Ezekiel is called “son of man” over 90 times, with the first reference being in 2:1, which says “And He (the LORD God) said to me, ‘Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you’” (NKJV). John B. Taylor explains its usage by saying, “The phrase ‘son of man’ is a Hebraism which emphasizes Ezekiel’s insignificance or mere humanity. ‘Son of’ indicates ‘partaking of the nature of’ and so when combined with ‘man,’ it means nothing more than ‘human being’.” Psalm 8:4 confirms this, for it reads “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” The NLT renders this verse, “What are mere mortals that You should think about them, HUMAN BEINGS that you should care for them?” Every time Ezekiel heard these words he would be reminded that he was a mere human being. He was given many magnificent visions and revelations, and was able to perform miracles as well, so by God calling him “son of man” he would be preserved from the natural pride that could emerge from being so near to God and being used by Him in such a powerful way. The only other prophet that was called “son of man” was Daniel. In Daniel 8:17 we read, “So he came near where I stood, and when he came I was afraid and fell on my face; but he said to me, ‘Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end’.” Like Ezekiel, Daniel was humbled by this title, for he too received glorious visions that could have catered to his pride, and these words kept him in his place.

There is one other “man” who was called “son of man.” Do you know who that is? Daniel spoke of him in Daniel 7:13 which states, “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven!” Notice how the words “son” and “man” are capitalized in this verse, for Daniel was given a vision of the coming Messiah when He comes to reign over the earth as “King of kings, and Lord of lords.” This is a “Messianic title” and we know that it refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. How do we know that? Because Jesus used this title in reference to Himself as the Messiah. Two of those references line up perfectly with what we just read in Daniel 7:13. In Matthew 24:30 Jesus said, “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 with power and great glory.” And then in Matthew 25:31 He said, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.”

There is another meaning attached to the phrase “Son of Man” in connection with the Lord Jesus. We saw that those words meant “human being” when spoken to Ezekiel and Daniel and they also have that same meaning when spoken of Jesus Christ. Why? Because He did indeed become a true Man! John 1:14 declares, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Hebrews 2:9 says, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels,” and verse 14 goes on to say “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same.” These verses prove that the eternal Son of God became a true man, with a body of flesh and blood. But there was one main difference between His humanity and ours; He COULD NOT SIN! This is why the angel told Mary before He was born, “That HOLY ONE who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” And let’s never forget that though He was (and is) a true Man, He is also God. He did NOT give up His Deity when He was born of Mary; He became the God-Man, one Person with a Divine nature and a Human nature. This is confirmed in 1st Timothy 3:16, “God was manifested in the flesh.” So when we think of Jesus as the “Son of Man,” let’s never forget He was no “mere human being” like Ezekiel or Daniel. He was true God AND true Man, the Holy One, in a unique position all by Himself. (247.7) (DO)