Luke 22:67-69 (NKJV)67 "If You are the Christ, tell us." But He said to them, "If I tell you, you will by no means believe.68 And if I also ask you, you will by no means answer Me or let Me go.69 Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God."
Ephesians 1:20 (NKJV)20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Here are just three of the biblical references to Christ being at the right hand of God which sceptics use to infer that Jesus is not God. The argument is that if He is God how can He be at the right hand of God? Without repeating what I said about the Trinity in my last post let me just say, that it all has to do with the relationship of Jesus, the Son of God, to God the Father, and His role and work in the plan of redemption of mankind (see the post Here).
Let’s Start Here
Let’s start with the Messianic 110th Psalm. This is the most referenced Psalm in the New Testament. Verse 1 alone is referenced 18 times directly, several more times indirectly.
Psalm 110:1 (NKJV)1 The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."
When Jesus, who is the Messiah, was on this earth, he was God manifest in the flesh. From conception, birth, and throughout his childhood, adulthood, all the way to His crucifixion, Jesus was God manifest in the flesh.
If Jesus is God, how can He be “at the right hand” of God?
Jesus, the Messiah, is called “the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father”.
Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
He is called Immanuel, “God with us.
Matthew 1:23 (NKJV)23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us."
He is The True God
1 John 5:20 (NKJV)20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
If He is God how can He be at His own right hand?
What is God’s Right Hand?
To understand “the right hand of God” we have to realize that we can’t place human limitations on God. We need to understand that the Bible often describes God in ways that aren’t meant to be taken literally. When the Bible describes God in terms of imperfect human qualities, it’s not because He actually has those qualities, but it is a way for us imperfect humans to understand Him better.
The bible says that God rests, and wakes up;
Genesis 2:2 (NKJV)2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.
Psalm 44:23 (NKJV)23 Awake! Why do You sleep, O Lord? Arise! Do not cast us off forever.
But we know that God never gets tired or sleeps;
Isaiah 40:28 (NKJV)28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.
Psalm 121:4 (NKJV)4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The bible says that God goes “down”, “up” or “away”
Genesis 11:5 (NKJV)5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.
Genesis 35:13 (NKJV)13 Then God went up from him in the place where He talked with him.
Genesis 18:33 (NKJV)33 So the LORD went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.
But we know that God’s presence everywhere at the same time.
Psalm 139:7 (NKJV)7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
Jeremiah 23:23 (NKJV)23 "Am I a God near at hand," says the LORD, "And not a God afar off?
1 Kings 8:27 (NKJV)27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!
The bible says that God changes His mind;
Genesis 6:6 (NKJV)6 And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
Exodus 32:14 (NKJV)14 So the LORD relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.
But He never changes His mind;
1 Samuel 15:29 (HCSB)29 Furthermore, the Eternal One of Israel does not lie or change His mind, for He is not man who changes his mind.”
Romans 11:28-29 (HCSB)28 Regarding the gospel, they are enemies for your advantage, but regarding election, they are loved because of the patriarchs,29 since God’s gracious gifts and calling are irrevocable.
The Bible also uses other figurative language.
God is often described in symbolic terms:
These and other metaphors tell us something about God, but will only confuse us if we take them literally.
Jesus Himself used figurative language.
John 16:25 (HCSB)25 “I have spoken these things to you in figures of speech. A time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but I will tell you plainly about the Father.
Matthew 13:34 (HCSB)34 Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables, and He would not speak anything to them without a parable,
God’s Right Hand Is Symbolic
Here are some biblical examples:
This doesn’t mean that God would literally cut off Eli’s arm. It means that his family would lose their influence and that the men would die early in life.
There are other passages where reference to the right hand or arm are symbolic as is the right hand or arm of God.
The Phrase “Right Hand” is a Metaphor
God exercises his authority by his right hand. His “right hand” is a metaphor for His power.
Psalm 89:13 (NKJV)13 You have a mighty arm; Strong is Your hand, and high is Your right hand.
Deuteronomy 7:17-19 (NKJV)17 "If you should say in your heart, 'These nations are greater than I; how can I dispossess them?'--18 you shall not be afraid of them, but you shall remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt:19 the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs and the wonders, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm, by which the LORD your God brought you out. So shall the LORD your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid.
