Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Jesus – The Faithful Witness in the Skies

We resume our exegesis of Psalm 89:37 concerning the faithful cloud witness.

The Son of Man Comes – The Divine Witness in the Sky

There is additional evidence that the faithful witness in the clouds/skies is a Being who is both distinct from and identical with God.

In the sixth century BC book of Daniel, the inspired prophet was given a vision where he saw a human figure that was clearly not a mortal being:

“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/served him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14

There are three factors which indicate that this particular Son of Man is a fully Divine Being manifesting or appearing in human form. First, the length of his rule is identical to the duration of time that Yahweh or the Most High is said to reign, namely forever. Second, he is given exactly the same worship and service that Yahweh alone is supposed to receive:

“Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.” Daniel 7:27

A worship which is expressly prohibited for anyone else:

“At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘O king, live forever! You have issued a decree, O king, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.’ Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, ‘Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?’ Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.’ … When Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.’” Daniel 3:8-18, 28

Third, riding on the clouds is a Divine function, being the vehicle or means of transportation of the Deity:

“He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded.” Psalm 18:9-13

“The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.” Psalm 97:1-2

“The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet.” Nahum 1:3

As one conservative Bible commentator puts it:

“… Clouds often were associated with deity in the ancient world, and this being was no mere mortal… Another difficulty with the identification of the son of man as the people of God is that in v. 14 all the nations of the earth are said to ‘worship’ the son of man, and Scripture is clear that God alone is to be worshiped (cf. Rev 19:10). Another indicator of his deity is that the clouds accompany the son of man as he descends, and clouds commonly are associated with deity. Lacocque observes: ‘Out of a total of about a hundred occurrences in Scripture, in 70% of the cases, clouds refer to Sinai, or to the Temple (see I Kings 8.10-11; 2 Chr. 5.13-14; 2 Macc. 2:8; cf. the vision of the Merkaba in Ezek. 1:4 and 10:3-4), or to eschatological theophanies (Isa. 4.5; Ps. 97.2; Nahum 1.3).’ Young seems justified in stating, ‘There can be no question, but that Deity is intended here,’ and Baldwin remarks, ‘The son of man is not only king, but God, though, as is characteristic of apocalyptic style, this is conveyed in veiled terms.’ Verse 14 further reveals that ‘all’ humanity will worship the son of man, and ‘all’ humanity naturally would include the saints.” (The New American Commentary An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture – Daniel, Stephen R. Miller [Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994], Volume 18, pp. 207-209)

Thus, the Son of Man reigns like God, rides the clouds like God, and is worshiped like God.(1)


The Son of Man as the Davidic Messiah

Since the Son of Man is a heavenly Being who rules God’s kingdom forever, much like the Davidic King is supposed to do, it seems quite likely that he is the faithful witness who holds Yahweh to his promises, insuring that God fulfills his oath to David.

Moreover, the very fact the Son of Man is said to reign forever as King of all creation seems to further suggest that in some sense this heavenly figure is the fulfillment of God’s promises to David, that the Son of Man is somehow connected with the Messiah. This will become more evident in our discussion concerning the Lord Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant.(2)



The Lord God as Israel’s sole King and Savior

There is another point to consider when discussing the Messiah’s connection with the Son of Man. According to the Hebrew prophets Yahweh comes to rule as the sole King of creation:

“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit… Then the LORD will appear over them; his arrow will flash like lightning. The Sovereign LORD will sound the trumpet; he will march in the storms of the south, and the LORD Almighty will shield them. They will destroy and overcome with slingstones. They will drink and roar as with wine; they will be full like a bowl used for sprinkling the corners of the altar. The LORD their God will save them on that day as the flock of his people. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be! Grain will make the young men thrive, and new wine the young women.” Zechariah 9:9-11, 14-17

“A day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided among you. I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day there will be no light, no cold or frost. It will be a unique day, without daytime or nighttime—a day known to the LORD. When evening comes, there will be light. On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter. The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name… Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain.” Zechariah 14:1-9, 16-17

What makes this rather perplexing, as well as intriguing, is that Yahweh’s reign is described in the same way that the Davidic King is said to rule:

“Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness… He will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.” Psalm 72:1, 8

“I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him… I will set his hand over the sea, his right hand over the rivers.” Psalm 89:20, 25

Thus, we have three distinct (or at least two if we assume that the Messiah and the Son of Man are one and the same Person) entities whose reign is described in exactly the same manner, the Davidic King, the Son of Man, and Yahweh. What makes this so perplexing is that the prophet Zechariah expressly says that Yahweh alone will rule as King at the end of the age. How, then, can there be others like the Son of Man who rule forever and how can Yahweh fulfill his covenant with David if he is to be the only Potentate in all the earth? The answers to all of these questions are found in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ – The Divine Son of Man and the Believers’ Faithful Advocate

