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The Son of Man (Feast of the Transfiguration)

Posted : Aug-03-2023

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In Daniel’s vision, two figures appear to him in Heaven. The first is God, who is described as the “Ancient of Days,” and sits on His throne in Heaven, surrounded by the angelic host. Next to him is an individual described as “one like a son of man” (i.e. a humanlike figure), who receives a number of divine honours. This person is given dominion over all the earth, and is honoured as divine.

This vision perplexed the minds of Jews in the Second Temple Period. After all, how can there be two divine figures in Heaven, when the Shema states that Yahweh is only one (Deuteronomy 6:4)? A number of Jews in this period suggested that perhaps the one God can appear as more than one person, which laid the foundation for Trinitarian thinking later in the Christian era.


The title “Son of Man” would go on to become Jesus’ preferred title for himself, as He uses it throughout the Gospels more than other titles like “Messiah” or “Son of God.” In so doing, He is identifying Himself with the divine figure in Daniel’s vision. Although He has the glory of the divine nature, He often kept it hidden from others.

The Transfiguration was one occasion where Jesus revealed His glory to His disciples, giving them a glimpse of who He really is. He told His disciples not to reveal this secret until the time was right (Matthew 17:1-9, esp. v. 9). Ultimately, it is His claim to be the Son of Man in Daniel’s vision that led to His being condemned to death on the Cross (Mark 14:60-64).

On this Feast of the Transfiguration, we praise God for the revelation of our glorious Lord, who came to earth to save us from sin, and now rules over His Kingdom from Heaven. We look forward to the day when, as the Creed puts it, “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His Kingdom will have no end.”

J. Luis Dizon