Sonia Halliday Photographs

The resurrected Jesus, enthroned with God, is depicted above in a 15th-century Byzantine fresco from a monastery in Cyprus. In the New Testament, several apostles have visions of the risen Jesus in the company of God; Stephen, for instance, reports that he saw the “Son of Man” exalted “at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56).

By the time of Jesus, the phrase “son of man” had several meanings. It could denote a person like any other, or it could refer to an angelic being. For Bruce Chilton, Jesus’ different usages provide insight into his message: The human son of man attests to the reality of the heavenly kingdom; and for Jesus’ audience the mystery of the imminent kingdom, to be established by the messianic Son of Man, can only be described in earthly images. Thus Jesus uses poetic devices—metaphors, parables—to convey what he himself knew by prophetic vision.