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Aspects of the Life of Christ:

Jesus' siblings, the man born blind, et al.

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Question #1: 

I just have a question about Jesus' brothers and sisters. You know, from Matt. 13:55. Catholics like to say that word is "brethren' and can just mean "relatives", like "cousins." But I've told them that there is a perfectly good Greek word for "cousin"--anepsios--that Matthew could have used, if these men were actually His cousins. Also, I've found a number of other passages where the word "brethren" could ONLY mean "brothers" in the sibling sense, i.e, Matt. 20:24, Mk. 3:33, Matt. 22:25, and others.

Now, I have a Catholic who is talking about the children of Mary in Mark15:40: "If you read (with an open mind) Mark's account of Christ's crucifixion, and who the women were, and whose Mothers they were....You will find that those brothers and sisters (named by unbelievers in Mark 6: 3) had a different Mother than the Mother of Jesus."

First of all, this guy thinks that because unbelievers in His home town of Nazareth named Jesus' brothers by name, they are unreliable witnesses, since they rejected Him as the Messiah. I told him that they got His foster father's profession correct as well as the name of His mother, yet suddenly, they had amnesia, and didn't know the names of Jesus' brothers, even though they had known Jesus His entire life? They got two facts correct, but were unreliable in the third?

But anyway, what do you think of his theory about "You will find that those brothers and sisters (named by unbelievers in Mark 6: 3) had a different Mother than the Mother of Jesus."

I find this rather silly, since the people asked "isn't His mother Mary?" HIS mother. If these men they mentioned had a different mother, then why did they call them Jesus' brothers and sisters???

What theories have you read or studied about this, if any?

Thanks. God bless.

Response #1: 

I agree with your reasoning on all points (and on the Greek terminology). Here is quote from something posted on Ichthys which gives the appropriate citations:

. . . our Lord did have siblings so that this teaching you mention is clearly false. In fact, our Lord had a number of bothers and sisters, although technically they were of course half-brothers and half-sisters, all of them being the biological seed of Joseph while our Lord was virgin born. See: Matthew 12:46-49; Mark 3:31-34; Luke 8:19-31; 2:12; 7:3-5; 7:10; Acts 1:14; 1Cor.9:5. We don't know anything about most of them from other than the little that can be gleaned from scripture. James was Jesus' brother (Gal.1:19), this makes Jude also a brother of the Lord by blood (Jude 1:1). We know about James and Jude both from the epistles that bear their names, and about James in particular from both the book of Acts (Acts 12:17; 15:13; 21:18) and Paul's epistles (1Cor.15:9; Gal.1:19; 2:9; 2:12). Mark also mentions, in addition to James and Jude, Simon and Joses (i.e., Joseph) as brothers of Jesus (Mk.6:3).

Of course, if someone wants to think a brother is not a brother, it is difficult to see how to defend against that sort of studied denial of plain words. In the Mark 6:3 passage, two of the brothers are mentioned by name, and I know of no precedent in Greek literature where a "brother" when named might not even possibly be a brother indeed. The point that these people may be "misinformed" is mitigated by the fact that Mark, an evangelist after all, does not serve his purpose in any way that I can see by reporting this fact if it were not true (which he surely could have left out; he leaves out a lot under the guidance of the Spirit; cf. the abrupt end of the book).

When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" they asked. "Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "Only in their own towns and in their own homes are prophets without honor." And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
Matthew 13:53-58 NIV

While, "brothers" is only used metaphorically in the NT to refer to "community of believers", in the passage above Jesus' skeptics are clearly not dealing in metaphor but are talking about Jesus' literal, physical family in order to "prove" that He is not the Messiah, since "no one knows where the Messiah comes from" but they know his family, his brothers and sisters (Jn.7:27). That the Messiah would have an unknown origin was the understanding of events current at the time and still prevalent in much of Judaism today (i.e., He is thought to be an angel or something of the sort – which helps to explain the necessity or the book of Hebrews). If these siblings were "made up" the argument would be nonsensical both for contemporaries and for inclusion into Matthew.

