Category Archives: Bible

All Things

all sheep and oxen, 
and also the beasts of the field, 
the birds of the heavens, 
and the fish of the sea, 
whatever passes along the paths of the seas. (Psalm 8:7-8 ESV)

Part of the image of God given all people is dominion, or the authority to direct, the privilege to use, and the responsibility to care for. Adam and Eve were given authority and responsibility over the earth. Neither they nor their progeny own the earth and though all people still carry the image of God none have actual dominion. The earth and all that is in it, is in rebellion against Man. Just as all are in rebellion against God so all of the earth is in rebellion against Man. Yet, parts of the earth are under the control and in submission to Man. Just as some people are under God’s control and in submission to Him.

Domesticated animals are, for the most part, under the control and authority of Man. The wild beasts are not under Man’s control, and either run away from Man or fight against Man. With very few exceptions, the birds and the fish, flee when Man approaches.

God owns all things and has ultimate dominion over all creation. All living things whose home is the Earth are under the feet of Jesus, the Son of God. To us, in our sinful condition, placing anything under someone’s feet suggests malevolent intent. God is not malevolent but benevolent. His intent is to care for all things He has created. Everything that is alive which He created is under the feet of Jesus, the Son of God.

However, sinful people want to be in control.

Is the wild ox willing to serve you? Will he spend the night at your manger? Can you bind him in the furrow with ropes, or will he harrow the valleys after you? Will you depend on him because his strength is great, and will you leave to him your labor? Do you have faith in him that he will return your grain and gather it to your threshing floor? (Job 39:9-12 ESV)

Throughout history, people have tried to conquer nature and wild animals. Some try to make pets of animals like snakes, big or little cats, birds and lizards. Or, people try to use wild animals as entertainment, in circuses and street shows. Many cities have zoos, so people can watch animals they may never see in the wild. Though people still have the image of God, which includes dominion, the vessel is damaged and corrupted but the image is not. Consequently, there is an internal desire and natural tendency to want control. With a nature corrupted by sin the craving to control springs from malevolent intent, not benevolent authority.

God, in placing all things under the feet of Jesus, drives home the truth and reality that He owns all creation. Under His dominion wild animals do not become domesticated but do inherently recognize Him as the Alpha leader and submit to His direction. So too, the birds and fish and all that lives in the waterways and seas, know instinctively His authority and place over them in the natural scheme of things. The Psalmist is speaking about the natural world. When the Psalmist says whatever passes along the paths of the seas the interpretation is not man-made ships but sea mammals such as whales and dolphins. All earthly creatures naturally submit to the authority of God given to His Son. He will not put leashes on them, make them entertain the masses or take them out of their natural habitat for all to see.Eventually, in God’s plan and purpose, all things will be made new and eternally adhere to the natural laws He determined. 

The Beginning and the Ending

You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; 
you have put all things under his feet (Psalm 8:6 ESV)

Physical creation exists in space and time. Both space and time have boundaries, a beginning and an ending. Eternity is existence outside of space and time. Eternity has neither a beginning nor an ending. We cannot imagine eternity because of the limitations placed on us by the laws of creation. We know we have a beginning. Each person who lives began their life at a specific point in time, knowing that their physical life will also end at a specific yet unknown point in time.

Jesus, the Creator God, is omniscient and omnipotent, knowing the beginning and the ending of all things and controlling the direction, purpose and outcome of all things. This does not negate the responsibility of those created in His image to willfully obey His direction. Having foreknowledge does not necessarily mean predetermining the outcome. One of the most poignant examples in the Hebrew Scripture is the story of David saving the city of Keilah from the Philistines. Saul, who was pursuing David to kill him, advanced to besiege the city of Keilah. Through the priest Abiathar, David asks God if the people of the city would give him to Saul. “Then David said, ‘Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?’ And the LORD said, ‘They will surrender you’” (1 Samuel 23:12 ESV). David and his men left the city. God foreknew what would happen and told David. What God foreknew He did not predetermine. Omniscience and foreknowledge know what would happen as well as what does happen.

God knows from eternity and determines what will happen at the end of time. There is rebellion against God by the creatures God made for relationship with Him. These creatures, whether people or angels or other powers and authorities in the heavenly places, will ultimately recognize the eternal authority of God and His Son. Those who have rebelled against Him are cast away from His life-giving presence. According to Paul, they are destroyed.

Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15:24-26 ESV).

Paul uses the word destroy twice in these verses. Destroy means to make idle or ineffective, to cause to cease or put an end to, to terminate all discussion, and to sever or separate. All who rebel against God are ultimately severed from Him and will no longer cause sin to flourish. God will destroy every authority and power, stopping and silencing every rebel. The last enemy destroyed is death. None who are chosen by God and eternally live in His presence will spiritually die. He will complete His decree of separating the unrighteous from the righteous, according to the justice of His Son. 

God enthroned His Son as King of all creation, whether in the physical or spiritual realm. His Son’s authority is described as having all things under his feet. Not only is Jesus the King, but He is also the head of the Church, the Body of Christ. “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:22 ESV). Peter tells us that His power and authority extend to all in heaven. “Who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him” (1 Peter 3:22 ESV). Nothing that exists, either physically in the created universe, or spiritually in eternity will remain outside of His control. “Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control” (Hebrews 2:8 ESV).God owns everything He created and will not allow anything, especially those creatures given His image, to rebel against Him. God knows what would have happened and what will happen. 

Dominion

You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; 
you have put all things under his feet (Psalm 8:6 ESV)

God owns everything because He created everything. Though the world, the kings and rulers of the world, may not acknowledge or recognize God’s authority and ownership while they are physically alive, they will at physical death. Creation does not fight against God. He set in place the laws of nature and creation obeys those laws, not willfully but because creation cannot disobey or rebel against the laws of nature. God “set in place” (Psalm 8:3 ESV) the moon and the stars and all that is in the heavens.  God also created man, all people, in His image so they might have relationship with Him. Compared to the vastness of creation, the unimaginable extent of the universe in which planet Earth floats, Man is minutely small and insignificant. Our significance comes directly and purposefully from God.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  (Genesis 1:27-28 ESV)

Dominion, as used in Psalm 8:6, means control, to rule and reign over. Dominion does not mean ownership. This word, dominion, is not the same word God used when He gave Man authority over the Earth. In Genesis the word dominion means to tread down, to subjugate and manipulate according to the will of the authority of the one exercising dominion. In Psalm 8:6, the word implies being over. God uses the same word in Genesis when He places the Sun and the Moon in the expanse above the Earth. “And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:17-18 ESV). To have dominion means to rule over or simply be over with exceptional influence.

When Pharaoh gave Joseph control over Egypt, he did not give him Egypt. “You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt” (Genesis 41:40-41 ESV). So, too, God gave Man His authority over the world and all that was in it. He retains ownership of the Earth and all creation.

Jesus Christ is the evidence of God’s love for those He created in His image yet rebel against Him. His image gives humanity significance in creation. His image makes humanity unique in all of physical creation. Part of the image of God in Man is dominion, which is authority and control over a significant part of creation. God created Man and made the Earth home for Man, giving Man dominion over the Earth. 

God has already declared, in the Psalms, that He will set His King, His Son, over those in rebellion against Him. “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession” (Psalm 2:7-8 ESV). God goes further than simply setting His Son over the Earth and all Creation. He declares His Son owns the Earth, all that is in it, and the heavens and all the heavens contain. All things on the Earth are under the dominion and ownership of the Son. “You have put all things under his feet (Psalm 8:6 ESV). 

For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. (Hebrews 2:5-8 ESV)

Jesus Christ

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings 
and crowned him with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:5 ESV)

From before creation God placed His Son over all things. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Yet, there is rebellion in creation. It is against Jesus, the Son of God, that peoples and nations rage. “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?” (Psalm 2:1 ESV). This is a baffling question. Why would those created by God rebel against Him? Yet, over the nations filled with people who rebel against God are kings and rulers who think of ways they can encourage those under their authority to continue their rebellion against God. “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us’” (Psalm 2:2 ESV). In the end, no created being can dictate to God who and what He is or successfully rebel against Him.

