Son of Man Q+R
Podcast Date: March 11, 2019
Speakers in the audio file:
Jon: This is the last episode in the Son of Man series.
Tim: Yes, it is.
Jon: And it's a question and response.
Tim: This might have been our most listened to series in the history of the podcast. Jon: In the history of the podcast.
Tim: Which really blew me away because some of the episodes were really detailed...
Jon: Yeah, it gets geeky.
Tim: ...about stuff in the book of Daniel. But I guess we're all interested in the book of Daniel.
Jon: I guess we all want to geeky.
Tim: It's a really interesting book. So y'all have sent in a bunch of great questions. All right. Matt Martin, you live somewhere in Australia, and you have a great question.
Matt: Hey, Bible Project team. This is Matt here from Australia. Thank you so much for the series on Son of Man. I've got a question about humans and animals. It seems like animals get a really bad rap. You've been talking about when humans don't pass the test or live as they're made to live, they're not truly the image of God, they act less than human or to be true, they act like animals. And I'm wondering what is it about animals that is so bad, or so wrong? Or are you trying to communicate about a different reality than an animal? Thanks!
Tim: That's perceptive question.
Jon: Yeah. Hating on the animals.
Tim: Well, in other words, we are using animal imagery in the video as primarily negative. Jon: Right. We had a conversation about this.
Tim: Oh, remind me what we—
Jon: I just was noticing that we were being really negative about animals, but we're supposed to care for the animals and be at peace with the animals. And there's even this biblical kind of prophetic image of being at peace with animals. So it's not like animals are bad and we need to like put them in this category of just dangerous. It's like, no, actually, there's this biblical hope of hanging out with animals.
Tim: Yeah, that's right. Animal imagery can be used in many ways in biblical narratives and poetry. One is to express an ideal that like, "Oh, they're like us and unlike us, we feel a connection to them, we're at peace with some of them." And that relationship can work out pretty awesome for all parties involved. It can also go terribly wrong, especially for chickens.
Jon: If you're a chicken, it goes wrong for you?
Tim: Well, yeah. Chickens raised to live in those tiny cages. Jon: Yeah, the tiny cages.
Tim: Their whole existence.
Jon: We're not talking backyard chickens.
Tim: No, no, no. That's not a good relationship to the animals. So the whole point is, animals can be a positive image. However, especially in pre-modern cultures, the threat of dangerous animals, animals perceived as dangerous, wild animals, that's a thing.
Jon: It's a thing. And it's not a thing anymore.
Tim: It's not a thing for many people.
Jon: Not for most people.
Tim: Most people. I have a family that lives in like rural Montana— Jon: And they got cougars and stuff.
Tim: Cougars and bears.
Jon: Didn’t a guy in Florida just get attacked by a cougar and get to like fight it?
Tim: Colorado. He fought like adolescent Cougar. He fought it to death.
Jon: Yeah. He had to deal with dangerous animals.
Tim: That's right.
Jon: There was a time in human history where everyone had to keep in mind that any given day align my common just take you to lunch.
Tim: Yeah, that's right. So a good distinction to make is, within the narrative world of Genesis 1 through 4, when Cain is told that sin is crouching, we haven't met a violent animal up to that point in the narrative.
Jon: That's true.
Tim: But in the readers’ real-world experience they know about wild animals. So, for the reader calling sin a croucher, which is something that later in the Bible, that verbal be used of animals, that makes a connection.
Jon: Prey animals. Tim: Predators
Tim: Yeah. So the question isn't, what did Cain think when he heard that? Although that is an interesting question. Question is, what am I the reader meant to do with a portrait of sin described as a predatory animal? Because that is what it means in Genesis 4.
Jon: Got it.
Tim: So that's picking up what the author assumes the reader already has associations with of a dangerous wild animal. So you're right, it's not that animals are inherently violent, or dangerous - but they can be, and that is one of the images used for the powers of evil or sin - and for what humans act like when they don't submit to God's wisdom.
Jon: Then on the other hand, when humans rule with God's wisdom, animals are taken care of.
Tim: Yeah, that's right.
Jon: Well, just something that's hard for humans to do.
Tim: Correct. There's the peaceful coexistence. You get that in Isaiah 11. That's the Christmas card passage of the wolf and the lamb and the lion and the calf. So really, this is all about Daniel 7. That's kind of ground zero for how the Hebrew Bible works with the Son of Man image. And there the animals are mutant, violent beasts. But that's not their only role in ultimate scenario. In Hosea and in Isaiah, the ultimate hope for humanity and animals is peaceful coexistence.
Jon: Kids get to hang out with snakes.
Tim: Kids will play with snakes. Though that's in Isaiah 11. Surely, that's developing the Genesis 3:15, seed of the woman and the snake, for sure. So thank you, Matt. It's a good clarification. Animals aren't inherently bad, but some are dangerous, and that's part of the portrait that the biblical authors are developing.
Jon: This next question is from Petra from the Netherlands.