The person's point about Mark 15:40 seems to be that because there were other Marys and other Josephs that therefore the siblings mentioned in Mark 6:3 belong to that or another "set". There is no indication in Mark 6:3 of this, nor does the logic make any sense to me whatsoever. There is more than one John in scripture, but that doesn't mean that I can willy-nilly decide that all references to John are to the baptist -- or that they cannot to the baptist but to another John since there are other Johns(?). There is no necessity of making the connection suggested, and no good reason for doing so except to advance an unscriptural agenda.

Finally, the idea that Joseph had two wives is not supported or suggested by any scripture. In fact, the probability is that Mary outlived him, not the other way around. For, not only did Jesus entrust her to John on the cross (something entirely unnecessary if Joseph were still alive), but also we do not find Joseph at the wedding in Cana in John chapter 2, but rather we find Jesus acting as head of household, with the most likely explanation for both facts being that Joseph had already died by that point.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #2: 

Thanks for your help. I still don't see why the RCC had to make Mary a virgin her entire life. Yet it's heresy to them, to deny that, and would make one "anathema" if a Catholic were to disbelieve in her perpetual virginity. I mean, once Jesus was born, what reason would Mary have for remaining a virgin? The Catholics tell me she was consecrated to the Lord, and so was her virginity, and Jesus' birth wouldn't end that, yet I can see nothing in the gospel accounts that suggest she was "consecrated" to God. Part of the problem is, they get some of this info from the "Protoevangelion of James", which is mid-second century stuff, and pretty silly, if you ask me. It has Mary pledging to be a virgin all her life, to dedicate herself to God.

Then that brings up the little word, "until" in Matthew 1:25. Catholics have told me that it can mean "never" under some circumstances. A Catholic asked me to find instances in the Bible where "until" means "up to a certain point, but no further". Well, I got out our handy-dandy Strong's, and found oodles of cases where that is the main meaning, all from the NT. I noticed that there are three different Greek words, with much the same meaning, rendered as "until" or "till." Then I looked up "never" in Strong's, and noticed that not one of the words rendered as "never" in the NT was one of the words that meant "until." I mean, the verse says that Joseph was NOT to know Mary as His wife UNTIL after her Son was born. It doesn't say he was NEVER to know Mary as his wife.

Response #2: 

There are ways to make clear that brothers/sisters are not full but only half. Sometimes one finds "brother/sister of his/her mother/father" (where "his/her" is the half-sibling). There is also an actual word(s) for this used in the phrase adelphos/e ouch homopatrios or homometrious, i.e., brother-not-of-the-same-father or brother-not-of-the-same-mother, etc. So if Matthew et al. had wanted to make that point crystal clear, it certainly was possible to do so. However, it is more common in my experience just to say "brother/sister" and let people sort it out from whatever other information might be at hand. I think part of the reason for this is that in the ancient world the incidence of half-brother/sisterhood was much higher than it is today on account of 1) the high mortality rate (of women in childbirth in particular resulting in many more remarriages of men of all ages to women of child-bearing age) and 2) the high procreation rate (in a largely agricultural society where a large percentage of children never reached puberty the tendency was to have just as many as possible). So for most people in most situations, being half was as good as being whole. This is paralleled in the Jewish milieu for example when Absalom says to Tamar: "has Amnon your brother been with you?" (2Sam.13:20). For if there was ever a time to stress some distance, that was it.

On heos hou = "until"; yes, it means "until"; no, it can't mean anything like "forever". As in all such constructions in all languages of which I am aware, the main clause expresses an action that continues up to the point of the action referenced in the restrictive temporal "until" clause. That is the whole point of using such a clause. Otherwise, a person would just say "always" or "ever after" or "never", giving the main verb an adverbial twist of that sort. The very purpose of this clause is to specify the limit of the period in question (that is what "until abc/xyz" does -- in all languages that use this sort of clause).

