HOW IS THE 'SON OF GOD' ALSO THE 'SON OF MAN'?
(Matthew 16:13-17 NKJV in all verses unless otherwise noted)
13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
Let us notice how The Savior did not just ask who He is, as perceived by people as well as His own disciples, but that in His asking He also revealed Himself to be The Son of Man. In the same manner, Apostle Peter did not simply reply with a correct answer, he has pinpointed the connection of The Savior’s Sonship, of God and of Man based on evangelical facts and prophecies. What is the significance of these two titles or roles of The Savior? What important knowledge can we possess when we understand the relationship of the two Sonships of The Christ Yeshua?
SON OF GOD AND HIS SPIRITUAL BIRTH
Although God has many others whom He acknowledges as sons (Job 38:7) and daughters (Isa. 43:5-6), what is the uniqueness of The Lord Yeshua’s Sonship?
17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
God has declared His Son Yeshua to be His Only Begotten Son. This is the part where the majority are confused. How is The Lord Yeshua The Only Begotten Son of God? Almost all preachers in Christianity would point to His uniqueness being the only One who does not sin. Others would conveniently point out to Him being the only One who was ‘conceived by the Holy Spirit’ in Mary. But is this the full truth concerning this evangelical topic?
What does God declare concerning The Savior Yeshua being His Only Begotten Son?
7 “I will declare the decree:
The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
God Himself testified of the day when He had begotten His Son – of course, His Only Begotten Son – The Christ Yeshua. The moment that God WILLED to have a Son was when God had begotten His Son. This is the Spiritual Birth of God’s Son. How did it happen?
(Revelation 12:1-2, 5, 13)
Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. 2 Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth… 5 She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne… 13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child.
We can be sure that this is not The Christ's human birth as the Woman in the vision is not Mary, His human mother. If so, what is this birthing of a male Child? Although it was possible that John did not fully understand this specific vision at that time, however his vision metaphorically presents the spiritual birthing of God’s Son. In his vision, a (Spiritual) Woman birthed God’s Son. Who is this Woman? How does the Scriptures describe the origin of The Messiah:
(Micah 5:2 Orthodox Jewish Bible)
2 (5:1) But thou, Beit-lechem Ephratah, though thou be little among the Alphei Yehudah (Thousands of Yehudah), yet out of thee shall He [Moshiach] come forth unto Me [Hashem] that is to be Moshel Yisroel; whose goings forth (i.e. origins) have been mikedem, (from everlasting; see Chabakuk 1:12), mimei olam (from the days of eternity).
The origin of God’s Son who later on became The Savior of mankind is from EVERLASTING, from the days of eternity. His Everlasting Origin can be understandably referred to as is His Spiritual Mother. This was the Woman who was seen by John in his vision. What is from everlasting from which God's Son originated?
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
That which was from the beginning was the Word of God. It only makes sense to possess this understanding since there was not a time when The Almighty had not His Word; and if God is from everlasting so must be His Word! It was God’s Word that was the origin of God’s Son and was likened to a Spiritual Woman in the vision of John. How then did God’s Son come into existence? When God designated His Word to become His Son – the time when He expressed, “today I have begotten You.”
In order to get a clearer understanding of this evangelical truth one needs to understand that the Spiritual Birth of God’s Son is not of the same concept as to a human birth. When was that day when God willed to have a Son? This must be before anything else was created by God as shown by the simple fact that “all things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made (John 1:3)," and in the words of Paul, He is “the firstborn over all creation (Col. 1:15).” The Lord Yeshua proved the validity of our understanding on this specific topic when He expressed about the glory which He shared with God even before the world was created (Jn. 17:5).
Note: The existence of God's Son before the creation of the world all the more proves that He is not God, nor is He the Creator. Also, the fact that God's Son has an Origin only proves that He is not everlasting, a trait that is only specific to The Almighty God. The scriptural truth concerning The Father as the only true God (Jn. 17:1, 3) is even further validated.
SON OF MAN AND HIS HUMAN PURPOSE
The Lord Yeshua Himself testified about Him being The Son of Man (Mat. 16:13). What does He mean by that title? First, let us try to understand this title based on the Scriptures’ context:
2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them…
The ‘title Son of Man’ is simply how God refers to His messenger whom He commissions to prophesy and relay His message to His people, and is therefore, a prophet. The same is true with God’s Son Yeshua. God designated Him to be His Messenger and Prophet (Deut. 18:18 / Isa. 41:2, 8-17) who personally interacted with His people in order to (1) “restore the preserved ones of Israel”, (2) and to be given “as a light to the Gentiles” for their salvation until the end days (Isa. 49:6).
How did The Son of God become The Son of Man? And why is there a need for Him to go through this process?
DEPLOYMENT TO THE WORLD
As scripturally presented above, God’s Son already existed even before anything else was created. However, His existence then was not of being a man since man, as well as the world, was not even created yet. Being God’s Word He was with God in spirit form. How did God’s Word, and Son, become The Son of Man?
(Isaiah 45:22-23 OJB)
22 Turn unto Me, and be ye saved, kol afsei Eretz (all the ends of the Earth); I am El (G-d), and there is no other [G-d].
23 I have sworn by Myself, the Word has gone out of My mouth of tzedakah (righteousness), and shall not yashuv (return, be revoked), that unto Me kol berekh (every knee) shall bow, kol lashon (every tongue) shall swear.
As foretold by God Himself through the Prophet Isaiah, “I have sworn by Myself, the Word has gone out of My mouth of righteousness.” When will God’s Word, His Son, leaves His mouth? What is the fulfillment of this?
(John 1-3, 14)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made… 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
God’s Word that was already His Son, through whom God created everything else, became flesh at the time appointed by God. For what reason? That He can be deployed to the world in order for God’s Word to become personal unto mankind. And vice versa, man can experience living his earthly life with God’s Word, His very own Son. This is God’s own design and divine will of gathering people unto Him (Jn. 6:39) for their Salvation (Isa. 49:6 / Jn. 3:14-18) and Eternal Life. How can His Son save them from judgment? By offering His life for them (Jn. 15:13). This is the task that cannot be accomplished without God’s Son going through the process of becoming flesh. God’s salvation just got to be experienced by man in his own paradigm or realm. In that process, The Son of God became the prophesied Son of Man, Messenger or Prophet whom God sent to effectuate His mercy and salvation.
Although the titles of Son of God and Son of Man in the Messianic context point to the same Entity, their roles and purpose are very defined and for good reasons. His being The Son of God came about from His Spiritual Birth when God's Word brought forth, or could even be understood as having become, His own Son. This serves the will and pleasure of God of having One whom He can call as a Son. On the other end, His being the prophesied Son of Man resulted when He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and appeared on earth through a human birth. This serves the love of God towards His special creation, that is of man whom He created in His own image.
May our clearer understanding of the two roles of The Messiah, of being The Son of God who later became The Son of Man, brings in us a deeper and more profound appreciation of the love and mercy of The Almighty God unto mankind.