God establishes His Son on the throne over all creation. “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” (Psalm 2:6 ESV). As the King, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, exercises total authority and control over that which God created. Though nations and people rebel against Him, He will stop their rebellion and punish those who have not repented.  “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Psalm 2:8-9 ESV). God warns both kings and rulers over their precarious position before Him, telling them to serve His Son in fear and reverence. 

Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. (Psalm 2:10-12 ESV)

God will crown His Son, Jesus Christ with glory and honor. God gives Jesus the greatest honor and splendor, the highest reputation and dignity, and before Him every knee will bow and every tongue will declare Him God (see Philippians 2:9-11). This is what glory means. Honor means splendor and majesty, to have an ornament placed upon, as an ornate crown befitting a king. Jesus is King and His crown will declare His high and exalted position of creation and eternity.

Hebrew syntax does not have past, present and future tense. Hebrew tenses are finished or being done. What is viewed as in the future is that which God has already completed in eternity, even though we do not see it completed in our present. The writer of Hebrews captures this when he quotes Psalm 8.

It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (Hebrews 2:6-9 ESV).

Jesus, in His infinite compassion for those He created in His image for relationship with Him, decided from eternity to redeem those who are His from their sin and rebellion. He is a true King willing to give all that is necessary to bring back those who have marched away from Him. Jesus gives Himself.

You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:18-21 ESV)

Jesus, as He walked through Jericho on the way to Jerusalem to die and be resurrected, ate with a tax collector and sinner, a hated man. Zacchaeus, humbled and convicted by the presence of Jesus in his home, and the compassion and benevolence of His forgiveness, declared his repentance and penance from a sincere and devoted heart.  Jesus then made a declaration of why He came. “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:9-10 ESV). Jesus came to find the lost and lead them back to the God who created them for Himself. We are His crown.

Incarnation

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings 
and crowned him with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:5 ESV)

Jesus is the Creator. He is God the Son, integral in the Trinity. How then did God make him a little lower than the heavenly beings? Jesus emptied Himself. “Though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7 ESV).  Empty means to lay aside, to render of no effect, or to cause a thing to be viewed as hollow. Jesus, knowing He is God, set aside all of the privileges and the divine position of authority when He was incarnated as a baby. Jesus took upon Himself human flesh. Jesus did not come as a full-grown man but experienced the entire human experience from conception to death.

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33 ESV)

Mary, a virgin, was told by Gabriel, an angel, that she would have a baby, the Son of God. Both Gabriel and Mary recognized that they were servants of God. Mary did not question God’s decision but readily accepted His direction and command. “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:38 ESV).

God gave Adam and Eve, and all their progeny, His image, the image of God. Adam sinned and rebelled against God, and all people inherited his rebellion and sin. Because of Adam’s sin all people are separated from God and die, both physically and spiritually. Jesus, being God, took upon Himself the likeness of sinful flesh, but without sin, coming into the world through the natural process every human experiences. Throughout His life, Jesus did not sin but kept completely and perfectly the commands and purpose of God. Yet, He died physically, tortured to death by the people He came to save. Where, Adam and the human race in its entirety, can do nothing to make anyone right before God, Jesus came to do that which no one else could do. He reconciled people to God through His sacrifice.

To bring reconciliation to all people Jesus had to become human. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24 ESV). Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy. God declares, from the first rebellion until the end of time, that He wants a relationship with those created in His image. At the fall of Adam and Eve, God cursed the serpent, the Deceiver, saying “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15 ESV). Joseph, Mary’s husband, was told in a dream that his wife would bear the Son of God, the fulfillment of a prophecy found in both Genesis and in Isaiah. “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us)” (Matthew 1:23 ESV; see Isaiah 7:14).

Jesus lowered Himself from His divine place in eternity and entered His creation as a man. For a moment in time, in a physical position but not in eternal perspective, He humbled Himself. And then God exalted Him.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11 ESV) 

Servant

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings 
and crowned him with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:5 ESV)

All of God’s creation serves Him. God created for His pleasure and according to His will. Everything He created He declared in the physical universe and world very good.” “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31 ESV). Can anything God creates surpass His own expectations? The word very means much or exceed. God’s creation was perfect in every way. Perfect does not mean complete.