Petra: Hi, Jon, and Tim. Thank you for your podcast. My name is Petra. I'm from the Netherlands. I have a question about your podcast from the Son of Man, the empty throne. In the podcast, Tim, you refer to the Empty Throne as if you read specific the empty throne in Daniel 7. But if I read Daniel 7 in different translations, I see that in Daniel 7:9 it says "thrones" and then in Daniel 7:10 it says "the court take place." So if I read that, I get to the conclusion that thrones are being set for the court. In Matthew 19:28, Jesus tells his disciples that they will take place on the 12 thrones and they will judge the 12 tribes of Israel. I don't assume that is specific because in Revelation it says 24. My question is, where do you get the conclusion that the empty throne refers to Daniel 7:9 because I get the conclusion that it refers not to specific Son of Man but the court. That's my question. Thank you! Bye.
Tim: Great question, Petra. There were a handful of people who asked it, and also if I remember correctly, Jon, you asked this question.
Jon: Yeah, variations of this question.
Tim: That's right. So you're right. The empty throne that we feature in the video is - how do you say? It's a creative portrayal of an unresolved thread in Daniel 7. It's a way of portraying. What I think the author is trying to get us to wonder at—
Jon: We played it up.
Tim: It's creative license that we're taking. But that I feel good about.
Jon: Because in the dream, it's never described, "Hey, look, there's an empty thrown." Right?
Tim: Correct. He sees the beasts round trampling. Then in Daniel 7:9, he says, "I kept looking until thrones were set up." So the first thing you see is a big Throne Room with lots of throne or just more than one throne.
Jon: Which is likely the Divine Council.
Tim: For sure. Exactly. If you're seeing up into the heavens, this is Divine Council. So the chief Elohim, Yahweh Elohim, here called the Ancient of Days sat. So he takes the chief seat. So it does leave the question hanging, who's on those other thrones? Or how are the other thrones accounted for within the rest of the dream?
What we do hear about is in vs 10. Two details. One that there were thousands upon thousands serving him, and ten thousand upon ten thousand standing before him. So we get a vision of all the personnel staff of the Divine Throne Room.
Then you draw attention, Petra in vs 10. In your translation, it says, "the court place." Literary it's the phrase "judgment sat." It's a singular noun. Judgment sat. Which most likely refers to the Divine Council, who consults with God and then affirms His judgment or decision, they all sat.
Jon: So the court was seated.
Tim: If you remember, in the video, you have the Ancient of Days sitting. And then also to his right, of the Ancient of Days, we have like a tiered bleacher seating with all these people representing the court. So that's our way of accounting for the Divine Council. But what's significant is, the whole point is that a human one is exalted up to the Ancient of Days presented before him. And then to that one is given all of the things that usually characterize God's rule - eternal kingdom authority, all of that.
Jon: And it never actually says he was given the throne, huh? Tim: No, nope. Not yet.
Jon: But it says he sits at his...
Tim: Hold on. You're importing Psalm 110, which is exactly what you're supposed to do, but we're not there yet. So the whole point, though, is that a human comes and becomes a representative participant in the rule of the Ancient of Days. So multiple
thrones, you have a human now. So if the one on the throne is seated, and you have a human one who is doing exactly what the one on the throne is doing, there's multiple thrones...
The whole point of Genesis 1 is the image of God representing God's rule. The throne is the image for that. So what we've done is what Jesus did when he was before Caiaphas, which is in Jesus's mind, Daniel 7 is hyperlinked to Psalm 110, which is about a royal priestly figure from the line David, who sits at God's right hand. And whether Daniel 7 is dependent on Psalm 110 or when people debate these things. I think it's more likely that Daniel 7 is keyed into Psalm 110.
Jon: Riffing off Psalm 110.
Tim: Psalm 110. So really our scene in the video is a combination of Psalm 110 and Daniel 7. That's the rationale for the empty throne. As we talked about it, to me it became a helpful metaphor. The empty throne, God wants to fill the throne, it's helpful metaphor to talk about, "Man, we need a human who will do what God destined humans to do."
Jon: Great. Thanks, Petra.
Tim: Thank you, Petra.
Jon: Next question is from Rachel in Dover, Delaware. Is that Delaware, De?
Tim: De. I've never been to Delaware.
Jon: I haven't either. I've been to Rhode Island, and that's about as far as I've gotten up that way.
Tim: I would like to go there. Delaware.
Tim: Wow. On the peninsula
Jon: Sounds nice. So this question is from Rachel in Dover, Delaware.
Rachel: Hi, this is Rachel from Dover, Delaware. I have a question about Daniel that I've always had. In Daniel 3, where is Daniel? I've never gotten a satisfactory answer.
Tim: Totally. It's a great question. You could flip over the question in the story of Daniel 6. Where are the three friends in the story of Daniel in the lion's den?
Jon: They had the day off.
Tim: It's an interesting historical question, and I don't know why historically. I do think I understand in terms of the literary design, why he's absent in chapter 3. Here, I read scripture video, the way the poster is designed.
Jon: It's one of the coolest designs of all the posters.
Tim: I think so. But if you look at the design of Daniel 1 through 7, chapters 1, 3 and 6 are all parallel. They're linked. Every one of them begins with a test of Daniel and the friends, a test of their loyalty to God, their lives are at stake. Somebody's out to get them. They're faithful, they're delivered from danger or death, and the king ends up their God and they are elevated. That's all Daniel 1, 3, and 6.
