A Suffering Son Of Man

Daily Reading: Daniel 7, 8; 1 John 4

“I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him.” (Daniel 7:13, NASB95)

The Son of Man is described with several important characteristics (Dan. 7:13-14):

  • He comes with the clouds of heaven. Elsewhere in the OT, God is the one who rides on the clouds  (see Deut. 33:26;  Ps. 68:33; Is. 19:1).
  • “He came up to the Ancient of Days.” He has a very close relationship with God.
  • “He was presented before Him.” He is accepted by God and is able to stand in His presence.
  • “To Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom,” “which will not pass away” or “be destroyed.” He is God’s King.
  • “All the peoples” will “serve Him.” This also refers to worship of God.

This is the only place in Daniel that the Son of Man is mentioned, but this is the referent for the Son of Man in the Gospels, Acts, and Revelation. It’s easy enough to see Daniel’s Son of Man in Mk. 14:62, “And you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven” (see also Mk. 13:26). However, why does Jesus say that the Son of Man must suffer (e.g., Mk. 9:31; 10:33, 45; 14:21)? Nowhere in the OT does it explicitly talk about the Son of Man’s suffering. Nevertheless, in the explanation of the vision (see Dan. 7:16), it doesn’t refer to the Son of Man but “the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come” (Dan. 7:18). The people receive the same glory as the Son of Man; therefore it can be inferred that the Son of Man must undergo the same suffering as His people before they “took possession of the kingdom” (Dan. 7:21-22). This is made more clear in Daniel 7:27 when the two are brought together: the greatness of all the other kingdoms will be given to “the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom.” The suffering that the people will face must first be experienced by the Highest One. The Son of Man only receives His kingdom after overcoming through suffering. As Paul says in Romans 8:17, “Heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” Are you at peace with the Son of Man? Are you committed to following the Son of Man through suffering so that you will also reign with Him?

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