Jesus Stressed He Was Also The Son of Man,
But Paul Utterly Omits It
As proven in the Appendix below, Jesus repeatedly stressed in over 81 verses in the four gospels that He was the "Son of Man," with only a few times mentioning He was the Son of God or Messiah. Jesus's message that He was the Son of Man was thus a key component of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Son-of-Man reference emphasized by Jesus was specifically to recall the prophecy of Daniel of one like the Son of Man coming on clouds of glory. See Daniel 7:9-28, quoted in Appendix below. In identical words, Jesus said He, as the Son of Man, would return to earth on clouds of glory that would be universally seen. Jesus said this universal appearance was how to differentiate a pseudo-appearance of a false "Jesus" (who "comes in my name") in a private place or in the wilderness whom the whole world does not see from the re-appearance of the true Jesus which is universally going to be seen. See Matt 24:4-5; 23-27.
Did Paul ever hear the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and mention this key point?
After all, the only belief Jesus ever said you must have about Him or be lost is that Jesus was the "Son of Man" - a clear allusion to Daniel 7:14 et seq. This is in John 8:24, 28:
24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. (John 8:24, 28 KJV)
Whatever importance Jesus gave His title as "Son of Man," it completely by-passed Paul: “That...term does not appear in any of the epistles ascribed to Paul....” (“Son of Man,” Wikipedia (accessed 9/9/2014).) "That the term [Son of Man] does not appear in any of the epistles ascribed to Paul is significant." ("Son of Man," Encyclopedia of Judaism (accessed 11/29/2015).)
Why did Paul not mention Jesus was the "Son of Man"? Was it because He never heard Jesus' Gospel? Or was it because He heard that Gospel, including the Universal Sign of the Son of Man Prophecy, but knowingly rejected the importance of Jesus' numerous words invoking Daniel 7's title for a Messianic figure who comes on universally seen clouds of glory to reign over the earth?
The first indication Paul never heard the Gospel of Jesus of the 12 is Paul's own words in Galatians 2:6. Paul boasts there that after his Damascus experience that he learned "nothing" from the 12. Paul instead relied upon the Jesus who appeared to him outside Damascus.
Second, had Paul heard Jesus' Gospel, invariably Paul would have learned of the Universal Sign of the Son of Man that was the only next promised appearance of Jesus on earth after the Ascension.
But instead Paul accepted as the true Jesus a post-Ascension non-universal private "appearance" of Jesus to Himself in the wilderness outside Damascus. Paul equated this as an appearance of the risen Christ, making Paul another witness to the Resurrection. Paul's account, depending upon which account you rely, makes clear that the event could be sensed by others with him, by seeing the light and hearing the voice. (However, a literal translation presents contradictions within the 3 accounts that only appear in Acts -- Acts 9, 22 and 26 - one time saying the men "saw no one" and one time saying "they heard nothing" even though also saying the men "saw the light" and "heard the voice." See link.)
This makes Paul's experience fit precisely the "appearance" Jesus warned about in the Son of Man Prophecy where Jesus injoins us not to listen to the one appearing in private or in a wilderness who says they are Jesus -- for Jesus says this is necessarily an imposter. (For thorough discussion on that topic, see our article Who Identified Himself As Jesus Outside Damascus to Paul?).
It is hard to believe Paul knowingly refused to accept this prophetic warning by the true Jesus we read in Matthew 24:4-5, 24-27, as Paul's tenacity to preach Jesus as Messiah and Son of God appears genuine. Paul thought he was working in support of the Jesus known by the 12, and apparently assumed his means of communicating with the Damascus "Jesus" was more than adequate to know about the Jesus of the 12. In light of that portrayal by Luke in Acts, it is doubtful Paul knew of the Universal Sign of the Son of Man prophecy, and then knowingly dismissed its importance to help himself test his own experience outside Damascus.
Thus, it is unmistakeable that Paul did not likely hear the Son of Man prophecy Jesus delivered in the Gospels for otherwise that prophecy would have warned Paul clearly away from trusting the bright light on the Road to Damascus was truly Jesus. But as Paul himself admits in Galatians 2:9, the apostles gave him "nothing," as Paul relied upon the "Jesus" whom he met outside Damascus. Paul's ignorance of that Son-of-Man prophecy was likely tragic for Paul. None of us should take the same path, as the true Jesus emphatically told us "do not listen" to the imposter Jesus who comes in the wilderness or privately, and we instead must wait for His true return on clouds of glory that will be universally seen.