And if you look at it in the pattern of the book, chapter 1 has all four of them: Daniel and his buddies. Then chapter 3 has only the three, and then chapter 6 has only Daniel. So it works in a nice sequence of all of them, one group, and then the one who is missing in chapter 3 gets the spotlight in chapter 6.
Jon: I guess you found some logic there, but still, why? Why split them up?
Tim: Well, remember from Daniel 1, they are all narrative images of the Messianic seed of David. We're told that they are the royal seed. And so, any of them can now play the role of the fate of the seed of David in the belly of the Babylon beast. And because the seed of David is both a collective and individual, like the word offspring or seed is a collective and the plural, I think that's part of it.
Another part is this. The composition of Daniel is really interesting. Even though the event recounted in the book are set in the early 500 BC, and so there are stories in the Hebrew Bible from events later, like the story of Esther takes place a while after that, things in Ezra, Nehemiah are like decades, even a century after the time of Daniel.
But it does seem like there are a lot of clues that the literary formation of Daniel is actually one of the latest books of the Hebrew Bible. One of the most interesting things among the Dead Sea Scrolls was found...They're often just called The Daniel Traditions. And it’s mostly narratives that feature characters from the book of Daniel, but stories that aren't in the book of Daniel. Totally.
There's one called the Prayer of Nabonidus, who was the Babylonian king, and he's having a dream and experience very similar to what Nebuchadnezzar has in Daniel 4. Here, actually. I'm working on the Read Scripture video for the—
Jon: Oh, the updated Daniel?
Tim: The additions to Daniel. Dude, it's so interesting.
Jon: Because the Deuterocanon, which is also known as Apocrypha, Daniel has an extra chapter?
Tim: That's right. It's now in the Catholic and Orthodox Deuterocanon’s. The book of Daniel has three additional stories in it. But all that really shows is the point that I'm making. In the Second Temple period, the book of Daniel, its final composition was still fluid.
Jon: One of the latest.
Tim: Is still fluid even at a fairly late period. There's about half a dozen pieces of Dead Sea Scrolls that feature stories about Daniel that aren't in the book of Daniel.
Actually what we know about all the books of the Bible is that the biblical authors sat down with a lot of source material in front of them and that they selectively chose what stories and materials are going to fit their communication goals for what they want to say in the book.
To me, that's so fascinating. The stories about Daniel with another Babylonian king, Nabonidus, who's not even mentioned in Daniel. So when I first learned about this, like there's other Daniel stuff in the Dead Sea Scrolls that's not in the book of Daniel, it bothered me at first.
Jon: Right. Why didn't they get in? The same thing happened to me when I learned about the Apocryphal books or the Deuterocanon in general. It's like, "Wait a second. There's more books, and some people think they're important?" And the whole thing started to feel way more ambiguous, then. "Hey, God gave us a series of books and just read them."
I remember you telling me, walking me through how the Bible was produced, put together for the first time.
Tim: That's right. It comes from explicit statements within the biblical books themselves.
Jon: Right. It was a mind bender at first because it's scribes collecting all of these stories, and also collections of stories that are already put together—
Tim: That are older already to them.
Jon: And it's stitching it together in a final literary form. That was hard for me to kind of come to terms with, that sometime in the Second Temple period, that was the final formation. So Daniel was one of the latest books to have this happen to it.
Tim: Right. Not the events in the book, but the literary formation of the book. And a big part of how we know that is its textual state in the manuscripts is pretty fluid, even into a late period, like even into the Second Century BC. And even in the Second Century BC, on the Dead Sea Scrolls, there are other source material that didn't get drawn upon, is still accessible to group like the people at the Dead Sea.
Jon: So for Rachel's question, one possible answer is the scribes are selecting stories.
Tim: Yeah, the author of Daniel selectively chose three testing stories. One with all four of them, and then one...You could say just he found, "Oh, this one I see here about Daniel and the lions only as Daniel. Oh, this one only has the three...Oh, perfect. One, two, three."
Jon: "And I like it."
Tim: "It work perfectly. All of them are representations of the Messianic seed of David, and it works perfectly." And it does work perfect literarily.
Jon: If that is uncomfortable to think about, just also put on there “guided by the hand of the Spirit.” He did that.
Tim: Totally. What it means is reframing our concept of the word inspiration to not just refer to a moment in time when a biblical authors mind was emptied of its own thought.
Jon: What was Heiser's way of talking about that?
Tim: Michael Heiser has a way...I forget. A conjurer...conjuring, or—
Jon: It's just like where it's like you just wake up and you're like, "Well, what did I write it? Oh, let's check it out."
Tim: Yeah. A prophet gets zapped and then he wakes up two days later and he's like, "Well, look at this scroll, let me read what I wrote."
Jon: He's like, "That's pretty good."
Tim: No, the biblical authors, the author of Kings is telling you every other page, like, "Hey, if you want to read more about Jeroboam reign, go read the books that I drew upon. They are in the books of the Chronicles of Kings so and so." Biblical authors often refer to their sources, which tells us that they have selected and crafted what's in front of us to get a message across. That's what's going on with the book of Daniel.
Actually, I don't know why Daniel is not in Daniel 3 but there's a nice literary explanation that makes good sense of it.
