Jesus, The Son of Man & Other TitlesVolume 3, Number 81
Created Date: May 22, 2014
Posted Date: May 22, 2014
Believe in the Gospel of John; Part 7:
Our last study brought us to the 7th occasion the Greek word “pisteu’o” is used in the Gospel of John (where its found 100 times; translated “believe” in 99 cases and “commit unto” once in the King James Version). I purposely skipped over something Jesus said to Nathaniel inwith the intention of coming back to it. In response to Nathaniel’s statement: “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel,” b, “Jesus answered and said unto him, because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” . The phrase I skipped over but address now is “Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” John 1:51b. First we note that Nathaniel acknowledged Jesus as “the Son of God” but when Jesus answered and told him he would witness angels ascending and descending upon Him, He referred to Himself as “the Son of man.”
In the New Testament Jesus has many titles of His one Person, each representing different relationships He sustained. (Some references to Appendix 98 of the Companion Bible are made here.) He is called “Emmanuel,”; the “Christ,” the “Messiah” of Israel; the “Lamb of God,” which taketh away the sin of the world, , 36; ; “I AM,” (see also ); “The Lord Jesus Christ,” ; The “King of Kings and Lord of Lords,” , as well as other titles. Today we will consider His office or title “the Son of Man” compared to that of “the Son of God.”
In the e-sword Bible application I find His exact title “the Son of God” 44 times spread relatively evenly throughout the New Testament (most often in the Gospel of John and in 1 John and only 4 times in the Pauline epistles). The first time this title occurs is in: “And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” The Companion Bible, Appendix 98 XV notes the title “the Son of God” expresses the relation of the Son to the Father; Jesus having been conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit, . As the Son of God, Christ is the heir of all things, ; is invested with all power and is the Resurrection and the Life, , having power to raise the dead, .
On the other hand, in the e-sword Bible application I find His exact title, “the Son of Man” 88 times, most prominently in number in Matthew, Luke, Mark and then John. (Interestingly, this title is not found in the Pauline epistles and for good reason, as Paul discloses our heavenly calling as opposed to the earthly calling of Israel.) Simply put, Jesus’ title “the Son of man” relates to His dominion in the earth. The first man Adam was given dominion over the earth and everything in it,but because of his fall this dominion was forfeited and lost to any of his progeny and is now in abeyance. (Satan has attempted on occasion to raise men up to take dominion of the earth but each attempt has fallen short, ... so far.) But, whereas Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, has the power and is the Resurrection and the Life, John 5:25, He, as the Son of Man, has the power to forgive sins, and to execute judgment, . In the first reference to the Son of Man in the New Testament we read that He did not have a place to lay His head, . As the Son of Man He was betrayed, ; 20:18. But the last time the Lord Jesus Christ is referred to as the Son of Man in the New Testament, He is pictured as Supreme Ruler with the power to judge all: “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” .
But what about Jesus’ statement to Nathaniel: “Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” John 1:51b. The only time I can find in the record of Christ’s earthly ministry where the angels ministered to Him was immediately after the 40 days he spent in the wilderness while being tempted by Satan,, which was prior to the time He called Nathaniel. He could have called 12 legions of angels (63,600 to 72,000 by Roman standards) to save Him when He was taken to be crucified, , but He didn’t. Instead, He willingly offered Himself to that task because that was the reason He came to earth, ; to take sinful mankind’s sins on Himself, , and save us, ; ; . It is truly amazing; He hung there all alone for 6 hours, suffering the most agonizing pain imaginable; the last 3 hours in total darkness as even His Father forsook Him while His life blood drained out, all for the benefit of the those who put Him there, ; ; . There were no angels ministering to him then.
Our English word “angel” is from the Greek “ang’gelos” (G32), meaning literally a messenger, found 186 times in the New Testament. Angels are prominently referenced in Matthew and Luke, including their being associated with Jesus Christ in His office of “the Son of Man” when He establishes His Kingdom here on earth, for example: “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity,”; “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” ; “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:” . Notice that each of these particular verses reference His title “the Son of Man” in conjunction with “angels” in relation to that future time when He will return to this earth at the end of the Tribulation period to establish His Kingdom on earth, as promised Israel throughout the Old Testament and during His earthly ministry as recorded in the Gospels.
“Ang’gelos,” translated either “angel” or “angels” is found 76 times in the book of Revelation, the most often in any New Testament book, Revelation being that which foretells what is going to happen during the 7 year Tribulation period at the end of which Christ returns to establish His Kingdom and rule on earth. However, I’ve been unable to find a specific reference to “angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man,” as Jesus told Nathaniel, John 1:51b. Therefore, in His statement, Jesus must have been referring to the time in that future Kingdom when He, as the Son of Man, will judge this earth during the Tribulation and subsequently rule His Kingdom on earth during the Millennium period. So, knowing when and where Nathaniel is going to see the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man is another one of those things about which we are going to have to wait, just like we have to wait to learn many other things, like who those saints were and what happened to them after their graves were opened and they went into Jerusalem after Jesus Christ’s resurrection,.