APPENDICES OF FACTUAL SUPPORT
A. Only Nine References that Jesus or God Said Jesus Was Son of God
Jesus directly refers to himself as "Son of God" several times in John's Gospel, at John 3:16-18; 5:25; 10:36; 11:4; 11:25-27; 17:1 ("glorify your Son"). In Mark' Gospel Jesus directly say He is God's Son when Jesus is asked if he was the "Son of the Blessed One," and Jesus answers "Yes," to the high priest but then further identifies Himself as the "Son of Man."
61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and saith unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?
62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven. (Mark 14:61-62, ASV.)
The other gospel references where Jesus is authoritatively called "Son of God" by Jesus or God are few compared to those for the "Son of Man," e.g. God saying Jesus is His Son occurs at the baptism, i.e., Luke 3:21-22; and Jesus approves Peter's response to who He is in Matt 16:15-17.
Only nine references in the Gospels authoritatively say Jesus is the Son of God.
B. Only Two Direct References Jesus Claimed To Be Messiah
And the references where Jesus agrees He is Messiah are even fewer, e.g., John 4:25-29 (to Samaritan woman); Matthew 16:15-17 (Peter's affirmation Jesus is Messiah is approved by Jesus).
C. Jesus' Over 81 References He is the Son of Man
By contrast, Martin Hengel in New Testament Christology says that “Son of Man” is used 81 times in the four Gospels: 14 times in Mark, 25 in Luke [sic: 26], 30 in Matthew [sic: 32], and 12 in John, for a total of 81 times. And Hengel points out that it is not used in the gospels by anyone else but Jesus; He only uses it for speaking about Himself.
In the NT outside the Gospels, we find "one like a son of man" is spoken about Jesus in Apostle John's "Revelation of Jesus Christ" at 1:13 and 14:14, akin to the words in Daniel's prophecy in Daniel 7:13-14, discussed below.
D. Paul Knows Nothing About Jesus as The Son of Man
However, its importance completely by-passed Paul: “That...term does not appear in any of the epistles ascribed to Paul....” (“Son of Man,” Wikipedia (accessed 9/9/2014).)
Jesus thought it was important even if Paul did not. Why was it important? Why did Paul not either know about it, or think it important enough to mention?
First: Why Did Jesus Call Himself the Son of Man?
The term "Son of Man" means literally you are born from a human / man.
In the Original Testament, "Son of Man" is used often in Psalms and Ezekiel. But in none of them is there a clear prophetic or Messianic component. It simply means someone born from a man, i.e., a human being.
However, in the book of Daniel, there is a prophecy in chapter 7 of a vision about “the times of the end.” In this vision “one like a Son of Man” appears to Daniel “coming with the clouds of heaven” to receive an eternal kingdom of all peoples. (7:13-14). Cf. Rev. 1:13 (“one like unto the Son of Man”—referring to Jesus.) Jesus calls this the "sign of the Son of Man" in Matthew 24:30, which we will discuss in a moment.
First, it bears mentioning that this "Son of Man" title has a Messianic reference also in the non-canonical work of Enoch, quoted in Jude's epistle in verses 14-15 as saying "the Lord comes with 10,000 of His holy ones." This Jude quote from Enoch is a reference again to the Sign of the Son of Man spoken about in Daniel ch. 7. The book of Enoch existed in Judaism at least 200 years prior to Christianity but was only preserved later by Christianity. It was Christian canon until 363 AD when it was being removed by the Roman church due to Enoch's support for the canonicity of the Book of Revelation which was simultaneously removed from canon lists that year due to its implication that the "beast" sat on 7 hills -- Rome. (The book of Revelation was returned to canon lists about 30 years later.) Enoch has remained canonical in the Eastern Orthodox church of Ethiopia up to the present day. In 1 Enoch, the figure leading these forces from heaven is called the "Son of Man" or the "Righteous One." See 1 Enoch sections 37-71. See our article link at Canon History. One day Christianity must re-examine the decision of 363 AD. I myself have not come to any firm conclusion.
Returning to this Daniel passage, it directly ties to one specific time where Jesus identifies the "sign of the Son of Man." This is in Matthew 24:30 when Jesus is talking about how to distinguish the imposter Jesus in the wilderness from the true Jesus who will only appear again if universally seen coming on the clouds of heaven:
30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, 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 ASV.) Cf. Mark 14:61-64.
This sign is spoken of in Daniel 7:14. In the fuller context of Daniel, the Ancient of Days gives this “Son of Man” an “everlasting” kingdom of the world. This fuller passage reads in Daniel 7:9-28 (ASV):
9 I beheld till thrones were placed, and one that was ancient of days did sit: his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, and the wheels thereof burning fire.
10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousands of thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
11 I beheld at that time because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake; I beheld even till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed, and it was given to be burned with fire.
