THE PSALMS we study this week are especially timely, coming as they do after a contentious midterm election in the United States. At the end of the day, regardless of how the vote turned out, God is still on His throne, and He, for one, was not surprised by the results.
We also discuss a psalm not usually interpreted as messianic. Psalm 8 includes several verses quoted by the author of Hebrews:
What is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;Psalm 8:4–6, ESV
you have put all things under his feet…
These verses are quoted in Hebrews 2:6–8, where it’s clear that “the son of man” refers to Jesus, the Messiah. Most Bible teachers don’t see it that way, for some reason.
We dig deeper into the title “Son of Man” and how it emerged as a messianic title during the first century BC in the Book of Parables, chapters 37–71 of the Book of 1 Enoch. That was written by an Essene living near the Sea of Galilee before the end of the reign of Herod the Great—in other words, before the birth of Jesus.
Even though we only see the term used in a messianic context in Psalm 8:4 and Daniel 7:13 (where it’s a description—“one like a son of man”—not a title), the Book of Parables uses it 17 times of the messianic figure who is prophesied to execute judgment on the the wicked, both human and divine, and Jesus applied it to himself more than 80 times in the New Testament.
Significantly, “the son of man” does not appear in any Jewish literature from the first centuries BC or AD other than the Book of 1 Enoch and the New Testament.
For more details on the Essenes, the parables of Enoch, and their influence on the New Testament, we recommend the research of Dr. John Ben-Daniel.
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