God tells us Jesus, in His eternal being, has those exact characteristics and qualities that define the essence of God and the essence of a Servant. Jesus had the morphe of God and of a Servant. Jesus carried the likeness or fashion, the scheme, of a man. Jesus is both completely God and completely Man, as God originally intended. Jesus is completely sinless, unlike every other person who has ever lived.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form (morphe) of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form (morphe) of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form (scheme), he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8 ESV)

Adam and Eve were given dominion over the Earth. They did not own the Earth but were given responsibility to care for and populate the Earth. Our first parents were God’s servants, given a perfect home, and blessed by God to fill the Earth and fashion the Earth after their pleasure and will (Genesis 1:27-28). God placed a single prohibition upon Adam, the first human. Adam violated that prohibition, rebelling against God, the image of God in him, and his place of responsibility and service. Adam was the first and head of the human race. As the head, that which he did affected all those who would follow. Because he sinned, all sin. “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19 ESV).

Jesus came as the perfect head, the divine authority, of those who are His. Where Adam brought death to all because of sin and rebellion, Jesus brings and gives life to those God has chosen. Seven times in Romans 5:12-21, Paul tells all that through Adam came death and separation from God but through Jesus Christ comes life and restoration with God. Paul states all people are separated from God. Paul does not state that all people will be reconciled to God but that God offers the grace to all people to be reconciled. Many reject that gift and spend eternity outside of God’s life giving presence. Jesus came to serve God by serving those who receive God’s reconciliation. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 ESV; see Mark 10:45).

All physical creation is designed to serve God but, because of sin, does not. We cannot declare all created things corrupted by sin but only those things created by God contained on the Earth. We cannot know about the universe. We can know about the fall of some angels. All angels were created as servants of God. The writer of Hebrews tells us that some angels are servants God sends to serve those who are His. “Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14 ESV). When Jesus confronts Satan at the beginning of His ministry, He tells the Deceiver that only God should be worshipped and served. “Then Jesus said to him, ’Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve”’” (Matthew 4:10 ESV; see Luke 4:8).

Those who are reconciled to God through Jesus Christ cease living for themselves and, for time and eternity, live for God. 

Heavenly Beings

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings 
and crowned him with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:5 ESV)

Here is a mystery. Of the innumerable mysteries found in Scripture there are some that scream at us, capturing our attention while others lie hidden among God’s revelation about Himself. Here is a mystery. Who are the heavenly beingsmentioned in this verse? In the Hebrew the phrase is min ĕlôhı̂ym, or out of gods. ĕlôhı̂ym is the word used for God and for gods. The implication is that God is surrounded by gods. These gods are not the Only God but are servants of the only God. Translators have made this word, angels. The ESV uses the term heavenly beings. We are not told who they are but that they are.

God, speaking through David, states two specific truths about Jesus, the Son of God, in this verse. David asserts that Jesus was, in power and authority, set below these heavenly beings and then crowned with glory and honor, or raised above them. Jesus is God, the Son. How can He first be made lower than those beings He created and then raised above them?

Jesus, after opening the eyes of a blind man, declares that He is one with the Father (see John 10:30). The Jews who heard Him, believing that Jesus just blasphemed, making Himself equal with God, picked up stones to stone Him. They were ready to immediately kill Jesus because He saw Himself as an equal to God that, in their thinking, was impossible and unforgiveable.  

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came — and Scripture cannot be broken — do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’” (John 10:34-36 ESV; quoting from Psalm 82:6-7.)

Psalm 82 uses the word ĕlôhı̂ym a number of times to describe both God and the gods. In eternity God surrounds Himself by a council of godsheavenly beings, whom He has created as His servants just as He created Man to serve Him. God is not the greater of the gods, but the eternal God who has no beginning, who has created beings who have beginnings. 

Speaking of people created in His image for intimate relationship with Him, God declares that some of them are separated from Him, the source of life, because of their rebellion. “I said, ‘You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince’” (Psalm 82:6-7 ESV; see John 10:34-36). Just because God created a being as His servant, for relationship with Him, does not mean that being cannot be separated from Him for eternity because of rebellion.