12 And as for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.
13 I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, 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.
15 As for me, Daniel, my spirit was grieved in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.
16 I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.
17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, that shall arise out of the earth.
18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.
19 Then I desired to know the truth concerning the fourth beast, which was diverse from all of them, exceeding terrible, whose teeth were of iron, and its nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet;
20 and concerning the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, and before which three fell, even that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake great things, whose look was more stout than its fellows.
21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;
22 until the ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High, and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all the kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
24 And as for the ten horns, out of this kingdom shall ten kings arise: and another shall arise after them; and he shall be diverse from the former, and he shall put down three kings.
25 And he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High; and he shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and half a time.
26 But the judgment shall be set, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.
27 And the kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High: his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
28 Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts much troubled me, and my countenance was changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.
So “Son of Man” in Daniel had a Messianic meaning which it has nowhere else in the many times it is used in Psalms and Ezekiel.
Second, Why Is It Important Paul Missed This Point?
Rarely do you hear any sermon about the Sign of the Son of Man for which the 12 apostles were waiting. (In Acts 1, Judas was replaced by Matthias, making Matthias the 12th apostle.) Seldom do you hear any mention that this Sign is crucial to protect believers from imposters who say they are Jesus, and who are witnessed only in a wilderness or private room rather than being seen on clouds of glory visible from every point east and west. See our article The Damascus Wilderness Appearance.
Three times in history a Jesus has appeared in a private wilderness and spoken to receptive persons who did not use the Sign of the Son of Man as a protection-filter from being duped:
1. Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, as explained at this link;
2. Constantine (died 337 AD), the Emperor of Rome, who claimed Jesus appeared to him in the sky surrounded by a solar light, and Constantine thereafter called himself "The Thirteenth Apostle." See Jonathan Bardill, Constantine, Divine Emperor of the Christian Golden Age (Brill: 2012) at 393 fn. 271. Constantine even had himself buried "surrounded by the coffins of the apostles" to make the point crystal clear. Id., at 400. See also "The Thirteenth Apostle," Lost History.com.
3. Paul on the Road to Damascus, as discussed more fully in our article on the Damascus Wilderness Appearance.
Paul's Epistles never mention that Jesus spoke of being the "Son of Man," or the importance for believers to be looking for the "Sign of the Son of Man" as a means to know the true Jesus from an imposter Jesus. As noted in our Damascus article, Jesus in Matthew 24 warned us about an imposter Jesus -- someone coming in His name in the wilderness or a private place. Jesus' warning said we are to look for a validating sign -- what He called the "Sign of the Son of Man." Jesus' stress on the title "Son of Man" proves this sign was significant for believers to keep in the forefront of their memories.
But had Paul known that Jesus claimed to be not simply the "Son of God," or "Messiah" upon which Jesus put little emphasis, and instead knew Jesus in at least 81 recorded references said He was the "Son of Man" to allude to Daniel 7, and the "Sign of the Son of Man" in that passage, then Paul would have been equipped to fight off the arrowy darts of Satan. Paul would have known how to test what he experienced outside Damascus. Paul would have known this "Jesus" could not have been the true Lord Jesus.
Paul Never Heard The True Gospel of Jesus Christ
Below, we prove the reason for Paul's error was that Paul likely did not hear the true gospel of Jesus' Christ from any of the 12 apostles or even Luke (who wrote His gospel after Paul's journeys with Luke were complete). Paul admits in Galatians 2:6 that the 12 imparted "nothing to me," and that appears never to have changed. Why else does Paul never mention the most often used title of Jesus as "Son of Man"? This explains why Paul did not know of the Sign of the Son of Man of which Jesus partially quoted from Daniel 7 which would have let Paul properly test his Damascus' experience.
A. Paul Did Not Know About the Sign of the Son of Man which Jesus Mentions in Matthew 24
First, Paul obviously did not know about the Sign of the Son of Man spoken about by Jesus. For otherwise, how could the Jesus whom Paul met have convinced Paul that Jesus' return is indeed in private in Damascus and so too would be the 'next' appearance -- it would supposedly only be seen by those who love Jesus' re-appearing? And that no Christian need ever look for any sign (let alone the Sign of the Son of Man), because Paul teaches we will be raptured in advance of Jesus' coming again anyway?
