This is a title connected with the Lord Jesus in relation to the earth. Its first occurrence in Psa. viii. fixes its peculiar signification. That Psalm begins and ends with a reference to the |earth,| and, after speaking of |the Son of Man,| it adds: |Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands.|
It will be found, therefore, that wherever this title occurs, it always refers to the Lord Jesus in connection with His dominion in the earth. And, when used of His second coming, it refers to the judgment which He is then and there to exercise.
It is most remarkable, and so remarkable as to make it practically conclusive, that this title, while it occurs eighty-four times in the New Testament, is never once used in the Pauline epistles addressed to Churches; thus proving that this title has nothing whatever to do with the Church. But while it has no connection with the Church, in the Epistles, it occurs no less than eighty times in the four Gospels and Acts, because there we have Christ on the earth, and the presentation of the King and the Kingdom.
But, when again he reveals Himself by this title, it is in the Book of Revelation (i.13 and xiv.14).
Thus we are pointed to the fact, and told (if we have ears to hear), that the Apocalypse relates to the coming of |the Son of Man| to exercise judgment in and assume dominion over the earth.
It is remarkable that the first use of the title in the New Testament is in Matt. viii.20, where it is said: |The Son of Man hath no where to lay His head|: and the last is in Rev. xiv.14, where the Son of Man is seen |having on His head a golden crown.| Both are connected with his |head,| and with the earth; while in the latter there is associated both judgment and dominion.
The significance of this title is further proved by its contrast with the title |Son of God| in John v.25-27: |Verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of THE SON OF GOD, and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also; because He is THE SON OF MAN.|
It is thus clear that the use of this title twice in Revelation (i.13 and xiv.14), and not once in the Church Epistles, is a further proof that the Church is not the subject of the Apocalypse.
The Church has no more to do with Christ under the title of |The Son of Man| than the Syro-Phoenician woman had anything to do with Him as |the Son of David.|
We ought to add that this fact is a key to all the passages where this title is used: and shows that Matt. xiv. and xxv. have nothing whatever to do with the Church of God, because of the use of this title in xxiv.30, and xxv.31. Both refer to His coming in clouds to the earth in judgment, after the Church has been taken up, and after the Great Tribulation.