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Why does Scripture emphasize the right hand of God?

right hand of God

Question: "Why does Scripture emphasize the right hand of God?"

Answer:
The Scripture has several words translated "right" and the usage of the term, "right hand" ranges from a direction, to the opposite of wrong, what is just or what conforms to an established standard, and to a place of honor or authority. In the case of division or appointment in the Bible, the right hand or right side came first, as when Israel (Jacob) divided the blessings to Joseph's sons before he died (Genesis 48:13-14).

In addition, a person of high rank who put someone on his right hand gave him equal honor with himself and recognized him as possessing equal dignity and authority. And this is what the Apostle Paul writes of Jesus Christ in Ephesians. "And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us, the ones believing according to the working of His mighty strength which He worked in Christ in raising Him from the dead, and He seated Him at His right hand in the heavenlies, far above all principality and authority and power and dominion, and every name being named, not only in this world, but also in the coming age" (Ephesians 1:19-21). Here we see God exalting Jesus above all others by seating Him at the right hand of the Father.

The term "God's right hand" in prophecy refers to the Messiah to whom is given the power and authority to subdue His enemies (Psalm 110:1; Psalm 118:16). We find a quote in Matthew 22:44 from Psalm 110:1, which is a Messianic Psalm. "The Son of David" is claimed by the LORD Jesus Christ as He is the "greater son of David" or the Messiah. In this passage of Matthew 22, Jesus questions the Pharisees about who they think the "Christ" or the Messiah is. "While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? Whose son is He? They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make Thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son?" (Matthew 22:41-45, KJV). The position of the Messiah is at God's right hand.

The fact that Jesus Christ is at the "right hand of God" was a sign to the disciples that Jesus had indeed gone to heaven. In John 16:7-15, Jesus told the disciples that He had to go away and He would send the Holy Spirit. So the coming of the Holy Spirit in the upper room on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13) was proof positive that Jesus was indeed in heaven seated at the right hand of God. This is confirmed in Romans 8:34 where the Apostle Paul writes that Christ is sitting at God's right hand making intercession for us.

Therefore, what we can say is that "God's right hand" refers to the Messiah, the LORD Jesus Christ and He is of equal position, honor, power and authority with God (John 1:1-5). The fact that Christ is "sitting" refers to the fact that His work of redemption is done and when the fullness of the gentiles is brought in (Romans 11:25), Christ's enemies will be made His footstool as the end of the age comes, all prophecy is completed, and time is no more.

Recommended Resources: Knowing God by J.I. Packer and Logos Bible Software.


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Why does Scripture emphasize the right hand of God?