Jesus declares that people, those created in God’s image, are like God. God is ĕlôhı̂ym, God. The heavenly beings are ĕlôhı̂ym, gods. People are ĕlôhı̂ym, gods. The word ĕlôhı̂ym, when used of the heavenly beings and of people, is not a name but a title, a position, a description. The implication of Jesus’ words, in John 10 and Psalm 82 and many other places, is that those created in God’s image, carry the privilege and responsibility of service to their Creator. Acting in rebellion with selfish, self-centered intent, instead of in obedience to God according to their very nature and essence, will result in their separation from Him.

God does not want those He has created in His image to exist separated from Him for eternity. This is true for people. We do not know if this is true for any who are created in God’s image who do not physically exist on planet Earth or physically exist in the created universe.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. (John 10:27-30 ESV).

God’s Care

What is man that you are mindful of him, 
and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:4 ESV)

God is mindful of not only all people but also deeply cares for His Son. To care means to pay attention or observe, to seek and visit, to appoint and assign. Jesus does what the Father wants because of His love for His Father. 

Before Jesus was born God set the stage of the world for His Son. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5 ESV). God did not randomly decide that Jesus should come at a particular time and place but diligently planned everything from before the fall of Adam. God knows exactly what He is doing.

Before Jesus was born, God decided who would be His forerunner, John the Baptizer, and His parents, Mary and Joseph. An angel visited Zechariah while he was offering a sacrifice (Luke 1:5-25) and Mary (Luke 1:26-38) and gave Joseph a dream (Matthew 1:18-25). Prophecy, written in the Hebrew Scripture,  tells that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the birthplace of David, the king of Israel. God directed the Roman government to bring Joseph and his pregnant with Jesus wife from Nazareth to Bethlehem. After Jesus’ birth, God warned Joseph to take his family to Egypt because of the murderous paranoia of Herod. Then God brought them back to Galilee, to Nazareth, where Jesus matured and then began His ministry.

John was Jesus’ cousin and The One sent to announce the coming of Messiah. “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight’” (Mark 1:2-3 ESV; Malachi 3:1; Isaiah 40:3-5).Jesus came to John and was baptized by him, though Jesus did not need cleansing though baptism. God uses baptism as evidence of identification. Jesus identified with sinful people through identification so that those sinful people could identify with Him through His resurrection. At Jesus’ baptism God declared Jesus, a man, His Son.

“And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17 ESV; see also Mark 1:11 and Luke 3:23).

God, the Father, spoke verbally to those who could hear, His love for and pleasure with Jesus.

Toward the end of His earthly ministry Jesus took three of His disciples up a mountain to pray. Often, He would go to a desolate place to pray alone. While on the mountain, Jesus was transfigured before them. Jesus may have been transfigured other times as well, but there were no witnesses at those times or in those places. This time there were three witnesses. God spoke to these three.

And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen. (Luke 9:35-36 ESV; see also Mark 9:7 and Matthew 17:5)

Before Jesus’ passion, His crucifixion and resurrection, He was in Jerusalem speaking to the crowds about what was going to happen. He was troubled.

“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”

The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 

Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. (John 12:27-30 ESV)

God spoke to Jesus, demonstrating His love and pleasure in His Son, showing that He cares about Him and what Jesus will endure to redeem those who are His. 

Son of Man

What is man that you are mindful of him, 
and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:4 ESV)

Who is the son of man? The Hebrew phrase is ben adam. Jesus used this phrase for Himself over 80 times in the Gospels. He shows how small and insignificant is man, and Himself in the form of a man, when some asked about following Him.

Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”

And Jesus said to him, ”Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:18-20 ESV; see also Luke 9:58)

There are two places in the Psalms where this phrase is used, Psalm 8:4 and Psalm 80:17. Ezekiel uses the phrase “Son of Man” almost 90 times to refer to himself and his prophetic office. Daniel uses the phrase twice, referring to future accomplished events that precede the end of time. Jesus, being the author of Scripture, uses the phrase to establish His place before God and the people He created in His image, as their authority.

Jesus, on numerous occasions, foretold the truth of His coming death and resurrection at the hands of men. God is mindful, which means to recall, remember and think upon and to record, of all humanity in rebellion against Him. The juxtaposition and comparison of those who rebel against God with the one blessed Man of Psalm 1:1, is stark. Only one Man has ever and will ever do righteousness inherent to His image.  All others are in rebellion against He who created them for Himself. Jesus came to redeem and recreate those who are His, fitting them for eternity. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 ESV). He accomplished this by offering Himself as a sacrifice for sin. Jesus told His disciples plainly what was to happen and why He would suffer. 

