The key to Jesus' statement is the word "comes," which is derived from the Greek word ἔρχομαι (erchomai), which can mean, when used in the physical sense, "to come from one place to another, and used both of persons arriving and of those returning," according to the lexicon. But when used in the context of Jesus's previous statements and analogies - the events immediately following the moment of death, the lexicon describes the word to mean, "to appear, make one's appearance," as well as "to arise."
Furthermore, when used metaphorically - as Jesus was - the word actually means, "to come into being, arise, come forth, show itself, find place or influence" and "be established, become known, to come (fall) into or unto."
This, with the rest of Jesus' statement, indicates that Jesus is speaking of presence and appearance in the spiritual realm - and for those who follow, at the time of death.
After all, if a person were "coming," they would not be sitting on a throne, because thrones are not considered moving vehicles. Rather, Jesus is describing the presence of God's loving servant in the spiritual realm.
Another important component is the fact that Jesus is speaking of "son of man" in the third person. He is not saying "I" or "me" here. Why not? And what the heck is a "son of man" anyway?
Actually, "son of man" is a mistranslation of the Greek phrase, υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.
The word "son" is being translated from the Greek word υἱός (huios), which can only mean "son" when the discussion is about a mother, father and a family member. When used outside this context, the word means, "one of the posterity of any one," and "used to describe one who depends on another or is his follower." This describes someone who is serving another - an intimate servant.
Furthermore, the word translated to "man" is ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos), which can mean either "humanity" or "mankind."
Thus we have the more appropriate translation - "servant of humanity."
This is precisely how Jesus saw himself, and he wanted his disciples to also take up this role. Why? Because he was teaching about the Supreme Being - a true service to humanity. Consider, for example, this statement by Jesus:
"Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man [servant of humanity] did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matt. 20:26-28)We see by this statement by Jesus that he saw himself as a servant to humanity, and he wanted his disciples to also become servants to humanity.
This of course reveals that Jesus was not speaking of his crucifixion in Matt. 20:28. Otherwise, he would be essentially asking all his disciples to also become crucified as well - a ridiculous notion.
The fact is, the word translated to "ransom" in Matt. 20:28 is λύτρον (lytron), which means, according to the lexicon, "the price for redeeming, ransom - paid for slaves, captives." Does this necessarily require being killed?
No. Jesus is speaking of giving ones life to the Supreme Being - and teaching this to others. When a person gives their life to the Supreme Being they are in fact releasing themselves from the bondage of self-centeredness and the attachments of the physical world - also called evil.
And because Jesus is asking his disciples to become the servant of others - we know that this ability to influence others to give their lives to the Supreme Being is not exclusive to Jesus.
We also know this because we know that Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Eli, Samuel, David, Job, John the Baptist and others were also teaching people to give their lives to the Supreme Being. They were also serving the Supreme Being and being the servants of humanity with their teachings.
And this is precisely why Ezekiel was called "son of man" [servant of humanity] by the Supreme Being no less than 60 times in the Old Testament. Because God was instructing Ezekiel to save others by passing on His teachings.
And this brings us to the reason Jesus speaks of the "son of man" [servant of humanity] in the third person - not only in Matt. 25:31 above but throughout his teachings:
Because the "son of man" [servant of humanity] is a role - a role that was not exclusive to Jesus.
Jesus wanted all his disciples to become servants of humanity, and thus work to saving others.
And what is this role in fact? It is the role of being God's representative.
The role of God's representative is the role of a servant - just as Jesus clarifies above. The Supreme Being can authorize or empower someone to represent Him as He wishes. The Supreme Being is not limited to one representative - He is God - He can do what He wants.
But as we see in the scriptures, God's representatives all teach love of God. They all teach giving our lives to the Supreme Being as the only means for becoming fulfilled. This is why Jesus often quoted Moses, David, Isaiah and others in his teachings. Because he was passing on the same teachings ultimately coming from the same person - the Supreme Person.
This all means that we can more appropriately translate the first phrase of Jesus statement above to:
"When the servant of humanity is present in His magnificence ..."Whose glory are we speaking of here? We are speaking of the Supreme Being's glory. Actually, the word δόξα (doxa) refers to "magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace" according to the lexicon.
These are the traits of the Supreme Being. While the "servant of humanity" is certainly glorious and magnificent, what makes them this way is their loving relationship with the Supreme Being. Therefore, we can understand that the "magnificence" Jesus is referring to being present with is the magnificence of the Supreme Being.
In fact, the entire discussion relating to the "angels with Him" and "He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory" along with the rest are referring to the Supreme Being.
This is confirmed by the statement:
"‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father ..."In other words, ecclesiastical sectarian translators that have thoroughly forgotten the very person that Jesus came to introduce us to - the Supreme Being - over the centuries have twisted Jesus' words to somehow mean that Jesus is pumping himself up as the big man sitting on the throne, dividing the nations and doing all the things that belong to the Supreme Being.
Jesus did not see himself, nor did he teach that he was this person. Rather, he saw himself as a messenger. As a servant. Here is the proof:
“My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent me." (John 7:16)These and many other verses describe Jesus as being God's servant - and having been sent by the Supreme Being. Furthermore, he is saying that his teachings are not his but the Supreme Being's.
"For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken." (John 12:49)
"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me." (John 6:38)
This is what a messenger does. A messenger delivers a message. They are "sent" to deliver a message.
Furthermore, we see Jesus describing the "son of man" [servant of humanity] taking the role of every person who is distraught, sick and destitute, and those who come to the aid of anyone who is in this position as coming to the aid of the servant of humanity. Why is this?
Because the servant of humanity has been sent by the Supreme Being to retrieve those who are distraught, sick and destitute. God wants us to return to our relationship with Him.
But why the distraught, sick and destitute? Because only those who are tired of chasing the flickering dreams of the physical world are ready to receive God's invitation.
Jesus is using distraught, sick and destitute people in a metaphorical sense here. When a person gives up their dreams that this illusory world will make us happy, they have become destitute in another sense: They are ready to receive God's teachings because they have become humble. They have come to accept that they are not the big champions or winners in life. They are accepting that life is empty and lonely - which it is without our relationship with the Supreme Being.
Thus, anyone who comes to the aid of such a destitute person - by encouraging them to seek refuge in the Supreme Being - this person is welcomed back to the spiritual realm.
This is why Jesus' two most important instructions were:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matt. 22:37-40)
(For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Book of Matthew without institutional sectarian influence, see the Gospels of Jesus - translated from the original Greek texts.)