Tag Archives: judgment

Why Jesus is the “Son of Man”

“The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear,” (Matthew 13:41-43, ESV). May he or she hear indeed. In these few short verses, multiple descriptions are given: the kingdom of the Father, righteous ones shining like the sun, judgment and hell (weeping, gnashing of teeth, along with the fiery furnace), angels gathering the law-breakers, aka sinners, and of course, the Son of Man. In these few short verses, one finds all the evidence he needs in order to confirm that Jesus’s description of Himself as the “Son of Man” points back to Daniel’s description in the seventh chapter of his book. All the other texts are confirmations that this text’s proof.

In Daniel 7, one will read,

I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed, (vv. 13-14, ESV).

The fact that one who is “like a son of man,” stands before the Ancient of Days would indicate that he was even able to stand before Him, thus is holy as He is holy and righteous as He is righteous.

Within the context of the “night visions,” Daniel has visions of bestial kings. The first was like a lion, the second like a bear, the third was like a leopard, and the fourth was a horrendous monster. Subsequently “In the vision in Daniel 7:9-14 the Ancient of Days judges the earthly powers that have become subhuman, bestial, in their arrogant, self-centered exercise of sovereignty.”[1] “I looked then,” Daniel wrote, “because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire,” (Daniel 7:11, ESV). But it was not only judgment upon the last beast, but all of them, for one sees, “As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time,” (v. 12, ESV). While the beasts no longer ruled, their influence and legacy lived on. The Ancient of Days proved himself to be the who “rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will,” (Daniel 4:25, ESV). No longer would a bestial ruler have the kingdom of earth, but instead He calls to Himself “one like a son of man.”

In other words, the kingdoms of the world would be handed to this who was able to stand face to face with the Ancient of Days. Therefore, the kingdom that was the Ancient of Days to give, was given to the Son of Man. With such kingdom came the authority of the Giver.

“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will tell of the decree:
The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Psalm 2:6-9, ESV)

Often called the “Coronation Psalm,” Psalm 2 identifies the king of Israel as the son of God, but as one finds in Hebrews 1, its fullest application and intent was Jesus who was given authority over heaven and earth (cf. Matthew 28:18). Therefore, like the Ancient of Days who is seen judging the beasts of Daniel 7, so Jesus is judging the earth those who are sinners and law-breakers, the very ones who have been influenced by the legacy of the beasts (though not simply limited to these alone). Like the Ancient of Days, the Son of Man, throws these law-breakers into the fire, giving them over to it. The imagery that Jesus used ought not be lost on the reader as he spoke of the fiery furnace, where not only weeds would be thrown, but rather also resurrecting the story of Azariah, Hananiah, and Mishael being thrown into the fiery furnace where one as the son of the gods (cf. Daniel 3:25) is seen to be with them. Yet this time it is not the tyrant throwing the faithful into a fiery furnace, but the Son of Man, throwing the unfaithful in with no hope or help from the Son of God.

The result would be the rule and reign of the Son of Man with the saints. Those who “shine like the sun,” (Matthew 13:31, ESV), “the people of the saints of the Most High,” (Daniel 7:27, ESV), or as one would read later, “those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever,” (Daniel 12:3, ESV).

Certainly, Jesus intended His hearers to pick up on the many points that he was making. The imagery from Daniel is undeniable. That being said, one also finds Jesus using the term “Son of Man” throughout His ministry on various occasions. He used it to explain his authority regarding the law (cf. Matthew 12:8), His authority to forgive sins (cf. Matthew 12:32), His authority to rise from the dead (cf. Matthew 12:40), His authority to come and judge the world (cf. Matthew 16:27), and many more times. Nearly every time Jesus referred to Himself as “the Son of Man” it is with the explanation of authority, the authority that is depicted in Daniel 7. As Lucas rightly wrote that Jesus’ reference to himself, “links his claim to bring in the kingdom of God with the completing of God’s purpose in creating the world.”[2]

That being said, Ezekiel used the term “son of man” much more than Daniel ever did. One may thank Tiemeyer for doing the hard work of counting how often. “In the OT this appellation is attested primarily in the book of Ezekiel, where God calls the prophet ‘son of man’ more than ninety times, and where it either emphasizes his humanity or is used instead of a personal pronoun.”[3] Tiemeyer also stated that Jesus’s designation of “the Son of Man” was most likely due to Daniel 7:13 and not to any of Ezekiel’s callings,[4] but at the same time, he made an interesting comment about Ezekiel that does correlate, at least in part, with Christ. In reference to Ezekiel’s being mute, Tiemeyer noted, “It appears as if Ezekiel was actually able to speak, but he could utter only God’s words and only when God chose to open his mouth.”[5] If that is true, and it seems likely, one can see Jesus’s words, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me,” (John 8:28, ESV). While commentators rightly focus on the ego eimi (I am) of the verse, it is interesting to note that the Son of Man did and spoke only as the Father did and taught (cf. John 5:19). Even with this as circumstantial (at best?) evidence of Jesus’ Ezekelian “son of man,” it is virtually undisputed that Jesus received his title from Daniel. Again, Lucas concurs that “There is general agreement that Daniel 7:13 lies behind Jesus’ reference to himself as the Son of Man.”[6]

[1] E. C. Lucas “Daniel, the Book of,” in Dictionary of the Old Testament: Prophets, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2012), 121.

