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What does it mean that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God?

Psalm 110 says: “The LORD says to my Lord: Sit at My right hand.” The New Testament shows that this is a prophecy about the Lord Jesus (e.g. Matthew 26:64). Actually, it is the Old Testament verse quoted most often in the New Testament. So seated at the right hand of God says something of great significance about Jesus. But what exactly?

Jesus conquered death

Firstly, that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God means that He conquered death. Hebrews 1:3 says “after making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Jesus cleansed our sins on the cross through His death. After that, the author of Hebrews immediately continues to Jesus’ ascension to heaven, where He sits at the right hand of God. So that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God, shows that death could not hold Him. He conquered death!

Jesus has the highest place

Secondly, that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God means that He has the highest place. In the Bible the right hand, and especially God’s right hand, is the hand of strength (e.g. Exodus 15:6), authority (e.g. Revelation 5:1), and blessing (Genesis 48:14). So being seated at the right hand of God means that He shares God’s strength, authority, and blessing. It is the highest place and the highest honour possible. When Jesus is seated at the right hand of God, it means all other things and other beings are under Him. We read this in 1 Peter 3:22: “Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to Him.”

Jesus is the priest who took away our sin

Thirdly, that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God means that He is a priest. This is what Psalm 110 tells us, because about the same person who gets the invitation to sit at God’s right hand, it is said: “The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, You are a priest forever” (Psalm 110:4). The main task of a priest is to bring sacrifices to God to take away sins. Priests had to do that daily (Hebrews 10:11). But Jesus is different. He offered His own body as a sacrifice, once and for all, and everybody who believes in Him receives forgiveness. “We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all… When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:10,12).

Jesus is the king who will rule the earth

Fourthly, that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God means that He is a king. Again, we know that because Psalm 110 tells us so: “The LORD sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies!” (Psalm 110:2). A scepter is the instrument of a king. Ruling is the job of a king. The rest of the Bible clearly tells us that Jesus will rule the entire earth when He returns. For example, He is called King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who will rule the nations with a rod of iron (Revelation 19:15-16).

Jesus will return to judge and to acquit

So that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God means that He has the highest place, and that will become even clearer when He returns to rule the earth. That is a scary thought for all who resist and reject Him, for they will be punished and not receive eternal life. But that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God also means that He forgives the sins of all who believe in Him; and it means that He has conquered death and therefore can and will give eternal life to these believers. Make sure you are among those who believe in Christ. Then it is great news to know that the Lord Jesus is seated at the right hand of God in heaven.

How does this Bible teaching speak to you? Please share your thoughts below!

Also read What is the ascenension of Jesus Christ? and How does it help me that Jesus is in heaven?

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Marten Visser

Marten Visser

Marten Visser (1971), experienced a call from the Lord to be a missionary while in Kindergarten. He received M.Div., Th.M. in Missiology, M.A. in cultural anthropology degrees and a Ph.D. degree in Theology. In 2000 he became a church planting missionary in Thailand with OMF, together with his wife Esther. In 2015 he returned to the Netherlands where he founded GlobalRize. He continues to serve as GlobalRize’s director of evangelism.

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What does it mean that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God?