Jon: Great. Thanks, Rachel. All right. The next question is from two people that asked a similar question, different angles. We're going to let you both ask your questions, Stephanie and John.
Stephanie: Hi, my name is Stephanie Taylor. I live in Manassas, Virginia. My question is, why is Daniel portrayed as a new human, a new Adam, when he is not the new human, the Messiah to come?
John: Hi Tim and Jon. My name is John. I live over in North Wales in the UK and I just love The Bible Project, and I found this series on the Son of Man really exciting. I have a question about Daniel. I was struck when you were taking us through the first chapters in the book of Daniel, that Daniel himself actually seems to be a flawless human being. My working paradigm was that there are no heroes in the Old Testament except for God Himself. But Daniel, he does actually seem to pass the test, or at least not to really fail the test at any particular point. So how do you interpret the figure of Daniel? Thanks.
Jon: Those are great questions. Why is Daniel so awesome?
Tim: Well, as Stephanie and John ask, why isn't he the one to come? There's two things. One is, Genesis 3 sets you up with the promise that "Oh, there's coming human who is going to overcome evil while being struck by it at the same time." So that sets the program for the whole story to follow.
So what's put in front of you is story after story of new humans on the scene. So every one of those humans becomes a possibility - possible candidate. And it's mostly through narratives of testing, moral decision, something, responsibility given, and failure.
Jon: Well, if you think about it with like Moses, for example, he is really, really close. And so then there's a very explicit moment of failure for him.
Tim: Correct. Draws a big attention to it. That's right.
Jon: Daniel doesn't get that.
Tim: No, he doesn't. He's played up as he's seed of David - got that going for him - he is faithful to the terms of the covenant in terms of eating kosher, won't worship any god but his own.
Jon: He passes the test.
Tim: So he passes those tests, and he gets elevated to exalted place of rule over the most powerful empire in the world.
Jon: And in Daniel 2, he's worshipped.
Tim: He's worshiped. Yeah, totally. So everything's clicking a pace. When you're at Daniel, you are already familiar with how narrative characters can be forward pointers to, "Well, if Joseph failed but his elevation after his suffering up to rule over Egypt, becomes an image of the kind of human we need around here." So same with Daniel is very much portrayed on analogy to Joseph through lots of Joseph hyperlinks.
So what is curious about Daniel is he doesn't have moral failure. However, after he passes his last test, he has the dream of Daniel 7, and his response to it is to grow pale and sick, and he can't sleep and he can't eat. Then he has another dream, chapter 8, and he can't sleep, and he's sick and almost vomits. Towards the end, as each vision goes on, there's four visions from Daniel 7 through 12, he gets more and more sick and frail and ignorant. Until in chapter 12, he's saying, "What does this mean? When is the time?"
What he's told is, "Go your way, Daniel. Seal up the vision. At the end, the righteous will shine like stars in the dome and the resurrection and so on." So it's not Daniel's moral failure, but it is his ignorance and his failure to fully understand...
Jon: There's something lacking.
Tim: ...the portrayal in the book. So it's a different way where at his best, he is an image of the one to come, but ultimately, he isn't the one to come. He gets sick and can't understand all these visions. And then he dies. His death isn't in the book. So it is different.
John and Stephanie, you're right, in that he stands out because he doesn't fail the test, but he becomes one of the mosaic tiles in the portrait of the Hebrew Bible seed of the woman. But he also passes away. I don't know. It's a new category of...
Jon: It's a different type of failure.
Tim: ...crossing someone off the list.
Jon: It's not a moral failure; it's an inadequacy of different type. Tim: Yeah. Because again, what we need is a human—
Jon: ...who's going to crush the snake.
Tim: Yeah, totally. Who cannot just resist the power of evil, but actually defeat it at its source. And Daniel he doesn't give in to the snake but he is bitten by it and dies, I guess you could say. He does, which is a part of being bitten by the snake. Good question.
Jon: Great. This next question is from Samuel.
Samuel. Hi, my name is Sam from Marysville, Ohio. In Daniel 7:18, 22 and 27, it speaks of the saints being given the dominion in kingdom to possess forever. First 27 ends by saying all dominions shall serve and obey them, but the ESV footnote says that it might end by saying, all dominions shall serve and obey Him. Is it a possible interpretation to view the Son of Man as a figurative representation of all the saints of the Most High rather than a specific individual? Or what is the connection between the individual and the collective group of saints? Thanks.
Jon: Cool. We had a conversation about this. I think I cut it out because the episode was long and it just was so confusing thing the way we were talking through it.
Tim: Yeah, that's right.
Jon: So maybe we could try it again.
Tim: Or maybe I can just talk about in a way that's concise. Jon: Yeah.
Tim: I think the way Daniel 7 works is you're introduced to these mutant beasts in the dream, and they are symbols of kings ruling over empires. So you have a metaphor image and then the reality to which refers. Then you also have the one like a son of man. Now that one is alongside the beasts in the dream vision. So that human—
Jon: He's down in the human level.
Tim: He's on the human level, but he's in the dream. "Dream" is metaphor image world. So you get beasts—
Jon: Beasts representing kings and kingdoms.