[2] Ibid., 122.

[3] L. -S. Tiemeyer, “Ezekiel, the Book of,” in Dictionary of the Old Testament: Prophets, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2012), 224.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid., 221.

[6] E. C. Lucas, “Daniel, the Book of,” Dictionary of the Old Testament: prophets, 122.

Suicide by Doc: 3 Doctors on Trial for Euthanizing an Autistic Woman

Some of you may know that in the Netherlands and in Belgium, euthanasia (the supposed mercy killing or “good death”) is legal and more than that, it is legal for what seems like almost any reason.  It’s kind of like California’s medical marijuana laws; if you can find even a hint of plausible reason to be prescribed weed, it will be prescribed.  This is nearly the case for those who seek doctor-assisted suicide in Belgium and the Netherlands.  Surprisingly, and yet not surprisingly, a doctor is now being prosecuted for a bad “good death.”  In fact, three doctors are being prosecuted for the crime.  It’s surprising because, as much as Belgium law-makers would like to pretend otherwise, their laws are pretty lax concerning such matters.  It’s not surprising, because it was only a matter of time before someone’s family members would not be okay with a doctor taking their loved one away from them.

Such is the case with the Nys family.  Tina Nys was a 38 year old woman, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, which is a mild form of autism.  In 2010 she decided she did not want to live in such a condition any longer, so she saw her psychiatrist and went through the process involved with euthanasia.  This is only possible because Belgium allows for the euthanizing of those who have mental illnesses and those diagnosed with unbearable or untreatable illnesses.  Such a slippery slope, don’t you think? And now, it appears three doctors have slipped too far. What seemed to have been inevitable has, in fact, happened. After all, when a country allows for the killing of the mentally ill and allows for the euthanizing of those with an unbearable/untreatable illness, it opens up many doors of subjectivism.  

The Nys family claims there were many irregularities within the procedure, such as the doctor performing the action asked Tina’s sister to hold the needle in place while he administered the drug. He also asked the members of Tina’s family to use a stethoscope to check to confirm the heart had stopped.  These allegations led to the investigation which led to the doctors facing charges and a trial for poisoning Tina Nys.  

Can I just state the obvious? Euthanasia is simply bad.  We can dress it up and call it names, but no matter what euphemism is given, it is still wrong and it is still evil.  As the saying goes, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.  The very ones who are to “do no harm” are the ones doing the greatest of harms: killing their own patients.  I know this is the minority, but one is too many.  This quote from the Associated Press article is an understatement:

“I think this (trial) has symbolic importance in the sense that it sends doctors a message…that you could be accused of a very serious crime and prosecuted if you don’t comply with the legal requirements for euthanasia,” said Penney Lewis, a law professor at King’s College London. “The prospect of criminal investigation may act as a mechanism to make doctors more careful.”

https://apnews.com/249a8067af6740d2af22ed66fc9e1a90

Let’s hope this goes beyond making doctors more careful, let’s hope this trial makes doctors simply refuse to do euthanasia at all! At this point I don’t care if doctors have a conviction against physician-assisted suicide or are simply afraid of being prosecuted for doing them, as long as they stop.  I cannot for the life of me understand how these doctors could ever be okay with purposefully ending the life of a person as if they were some sort of race horse with a broken leg.  I cannot understand how a police officer often needs to go through months or years of therapy when a person commits suicide by cop, but a doctor doesn’t bat an eye with suicide by physician.

We are more than animals! I know we are speaking about secular Europe here. I know they seek to escape any confines of religion, especially Christianity, but there used to be a conviction–a deep down belief in the goodness of living. There used to be the idea that easing pain was a good thing, but there was a line that was never to be crossed.  Biblically speaking, these physicians (and all who are like them) will not have to worry only about the trial they are facing in the Court of Assize in Ghent, but they will one day face the Great White Thone judgment of the God who gave his image to Tina Nys and the thousands like her.

Suffering Christian, understand this: as great as your suffering is, God’s grace, mercy, and glory to come are far greater.  That is not to make light of your situation and your hurting (whether it be physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional). That which causes suffering in your life is real; and to say that God’s glory to come is greater does not diminish it. It simply is to open our eyes to how great God’s grace, mercy, and glory really are. If your pain and your suffering are so great that you wish you were dead, know that God’s glory will make you rejoice with even more intensity than your intense wishes for the suffering to be over.  “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us,” (Romans 8:18, ESV).  May God grant you grace to see the truth of this Word.