The Right Hand of God

The scriptures tell us that Jesus sits on the right hand of God. There have been many interpretations as to what the right hand of God refers to. Some see the right hand of God as symbolic, while others see it as literal. If it is symbolic, what could it mean? If it is literal, does this mean that God has a physical right hand and that Jesus is separate from God because he is standing on the right hand of God? It is easy to get into a false understanding of God by misinterpreting this phrase.

If we look at the right hand of God as literal we run into several problems in scripture.

Some verses say that Jesus is sitting, while others say that he is standing.

Acts 2:34  For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,

Acts 7:55-56  55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,  56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

This interpretation would make Jesus separate from God, making two beings, and making Jesus not God.

If we take these verses literal, then we have Jesus literally sitting or standing ON God’s right hand. If we take these verses literal, then we must take other verses literal that speak of Jesus and God, which means that Jesus is IN the bosom of the Father.

John 1:18  No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

Looking at the books of Psalms, we see David with God AT his right hand.

Psalm 16:8  I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

It is clear from their contexts that all of these verses are figurative.

Psalm 77:10  And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.

Psalm 109:31  For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul.

Isaiah 48:13  Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.

Isaiah 62:8  The LORD hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength

Jesus used the finger of God.

Luke 11:20  But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

These verses are not speaking literally. God is using figurative speech to show His power.

When Stephen was being stone to death, he looked up and said that he saw Jesus standing on the right hand of God.

Acts 7:55-56  55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,  56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

Stephen was not claiming that he saw the second person in the Godhead standing beside the first person in the Godhead. This understanding would make two separate beings. It would also make Jesus not God, because he was standing beside God. If Stephen’s intention was to describe the trinity, why did he see them separate, and why did he not mention the Holy Ghost?

Stephen wasn’t claiming that he saw God and Jesus next to each other in heaven. Stephen was saying he saw Jesus, who is the glory of God. He was saying that Jesus, who is the glory and power of God, was the one God.

Isaiah 40:5  And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

The right hand of God is used figuratively to show the power and majesty of God. The phrase ‘right hand’ is even used in figuratively in English, for example, “he’s my right hand man”. There are many verses of scripture that use the phrase ‘right hand’ in reference to power.

Exodus 15:6  Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.

Psalm 98:1  O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.

Psalm 110:1  The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Matthew 26:64  Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Mark 14:62  And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Luke 22:69  Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.

1 Peter 3:22  Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

Right hand also refers to the power to save.

Exodus 15:6  Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.

Psalm 44:3  For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.

Psalm 98:1  O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.

Isaiah 59:16  And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.

Acts 5:31  Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

Jesus is our savior. In this sense, Jesus is at the right hand of God as our intercessor and high priest.

Romans 8:34  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Hebrews 8:1  Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

Jesus said himself that he had the power of God. All power was given to him.

Matthew 28:18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Ephesians 1:19-23  19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,  20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:  22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,  23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Hebrews 10:11-13  11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:  12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;  13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

Jesus was exalted as our mediator and savior. He sat down on the right hand of God in the sense that he was glorified as the savior of the world. This was the glory that Jesus had in the plan of God.

John 17:3-5  3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.  4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.  5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

The glory that Jesus had was in the plan of God as the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He had all power to save, and he exercised that power by becoming our sacrifice.

Now that Jesus has fulfilled his role as our sacrifice, he no longer must be confined to human limitations.

Philippians 2:6-8  6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

He never stopped being God, because he was God manifest in flesh, but his focus was on becoming our sacrifice. To do that, he took upon himself humanity, becoming God manifest in flesh- 100% God and 100% man.

1 Timothy 3:16  And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

He is now glorified and ascended to his throne. Now, rather than acting as a man with human limitations, he acts as God. This is what Stephen saw- Jesus exalted, standing in the glory of God. He is now finished with his redeeming work. He sat down from his work to take his place as the Almighty God. This is how John sees Jesus on the Isle of Patmos: as the First and Last, the Almighty.

Revelation 1:8  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

The right hand of God is not difficult to understand if it is taken in context. The context shows that it symbolic. There are many problems that are created by trying to make the right hand of God literal. Mainly, if it is literal, Jesus is a separate being standing next to God, making Jesus either a separate God or not God at all. This teaching contradicts scripture.

The right hand of God is figurative. It is symbolic of God’s power and strength; His salvation, and majesty. It demonstrates God’s omnipotence. It shows the saving power of Jesus as God manifest in flesh. It demonstrates that Jesus, who had the saving power of God, has sat down from his saving work to reign as the Almighty God.

3 Comments

  1. I love to research and  this is a good website.  Thank you

  2. HAVING BEEN BORN AGAIN AND FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT I CAN REVEAL TO YOU ALL THE SCRIPTURES ON THIS PAGE REFERRING TO GOD’S RIGHT HAND SHOULD BE TAKEN LITERALLY AS IT IS WRITTEN. FOR GOD HAS GIVEN SATAN THE LEFT OF OUR BODY AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD HAS THE RIGHT OF OUR BODY. THE SPIRIT OF GOD MAKES IT POSSIBLE FOR MAN TO LOVE OTHER PEOPLE, TELL THE TRUTH, PLACE THE NEEDS OF OTHER PEOPLE BEFORE OUR OWN NEEDS LIVE FOREVER. THE DEVIL MAKES IT POSSIBLE FOR MAN TO HATE OTHER PEOPLE, LIE, PLACE HIS OWN NEEDS BEFORE THE NEEDS OF OTHER PEOPLE, DIE SPIRITUALLY AFTER PHYSICAL DEATH. JESUS OF NAZARETH IS THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD, AND HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE AND NO MAN AT ANY TIME MAY COME UNTO THE FATHER BUT HE BELIEVES IN HIS HEART AND CONFESS WITH HIS MOUTH THAT JESUS CHRIST IS GOD’S SON, WHO CAME TO EARTH TO REDEEM US FROM THE CURSE OF SIN (DEATH) AND GIVE US ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT LIVING IN OUR HEARTS LEADING AND GUIDING US INTO ALL THE TRUTH AND RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD. ALL GLORY, HONOR AND PRAISE BE TO THE NAME OF THE LORD FOREVER AND EVER AMEN.

  3. Isaiah 53-1

    God asks a two part question. God spends the rest of the chapter describing who the right arm of God is. Read for yourself.

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