Bible Question:

There are several Scriptures that refer to the right hand of God. Why is it always referring to the right side of the body? For instance, Jesus will sit on God's right side.

Bible Answer:

The Mormons and others have quoted the Bible in an attempt to prove that God is a man.  The Mormon President Lorenzo Snow once stated, “As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be.” A casual reading of some biblical passages have been used to convince people that God is a glorified man. They quote Bible passages that say God has eyes (Psalm 34:15), ears (2 Kings 19:16), feet (Isaiah 66:1), a hand (Exodus 7:5), arms (Psalm 89:10) and wings (Ruth 2:12; Psalm 36:7; 91:4).

But there are also biblical passages that refer to God as if He were a lamb (John 1:29;  Revelation 5:6), a lion (Hosea 11:10; 13:7; Revelation 5:5), fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; Isaiah 10:17), a water fountain (Jeremiah 17:13), a temple (Revelation 21:22), and an apple (Psalm 17:8). Therefore, is God a man, a lamb, fire, water, or a temple?

The answer is that these are anthropomorphisms, or figures of speech that are used to help us understand God in some way. That introduces the purpose of this article. That is, what is the meaning of the “right hand of God”?  What follows is a brief explanation of the phrase the “right hand of the Lord” and the “right hand of God.” What is the meaning that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God?

Right Hand of God

Right Hand of God

The expression “right hand of the Lord” occurs only two times in the Old Testament. Both times it occurs in Psalm 118:15-16.

The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.
The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.
Psalm 118:15-16 (NASB)

The expression “right hand of God” also occurs in the Bible. It occurs eight times in the New Testament (Mark 16:19; Acts 2:33; 7:55, 56; Romans 8:34; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 10:12; 1 Peter 3:22).  Here are a few of these passages.

So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. Mark 16:19 (NASB)

But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God . . . Acts 7:55 (NASB)

. . . Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him. 1 Peter 3:21-22 (NASB)

The words “right hand” are used many more times in reference to the Lord or God in other expressions (Exodus 15:6; Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalm 20:6; 44:3; 45:4; 110:1, 5).

Meaning of Right Hand of God

So, what does “right hand” mean in reference to God the Father? What is the right hand of God? What is the meaning that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God? The answer is that it is used as a figure of speech to refer to a position of authority as illustrated in Matthew 26:64. This passage connects the symbolism of “the right hand of God” with power. That is, to sit at “the right hand of God” refers to a position of authority.

Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.”  Matthew 26:64 (NASB)

Here are some more verses that teach Jesus is sitting at the right of God and that He will reign over a kingdom some day.

Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says:

‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD,
“SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.”’
Acts 2:33-34 (NASB)

Then Revelation 12:10 helps us understand that eventually Christ will rule over a kingdom on earth.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying,
“Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. Revelation 12:10 (NASB)

The same message is given to us in 1 Peter 3:21-22 (see above). That is, “the right hand” refers to a position of authority. That is the meaning of “the right hand of God.” It does not mean that Jesus was sitting next a God who had a human body. It refers to a position of authority. Jesus has the same power as God the Father, for He is God.

Conclusion:

In summary, 1 Timothy 6:14-16 summarizes this article,

. . . that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time — He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.  1 Timothy 6:14-16 (NASB)

Suggested Links:

Study of Christ - Christology
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What is the meaning of Christ in the Bible?
Does Proverbs 8:22 mean Jesus was created or is it about wisdom?
Can you tell me who Jesus Christ was?
Was Jesus God in the Old Testament? – The Trinity
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What do we know about the body of Christ?