Who was Jesus of Nazareth?
At the time of Jesus, the Jewish people were awaiting a political messiah to liberate them from the Roman Empire. There are multiple pages in the Old Testament pointing to the Messiah, and Jesus repeatedly referred to himself and his mission in several prophecies from the book of Daniel. Refer to (Daniel 2,7,9). Many Jews realized that Jesus was the Messiah.
The Kingdom of God
Jesus loved to talk about “the kingdom of God:
“The time is fulfillled and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15)
Jesus spoke often about the importance of entering the kingdom to have eternal life:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
What does Jesus mean about “the time” being fulfilled and the coming of the kingdom being “at hand” (Mark 1:15)? When Jesus talks about the coming of “the kingdom of God,” he is alluding to the fulfillment of this famous prophecy from Daniel. The kingdom of God was expected to come during the time of the Roman Empire.
The implication of Daniel’s prophecy is simple but explosive: the long-awaited kingdom of God will come sometime during the reign of the Roman Empire. “The God of Heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed.” (Daniel 2:44)
Jewish expectations about the coming of the kingdom of God were extremely high during the first century. “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15). The prophet Daniel indicates both the time and the kingdom.
The Son of Man
“The Son of Man” was one of Jesus’ favorite ways of referring to himself.
“For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” (Mark 14:21)
When Jesus speaks about “the Son of Man,” he is referring to another prophecy from the book of Daniel. The four beasts are four kings (Daniel 7:17), and “The Son of Man” is the king of the fifth kingdom – the everlasting kingdom of God. This kingdom will be established when the fourth beast is destroyed, but the kingdom of God and the heavenly “son of man” will come during the reign of the Roman Empire. Early Jewish interpreters knew the messianic identity of “The Son of Man,” because Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed that the kingdom of God was “at hand” and referred to himself as “The Son of Man,” then the time for the fulfillment of the prophecies of Daniel is “at hand,” and the time for the coming of the Messiah is now.
The Death of the Messiah
Jesus speaks about eventually being handed over to authorities and put to death – “The Son of Man” will suffer and die.
“And he began to teach them that “The Son of Man” must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly.” (Mark 8:31-32)
The messianic Son of Man must suffer and die in fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
[The angel Gabriel said to Daniel:] “Seventy weeks of years [ 70 x 7 = 490 years ] are decreed concerning your people and your holy city, to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy [one].” (Daniel 9:24)
The King Artaxerxes of Persia decreed to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem on 457 BC and Jesus was crucified in 33 AD. Observe that 457 + 33 = 490.