I think you are probably on to something about the whole "veneration" business. There were a number of pagan goddesses who were virgins, and in the accounts of the R.C. church's martyrs, virginity always figures big. This in fact also goes back to classical times. In the Greek novels, it is very important (for quasi-religious reasons) for the heroine to be a virgin. So on the one hand there is an element of paganism here. On the other, since the R.C. church prizes virginity for its own sake (cf. the development of priests and nuns into celibate cadres), "taking this away from Mary" is a huge blow. And of course there is a certain amount of stubbornness involved as well. Whenever I have dealt with doctrinaire R.C.'s, they have always tended to be the least susceptible of all groups to even engaging in reasoned discourse. They have been well-trained in unquestioning obedience -- which makes one wonder why they are interested in starting such conversations in the first place.

In our Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3: 

One more question: Is there a Greek word for "stepbrother/sister"? I somehow doubt it. Oh, I also point out to the Catholics that if these people named in James 6 were really cousins, then why didn't Mark use the perfectly Greek word for cousin--anepsios?

Response #3:

The word anepsios can mean any sort of cousin and can also mean nephew. The Greeks were not as inclined as we are (nor as the Romans were) to express precise distinctions of this sort. For them, the really important questions were 1) who was your father (and that generally settled things), but also occasionally 2) who was your mother (and in this case generally in situations where there was some question about legitimacy or citizenship -- during the classical period, for example, to be an Athenian citizen you had to be born of two genuine Athenians). There is a way to say "child of a previous marriage" (progonos) but that word can also mean "ancestor" and the potential ambiguity may explain its infrequent use. They also negate the words homopatrios (same father) and homometrios (same mother) to make clear to whom you are not related and I suppose if a person wanted to do so they could use both made negative in combination. I have never seen anything like this (but of course there is a lot of ancient Greek out there and it is possible). My sense is that if someone wanted to make this issue clear they would probably do it a different way, namely, by explaining how X married Y and Y already had children from Z. That is a much more likely scenario in any sort of classical narrative whereas the "solution" suggested by your correspondents is very unlikely in my view both from the standpoint of what you would have to do in Greek, namely, ruin the style (something authors of all periods are loath to do) while likely confusing your readers, and also from the standpoint of classical story telling -- why go to such odd lengths when in the process of talking about the genealogy the relationships would come out? Hope this answers your question. I would certainly be happy to comment on a hypothetical text where I am sure I could demonstrate what I say above more clearly. The bottom line is that in my professional view of the language, any contemporary reading the texts discussed above would have no doubt that these skeptics were talking about Jesus' brothers and sisters – not "cousins" or "metaphorical brethren". Jesus had brothers and sisters – half-brothers and sisters, that is, and two of them wrote books of the Bible, namely, James and Jude (see the link: in BB 4A:  "The Resurrection Appearance to James").

In our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #4: 

Hello again Dr Luginbill,

Another thought struck me as I read your thoughts about the sea (glassy sea, waters above separating...etc. in CT 2B: "The Sea") first off, when I was young, I remember my dad telling me that he thought that prior to the flood, our earth was surrounded by a bubble of water that filtered the bad elements and cosmic rays from the sun and other damaging effects, which he thought was why the concurrent effects of the flood with the immediately thereafter shortened lifespan of mankind.....I thought of this while reading your thoughts, and I think it might be a possibility.

But what also comes to mind is that our universe is made of different "stuff", and as your thoughts on the compressing or bending and making concave, in order for the throne of God to press closer to us, gives us some idea of the difference of materials of our universe, and of what comprises the heaven where God resides presently....and that yes, they are separated by something God has placed between us, to keep from destroying it, until His appointed time....but what I see is, it is like another dimension, or something, where He can tear it open, if He desired to, and peak His head into the fabric of this atmosphere, that He's on the other side of a "screen"...but that isn't exactly it either....the idea I have of it, is like the curtain in a play on stage, and the curtain is pulled back and we are shown the play behind the curtain.....that it is in a similar way, our relationship to God, we being the "actors behind the curtain"....a curtain which can be drawn back when the Lord chooses, when the infinite opens up from beyond the courser materials that make up the finite.....does that make any sense?

