A few quick points of reflection for Jonathan McLatchie in relation to his response to my video on the subject featuring rabbi Yisroel, rabbi Tovia Singer and Dr. Shabir Ally.
Jonathan, you seemed to miss the point rabbi Yisroel made [from time frame 1.20] – the Son of Man title is explained in the book of Daniel as a reference to a group of people. A glaring problem you encounter is your own Scripture as it explains the Son of Man reference as ‘saints of the Most High’ (see Daniel 7:18 also look at 22) . Thus it’s clearly not talking about an individual and neither is it expressing the idea of a divine Messiah.
I will quote rabbi Yisroel’s written comments, notice his incredulity at the Trinitarian argument as it defies the Bible’s explanation:
This is incredible! This is one of the few passages in scripture that come along with a commentary. Scripture itself explains this passage and the “son of man” of Daniel 7:13 is not the Messiah – it is the people of Israel!
The scripture informs us that after Daniel had seen the vision he approaches an angel and asks for a clarification of all that he had seen (7:16). The angel replies that the four beasts represented four kingdoms, and the final dominion will be given to the “holy ones of the most high” (7:18) – a reference to the nation of Israel. The angel elaborates further by telling us that the dominion under all of the heavens is given to “the nation of holy ones of the most high” (7:27) – again a clear reference to the nation of Israel. According to the angel, each of the beasts represents a different kingdom, while the son of man in Daniel’s vision represents Israel. The Christian assertion that this passage refers to the Messiah is plainly refuted by scripture itself.
Thus, the Trinitarian in appealing to this passage in support of the idea of a divine Messiah is arguing against the angel’s explanation in the book of Daniel itself.
Jonathan you claimed the earliest exegetes believed the Son of Man title was a Messianic reference. This is not accurate as the earliest explanation is above – it’s the explanation within the book of Daniel itself. You also cited the Septuagint, come on Jonathan, what has that got to do with anything here? Deal with the original language of the text.
Similarly in Aramaic, “son of man” is the usual designation for “man,” and occurs in the inscriptions in Syriac, Mandaic, Talmudic, and other dialects (see Nathanael Schmidt in Cheyne and Black, “Encyc. Bibl.” iv. 4707-4708). In Dan. vii. 13, the passage in which it occurs in Biblical Aramaic, it certainly connotes a “human being.” Many see a Messianic significance in this verse, but in all probability the reference is to an angel with a human appearance, perhaps Michael. [Jewish Encyclopaedia]
So the question here Jonathan, where did this misunderstanding come from? It seems the problems and confusion arose due to the Greek translators:
In the Gospels the title occurs eighty-one times. Most of the recent writers (among them being II. Lietzmann) have come to the conclusion that Jesus, speaking Aramaic, could never have designated himself as the “son of man” in a Messianic, mystic sense, because the Aramaic term never implied this meaning. Greek translators coined the phrase, which then led, under the influence of Dan. vii. 13 and the Logos gospel, to the theological construction of the title which is basic to the Christology of the Church. To this construction reference is made in Abbahu’s controversial saying in Ta’an. 65b. Indeed, examination of many of thepassages shows that in the mouth of Jesus the term was an equivalent for the personal pronoun “I.”
Jonathan, just look at the simplicity of the explanation which militates against the Trinitarian interpretation. It’s straight forward and Biblical – it’s all contained within Daniel 7. Contrast that with the convoluted hermeneutics you are engaging in to convince folk the Son of Man title suggests a divine Messiah. /this contrast is stark and it’s telling.
I have previously posted Reza Aslan’s comments on the Son of Man title
Look, at the end of the day, there is no skin off my nose, I know Jesus p is not Divine. I repudiate the Trinity idea. An idea which Trinitarian scholars tacitly admit is a failed belief in their affirmation that most Christians are heretics and/or disbelievers in the Trinity. That video is for the benefit of Trinitarians and those who are being courted by Trinitarians. It’s clear the title Son of Man is not a reference to divinity. I’d like you to make a concerted and conscious effort to put pride and any other hindrance to objective analysis to one side and reflect on the points in the video as well as the supplementary material in this blog post. It’s absolutely vital one does not associate partners with God. Sure, I know there’s a ton of emotional preaching around the idea that Jesus is God and the vicarious atonement belief but emotion does not make something true, right?
Being led by emotion and pride in order to defend an idea (Trinity) which is described as idolatry by Jewish rabbis is really playing with fire – regardless of who you are. You will have to answer to God Almighty if you continue ascribing such beliefs to God. Please look into it sans pride and the emotional baggage surrounding it.
I pray you have a good 2016.
A few miscellaneous points
The picture you used in your blog, Jonathan, of a Caucasian man on what appears to be clouds is of interest as it brings to mind a powerful point. Do you believe that to be a depiction of Jesus? Do depictions of this nature not represent the artists’ idealisation of how a divine human being would look and thus betraying the artists’ racial and aesthetic prejudices? Which in turn is a powerful psychological tool for racial superiority and inferiority?
This is another problem in Christian culture. A culture which is immersed in imagery of Jesus p and thus a culture which effectively sends out subconscious messages of racial superiority and inferiority. This would equally apply to cultures depicting Jesus as a Black man too.
This is an elephant at the back of the room when it comes to racial equality within Christian societies.
I skimmed through your article and this comment leapt out:
A further reason for thinking the son of Man title is probably an authentic reference used by Jesus is the use of it in John’s Gospel as well as the Synoptics (thus giving independent attestation)
You appear to intimate you believe material exclusive to John’s Gospel is not as credible. Jonathan can explain his reasoning behind the comment, perhaps he was just trying to convince the sceptic. Either way, I’d recommend people to get a taster to some of the issues surrounding the reliability of the Gospel of John.
Lastly, I sensed you took umbrage to my closing comment in the video where I theorised you may well have been indoctrinated in your youth into believing the Christian evangelical interpretation. I don’t really recall my thought pattern while writing that into the video – I’d like to think it was not a barb directed at you but was written to assist Trinitarians to question what has influenced them to believe in concepts such as the Trinity and Vicarious Atonement. The underlying subconscious reasons and the confirmation biases that are out there.
Reza Aslan and the Son of Man Title