“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” – Daniel 7:13-14
“Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” – Matthew 24:30
This was a statement that went around my church for a season as a joke when things were getting tough in an area of life. Did you ever get to that point where life got so hard that you flirted with the idea that maybe, just maybe that the LORD had abandoned you and that all hope is gone as you are in thickness of the storms of life?
In the book of Daniel we see that the people of Israel were by far in one of the most darkest periods in that everything that they knew and every shape or form of God’s manifest presence was stripped from them as the citizens of the nation of Israel were scattered throughout the world. During the time when God was forming and building the nation of Israel, God made his manifest presence known through the King, temple, priests, rituals, and kingdom. These were tangible things that reminded the people that God was with them but when the nation began to fall apart because of the failure of the king and the ruling class with the people not too far behind them, God brought forth judgment upon their sin them by having them being conquered by foreign nations.
The tangible things that reminded the people that God was with them were suddenly gone and in the midst of their devastation they are left to wonder if God was either real anymore or gone. Yet out of all the things that God does, one of the things that I love about God is his heart that is bent towards redemption and restoration. In the midst of hopelessness, God reminds the people through prophets and people yielded to him with steadfast faith and hope that God is still alive and still working in the midst of the struggle.
In the passage of Daniel we see that there is a dream that shows nations rising up and conquering people which leads us to the idea that the people of God are not in a favorable position as they are on the side of defeat, but the thing here is that there will be someone who will not only bring restoration to a broken people but establish an everlasting kingdom as He is given all power and authority to rule. This Son of Man will be the hope of change and savior for the scattered nation because he will establish a kingdom that will endure and will not be like any of the previous rulers of Israel that have failed in every way possible.
The title “Son of Man” was a title that was used by Jesus frequently in his time on earth. He used it in several ways but in one way he used it was to show and exercise his exceptional authority, an authority that was given to him by God. What is interesting is that Jesus used it a lot towards the end of his ministry to tell of his authority that he has and will have when he is glorified by the Father. In his last moments before his crucifixion this was quite perplexing because he was in a situation where he seemed deserted and humiliated by the very people he came to save and as he was standing there awaiting the verdict of his fate before human judges we see that in the end the judge of all judges turns the table on everyone when he raises, glorifies and puts Jesus in a position as judge and ruler!
I believe that the life of Jesus as the Son of Man was a prophetic symbol that displays the restoration and redemption of God even in the midst of situations where it seems that evil triumphs, devastation is rampant, and faith, hope and love was a distant memory. As the people of Israel in the time of Daniel needed a fresh word of encouragement and a call to faith in God that God was going to redeem the mess that they were in despite what the physical circumstances they may be in; Jesus in the midst of his brokenness and desertion was the representative Son of Man that displayed the person who had hope and faith in that God the Father will always in the end restore and redeem all things.
Lets face it… the struggle is freakin real, but so is our God who restores all things.
Photograph above by HD Wallpapers You Need.
Michael Kang is the Teaching Pastor at Bethany United Methodist Church in Wayne, NJ. He is currently pursuing an MDiv at Alliance Theological Seminary. He loves crossfit, reading good books, and hanging out with people.