Response #4: 

I think your dad was right! See e.g., the links: "The origin of the four seasons" and "The Problem of Science and the Bible" (in SR #5), and "Science and the Bible". I also like your way of envisioning this barrier of separation. After all, in the tabernacle proper and in front of the holy of holies we have literal curtains which separate from the profane world outside - a curtain that is rent in two by our Lord's death for us on the cross (Matt.27:51)! There is no question but that this is a clear picture of the barrier of sin which separated us from God being removed in Jesus Christ (and that of course is also what the barrier of waters symbolizes).

Please now see the link: in Bible Basics 4A, "Christology":

Reconciliation (and the removal of the barrier)

The Splitting of the Temple's Veil

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5: 

I was reading this morning John ch8. with the guy getting healed from Jesus putting clay on his eyes, and I'm very curious. I am curious about the Pharisees reaction. I don't understand why they made such a huge deal about this guy getting healed. Why did they drill this guy and even go to his parents? Had they not seen others getting healed? Was this among Jesus' first healings? Or were they just trying to make an example out of him and knew that they could, or what?

Also, have you ever thought of publishing your own version of the Bible? maybe just Old or just New Testament, or both if you've got the time I suppose.

Response #5:

To take the last question first, yes, it is a matter of time, but that's not the only thing. Translation is more of an art than it is a science and to produce a really readable translation takes an incredible amount of time. To produce an entire rendering of the whole Bible that is also as close as possible to the full and true meaning of what the scripture actually has to say is, well, essentially impossible for one person to accomplish. To really translate a verse "correctly" thus would require not only an exceptional ability in rendering things into the English language in a way that is both pleasing and accurately meaningful, but also and just as critically it would require one to fully understand not just the words but the entire meaning of the passage in question first. So perfection or anything close to perfection is out of the question. For myself, I am learning new things every day, and if I lived to be a thousand and kept at it faithfully day by day I don't think I would even so come to the point of completely understanding anywhere near the entire Bible. So I do the best I can. Also, this is a teaching ministry, and since I usually only give a few verses at a time, the fact that they may be in somewhat clumsy English (with lots of interspersed explanations) is more tolerable, since the reason they are what they are is to get across meaning at the expense, when necessary, of readability. Were I to spend hours more on each verse, I might get the same result without resorting to so many smooth and square parentheses – but I doubt it. I have unlimited time and space to preview then explain what I have just translated and I still feel the need to do "expansive" translations (to put the best spin on it). So while I do very much appreciate you vote of confidence, I recognize my limitations here. I don't have enough years left to do the New Testament even supposing I didn't have a day job and were entirely devoted to that task.

As to your first question, this event takes place during our Lord's last year of ministry. Before the death of John the baptist, a year before the cross, Jesus' celebrity had been divinely cloaked to a certain degree. In human-viewpoint terms John was the celebrity and gave our Lord the "cover" He needed to be able to continue to do the extraordinary things He needed to do and yet not rouse the opposition of the ruling religious and political class to the point of making further ministry impossible. This incident is a good example of what would have been the result without this prior policy. For one thing, this healing happened in Jerusalem, not some back-water town in Galilee. After a few months of this sort of thing our Lord was forced to remove Himself and His disciples from the area of Jerusalem entirely only to return for the final passion of the cross (Jn.10:39-40; 11:7-8).

The miracle you ask about of course took place on the Sabbath, and I think that the instruction given to the man by our Lord had confrontation with the anti-God legalism of the Pharisees deliberately in mind. For not only did He accomplish this miracle on the Sabbath, but He did it in such away that 1) He Himself did palpable and observable "work" in making and applying the mud-salve; 2) He required the man to do palpable and observable work in washing it off; 3) He required him to do this work in a way and in a place that was bound to catch the attention of those religious legalists who made such a show out of ritual but had denied the reality of the grace and love of God. The place of washing, the pool of Siloam whose name means "The One Sent" and refers to the Messiah, is also very significant when one considers that the washing resembled the ritual of John's baptism wherein sin is washed away at the Messiah's expense (Jesus' going down into the Jordan and cleansing it by His death). And the result is the removal of spiritual blindness. That was John's mandate too, and he had upbraided these same Pharisees who had come only for show. Now the "show" had come to them and in a way they couldn't easily ignore or deny, filled with obvious symbolism that proclaimed their hard-heartedness in every way.

