THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD
©Copyright 1997 Randall D. Hughes
The term, right hand of God is an anthropomorphism. The attribution of human characteristics to non-human beings or things. We know God is ONE Spirit, John 4:24, Eph. 4:4, who is everywhere, Ps. 139:7-10, Eph. 1:23, Jer. 23:24. So thus it is impossible for God to have a right hand! At least until he manifest himself as flesh. The use of this anthropomorphism occurs 60 (i) times in Scripture. There are 39 references in the Old Testament and 21 in the New Testament. The primary thought behind these passages is it is a "Hebrew Idiom." That being a figure of speech much like, "he's my right hand man." In the Hebrew this idiom denotes power and strength. In reviewing the references this seem accurate enough for 40 of them. This would also apply to the remaining 20, although it seems the definition may need expanding.
"Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy."
Exodus 15:6 is an example of this idiom (ii). We know God does not have a right hand! And we also know God did not literally "dash in pieces" the army of Pharaoh. This is a figurative example of God's power and strength giving the victory. This being like one of the 40 references as the idiom denoting power and strength.
Of the 20 remaining, there is one in the Old Testament and the other 19 in the New Testament. The one Old Testament reference is quoted or alluded to a total of 8 times in the New Testament, with the other 12 also relating. This verse being Psalms 110:1.
" The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."
Jesus quotes this Psalm in Matt. 22:44, Mark 12:36, and Luke 20:42. Peter quotes it on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:34-35. Paul alludes to it in 1 Cor. 15:25. As does the writer of Hebrews in 1:13, 2:8, and 10:12-13.
This verse is the LORD, (Yahweh, Spirit, Creator, Father) speaking prophetically to the Lord, (Adoni, Messiah, creature, Son). While the idiom does apply to these passages, this also seems to indicate a position of reigning or ruling as well as power and strength. In light of the anthropomorphism this is NOT a position in relationship to God, but a position of glorification (iii), exaltation, or deification! Notice the Psalmist said to sit "UNTIL!" Indicating a time when the Son would not be in this "place." Where can you go from the right hand? The very throne itself!
Prior to his crucifixion, Jesus said, "Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." Matt. 26:64. Also Mark 14:62, and Luke 22:69. Notice Jesus said he would take the right hand place "hereafter."
It is in the same council where Jesus spoke the words, "hereafter…" where Stephen saw "the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God." Acts 7:55, 56.
It is incredible to note the Old Testament visions of God at this time. In Gen. 28:13-16, Jacob saw "the LORD…" (a theophany, as all OT visions are). 1 Kings 22:19 and 2 Chron. 18:18, Micaiah said, "I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left." No mention of the Son or the Holy Ghost! In Job 1:6, and 2:1, while it may be debatable as to whom "the sons of God" are, (most believe them to be angels) it is clear from Scripture who they are NOT! For there is only one begotten Son! John 1:18, 3:16, 18, Heb. 11:17, 1 John 4:9. Again in Job there is only mention of "the LORD," as a single deity! In Isa. 6:1, only "the LORD" is seen. Ezk. 1:26-28, 2:1. Ezekiel saw "the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD." And one spake. Notice, these (Isa. & Eze.) were written after Psalms 2:7, & 110:1, proving the Psalms to be prophecy!
In Daniel's vision in chapter 7, there is The Ancient of Days and the Son of man. But the "Son of man" does not refer to deity! It is in reference to Christ role as the man, the Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5), High Priest, Advocate, Intercessor, etc. In other words, the Right Hand place! Thus all of the Old Testament visions only reveal One God! One Deity!
So what did Stephen see? (His is the only vision to mention a right hand place) He does not address two beings! In Acts 7:56, he speaks to the "Lord Jesus," and vs 59, to the "Lord." We know there is only ONE Lord, Eph. 4:5, and that is Jesus! So if two beings were represented there, one is totally ignored! Notice it says he saw "the glory of God." Could it be he saw a glimpse of the light Jesus dwells in, 1 Tim. 6:16? In the verses in the Gospels, Jesus said, "hereafter shall ye see the Son of man, sitting on the right hand of power." The writer of Hebrews twice refers to this as "the right hand of the Majesty on high." None of these indicate a relationship between two beings, but possibly to the right of the throne or highest place of exaltation (literal or symbolic).
Another New Testament vision of God occurred on the road to Damascus. Saul is knocked to his knees by a blinding light. (Light again?) Consider who Saul was. Think about his education. He was a Hebrew of the Hebrews. A Pharisee of the Pharisee's, as touching the law, blameless. In light of the supernatural nature of this encounter, what do you suppose he said? "Who are you, sir?" No! He would have cried out, "Who are you, Jehovah?" And the answer was, "I am Jesus." Acts 9:5. In this passage there is no mention of the right hand, although Paul says he saw Jesus, 1 Cor. 15:8. (Again only one person addressed!)
