Monday, January 1, 2024

Jesus as Son of Man (1.12–16)


And I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me, and turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the middle of the lampstands was one like a son of man. He was clothed to his feet, and girded at the chest with a golden belt. And his head and his hairs were white like wool, white like snow. And his eyes were like a flame of fire. And his feet were like fine bronze, as if refined in a furnace. And his voice was like the rushing of many waters. And he held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp, two-edged sword went out of his mouth. And his face was like the sun shining in its strength.


Jesus is first seen as the ‘one like a son of man’ implied by the previous ‘coming on the clouds’ passage. The physical appearance of Jesus should be understood literally; symbolism is present, but it the author drew his descriptions from texts or traditions which purport to actually describe divine beings. One of the more familiar parallels is found in Ezekiel 1, which contains a description of ‘the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Yhwh’. As such this vision of Jesus is often taken to mean he is Yhwh. (Yet, is Ezekiel’s triple circumlocution meant to be suggest the enthroned figure is a representative agent of Yhwh, and not Yhwh himself?) However, similar physical attributes are given to angels and even prophets in other texts from the period. The ‘one like a son of man’ originally represented persecuted Israelites in Daniel 7, but came to designate the eschatological Anointed One who would execute divine judgment in 1 Enoch. The white hair indicated the primordial age of the Ancient of Days, also from Daniel and 1 Enoch. The burning eyes may signify divine insight for passing judgment correctly. The sword represents the divine word used to execute judgment. The author interprets his intended meaning of the stars and lampstands for the reader later.



29.3 The voice of Yhwh is over the waters; the god of glory thunders, Yhwh, over mighty waters.

93.4 More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters, more majestic than the waves of the sea, majestic on high is Yhwh!


11.1, 4 A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. … he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

49.2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away.


1.24, 27 When they moved, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of mighty waters, like the thunder of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army […] Upwards from what appeared like the loins I saw something like gleaming amber, something that looked like fire enclosed all round; and downwards from what looked like the loins I saw something that looked like fire, and there was a splendor all round.

43.2 And there, the glory of the god of Israel was coming from the east; the sound was like the sound of mighty waters; and the earth shone with his glory.


37.17 He also made the lampstand of pure gold.

1 Enoch

46.2–4 And I asked the angel of peace, who went with me and showed me all the hidden things, about that son of man—who he was and whence he was and why he went with the Head of Days. And he answered me and said to me, ‘This is the son of man who has righteousness, and righteousness dwells with him. and all the treasuries of what is hidden he will reveal; For the Lord of Spirits has chosen him, and his lot has prevailed through truth in the presence of the Lord of Spirits forever. And this son of man whom you have seen—he will raise the kings and the mighty from their couches, and the strong from their thrones. He will loosen the reins of the strong, and he will crush the teeth of the sinners.’

62.5 pain will seize them when they see that son of man sitting on the throne of his glory.

Joseph & Asenath

14.2, 9 And a man came to her from heaven and stood by Asenath's head. […] And Asenath raised her head and saw, and behold, a man in every respect similar to Joseph […] except that his face was like lightning, and his eyes like sunshine, and the hairs of his head like a flame of fire of a burning torch, and hands and feet like iron shining forth from a fire, and sparks shot forth from his hands and feet.


7.9 an Ancient of Days took his throne; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool

7.13 As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven.

8.15 Then someone appeared standing before me, having the appearance of a man

10.5–6 I looked up and saw a man clothed in linen, with a belt of gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like beryl, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the roar of a multitude.

Revelation of Zephaniah

6.11–12 Then I arose and stood, and I saw a great angel standing before me with his face shining like the rays of the sun in its glory since his face is like that which is perfect in its glory. And he was girded as if a golden belt were upon his breast. His feet were like bronze which is melted in a fire.

Psalms of Solomon

17.21, 24–25 raise up for them their king, the son of David […] to destroy the lawless nations by the word of his mouth, that, by his threat, nations flee from his presence


17.24, 26 ‘For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the son of man be in his day. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the son of man.’

2 Thessalonians

2.8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming.

Revelation of Abraham

11.2–3 The appearance of his body was like sapphire, and the aspect of his face was like chrysolite, and the hair of his head was like snow. And a kidaris on his head, its look that of a rainbow, and the clothing his garments purple; and a golden staff in his right hand.

17.1 and a voice was in the fire like a voice of many waters, like a voice of the sea in its uproar.

18.2 And I heard a voice like the roaring of the sea, and it did not cease from its plenitude of the fire.


13.26 ‘Then they will see the son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory.’

2 Enoch

J 1.4–5 And two huge men appeared to me, the like of which I had never seen on earth. Their faces were like the shining sun; their eyes were like burning lamps; from their mouths fire was coming forth; their clothing was various singing; their wings were more glistering than gold; their hands were whiter than snow.

A 39.3–4 I have heard the words from the fiery lips of the LORD. For the lips of the LORD are a furnace of fire, and his words are fiery flames which come out. […] I am one who has seen the face of the LORD, like iron made burning hot by a fire, emitting sparks. […] I have gazed into the eyes of the LORD, like the rays of the shining sun and terrifying the eyes of a human being.


16.27 ‘For the son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done.’

25.31 ‘When the son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.’


6.17 the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.


4.12 Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

4 Ezra

6.17 a voice was speaking, and its sound was like the sound of many waters.

12.32–33 ‘the Anointed One […] will come and speak with them. He will denounce them for their ungodliness and their wickedness, and will display before them their contemptuous dealings. For first he will bring them alive before his judgment seat, and when he has reproved them, then he will destroy them.’

13.4, 10, 37–38 whenever his voice issued from his mouth, all who heard his voice melted […] he sent forth from his mouth something like a stream of fire, and from his lips a flaming breath, and from his tongue he shot forth a storm of sparks. […] ‘he, my son, will reprove the assembled nations for their ungodliness […] and will reproach them […] and will destroy them without effort by means of the law’

2 Baruch

40.1, 2 ‘and my Anointed One will convict him of all his wicked deeds. […] And afterwards he will kill him’

72.2 ‘when the nations are moved and the time of my Anointed One comes, he will call all nations, and some of them he will spare, and some of the he will kill.’


7.56 ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see the heavens opened and the son of man standing at the right hand of God!’

3 Enoch

28.7 his garment is white like snow, the hair of his head is as pure wool, his whole robe shines like a dazzling light and he is covered all over with righteousness as with a coat of mail.

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