[Read: Daniel 3 and 7:9-14]
As I was studying the title “Son of Man” as it appears throughout the Gospel of John, I turned back to Daniel 7 where the prophet foretells the coming of the Son of Man who would appear in glory and power to receive all authority from the Ancient of Days. Switching back and forth, from John’s Gospel to Daniel’s prophecy, I was reminded of Daniel 3 where the prophet records the appearance of “the Son of God” in the midst of the fiery furnace judgment on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The contrast between Daniel’s presentation of “the Son of God” and “the Son of Man” immediately struck me. You see, “the Son of God” comes to the exiled people of God, enters into their judgment, thereby saving and preserving them. There is no mention of glory, power, authority over all people, etc. “The Son of God” does not extinguish the flames of the furnace, destroy the kings of the earth, along with all reprobate men and women; “the Son of God” remains in the fire with these elect children of God. In Daniel 7, “the Son of Man” rides upon the clouds of glory, receiving authority over all men from the Ancient of Days and an indestructible, eternal kingdom. Whereas “the Son of God” came down to enter into the judgment placed upon the three Hebrew boys, “the Son of Man” is ascended and judges all men.
Although both of these titles are used to signify our Lord’s deity throughout the Evangelists, I think we get a hint of the two natures of Christ in Daniel 3 and 7, for when He is upon earth He is engulfed in the hottest flames of judgment and yet lives, and He is called “the Son of God;” and when He is in the Heavens He is invulnerable, all powerful, and serving as the Only Judge of ALL men, and He is called “the Son of Man.” In both instances in Daniel the Human and Divine natures of the Lord Jesus Christ, I believe, are signified. Christ is the Son of God who came down from heaven to enter into our judgment in order to save us; and Christ is the Son of Man who, having conquered sin, death, and the devil, has received authority over all men in order to save all whom the Father has given Him, and who will return on the clouds with great glory and power to judge the quick and the dead.