What does it mean that Christ was seated at the right hand of his Father?


#1

What does it mean that Christ was seated at the right hand of his Father? In Sacred Scripture it says:

“And the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God.” Mark 16:19

I’m curious about it because we say it in the Apostles Creed but I never understood the significance of it. Why did he sit on the right, and not the left?


#2

Technically the “hand” isn’t in the Latin dextris or Greek δεξιῶν, where it is just the “to right of the Father.” (As opposed to “sinister” left?)


#3

Being at someone’s right hand has always meant being the most favored and/or most important to that person. We still speak of a right-hand man when describing someone who is the most trusted or valuable friend or employee.

Christ of course was the only-begotten son of God, so it does seem a bit redundant. While our prayers and liturgies have no shortage of redundancies, it may be that this was once a necessary distinction to make, so that people would not envision the possibility of Jesus trying to usurp his Father’s power, etc. Or the phrase may date from a time before Christ’s exact role in the Trinity was fully understood.


#4

In ancient royal courts, the most trusted advisor of the King sat at his right, so the King could listen to counsel from his aide, and give him dispatch orders to conduct on the King’s behalf.

So Christ, sits at the right hand of the Father allegorically.


#5

It’s an expression. Are you familiar with the phrase ‘right-hand man’?

In many ancient cultures, the direction of right denoted power, honor and authority. (The right is essentially the ‘good’ direction: the left, on the other hand…) To be invited to sit at someone’s (say, a king’s) right-hand side is even a privilege: it means a promotion to a position of power.


#6

A right-handed man would sit to the king’s right and a left-handed man would sit to the king’s left in order to protect the king. It was more difficult for these people to pull out a dagger or blade and kill the king and easier for them to draw a sword and defend the king.

Left was not always sinister or bad. James and John asked to be seated at Jesus’ right and left.

And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” (Mark 10:36-37)

-Tim-


#7

FWIW, this was also pointed out in Michael Korda’s book Power: How Get It, Use It, something I read over 30 years ago. It applies even today when many seating arrangements are made in meetings, at dinner, etc.


#8

Interesting that it is still used today. I guess powerful people and leaders of nations would consider this important even today.

This is another reason why the king’s mother was typically the queen and seated at his right. The mother of the king was less likely to kill her her own son and more likely to put herself in the path of an attack so that her son could live.

There are a few passages in the Bible about left handed men faking being right handed and then pulling out a sword with their left hand and killing their adversaries.

But when the people of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up for them a deliverer, Ehud, the son of Gera, the Benjaminite, a left-handed man. The people of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab. And Ehud made for himself a sword with two edges, a cubit in length; and he girded it on his right thigh under his clothes. (Judges 3:15-16)

Ehud goes on to kill Eglon who was so fat that Ehud left the entire sword inside the guy’s body and ran away.

There is another story about a left handed guy who grabs another guy by the beard with his right hand to give the kiss of greeting but kills him with a sword using his left hand.

-Tim-


#9

As they face the minister, I don’t recall a single instance where I’ve seen the husband not standing to the right of his bride, but I can’t say it’s the same principle in play there.


#10

I liked the story of the little girl who thought that God the Father was great because He did all those things with His left hand.

Why His left hand? It says that Jesus was sitting on His right hand. :smiley:


#11

It signifies the position of an advocate or counselor. Just as the Holy Spirit was given as our counselor and advocate on earth, Jesus will be the advocate in heaven on the day of judgment for the faithful.


#12

The man stands to the right hand of the bride so that his sword arm is toward the outside. The bridesmaids and bride’s kin are there to watch her other side, and the bride is watching the groom’s left side. Pretty standard in Saxon, Germanic, Frankish, and Visigothic society, and that’s where a lot of our wedding customs come from.


#13

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