Tim: And then you get one like a Son of Man riding up to the throne. So what does he represent? That's the natural question is, "Oh, he's a symbol too." What does that human one in the dream represent?
Actually, this came more clear to me more recently. The dream is given in two stages. Do you remember? It gets kind of a short interpretation of the dream. In verses 15 through 18, he gets a short interpretation of the dream. Then in verses 19 on through the end, 28, he gets a more detailed explanation of the dream. In each one of the explanations climaxes with some entity receiving the kingdom. And that's how the dream ended with one of the Son of Man.
Jon: First time it's the holy people.
Tim: In the first time, it's the holy ones. Remember we had this? He doesn't use the word people in Aramaic. It's the holy ones of the Most High one will receive the kingdom and possess it forever and ever and ever. First 18. So If you've been tracking with the phrase, holy one or holy ones in the book of Daniel, it refers to all of these angelic...the powers of heaven. The host of heaven.
Jon: That's right.
Tim: Then as you read through the chapter, you're like, "Oh, the human one is like the human looking Divine Council angel figures. I've met a couple of them. One of them was with the three friends in the furnace. Nebuchadnezzar said one of them came and rescued Daniel from the lion's den. Daniel is going to meet some holy ones later on in the book. In chapter 10. One of them is named Gabriel, another one's named Michael. You go, "Oh."
Jon: So it's very clearly vs 18 is talking about spiritual beings?
Tim: Hold on. Just think of literary design of the chapter. Daniel has a dream, which climaxes with one like a human inheriting the kingdom forever and ever. Short interpretation. What is that Son of Man figure referring to? And it's called the holy ones of the Most High one.
Quick scan. I'm only halfway through chapter but let me do a quick concordance search. Oh, "holy ones" in the book of Daniel refers to "spiritual beings." Oh, there's another round of the interpretation of vs 19. Okay. Let me follow that. And it goes through, we get a little more profile of the super beast and the horn.
And then in verse 27, it says, "Then, after the beast and the horn were destroyed, then the sovereignty and dominion and greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High one."
Jon: Wait. NIV says, "Then the sovereignty power and greatness of the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High."
Tim: That's not what it says. The short interpretation was the kingdom is given to the holy ones of the Most High one. Here, it's given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High one.
Jon: And that's completely flattened out of this translation.
Tim: Totally. That's unfortunate because NIV is an awesome translation but in this case, they're not letting you the reader see the... this is hyperlinking within a chapter. Remember how biblical poetry works. You get multiple parallel lines that are not identical. The first line will make a statement, the second line will sometimes imitate maybe the grammar or one or two other words, but it will introduce a different image or a different metaphor.
And then what you're meant to do is compare those two, their similarity and their difference. That's happening on the level of the poetic line.
Jon: I see.
Tim: The way literary design works is a chapter will be organized in panels just like the three testing stories in Daniel 3 and 6.
Jon: You're supposed to be comparing them.
Tim: You're supposed to view them as a unity, like poetic lines in the biblical poem. Even though they're far apart in the text because of all the hyperlinking and verbatim terms, you're meant to see them together. Same thing here. Interpretation one ends with the holy ones are the Most High inheriting the kingdom. Interpretation two ends with the people of the...
Oh, wait, is it the heavenly Divine Council, that is victorious gaining the kingdom or is it the people, the covenant people of God? The whole biblical worldview is trying to tell you those aren't different things. Those are one intertwined reality.
In chapter 10 of Daniel, when the kingdoms of Persia and Greece are persecuting Israel or enslaving them, what Daniel encounters is Israel's heavenly representatives: Michael and Gabriel. And they're saying, "I have to go fight the Prince of Persia right now." So the earthly events with humans are a mirror of the heavenly events. And so, the very structure of these two interpretations of Daniel is trying to tell you that. Does that make any sense?
Jon: It makes sense, but I think what we haven't gotten to is the kind of one interpretation of this is he's talking about Jesus - a guy who is going to inherit and have dominion. So, in like the ESV you read 27, his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.
Jon: So what Samuels asking is, "Well, there's a footnote there and it says, 'it could be them.'" And then as we saw, in both interpretations, it's a group. One was the angel —
Tim: One is the holy one, one's the people of the holy ones.
Jon: So what's the connection between this being, a Messiah figure, and a collective group?
Tim: Within the very nature of the plot of the Hebrew Bible, even though those seem like opposite things to us, they are one thing in the biblical story. To have one person who is many people doing something, it's the premise of the whole biblical story.
Jon: What do you mean the premise of the whole Bible story?
Tim: The whole biblical story is about how all humanity is made to rule alongside God. All humanity.
Jon: Got it. All humanity is a collective living alongside God.
Tim: All humanity can be called adam on the page 1 of the Bible. Remember in the poem about the image of God in Genesis 1, it says, "And God created the adam in His image, in the image of God he created him." That "him" is referring back to the singular noun adam. "Male and female, he created them. So even right there in that poetic line—
Jon: Two is one and one is two.
Tim: Two is one and one is two.
Jon: The thing that really helped me kind of understand this was just thinking about how Jesus and Paul both talk in this way too. Like, I am the vine, you are the branches.
Tim: Yes, that's right.
Jon: And Paul, like Jesus is the head and we are the body.