As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed. (Matthew 17:22-23 ESV; see also Luke 9:22, Mark 9:31 and 10:33)

God sent the Son of Man, His Son, to reign over His creation.  Those created in the image of God, created for relationship yet rebelling against God, will ultimately acknowledge His authority and the truth of who Jesus is because of the evidence of His life. That evidence is His rule and reign. “I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession’” (Psalm 2:7-8 ESV). Those who rebel against God will intimately and intellectually know Jesus is God’s Son once they have “lifted up the Son of Man” (John 8:28 ESV). Jesus redeemed those who are His by taking upon Himself the sin of the world when He shed His blood. He covered them with His blood giving His righteousness. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV).

Though all people deserve death and eternal separation from God because of sin and rebellion, God chose, because of His love, to remember people. He desires relationship with all people and has made a way for all to intimately know Him. Not all people take advantage of God’s grace and are separated from Him. God offered His grace to all in the most intimate way by sending His Son, who set aside all of the privilege and authority of the Godhead, for a moment in time, in the likeness of sinful man. Jesus was not sinful but took upon Himself the guise of the flesh while retaining that which makes God, God (see Philippians 2:6-8). Jesus is fully God and fully man, the way God intended man, which is as a servant not a rebel. He is both the Son of God and the Son of Man.

Man

What is man that you are mindful of him, 
and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:4 ESV)

Compared to the vastness of the universe, humanity is puny. Looking up into the night sky forces the writer of the Psalm to see himself as small and God as unimaginably huge. From a purely human point of view, Man does not even register on the scale when compared to the presence of God. But humanity does register on God’s scale, for God created Man in His image, giving people the natural ability to have a personal relationship with Him, the God of the universe. 

There are two words for man used in Psalm 8:4. The first word, man (enosh) means mortal, the individual person as well as the group as a whole. Man is collective and may refer to all of humanity. This word is first used in Genesis 6. “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown” (Genesis 6:4 ESV). The second word man is the word adam, the name for the first man in Genesis 1. Adam means ruddy, and implies health and vitality. “What is man (enosh) that you are mindful of him, and the son of man (adam) that you care for him? (Psalm 8:4 ESV)

In Genesis 6:4, the sons of God and the daughters of man are the progeny of Adam and Eve, and all their descendants. The mighty men are the strong, powerful, brave men who were ruling the world. The sons of God are those mighty men, who sired mighty men. These men of renown are described as an individual or as a group. Why would God have any regard for those who are great in their own eyes and the eyes of the world but are puny and insignificant in the scheme of God’s universal design? They are created in the image of God which does give them stature in God’s design but does not make them as significant as their Creator.

There are few cultures that do not revere strong men. Such reverence enhances the strong persons conceit and self-importance. Strong men are proud of their accomplishments and superiority. Societies delight in those who are mighty. Lesser men are looked upon with disdain. Manly characteristics are defined by pride and strength and ability. Strength becomes more important than anything considered weak or meek. God is forgotten in the pride of a person’s strength, as are others created in the image of God who do not exhibit the same forceful character and traits. 

From Adam to Noah, as people wandered away from God, they saw themselves as mighty men and men of renown. Mighty men are warriors leaning toward tyranny, and giants, unafraid of anything. Men of renown are individuals who are remembered for their superhuman deeds, those whose reputations followed them, who became larger than life and were then mythologized. Perhaps they were viewed as bigger than any god. They were certainly viewed as blessed by a god.

Such people are not blessed by God, but are under His judgment. God describes such larger than life people as wicked in everything they do and are. “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart” (Genesis 6:5-6 ESV). Those who revere strength over the knowledge of God ultimately sink into wickedness. The thinking of their hearts, their whole person, mind, emotions and will, are corrupted by sin, unable to do anything for God. They cannot save themselves from God’s wrath with their own strength. They are evil and God grieved that He made them and allowed them to prosper and populate His world. 

All they need to do is look at the heavens, the work of God’s “fingers” and all of the things God has put in place to understand their puniness and insignificance.