During the first two and a half years of His earthly ministry our Lord went to some lengths to avoid unnecessary celebrity and confrontation, not out of fear but out of perfect practicality. Now, with John dead and the cross coming into sight, it was time to make the issue plain to the religious establishment of Judea as well. I think the reaction of the Pharisees has to be seen from the standpoint of hypocrites who are being called out, and who feel that their entire authority and position of honor is being jeopardized thereby. They had rejected John's ministry at heart, but that was easy enough to do because he had not come to Jerusalem and confronted them directly nor confronted them with the power of God in this way (that was not his job). But coming face to face with an exceptional miracle of this sort (as the man says, "nobody has ever heard of [anyone] opening the eyes of a man born blind": Jn.9:32) and our Lord is apparently the only one to have ever accomplished a miracle of this sort (see the link: Is Jesus the only One ever to restore sight?), one that clearly symbolizes the opening up of the eyes to the truth for salvation for all who are willing (as He Himself makes clear: Jn.9:39-41). And from the context we gain the impression that nearly everyone in Jerusalem was becoming aware of this miracle (that was the fear, anyway), that the people were considering Him a prophet, and that the Pharisees and company were in danger of being seen to be opposing God – which in fact they were (cf. the similar fear of the council at Acts 4:16). So the Pharisees were confronted by tangible proof that all that they taught and all that they stood for and all their false representations of Jesus and John before Him were merely terrible lies – not only didn't they like it, but they also realized that it placed them and everything they had in considerable danger. Under the circumstances, it is not unreasonable to see them desiring to remove Jesus from the scene entirely, and of course they tried several times before the destined time finally arrived. So I would say that it is the significance of this healing, the fact that it was unique and could not be refuted (they tried twice to do so and that is the point of the extended description: it was obvious and couldn't be denied), and no doubt also the symbolism which they understood and feared, even though they rejected it, that engendered such a fierce opposition

Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?" Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
John 9:40-41 NIV

Thanks again for your encouragement!

In the One through whom though blind before we now see with eyes wide-open to the glorious truth, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #6: 

Hi Bob,

Once again greetings and blessings on your ministry. I have of late been disturbed by some people who have been arguing that Jesus appears nowhere in secular history. Is this true? They argue that one historian of the time (Josephus) even wrote about Pilate but not Jesus. They also say Pilate had some diaries but even in these Jesus is not mentioned. Their argument of course is that it is very unlikely that Jesus ever existed. I am very confident he did but just wondering why history missed him. I am sure this is something you can help with.

Response #6: 

For this argument to be true, we would have to pretend that 1) the sizable collection of documents known as the New Testament did not exist (and they do); 2) there was no such thing as historical Christianity (and there is), and 3) the sizable collection of traditional documents related to the early church did not exist (and they do). Of course they do, and put together, these proofs make Jesus the best documented historical figure from antiquity.

But the argument is invalid in any case. As an ancient historian by secular profession, I can tell you unequivocally that our ability to document any historical figure or any historical event is going to be sketchy because, relative to more modern eras, so little literature, epigraphical and other evidence has survived. Historians and Classical scholars accept without doubt the existence of a plethora of individuals and events far less well documented than our Lord's life based upon incalculably less evidence than we possess for our Lord's first advent – and they are an incredibly skeptical bunch by nature!

