This brief article is written as a response to numerous believers who have asked the exact question of John 12:34, “Who is this Son of Man?”
The very simplest answer is that “Son of God” is His eternal deity, but “Son of Man” is His eternal dominion. Many have thought that Son of Man is a title of less importance. It is not!
“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”(Psa 8:4), is in reference to Adam. Hebrews 2:6-8 verifies that it is Adam who was given dominion over creation as son of man. But was Adam a son of a man? Surely not. Then we must look elsewhere for the meaning of this title.
The answer is found in Daniel 7:13-14, “… One like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” We learn that “The Son of Man” is the One who will have dominion over an etemal and universal kingdom. He is not the second Adam, but He is “the last Adam” (1 Cor 15:45), for He will not fail and there will never need to be another.
To describe Adam as “Son of Man” is linked to his humanity in that he was a genuine man, but this title is not his generation, but rather his position as the head of creation.
God has not given up His purpose that a Man will yet have universal and eternal dominion. The Lord Jesus is “The Son of Man” not because He is the Son of a man. He never was a son of a man. He is the Glorified Man to whom will be given “everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away.” This is the truth of Heb 1:2, where the Son of God is “appointed Heir of all things.” This is the true meaning of “The Son of Man.” He never called Himself Jesus in the Gospels, but frequently referred to Himself as “The Son of Man.” It is the lofty title of universal and eternal rule and dominion.