In this passage describing what happened to the Egyptians at the Red Sea no one literally say an arm destroying the Egyptians
Exodus 15:16 (NKJV)16 Fear and dread will fall on them; By the greatness of Your arm They will be as still as a stone, Till Your people pass over, O LORD, Till the people pass over Whom You have purchased.
No one saw an arm reaching down from the clouds in describing God’s power in helping them conquer the Promised Land either.
Psalm 44:3 (NKJV)3 For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, Nor did their own arm save them; But it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance, Because You favored them.
The expression “right hand” is not to be taken literally but symbolically, when we speak of God. When you consider the fact that God doesn't have a physical body, and that the Bible tells us that God is everywhere, it really doesn't make sense to think of God sitting in one particular place and having hands, next to the right one of which sits Jesus. And when you consider, further, that Christian doctrine tells us that the Father and Son, while being two persons, are one in essence and being, then it really doesn't make sense to think of them sitting side by side. My sons and I could sit side by side, but we are not one in essence and being. God the Father and God the Son are. So what does it mean that Jesus is seated, in heaven, at the right hand of God the Father?
Psalm 110:1 (NKJV)1 The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."
When KIng David wrote this Psalm,he was talking about the fact that in his day places where people were seated in relationship to the king was very important. The person the king considered most important next to him was seated to his right and was given the same honor and respect due the king. The king put the person there so that person was to treated the same way they treated the king. When seen in the way the Psalm prophesied that Jesus was to have all power.
Jesus Has All Power
At the end of the Gospel of Matthew Jesus said to His disciples;
Matthew 28:18 (NKJV) 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
He gave the same idea metaphorically in Mark;
Mark 16:19 (NKJV) 19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.
Being at the right hand of God is taking on the power of God, not being in a certain location.
Jesus said that some people would see Him at the right hand of God.
Mark 14:62 (NKJV)62 Jesus said, "I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven."
Matthew 26:64 (NKJV)64 Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven."
Stephen saw Jesus before he died.
Acts 7:54-56 (NKJV)54 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,56 and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"
These passages mention seeing Jesus but they don’t describe or mention seeing God standing beside Jesus because, using another scripture that those who say that Jesus is not God use;
John 1:18 (NKJV)18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
John 5:37 (NKJV)37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.
Colossians 1:15 (NKJV)15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
Colossians 2:9-10 (NKJV)9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NKJV)3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
1 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.
There are not two thrones in heaven with God the Father sitting on one and Jesus the Son of God, sitting on the one at God’s right hand. That is a metaphor indicating that whatever honor and respect is due to God is due Jesus. He has also given Jesus all authority and power. At the right hand of God means that wherever the power of God is at work there is Jesus and that’s everywhere. As I wrote in previous posts being everywhere is omnipresence and that’s an attribute of God only.
Here is the way Paul puts it when he said that Jesus is seated at God’s right hand.
Ephesians 1:20-23 (NKJV)20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
The fact that Jesus is "sitting" refers to the fact that His work of redemption is done (see Good Friday?).
John 19:30 (NKJV)30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
Matthew 27:51-54 (NKJV)51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.54 So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God!"
He will be continue to sit until the last enemy is defeated.
1 Corinthians 15:25-26 (NKJV)25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.
26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
That will happen when all prophecy is completed and the final victory is won.
Revelation 20:11-15 (NKJV)11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Try as we will we don’t and won’t know all the answers or how all the pieces will fit together, but we do know the One who does. He knows all the answers and how all the pieces fit together because all power and authority has been given unto him. God The Father has made God the Son all in all.
If you don’t know the One who has all the answers get to know Him today. The scriptures tell us
Romans 10:9-10 (NKJV)9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
If you’re ready pray this prayer in all sincerity (only you and God know if you’re really sincere);
“Dear God, I am a sinner and need forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ shed His precious blood and died for my sin. I am willing to turn from sin. I now invite Christ to come into my heart and life as my personal Savior.”
If you have just prayed this prayer, in all sincerity, call, text, email, Tweet, change your Facebook status and tell somebody. Leave me a comment here or send me an email with this Link. Then find a bible believing church and start to fellowship with other believers.
This blog is for you! If you have any questions or topics you would like me to address please use the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.