But as it so happens, there really is a significant amount of extra-biblical evidence for Jesus' earthly life (although being extra-biblical, nothing I would rely on for doctrinal purposes). For example, Josephus in his Antiquities 18.63 did speak about Jesus. It is true that parts of this passage have been altered by later writers, but Origin, writing in the first half of the third century tells us that Josephus "did not think that Jesus was the Christ", evidence that (in spite of the tortured state of the text at present) Josephus knew about Jesus even though Josephus was an unbeliever; and Tacitus, Annales 15.4, talks about the Christians being persecuted by Nero as being followers of "Chrestus" (by which nearly everyone understands that Christ is meant). But most significantly in this regard, there are a whole host of apocryphal and pseudepigraphical works (like the "Gospel of Thomas") which take Jesus' existence for granted and mention Him frequently. They are worthless to Christians, but they certainly are proof for our Lord's earthly life, otherwise how to explain their existence at all?

I would not be too surprised at the fact that our Lord does not appear very much in the extremely small and fragmentary historical record of that time – it is certainly not a case of "glaring omission". Socrates, for example does not appear in Thucydides' History, and he was one of the best known Athenians of that period. Those who wrote such records in Jesus' day were concerned with war, with revolution, with empires, with celebrities, with philosophy and rhetoric, with exactly the same sorts of things that people are concerned with today! I venture to say that if Jesus came today in an un-glorified state, He would suffer a similar "black out" of media attention. Our Lord did not come as a warrior, or a politician, or an entertainer, or a conqueror, or a king. His kingdom, as He told the much more contemporaneously "famous" Pilate was "not of this world". Jesus did not come to be famous, and nothing He did was particularly newsworthy by worldly standards. Not even His miracles, because unbelievers by definition did not believe in Him even so. No, He was not famous at the time, but what He did for us on the cross is the most glorious thing in human history. Without Jesus, we would have no future, no history at all! And besides, we know He exists, because He dwells in our hearts even now – by faith. And there is a lesson here for us as well. Paul tells us that not many mighty, or wise, or powerful are called, and the world has always been dismissive of Christians and of Christianity (the genuine and apolitical sort, that is). But we are fighting an invisible fight with an eternal reward, and we should keep in mind how our Commander in Chief was similarly disrespected whenever the world gets us down by paying us little heed. What is coming is what is important, and it is all based upon us seeing things clear with the eyes of faith here and now and acting accordingly. What the world thinks and says is of no account whatsoever.

In Him whose fame and glory will outshine the sun forevermore, our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #7: 

Do you know of any Scriptures in the OT (Hebrew Tanakh) that make a direct prophetic reference to the Jewish Messiah being 'God or the Son of God' other than Isaiah 7:14 and Hosea 1:11? I know there are some 300 plus prophecies that reference the coming Messiah, but I am looking for the passages that specifically state that the Jewish Messiah will be God or the Son of God. Why? As you and I both know, the fundamental concept (although inaccurate I might add) of the Jews regarding their expected Messiah was and still is today, that he CANNOT be God or the Son of God, but must be a genetically mortal man in all respects, (life and death as well) which was without doubt the Jews primary reason for rejecting Yeshua Jesus as their long awaited Messiah.

John 10:33: The Jews answered him [Jesus], saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

Matthew 26:63-65: ...And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. [64] Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. [65] Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.

Response #7:

Well it depends what you mean by "direct". Given that all prophecy tends to be somewhat enigmatic and that by design, one can understand why there may be a limited number of such passages in the OT. The Trinity and the necessity for the incarnation were for a variety of reasons not spelled out in bold print in the OT, although they are there (see the links: in BB 1: "The Trinity in the Old Testament", "The Trinity in Isaiah 63:10-15.", and "The One True God and the Trinity in the Old Testament."). For that very reason, the whole notion of "the Son of God" could have been and later was somewhat of a stumbling block. The two best/closest passages I can give you on this are . . .

I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father."
Psalm 2:7

Since the Lord addresses Him as "my Son" and the Lord is clearly the Father, it's hard to see how else to take this prophecy (cf. vv.8-12). On this passage see Hebrews chapters 1-2 where this issue is at the heart of the discussion. Psalm 110:1 is the passage Jesus Himself used for this issue (cf. Matt.22:41-46). Also there is . . .

