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Nature of Christ, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

18- The Term "Son of Man"


The Use of the Term "Son of Man" Where Reference is to the Divinity:

No doubt, the term "Son of Man" denotes the human nature of

Christ just as the phrase "Son of God" denotes His Divinity.

However, our Lord Jesus Christ used the term "Son of Man" on several occasions where He meant "Son of God" of which I mention a few:

( 1 ) He explained that the Son of Man is in heaven and on earth.

He told Nicodemus "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven." (John. 3:13). Image: Face of Jesus صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: وجه المسيح Image: Face of Jesus

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: وجه المسيح

So who is that Son of Man who descended from heaven? And who is he that is in heaven and speaks to Nicodemus on earth? Is it the Divine nature or the human nature? He cannot be the Incarnate Logos. Therefore, this statement very clearly indicates the One Nature.

( 2 ) The Lord Jesus Christ said, "For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath day". (Matt. 12:8)

If the expression "Son of Man" means (or denotes) the human nature, and "the Lord of the Sabbath" denotes the divine nature, then being put together in one statement is another proof of the One Nature.

(3 ) He said, that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins (Matt. 9:6).

But no one forgives sins except God alone. So was the one who said to the paralized man "Your sins are forgiven" the human nature or the Divine one? Is it not preferable to say that it is the Incarnate Logos?

( 4 ) The Lord Jesus Christ says that the Son of Man is the One Who shall Judge the world.

So is it the human nature that will judge the world or the Divine nature? He also says: "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. " (Matt. 16:27). We notice here that:

He says the "Son of Man " and at the same time "in the glory of His Father".

That is: He defines "Son of Man" and "Son of God" in one statement, indicating the One Nature. Further He Says: "The Son, of Man with His angels", while the words "His angels" indicate His Divine nature.

Thus, we notice here that the term "Son of Man" cannot indicate the human nature alone nor the Divine Nature alone, but indicates the unity of the two natures or the One Nature of the Incarnate Logos.

( 5 ) We find the previous term in (Matt. 25:31-34):

"When the Son of Man shall come in His glory and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit upon the throne of His Glory.. and He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand come you blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world".

Here the "Son of Man " and "Father" are used in one phrase.

This means that the speaker is the Son of Man and the Son of God at the same time, as we have discussed this issue before here on in other sections. "For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son” (John. 5:22). And here the unity of natures (the One Nature) is obvious.

( 6 ) The Lord Jesus Christ said to the high priest during His trial,

"Hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." (Matt. 26:63-65). In this context, St. Stephen said at the time of his martyrdom: "Look I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing on the right. hand of God?” (Acts 7:57).

So, who is the One sitting on the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heavens? Is He the One with the human nature or the one with the Divine nature?

It is impossible to separate here but we can say that it is the One Nature, the Nature of the Incarnate Logos.

( 7 ) The Son of Man calls the Angels "His angels" and the elect "His elect".

He says, "And He (the Son of Man) will send His angels with great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect..” (Matt. 24:29-31).

Here, as the "Son of Man", He acts as God, we cannot explain this phrase by saying that in one instance it is the human nature and in the other it is the Divine nature. For the speaker is the Lord Jesus the Son of Virgin Mary, as well as the Son of God, the Judge of the whole world, Who has supreme power over the angels and can send them, and has power over human beings and can collect His elect from the extremities of the heavens. It is One Nature which cannot be split or severed into two.

(8 ) Our Lord Jesus Christ, talking to His disciples said,

What, and if you. will see the Son of Man ascend up where He was before. " (John 6:62). What is important here is the phrase "Where He was before", meaning that he was in heaven at first. Obviously He Who was in heaven is the Son "Hypostasis". But here, due to the One Nature, He says concerning the Son of' Man what He says about the "Hypostasis" of the Son because He is the Incarnate Word.

This is consistent with what He said to Nicodemus about the Son of Man, that is it "He that came down from heaven.” (John. 3:13), while He that came down from heaven is the Son "hypostasis", meaning the Divine nature.

In the same sense, St. Paul says about the Lord Jesus Christ that He is the "Lord from heaven. " (I Cor. 15:47).

[See my book "So Many Years With the Problems of the People (part 11.)" for more details about this point concerning the Son of Man.]

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