Sunday, November 20, 2011

On the Right Hand of God

Throughout the scriptures, we often hear the term "sitting on the right hand of God". Besides the obvious location, what does this phrase mean? Why would someone wish to be on the right hand of God, as opposed to the left hand?

First let's look at several instances where this phrase is used. I'm going to list several accounts:

This account takes place just before Stephen was stoned to death:

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

We have this account as witnessed by the twelve apostles, that happened after the resurrected Christ appeared to the twelve:

"So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God." Mark 16:19


"When the Chief priests and scribes had Jesus brought before them, before having him crucified, Jesus testified to them:

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

So what special significance does the "right hand of God" hold? We get a clue in Matt. 25:31-33

"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: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left."

As we read here, those who have found favor with God will find a place of honor on His right side, while those who have not, will be found on the left. The "righthand" is a place of honor. The Book of Mormon gives more explanation about this:

"...I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives. And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ." Mosiah 5:8,9

I hope that I can live so that I will be found on the right hand of God in the hereafter. That is the place where the Savior will be. That is the place, as pointed out in Alma 28:12, where we will find happiness.

"While many thousands of others truly mourn for the loss of their kindred, yet they rejoice and exult in the hope, and even know, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are raised to dwell at the right hand of God, in a state of never-ending happiness."


Looney said...

Thanks for giving me some new imagery to ponder. I had to give a talk on the exact same subject on October 30th. The explanation I gave is that the "right hand" position is something from monarchies, but is lost today in our democracies. The person who stood at the king's right hand was one with the greatest authority and typically the one with authority to go out, command forces, and exercise all authority and power on behalf of the kingdom. Of those passages, the one I chose was Ephesians 1:15-23.

John Calvin wrote this in 1536:

“Hence it is immediately added, that he “sitteth at the right hand of God the Father;” a similitude borrowed from princes, who have their assessors to whom they commit the office of ruling and issuing commands. Thus Christ, in whom the Father is pleased to be exalted, and by whose hand he is pleased to reign, is said to have been received up, and seated on his right hand; as if it had been said, that he was installed in the government of heaven and earth, and formally admitted to possession of the administration committed to him, and not only admitted for once, but to continue until he descend to judgment.”

Does that work?

Delirious said...

Wow, that is an amazing quote by John Calvin! We believe, as I mentioned in another comment, that Christ created this world, under the direction of the Father. That quote really shows how that line of authority works.

And talk about synchronicity! That's amazing that you spoke about this very subject!