According to the NT Jesus Christ is the Danielic Son of Man who rides the clouds to judge and rule the nations:

“If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels.” Mark 8:38

“At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send HIS angels and gather HIS elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.” Mark 13:26-27

“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.’” Mark 14:61b-62

“While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’” Luke 22:47-48

Christ is also the One who will receive universal worship when he returns from glory to the earth:

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

Thus, Jesus is the Son of Man who rules forever like the Ancient of Days. As Bible commentator Stephen Miller says in regards to Daniel 7:27:

“According to this verse, God’s kingdom is ‘everlasting’ and universal. Scripture is clear that the One who will rule the kingdom of God and receive worship from all the inhabitants of the earth is God the Son, Jesus Christ (e.g., Phil 2:9-11), and it is to him that this passage refers.

“Verses 13-14 related that the ‘son of man’ will be coronated as the ruler of a great kingdom, be worshiped by all peoples of the earth, and have an everlasting dominion. Verse 27 indicates that the kingdom in question is that of the ‘Most High.’ Therefore the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, is equated with the Most High God.” (Miller, Daniel, p. 217)

Christ is further called the faithful witness:

“and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.” Revelation 1:5-6

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation.” Revelation 3:14

Moreover, the Lord Jesus is the King who comes riding on a colt bringing salvation and the One who descends with his holy ones on the Mount of Olives, in perfect fulfillment of the prophecies of Zechariah 9 and 14:

“They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, ‘What are you doing, untying that colt?’ They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!’” Mark 11:4-10

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: ‘Say to the Daughter of Zion, “See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”’ The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’” Matthew 21:4-9

“After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.’ Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day's walk from the city.’” Acts 1:9-12

The statements of the two men (who happen to be angels) suggest that Jesus will return to the Mount of Olives since this is the place from where he ascended. And:

“May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.” 1 Thessalonians 3:13

“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

In other words, Jesus is Yahweh God who comes to rule forever as the Messianic King! We will have more to say concerning the Divinity of the Davidic Messiah shortly.

Interestingly, there is one passage where the return of Christ is described in the language of both Daniel 7:13-14 and Zechariah 12:10:

“Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.” Revelation 1:7

Jesus’ identity as the One who is pierced and at whose coming all the tribes or peoples will mourn are deliberate echoes of the following text:

“The LORD will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem's inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD going before them. On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem. And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, like the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, and all the rest of the clans and their wives.” Zechariah 12:7-14

According to Zechariah not only does Yahweh descend upon the Mount of Olives to fight the enemies of his people and to reign as the sole Sovereign of creation, he is also the One who was pierced through by the nation of Israel who will then mourn and wail because of it.

Hence, Revelation is describing Christ as the Son of Man who is also the God who had been pierced!

There is more. The NT teaches that the Lord Jesus intercedes before the Father on behalf of his people in order to procure their righteous standing:

“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Romans 8:31-34

Christ’s substitutionary atonement guarantees God’s pleasure and satisfaction, as well as his acceptance of his beloved Son’s intercession, since Jesus’ vicarious death is the ransom price that God required in order to acquit man of his sin and guilt:

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

“‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,’ he said to them. ‘I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.’” Mark 14:24-25

“God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, who turns aside his wrath, taking away sin, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:25-26

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ… But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:1, 8-11

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men — the testimony given in its proper time.” 1 Timothy 2:5-6

“one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life… but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our need — one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.” Hebrews 7:16, 24-28

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice which turns aside God's wrath, taking away our sins, and not only ours but also the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2

In light of the above factors it seems quite certain that Jesus is the witness in the skies who proved faithful, the One who insured that God (his Father) fulfills all of his promises to David. This exegesis becomes all the more likely when we take into consideration that the NT expressly states that Jesus is a preexistent Divine Being who came down from heaven in order to become man:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made… He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-3, 10, 14

“And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” John 17:5

What this means is that Christ was there from the very beginning and would have therefore witnessed God’s covenant promises to David.

Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Davidic Promises

Not only is Jesus the faithful witness according to the inspired NT writings, he also fulfills the OT promises to David that God would place one of his sons on his throne to rule it forever, One who would actually be God coming in the flesh:

“Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan - The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.” Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7

Here, it is the Mighty God himself who is the child born to rule on David’s throne forever. With this in view it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Christ is identified as the Divine Son of God who rules as the Son of David, the One who is both David’s Lord and Son:

“While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, ‘How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: “The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.’” David himself calls him “Lord.” How then can he be his son?’ The large crowd listened to him with delight.” Mark 12:35-37

“But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.’” Luke 1:30-3-5

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’ … When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: ‘Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles — the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.’ From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.’” Matthew 3:13-17, 4:12-17

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,” Romans 1:1-4

“But one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.’” Revelation 5:5

“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” Revelation 22:16


The Davidic King as the Heir of Creation

Another promise that Yahweh made to the Davidic King is that the nations would all belong to him and that the kings of the earth would have to swear allegiance to him, otherwise they would suffer wrath:

“Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.’ He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: ‘Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.’ I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.” Psalm 2:1-12

In several places the NT writers quote or refer to specific verses from this Psalm and apply it to Christ:

“And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: ‘Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: “Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.” Acts 4:23-28

“And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’” Acts 13:32-33

“For to which of the angels did He ever say: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You’? And again: ‘I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son’?” Hebrews 1:5

“So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’” Hebrews 5:5


“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:11-16

And according to the NT, all things belong to the Lord Jesus by virtue of being the Heir for whom all creation exists:

“He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ ‘But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’” Mark 12:6-7

“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’” Matthew 28:18

All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Luke 10:22

All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” John 16:15

“All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.” John 17:10

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:13-17

“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven… But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.’” Hebrews 1:1-3, 8-9

The NT further mentions the wrath of Christ which will befall those who refuse to worship and acknowledge him, in an obvious fulfillment of Psalm 2:12:

“And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” Revelation 6:15-17


Concluding Remarks

In our discussion we saw how Yahweh made a covenant with David where he swore to give the latter an eternal kingdom. We further saw that, according to Psalm 89:37, there is a heavenly witness who stands as a guarantor to insure that Yahweh would fulfill his oath to David.

We discussed how the prophet Daniel spoke of a Divine Being who appears as a man that rides the cloud, whose rule is referred to in the same way that the prophets described the reign of both Yahweh and the Davidic King. We also stated our reasons for believing that this Son of Man whom Daniel saw is that same heavenly witness spoken of in Psalm 89:37.

We further mentioned the fact that, according to the prophet Zechariah, Yahweh alone will rule in all the earth as King and the dilemma this poses for the fulfillment of the Davidic promises.

We then turned our attention to the NT witness and saw how the Lord Jesus is the solution to this dilemma and the guarantor of the Davidic covenant. According to the inspired Christian Greek Scriptures, Jesus is the Divine Son of Man who became the Son of David in order to fulfill all of the promises made to David. We also saw how the NT teaches that Jesus is fully God in essence and does everything that the prophet Zechariah says Yahweh will do when he comes down from heaven to save his people and judge the wicked.

Jesus is the Son of David who is the Son of Man, who is also the Divine Son of God, and who acts as the guarantor of the Davidic covenant by fulfilling all of God’s promises. Thus, in the Person of Christ the dilemma is solved since he is Yahweh (the Son) who will rule as the sole Sovereign of the earth along with his redeemed, the very Son of Man who reigns forever over all peoples, and the One who sits on David’s throne in order to insure that the Davidic kingdom never ends.

Related Articles

I would also like to highly recommend the writings of Bible scholar Dr. Michael S. Heiser:

His research papers are some of the best I have read and encourage the readers to purchase and consult his materials since they will prove to be of immense of value and help in understanding the historical and cultural backgrounds of the OT Scriptures.



(1) Interestingly some of the ancient versions of Daniel describe the Son of Man as the Ancient of Days. For instance, in all three extant witnesses to the Old Greek version (OG), namely Papyrus (P) 967 (2nd–3rd century AD), the Syriac version translated from the Greek called the Syro-Hexaplar (7th century AD), and Codex Chisianus 88 (9th–11th century AD), the text of Daniel 7:13 reads “one like/as (hos) a son of man … and he came like/as (hos) [the] Ancient of Days.”

Thus, all of the textual witnesses to the OG have the Son of Man coming “like/as the Ancient of Days.” If this isn’t the result of a scribal mistake, where a scribe confused the reading heos for hos, then this seems to indicate that either the translator(s) and/or subsequent scribe(s) understood that the Son of Man was someone who was both distinct from and identical to the Ancient of Days.

