Study Guide

Hebrews Right Hand of God

Right Hand of God

About 90% percent of humans are right handed (source). The other 10%? Well, they're just wrong.

Kidding! Calm yourself.

Seriously, though, for thousands of years, being a righty was the only way to go (left-handed folks were often forced to do things the other way).

He's Got the Right Stuff

The author of Hebrews is clear about where exactly Jesus is hanging out in Heaven. He's sitting near God's right hand:

  • "When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high." (1:3)
  • "We have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens." (8:1)
  • "[Jesus] has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God." (12:2)

Sounds like a pretty sweet seat, but what's wrong with God's left side? Is the chair there a bit wobbly? Does the cushion have some weird stains on it? Or is there something else going on?

The image of God's right hand comes straight from Jewish scripture and tradition:

  • "Your right hand O Lord, glorious in power—your right hand O Lord, shattered the enemy." (Exodus 15:6)
  • "You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand has supported me." (Psalm 18:35)
  • "The Lord says to my lord, 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.'" (Psalm 110:1)

Christianity borrowed it and the idea appears in Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, and several of Paul's letters.

So what does it mean?

Well, basically, God's right side is his good side. (All right, Mr. DeMille, he's ready for his close up.) The majority of human beings are right-handed, so, if we're thinking of God the same way, then his right side is his most useful and important side. He would hold a sword in his right hand (helpful when you're turning enemies into footstools). He can also bless you with it. Or just give you a thumbs up if he's feeling like it.

In ancient culture, the seat to the right of the host was generally considered a super special place of honor. So if Jesus is hanging up in Heaven on God's right side, then that means he's scored the best, most important seat in the house. Talk about being on God's good side. (Source)

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