(13) I kept looking during my vision of that night, and behold – with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming up, and He approached the Ancient of Days (i.e., the Father) and they brought Him before Him. (14) And to Him was given dominion and honor and a kingdom, so that all nations and peoples and tongues should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away, and His kingdom one which will not be destroyed.
Daniel 7:13-14

Although the phrase "Son of Man" is not exactly the same as "Son of God" the effect in this context is surely the same. Here is something I have written elsewhere which may prove helpful as well (in Bible Basics 1: Theology)

*the Son (the 2nd Person of the Trinity):

* Origin: Along with the holy angels (Job 38:7 [not NIV]), we believers are all "sons" of God (Rom.8:14; Gal.3:26; 4:5; cf. Jn.1:12; 1Jn.3:1-2). This widespread franchise of sonship is based upon the paternal position of the Father relative to all His obedient creatures, but there is only one "the Son of God (our Lord, Jesus Christ)". Though Christ's incarnation was, in a veiled fashion, prophesied and foreshadowed by ritual and sacrifice, it remained in Old Testament times very much a mystery until the time of His actual first advent. Now it stands clearly revealed that the archetypical Son of God is our Lord Jesus Christ, and that the Old Testament parallels are types that look forward to this revelation: e.g., Adam is the son of God (Lk.3:38) - Christ is the preeminent "last Adam" (1Cor.15:45; and cf. the "Son of Man [i.e., 'adam]" of Dan.7:13-14 as well as New Testament usage); Israel is the servant of God (Is.42:18ff.) - Christ is the suffering Servant who takes away the sins of the world (Is42:1;.52:13 - 53:12); Israel is God's son - Christ is the Son (Hos.11:1 fulfilled at Matt.2:15); finally, though Solomon was David's direct descendant, Christ is his ultimate descendant, the Messiah, the Son of David who is also the Son of God (Ps.2:7-12; 110:1).

* Significance: Building on the idea of fatherhood as discussed above, sonship denotes the idea of a special and unbreakable relationship with the Father, one of dutiful subordination to the Father's will, but also one of special privilege, inheritance and shared authority. A son (especially a king's son) is often more accessible than a father. The role of mediator between the king and His offending subjects can only be played by someone who is on a par with both the Father-king and creature-subjects: only a Son (incarnate) can be sent on such a mission of reconciliation (cf. Matt.21:33-40)

* Person: The Son is often referred to as the 2nd person (i.e., the accessible "you" person), because He is accessible to us, having appeared in the flesh to forge a relationship with us on the Father's behalf (e.g., Jn.15:14-15), and having gained us access to the Father for us (Jn.14:6; Eph.2:18).

Hope this is of some help,

In the Name of the Son of God, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #8: 

Hi Doc!

Matthew 16:28 - Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

I'm having difficulty understanding this verse. Some have told me that this verse refers to Peter, James, and John witnessing Jesus' transfiguration on the mount, but then I don't see it that way because of the context of verse 27:

Matthew 16:27 - For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Verse 27 clearly refers to Jesus' second coming, so it would seem to make sense contextually that verse 28 also refers to Jesus' physical return to the earth to establish His 1,000 year earthly reign. What confuses me is how is it possible for some of those who were in the presence of Jesus when he spake in verse 28 to not see death until His second coming? Thanks in advance!

Response #8: 

The transfiguration is a prophetic preview of the 2nd Advent (please see the link: in CT 3A: "The Transfiguration", and in SR 5: "Evidence for the Seven Millennial Days").

Therefore, Peter, James and John did see Jesus' return, that is, through a miraculous prophetic preview. You are absolutely correct that the actual return will only occur when our Lord comes to rescue Israel at Armageddon. So it has not happened, and yet Peter, James and John saw it before they died. This is impossible from the point of view of human logic, but nothing is impossible for God. The presence of the two witnesses, Moses and Elijah, whose Tribulation ministry precedes Christ's return, and the glory which our Lord manifests on the mountain (though, "not yet glorified": Jn.7:39) are both clear indications that our Lord's words are to be taken at face value: they did see it – before it happened.

In our Lord who is Master of all time and space, our dear Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.


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