Next, Daniel beheld the Ancient of Days entrusting one
“like a son of man” with all judgment.
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 peoples, nations and men 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.
Who is the one like a son of man? Eighty-one times
Jesus referred to Himself as “the Son of Man” in the
Gospels. Three titles associated with Christ’s sonship
appear in the Gospels:
1. Son of David, which points to His earthly throne
2. Son of God, which points to His eternity
3. Son of
Man, which points to His relationship to the human race
Interestingly, Jesus did not refer directly to Himself
by the first two titles. However, He had to become man in
order to fulfill all three titles. Through the Son of
Man’s incarnation, the Second Person of the Trinity was
able to fulfill the threefold role of the
Kinsman-Redeemer. First, the kinsman-redeemer redeemed the
land, which his brother had wasted away (Leviticus 25:25).
Second, he redeemed his brother from his voluntary slavery
(Leviticus 25:48). Third, he became the avenger of the
blood of his brother, who was wrongly slain (Numbers
This passage in Daniel is the only place in the OT
where the title “Son of Man” is used clearly of a divine
personage. It does appear in a verse in a Psalm of Asaph,
where Israel is mistakenly imploring God Almighty to bless
and restore the nation and then it would turn to Him!
Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the
son of man you have raised up for yourself (Psalm 80:17).
“The son of man” in this verse may apply to Israel
instead of Christ since the pleas of the rest of the psalm
have not been answered. It is very clear that Jesus took
this title from Daniel 7:13 and applied it to Himself.
At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in
the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They
will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky,
with power and great glory (Matthew 24:30).
In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at
the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds
of heaven“ (Matthew 26:64).
At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in
clouds with great power and glory (Mark 13:26).
“Like a son of man” refers to Christ’s incarnate
nature. He is a true man as well as true God—100% man and
100% God. Through incarnation by virgin birth, He became
the seed of the woman without being a son of man. The
article (“the”) as used in the title by Jesus points to
the one Daniel saw in his night vision.
Significantly, Nebuchadnezzar saw one like “a son of
the gods” with the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace
(Daniel 3:25). Hence, the one who is “the Son of God” and
“the Son of Man” is revealed in this book.
“The one like a son of man” is appointed absolute Lord
and Judge by virtue of His propitiatory ministry as God
incarnate. He is King of kings and Lord of lords; hence,
The Great Commission begins by echoing Daniel 7:14.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in
heaven and on earth has been given to me (Matthew 28:18).
Christ does not usurp authority; He does not take honor
for Himself; He receives the kingdom from God the
Father—the Ancient of Days (Hebrews 1:1-14; Philippians
2:5-11). In contrast, the four beasts and their
self-exaltations are doomed to destruction.
There are four proofs that the one identified as “a Son
of Man” is deity in Daniel 7:13-14.
1. He was given what God will not give away—authority,
glory and sovereign power.
2. He is worshiped—only God is to be worshiped.
3. He is given an everlasting kingdom—only God’s
kingdom is everlasting.
4. He is like a son of man—only through incarnation can
“one be like a son of man” and not actually be so.
Compare John’s vision of “someone like a son of man” in
Revelation 1:12-18 with the Ancient of Days in Daniel.
Keep in mind that “the Son is the radiance of God's glory
and the exact representation of his being” (Hebrews 1:3).
John’s vision confirms Christ’s deity also.
Both the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man are seen as
separate Persons by the same prophet at the same time and
place, so there must be at least two Persons in the
Godhead. Actually, there are three Persons in One: Father,
Son and Spirit.
When Jesus called Himself “the Son of Man,” every Jew
should have known that He was referring to Daniel’s
prophecy. The Sanhedrin understood that this title denoted
His deity; note their reaction.
Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ,
the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus. “And you
will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the
Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” The high
priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more
witnesses?” he asked. “You have heard the blasphemy. What
do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death
“Coming with the clouds of heaven” might indicate
Christ coming with the armies of heaven (Revelation 19:14)
or His deity (Exodus 13:21-22; 19:9, 16). Conversely, at
Christ’s ascension into heaven, a cloud hid Him from the
sight of the disciples and two men dressed in white told
them that “He will come back in the same way you have seen
Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Whatever the case, the
Son of Man will execute the judgment prescribed by the
Ancient of Days. Jesus confirmed Daniel’s vision when He
said, “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has
entrusted all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22).
There is a significant contrast between the Son of Man
coming from heaven and the beasts coming up out of the sea
(the chaos of the world under the Evil One’s dominion).
The Antichrist comes to bring havoc on the earth while
Christ comes to restore order to this world.