immediate ram and then the forthcoming agnus dei) and the prophecy of a coming "one like Moses" from Deut 18 (referring to the immediate Joshua and the forthcoming Jesus). In Daniel, we see another double prophecy; one which is in the short term described as Israel (but, as you noticed, doesn't quite fit the imagery) and then the long-term fulfillment in Jesus (who fits the imagery quite well).

    Hope that helps. Great questions.

  6. That wasn't supposed to be sarcasm; I meant what I said. (That happens a lot when I'm chatting on Facebook...I say something, and the other person says, "Um, was that sarcasm?") Sorry if my response was disrespectful.

    And thanks for clarifying about the "I AM" statements, because I hadn't ever really taken those things into account. Shows that I need to learn more.

    The double prophecy thing does sound like it could explain Mark's use of it (I think I've heard of the concept before, only it was called "typology," with a type and antitype; the antitype is supposed to be greater than the type, which would make sense when it comes to Israel being the type and Jesus being the antitype), though it doesn't seem that Mark means to use it that way. There's also the explanation that the Son of Man could be the ruler who represents the "holy ones" of the Most High, which would explain why he's described in a way Israel probably wouldn't say of itself, but doesn't explain why there's no indication of someone representing the holy ones. I guess there are a lot of ways to explain it.

  7. Hi Nabeel, thanks for the video! I hope this link is still active as the last reply was written in 2011! I have come across Jehovah's Witnesses and I am familiar with their of thinking. If we quote Daniel 7 to them, they would first agree to all the majesty surrounding the "son of man", but then they would add, "Ah, but you see, he to be GIVEN the kingdom and the dominion etc. so this shows that he didn't have it in the first place since he had to be GIVEN them, so this means the Ancient of Days is still higher." How would we answer that by just using Daniel or Mark?

    I would answer it by going all the way to Revelation, also something I heard you said somewhere else. Revelation 1:8, 17, 18. But this of course is assuming we relax the condition by asking where in the Bible did Jesus say he is divine, instead of just where in the Gospels did he claim divinity.

    Many thanks!!

  8. Did Jesus Lie under Oath?

    Gospel of John's Jesus:
    Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret.
    John 18:20

    Gospel of Mark's Jesus:
    He strictly ordered them that no one should know this.
    Mark 5:43

    Mark’s Jesus seems to ALWAYS be telling his disciples and those he heals to keep his deeds secret. John’s Jesus swears under oath in front of the Jewish Sanhedrin (high court) that he has said nothing in secret.

    This is a blatantly false.

    To Jews, God cannot lie, therefore this is absolute proof to them (and maybe it should be to Christians) that Jesus was not God.

    The Jewish Bible:
    God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of a man that he should repent...
    --- Numbers 23:19

    1. Jesus swore under oath that He had SAID nothing in secret.

      What He instructed His disciples to conceal were His miraculous DEEDS.

    2. If Jesus told someone, in private, not to tell anyone what he had done (a deed), then he was saying something in secret.

      Jesus told the man he healed of blindness not to say anything to anyone about his healing.

      THAT is saying something in secret, my friend.

      Jesus lied or made a mistake, either of which proves he was not God.

  9. Hi Nabeel,

    I have a question regarding Jesus' reference to Daniel 7. How do we know Jesus is referencing Daniel 7 and not the book of Ezekiel, where Ezekiel is often called "Son of Man." Why are we so sure that Jesus is referencing Daniel and not Ezekiel. Because if He was just referencing Ezekiel, then would He not be just calling Himself another prophet? Not actually God? I don't know if there is a difference in the original language between the book of Daniel and Ezekiel, but I'm wondering if you know why we say Jesus was referencing Daniel and not Ezekiel. Let me know. Thanks!

    1. I hope you got your answer, but if you haven't already found one, here is a link for you to read the whole context of Jesus son of man referencing Daniel 7:

      Mainly, in has to be Daniel because Jesus said son of man coming with the clouds and such reference can only be found in Daniel, not Ezekiel.