These verses from Paul that negate the visual-universality of Jesus's next appearance on the clouds of glory are credulously explained by Herbert Lockyer in All the Parables of the Bible Explained (Zondervan: 1988) at page 255:
"'Every eye shall see Him.' His return for His church, however, as indicated by Paul will likewise be sudden but not universally discerned. He will appear for those who look for Him, and who love such an appearing." [Alluding to 2 Tim. 4: 8, love appearing; 1 Thess. 4:17, 5:23, rapture into the clouds; 1 Thess. 2:9 even says we are with Jesus at His parousia, thus preceding the event, precluding us from first seeing Jesus' presence on earth. See also 1 Thess. 3:13]
Finally, what else explains why Paul did not know of Jesus' title as the "Son of Man," with its important allusion to Daniel 7, than the fact Paul never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Paul himself admits this at the time he wrote Galatians more than 20 years after becoming a Christian. Paul said he declined to listen to the twelve apostles, preferring instead his direct revelations from the Lord Jesus whom he met during that first experience. In Galatians 1:12, Paul explained: "I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ." In Galatians 2:6, talking of the twelve apostles, Paul says:
But from those who were reputed to be somewhat (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth not man's person)-- they, I say, who were of repute imparted nothing to me: (Galatians 2:6 ASV.)
Paul thus was helpless against the Jesus of his revelation, and Paul never re-examined his experience based upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ taught by the 12. Paul instead relied upon what he repeatedly called "my gospel" which he avowed in Galatians was different than taught by the "super apostles" -- which scholars agree meant the 12. See our article Did Paul Know He Taught A Different Gospel than the 12? See also Paul's Contradiction of Jesus and the Bible On Who Is Raptured First.
Hence, the fact Paul never says Jesus was the "Son of Man" means Paul did not have any lasting impression from any gospel accounts where this title was clearly emphasized. Paul must never have heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul's Gospel was, as he says, "my gospel" (Romans 2:16; 16:25), and not that of Jesus of the 12 apostles.
This is how Paul missed the "Sign of the Son of Man" -- a reference Jesus alluded to over 81 different times whenever He used the title "Son of Man." That title only had one canonical reference to Messiah -- the Sign of the Son of Man spoken of in Daniel 7. Jesus left His most important warning in plain sight. Rather than the Sign of the Son of Man being one of the most important doctrines of Christianity, as it should have been, it is neglected. Had it been taught, it would have protected us from Paul's Jesus, Constantine's Jesus, and Joseph Smith's Jesus.
The teachers of today have no doctrine whatsoever about the Son of Man, and why Jesus called Himself by that title. It is a vacuum of ignorance through which Satan has penetrated into the hearts of many, causing us to fail the test God intends by allowing false prophets. It is to see whether we love God "with your whole heart, mind and strength." Deut. 13:1-5. Instead, the teachers today encourage a gullible acceptance of anything man has joined to inspired texts without any proper Biblical tests of prophetic validity, such as the free pass given the 13 epistles of Paul.
Isaiah 24:5-6, 19-23 -Christ Comes To Punish Disobedience to the Law of God
Jesus in Matthew 24: 29 says that leading up to the Sign of the Son of Man, this will happen: "Immediately after the distress of those days "'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken." Verse 30 then begins: "Then will appear the Sign of the Son of Man."
So until those events happen, you know the Jesus you see on earth cannot be the true Jesus.
What events cause God to create the signs in the sun and moon?
Well, Isaiah provides the impetus for God's darkening the sun and moon, and then the events following.
But Pauline teachers do not like what Isaiah says, and thus they do not mention what text Jesus was loosely quoting from Isaiah - it is from chapter 24:5-6, 19-23. Here is where Isaiah under inspiration tells us that due to all the people of the earth's disobedience to God's Law and his "everlasting covenant" -- the one that is eternal for all generations (a reference used 22 times regarding the TORAH given Moses) which causes God to remove the evil off the earth, leaving God's remnant to inherit the earth -- as depicted in Revelation 14. Here is the Name of God Bible on this passage:
5-6 The earth is polluted by those who live on it
because they’ve disobeyed the Lord’s teachings,
violated his laws,
and rejected the everlasting promise.
6 66 6That is why a curse devours the earth,
and its people are punished for their guilt.
That is why those who live on the earth are burned up,
and only a few people are left.
The earth will be completely broken.
The earth will shake back and forth violently.
The earth will stagger.
20 The earth will stumble like a drunk
and sway like a shack in the wind.
Its disobedience weighs heavy on it.
It will fall and not get up again.
21 On that day Yahweh will punish heaven’s armies in heaven [Satan's army?]
and earth’s kings on earth.
22 They’ll be gathered like prisoners in a jail
and locked in prison.
After a long time they’ll be punished.
23 The moon will be embarrassed.
The sun will be ashamed,
because Yahweh Tsebaoth will rule
on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem.
He will be glorious
in the presence of his respected leaders.