“Son of Man”
Surprisingly, in the New Testament, Jesus never called himself the “Son of God.” A few times, he referred to himself indirectly as “the Son” or spoke of God as “my Father.” (Matt. 11:27; Luke 22:29)
Instead, Jesus consistently called himself “Son of Man.” He did this over 80 times in the Gospels.
Divinity and Humanity
“Son of God” affirms Christ’s divinity. “Son of Man” affirms his humanity. Jesus is both divine and mortal, both God and man.
During his earthly ministry, Jesus emphasized his mortality. He reaffirmed the “condescension of God.” (1 Ne. 11: 14-33)
He taught that he would take a mortal body. Incarnate, he would overcome sin and death, through his suffering and crucifixion and resurrection. (See: Al. 7:11-13)
“Son of Man” emphases his mortality and focuses us on his atonement.
“Son of Man” Will Come with Great Power and Glory (Daniel’s Vision)
“Son of Man” is also a reference to Daniel 7. After Daniel’s vision of the four beasts,
“I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.”
“And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Dan. 7:13-14)
In other words: “He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.” (Dan. 7:14, NLT)
Jesus identified himself as the “Son of Man” in Daniel’s Vision, who would come to earth with great power in clouds of glory.
And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
The Gospel writers also connected Jesus with the “Son of Man” in Daniel’s vision.
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
(See also: Rev. 1:12-13)
When Jesus came to earth, he was mortal. He came as a “Son of Man.” But when he comes again, he will come as the “Son of God,” in clouds of glory, and with great power.