We find the same conflation in the book of Revelation where the risen and exalted Lord Jesus is described as both the Son of Man and the Ancient of Days, an express indication of his absolute Deity:

“I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone ‘like a son of man,’ dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.’” Revelation 1:12-18

(2) It is worth noting that the earliest interpretation concerning the Son of Man figure is that he is the Messiah, an interpretation that was held by the majority of Jews and Christians for over seventeen hundred years. Noted Biblical scholar and commentator John J. Collins writes:

“IV. Traditional Interpretations. The earliest interpretations and adaptations of the ‘one like a human being,’ Jewish and Christian alike, assume that the phrase refers to an individual and is not a symbol for a collective entity.263 In the Similitudes of Enoch (1En 46:1), the white-headed ‘head of days’ is accompanied by one ‘whose face had the appearance of a man, and his face [was] full of grace, like one of the holy angels.’ He is explicitly called ‘messiah,’ or anointed one, in 48:10; 52:4, and ‘his name was named’ before creation (48:3). In 4 Ezra 13 the man who rises from the sea and flies with the clouds of heaven is also a messianic figure, but like ‘that Son of Man’ in the Similitudes, he is a preexistent, supernatural figure (13:26; ‘This is he whom the Most High has been keeping for many ages’). The messianic interpretation prevails in rabbinic literature264 and remains the majority of opinion among the medieval Jewish commentators. The tradition is not entirely uniform. In some circles the two figures in Dan 7:9-14 were taken as two manifestations of God, apparently in reaction to the heretical view that they represented two powers in heaven. The collective interpretation is not clearly attested in Jewish circles until the Middle Ages… In summary, the traditional interpretations of the ‘one like a human being’ in the first millennium overwhelmingly favor the understanding of this figure as an individual, not as a collective symbol. The most usual identification was the messiah, but in the earliest adaptations of the vision (the Similitudes, 4 Ezra, the Gospels) the figure in question had a distinctly supernatural character.” (Hermeneia – A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible, A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, by John J. Collins with an essay, “The Influence of Daniel on the New Testament,” by Adela Yarbro Collins, edited by Frank Moore Cross [Fortress Press, Minneapolis 1993], pp. 306-308; underline emphasis ours)


263… Montgomery (320), who argues for the collective interpretation, nonetheless writes, “It must be admitted that the earliest interpretation of ‘the Son of Man’ is Messianic.” See also Vermes, Jesus the Jew, 170-172; and the list of passages in H. L. Strack and P. Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch (Munich: Beck, 1922) 1.486.

264. Undisputed examples include b. Sanh. 98a; Num. Rab. 13:14; ‘Aggadat Ber’esit 14:3; 23:1 (Casey, Son of Man, 80). It is probably implied in Akiba’s explanation of the plural “thrones” as one for God and one for David, which we noted at v. 9, above (so, e.g., Montgomery, 321). Casey (Son of Man, 87) points out that it is not a necessary inference in the case of Akiba, but his arguments do not lessen its probability… (Pp. 306-307; underline emphasis ours)

Collins writes elsewhere:

“The four-kingdom schema is taken up again in Daniel 7, with much greater eschatological urgency, in a passage that would play a prominent part in later messianic expectation. This is Daniel’s famous vision of ‘one like a son of man’ who comes on the clouds (Dan 7:13). For much of Jewish and Christian history, this figure was interpreted as the messiahthe earliest adaptations of this vision, in the Similitudes of Enoch and 4 Ezra 13, use messianic language with reference to the ‘Son of Man’ figure, even though he is a transcendent figure rather than an earthly king. Rabbi Akiba is said to have explained the plural ‘thrones’ in Dan 7:9 as ‘one for Him, and one for David.’ The messianic interpretation remained standard in both Jewish and Christian traditions down to the Enlightenment but is rarely defended in recent times. There are, to be sure, elements in the vision that lend themselves to a messianic interpretation and provided the basis for the traditional understanding…” (Collins, The Scepter and the Star—The Messiahs of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Ancient Literature [Doubleday: 1995], Chapter 2. The Fallen Booth of David: Messianism And The Hebrew Bible, p. 36; underline emphasis ours)

Conservative Biblical scholar Stephen R. Miller concurs:

“Third, only one person may properly be identified as the ‘son of man’ and that person is Jesus Christ as the New Testament apostles and Christ himself confirmed. Montgomery acknowledges that the messianic view is ‘the eldest and, in past Jewish and Christian exegesis, the prevailing opinion.’ For example, over fifteen hundred years ago Jerome was espousing this view. Slotki notes that rabbinical exegesis interpreted this person to be the Messiah, and Jeffrey points out that the Talmud (Sanhedrin 98a) accepted this interpretation.

“Though Hartman declares that this figure has ‘no messianic meaning,’ A. Bentzen argues that the Gospels, Acts, Revelation, 1 Enoch, and 4 Ezra 13 could not all have been incorrect in seeing a messianic individual in Dan 7. For example, John 12:34 states: ‘The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ [the Messiah] will remain forever, so how can you say ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’?”’ In this passage the term ‘the Christ’ [the Messiah] and ‘the Son of Man’ are used interchangeably. It may be inferred that the people of Jesus’ day already had come to identify the Danielic ‘Son of Man’ as the Messiah.” (Miller, Daniel, p. 209)