John sees the last New Testament vision. Amazingly, the Book is addressed as "The Revelation of Jesus Christ." Rev. 1:1. It is NOT the revelation of the Trinity, or of the Father, or the Holy Ghost! In his vision there is no mention of the right hand place, either. (It is important to note that never in the visions were two beings addressed on the throne!) Instead, Rev. 3:21, speaking "of things to come" says, "I" (Jesus) "also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." Amazingly, in spite of the language of that verse "set down with my Father," never in Revelation are there two beings addressed as sitting on the Throne! iv) But that was not where Jesus was in Ps. 110:1? Or even in Acts 7? Has this happened? Remember Ps. 110:1, said he must sit in the right hand place "UNTIL" his enemies were subdued.
Hebrews 10:12-13. " But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. "
The word "expecting" here means (Strong's #1551) "to wait, expect, look (tarry) for, wait (for)."
Hebrews 2:8. " Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him."
Notice, "NOW WE SEE NOT YET all things put under him." There are many New Testament references to Jesus on the right hand place. These seem to imply a position or level of glory! There is something God reveals as a throne either symbolic, or literal and Jesus is yet to sit on it!
We have already mentioned Matt. 26:64, Mark 14:62, Luke 22:69, as Jesus saying he would go there "hereafter." Here are some verses indicating he is currently in the right hand place of glory.
These passages indicate Christ is at the right hand of the throne (literal or symbolic) now! When will he take the Throne?
Notice this speaks of Jesus delivering the kingdom to the Father. It is important to understand the way God uses language that separates. God has set a precedent. Throughout the Bible God often times confounds the "wisdom of men." Some of these absurdities, paradox's or contrast.
Jesus is both...
While it is understood that we all have some attributes that are displayed at different times that are contrasting, some of these are more shocking than others. Creator/Creature; Father/Son; Presenter/Receiver; This is evident in Eph. 5:27, when Jesus presents the church, Bride, the kingdom to HIMSELF! " That he might present it to himself a glorious church…" This presentation shows Jesus is the Father, (1 Cor. 15:24 & Eph. 5:27, speaks of the same event) and occurs after the rapture, when Jesus begins to reign as God all in all!
Back in 1 Cor 15:23, notice the rapture (Christ coming), and then vs 26, says the last enemy is death.
1 Cor. 15:51-54 , says, "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."
Notice that vs 54, speaking of after our mortal puts on immortality, says, "THEN" death is swallowed up in victory! The purpose for which Jesus came to earth "to bring many sons unto glory" (Heb. 2:10) is fulfilled! The last enemy out of the way!
Another passage showing this is at the rapture of the Church is 1 Tim. 6:14-16.
Here Paul says, "UNTIL the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ!" Then he will reveal the ONLY Potentate! The King of kings and Lord of lords! The ONLY one with immortality! This is what Jesus is referred to in John 16:25, as "…but the time cometh, when I shall speak no more unto you in proverbs, but I will shew you plainly of the Father." What is there to show? Jesus is the Father! The Dispensation of Mediation will be over! The last souls saved. There will no longer be a need for a High Priest, Advocate, Intercessor, or Mediator! The last enemy will be destroyed, and God will be all in all!
Eph. 1:10 "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:"
You may ask, "Who will you see when you get to heaven? Will we see God?" Absolutely! Jesus said when you see me you've seen the Father! John 14:7, 9. The fulness of all deity dwelleth in HIM bodily! Col. 2:9. 2 Cor. 4:6, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." We shall behold him face to face. The glass darkly we see through now will be done away! Someday " The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." Rev. 11:15.
"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, THEN shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:" Matt. 25:31
Incredibly, Rev. 3:21, indicated Jesus sat down with the Father on the Father's throne. Yet, through out Revelation you find only ONE throne, and ONLY ONE (iv) sitting on it! Jesus reigning forever and ever, God all in all. Also, in this verse, you will find a transition of possession! Jesus "set down with my Father in his throne." Yet to the overcomer Jesus will "grant to sit with me in my throne," as Jesus reveals to us "plainly" who the Father really is, John 16:26, Isa. 9:6!
There is One God who is a Spirit that is everywhere. Thus God does not have a right hand! This term is an anthropomorphism. This One God who is Spirit manifest himself to man in flesh for the purpose of redemption. The man Christ Jesus, as our mediator, 1 Tim. 2:5, seems to have gone through various levels of accomplishments, graduations, or "glorifications." (See footnote iii). After his resurrection from the dead, he attained the highest level, degree, or "glorification" thus far. In this "Right Hand place" he is our High Priest, Advocate, Mediator, Intercessor, etc. He will remain at this level until his final accomplishment, the conquering of all things, "victory over death," or "all things under his feet." Thus when he brings many sons unto glory to reign with him. All kingdoms and opposition will be subdued. Then he shall reign as God all in all! 1 Cor.15:28 "Then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory." Matt. 25:31, Rev. 3:21. Then will he show "plainly of the Father," John 16:26, "I and my Father are ONE." John 10:30. "God all in all." Thus He is in the Right Hand place simply awaiting the soon coming "coronation," the Crowning ceremony naming Him the King of kings and Lord of lords! When the God of the universe is officially recognized by all of the inhabitants for who He really is!
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