Jon: It's very strange to think about that this one man was an actual man, who was more than just a man, but we are part of him somehow.
Tim: Yeah. It's not dissimilar. Well, I'll just say it's analogous to how we think about representational roles and positions. So this is true in Genesis 3:15. The seed of the woman. And then you get into Abraham stories, all the nations will be blessed, Abraham through your seed. You go on and read a story about the multiplication of the seed.
But then the whole drama of the Hebrew Bible is this whole people is called as the family of Abraham to become that blessing to the nation, and they continue not to be.
Jon: So both things are happening in Daniel 7.
Tim: Daniel's activating what we need is—
Jon: We need a king; we need a messianic King. But that messianic King is really so that we can all reign.
Tim: That's right. And if the earthly people of God or reining, then their heavenly representatives, the holy ones will also be receiving—
Jon: Which is another layer.
Tim: Which is the heaven and earth intertwined layer. That's right. I think what makes this confusing is that when Jesus refers to the Son of Man imagery in Daniel 7, he refers to the dream image of the human one Like he says to Caiaphas, "From this moment on, you'll see the human one." But that human one within Daniel 7...
Jon: Represents everyone.
Tim: ...represents heavenly and earthly manifestations of God's people. But what are the gospel authors telling us when they show Jesus going out to the wilderness to be tested just like all of Israel went out to be tested?
Jon: That he represented Israel.
Tim: He is Israel in that moment. We don't have time for this. This is the whole argument of Isaiah 43:55, is that the family of Abraham isn't capable of doing what he called them to do. And so in Isaiah 49, God calls an individual Israelite and says, "You are Israel." Renames an individual representative, he calls them that one Israel. The gospel authors are so tuned into this. This is why Jesus testing in the wilderness is the moment of him taking on the mantle of the people of God in His one person.
Jon: So to be crystal clear, there's three things going on in a way.
Tim: Yeah, there are.
Jon: There is the Son of Man, this messianic figure. Jesus, he identifies as that. But then what does that mean that now a Son of Man can rein in heaven and get all the dominion and authority? On one level, it means that everyone connected to him. All the saints, all the people of God are now also reigning. He's the head, we are the body.
But then also on another level, it's all the heavenly hosts who are reigning with us because there's this heaven and earth connection. That's the hardest thing, actually, for me to wrap my mind around.
Tim: I'm with you.
Jon: So let's leave that to the side for now. Tim: Deal.
Tim: That's right. And in that one's exaltation, all of God's people, all of God's family in heaven and earth, find their vocation and calling to reign alongside God too. Dude, this is what Ephesians 1 is all about. This is what Colossians 1 is all about.
Jon: Yeah, Colossians and Ephesians 1 that connects to it.
Tim: It's Paul's purpose statement for writing the letter in Ephesians 1, 9 and 10. God's purpose was to make known the open secret of his will according to the intention that he purposed in the Messiah to administrate in the fullness of the times, to sum up, to bring under one head all things in the Messiah, things in the heavenly realm, and the things on the earthly realm. So Paul has this vision that heaven and earth are distinct, and in the Messianic rule of the risen Jesus, the heavenly realm and the earthly realm are brought together. He uses this word of brought under one head.
In Colossians 1, he'll say, "Yeah, of course, all things are created. The powers in the heavens and the powers on Earth are all reconciled to one another in the Messiah."
Jon: And Jesus will say, "All authority in heaven and earth is given to me." Tim: Yeah, that's right.
Jon: It's all connected.
Tim: So the fact that Daniel 7 says, "The Holy One spiritual beings inherit the kingdom and the human people are the holy ones inherit the kingdom," isn't a contradiction. It's actually the whole point of the storyline.
Jon: Yeah. all right. Douglas from Rwanda.
Douglas: Hi, Jon and Tim. This is Douglas from Kigali, Rwanda. I was curious about the use of the word Son of Man in other books in the Old Testament other than Daniel, such as in Ezekiel. Ezekiel appears to be written before Daniel and they use the exact same words Son of Man. I wanted to know if it has a different meaning, if not, how is it related to Daniel use of Son of Man? Thank you.
Jon: This is out of my depth. You spent a lot of time in Ezekiel.
Tim: I did. The phrase "Son of Man" actually appears by number count in Ezekiel more than it has in the book of Daniel. But remember, the phrase means human. It's a normal Hebrew turn of phrase means human. But it is important, I think Ezekiel is often addressed by God in the prophetic oracles as "Son of Man, listen to me. Son of Man says this to so and so. Son of man."
So as English readers, the rings in our ears are like, "Oh, maybe this is what Jesus is referring to." The main reason why Daniel 7 seems to be the main reference for Jesus is, in so many of the times that he uses the phrase "Son of Man," he's talking about ruling, authority, exaltation riding up on the clouds. In other words, he uses the Daniel 7 Son of Man imagery.
Jon: Got it.
Tim: However, I need to do more work here. Some other people have. I do think the portrait of Ezekiel as a Son of Man figure is a part of the Hebrew Bibles mosaic of the one to come, just like Daniel is. Just like Daniel is exalted from suffering like the Son of Man, Ezekiel has to eat Israel suffering. He has a scroll that has all of the
oracles of judgment and disaster that he's going to announce. And his calling story is in a dream where he to like...has the scroll shoved down his throat by a floating hand. It's a really violent scene.
Jon: Wow. I don't remember that detail.
Tim: So he has to eat and internalize the very judgment and disaster that he's going to proclaim to the people. And then right after that is all those weird stories of him having to cut off all his hair, and eat the bread cooked over poop, and to tie himself up with chords and like writhe in the dust.
In one of those symbolic acts, God tells him to bear the sins of Israel. So he's a prophet bearing the sins of Israel symbolically, which is very much bound up with Isaiah suffering servant. So there's something going on with Ezekiel as the Son of Man figure, that is important. It's just that that's not the primary text that Jesus seems to be alluding to when he uses the phrase. I would like to do more work on that.
Jon: Cool. Let's do one more. Tim: Deal.
Jon: Ivan from El Salvador.
Ivan: Hi, my name is Ivan. I am from El Salvador. And I have a question. I love the conversation about the Son of God and how the Son of God is someone who got a title with that title. How in that definition, do we read John 1:12 that whoever receives him will be called a son of God? Is answer in that idea or John has something different he wants to tell in that verse? That is my question, I hope you can give an answer. Thank you very much for The Bible Project and the Bible Project podcast. You're being amazing. Thank you again.
Jon: Oh, yes. Son of God, Son of Man. It was crystal clear my mind after we talked about last. Finally, it's settled in. Son of Man, human one, but then in the biblical motif, it's a human one who reigns in a divine way. And Son of God means spiritual being, is how it's normally referred to. But then when humans referred to as Son of God, you're like, "Whoa, why are they getting this special kind of divine treatment?"
Jon: This is the different way to talk about son of God.
Tim: That's right.
Jon: But his question is, why are you called the son of God when you receive Jesus?
Tim: Yeah, dude, this is so good. Yeah, the gospel of John's perfect. So what Ivan's referring to is John 1:12, which is after John 1, which says that the Word was with God and was God. And then the that Word is also light. This is all Genesis 1 imagery.
And then the light comes into the world to bring light to every human. So the light came into the world, and the world was made through the light, but the world didn't recognize him. This is all anticipating all the conflict ignorance motifs in the Gospel of John. "He came to his own, but his own didn't receive him. But some do receive him," he says in chapter 1:12. "And to those who receive the light, he gives them authority to become children of God, to those who believe in his name."
Now, let me clarify what I mean by children of God here. Not children born of blood, namely ethnic bloodline—
Jon: Or humans.
Tim: Correct. So not about human normal birth processes of birth or ethnicity. So this isn't about Israelites—
Jon: Well, okay. Hold on. When he says, "When he came to his own," he's referring to Israel.
Jon: So then so he came to Israel, not everyone saw him for who he was. Some did and they were called children.
Tim: They were given authority. It's the word Tekna
Jon: So it's not the same phrase.
Tim: It's not a gender specified phrase. Son is gender specified phrase. Though "sons" can actually refer to sons and daughters as a family. That's a whole other thing. But it is the gender-neutral term Tekna. Children. Children of God. Who are the children of God? Believers - those who believe in his name.
Jon: So not blood, so it doesn't matter if you're Israelite or not.
Tim: It doesn't matter if you're Israelite or not. I have always puzzled over these lines. I think I understand them at least a little bit more now. They're not the result of normal bloodline. "Nor the will of the flesh. These are children not born of blood, not born of the will of the flesh." Think through the book of Genesis and how the promised seed is produced.
Jon: Like Abraham has to go an extra...Like everyone has to kind of force it.
Tim: Correct. Like Abraham and Sarah need these children from God that they've been promised. They're not having them, so through the will have their flesh they scheme like, "Oh, I'll sleep with Hagar. Sleep was my slave."
Jon: That's the will of the flesh. You don't have to make it happen. Tim: Yeah. Judah and Tamar.
Jon: Remind me.
Tim: It's in Genesis 38, where Judah has multiple sons. Couple of them are really terrible and so God kills them. It's an intense story. Then the last one, he's afraid that God's going to kill, and so he won't let him get married.
Jon: How's that connected?
Tim: But he was engaged. The third son was engaged to a woman named Tamar. And so, then the whole thing is about her scheme to keep the seed alive. And she schemes up this plan and tricks it.
Jon: Yeah, that's right.
Tim: It's the sleeping with her and all this kind of thing. Anyway, it's all design pattern.
Jon: That's the story when you read through Genesis, and you're like—
Tim: It's so cool.
Jon: It's so cool? The design patterns are cool.
Tim: I mean, the way that that story contributes to the Joseph's story, and how it develops the themes of Genesis is crucially important.
Jon: That's the story if you're reading with your kids, your kind of like, "Let's just skip over."
Tim: Because it's full sex scandal. It's full of sex scandal. But anyway. So that's the will of the flesh. So we're not talking about a family of God that follows from one bloodline. We're not talking about a family of God produced by human scheming and desire. Rather, this is a family born of God. That's his last line. Born of God.
And here, John’s just going to say, "Press pause on that until the conversation with Nicodemus in chapter 3." We'll address that more.
Tim: So to be called the Son of God is about my inclusion into the divine community of love of Father, Son, and Spirit. You're right. It's my exaltation to a new transformed identity. In Paul's thought, that happens when I'm resurrected into humanity 2.0., where my physical makeup will match my identity as a Son of God.
Jon: And in Paul's thought, in some way now, it's already happened.
Tim: Yes, it has already happened through the Spirit and the Spirit helps me realize in the present what my future resurrected destiny is. That's how it works. And to be a son of God is to be ruling heaven and earth together with God. Not that I actually know what any of this really refers to.
Jon: What does it all actually mean? Tim: I mean, I do and I don't.
Jon: Like, literally, what is a new human body? And human be like, "What's a new civilization of humans?" I mean, that's—
Tim: What's the future of the resurrected universe.
Jon: What's the future of the resurrected universe? Which, it's an interesting thought experiment that I never knew to have when you just think, "I'm just going to go to heaven."
Tim: Oh, sure. But when you're like, "Oh, no, the world's going to be recreated. We're going to have new bodies. We're still going to be human, but different." It activates all this like sci-fi kind of urge in me to think about it. But what can we know?
Tim: I think what is tempting is to let it remain kind of like a sci-fi speculation set of ideas. That's not where any of the apostles take it. That's not where Jesus takes it. For him, it's just like, "Love your enemy. When you resist the urge to get even with your enemy, and you give a gift to them for no reason except that God loves them, you are participating in new creation, a new kind of humanity. That's where they go.
Jon: It's very immediate.
Tim: It's immediate. Whatever the new universe is... Jon: ...we don't need to wait for it.
Tim: Yeah, don't wait for it. Also, don't think that you can bring it about but bear witness to it by living according to new patterns of behavior and new values, and you will begin to taste it. That's Paul's whole understanding of the Spirit. The Spirit is in us trying to move us to do stuff like that to experience the new creation. There you go. That's a whole other series that we should explore one day.
Jon: It's a great place to end. A couple of questions for you. Well, maybe we just get time so everyone knows. Next up on the podcast is we actually never finished the Acts conversation.
Tim: That's right. We have now finished the videos on the book of Acts.
Jon: All the videos are out. But we had recorded a conversation talking about Acts - was it 21 through 28?
Tim: Yeah, Paul raising money for the gift to take to Jerusalem, his arrest in Jerusalem, trials.
Jon: So we're going to finish off the Acts series next.
Tim: On the podcast.
Jon: On the podcast. So yeah, looking forward to that. It's actually really great. Unity of the church conversation.
Jon: Very cool.
Tim: Good stuff.
Jon: What else is happening? This is the only kind of real-time-
Tim: We've had a lot of people reach out about the classroom because we took applications for The Bible Project classroom back in the fall of 2018.
Jon: Yeah, and we got a lot. Thank you for sending those in Tim: We got so many.
Jon: And sorry.
Tim: And we had two already.
Jon: Two classes.
Tim: Two classes. We had 10 students come and we powered Ephesians for three days. Then we had a group of students come, we powered the Gospel of John.
Jon: We'll probably do another call for those at some point because we're going to continue—
Tim: We'll continue to draw on the pool of applicants.
Jon: But yeah, that's been fun.
Tim: Awesome. So we're going to do one more in the spring on Jonah. Jon: That's been selected.
Tim: Yeah. Then I think the website with the classes all edited and ready to take us an online class, that's going to come in the fall of 2019. And also, we're just then going to continue a pace of doing new classes. So for those of you who are curious about it, it's rolling, it's just not fully public yet because of lag time between the events and the when the classes are made public.
Jon: However, if you did apply to be a student and weren't selected, you're going to get an email with the option to take the online class before everyone else. That kind of gives us some feedback.
Tim: That's right. Yes. To give it as a small token of thank you for applying.
Jon: Yeah. Thank you for applying. But also it's going to be a huge help for us because there's going to be little things that we missed, and then we'll just get some really valuable feedback from you all on what we can improve or what you liked.
Tim: And what videos are we working on right now? They won't come out till later in the year.
Jon: We're in Season 5 right now and we're doing the Spiritual Being series. We're actually working on...because there's seven of them. So we've got one more in the queue and it's coming out two days from when we're recording this, which will have been out by the time this drops. And then, there's five more after that.
Jon: And we're writing the last one. We actually worked on it today, we'll work on it tomorrow. The new humanity.
Tim: The new humanity.
Jon: Which is going to be awesome. And we're shaping up Season 6.
Tim: We already have our eye on fall 2019 for the videos that will start coming out then.
Jon: It's really exciting.
Jon: Thank you for listening with us and nerding out with the Bible. Specifically, this topic, super nerdy and heavy.
Tim: Yeah, it's awesome.
Jon: It was awesome.
Tim: Yeah, totally. Thank you for your questions. Thank you for listening and for your encouragement and support. We love getting to do this and we can do it because so many of you are behind us. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Noeline: Hi, I'm Noeline from Sri Lanka. My favorite thing about the Bible Project is the Read the Scripture series. We believe the Bible is a unified story that leads to Jesus. We're a crowdfunded project by people like me. Find free videos, study notes, podcast and more resources at thebibleproject.com.