Last month, we saw that our Lord Jesus Christ, in His ascension, is described as having “ascended into the heavens,” being “in the heavens,” that He has “passed through the heavens” and “ascended up far above all heavens,” is “made higher than the heavens,” and “entered … into heaven itself.” He has ascended up to “where He was before” (John 6:62, KJV), and has been glorified with the glory He had with His Father “before the world was” (John 17:5, KJV).
However, not only is He where He was before and has the glory that He had before but much more, His ascension brought about something that heaven had never known before – a Man, a real Man, Who has lived on earth, died, risen, and ascended, sitting at the right hand of God. And it is this great truth, that He is at the right hand of God, which will be our contemplation for this month. It is the place of highest possible honor, and from it we are taught many precious truths about Him, His Person, and His work.
Greater Than the Kings
It shows that He is greater than David, Israel’s greatest king. Many years earlier, David wrote, “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool” (Psa 110:1, KJV). The Lord quotes this passage to the Pharisees, then asks them, “If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son?” (Matt 22:45-46, KJV). The answer is that He is David’s Son by natural descent, but is God’s eternal Son, and thus David’s Lord (Rom 1:3-4).
The culmination of Peter’s message on the Day of Pentecost was: “For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thy foes Thy footstool” (Acts 2:34-35, KJV).
Greater Than the Prophets
Being at God’s right hand shows that He is greater than the prophets (Heb 1:1-3, KJV). “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son.” The writer delineates a number of ways in which He is greater than the Old Testament prophets, culminating in the words “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high”
Greater Than the Priests
One of the themes of the epistle to the Hebrews is His superiority to the priests of the Old Covenant, as far as both His Person and His work are concerned. One such reference is: “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Heb 8:1, KJV). He is the only priest who is there.
Greater Than the Angels
Being seated at God’s right hand shows that not only is He greater than the greatest of humans; He is greater than angelic beings, as the Hebrew epistle also shows: “Better than the angels. But to which of the angels said He at any time, Sit on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool?” (Heb 1:4,13, KJV). The answer is, of course, to none of them – that is an honor unique to His Son.
Greater Than all Authority
Much discussion has taken place over the years as to the precise identity of “principalities and powers” and “authorities and powers.” However, one thing is certain: the Lord Jesus being at God’s right hand shows He is greater than them all. “He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Eph 1:20-21, KJV); “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him” (1Peter 3:22, KJV).
These Scriptures are all-embracive – He is greater than all created authority, past, present and future.
Where He is now seated proves conclusively that He completed the work He came here to do. It is God’s demonstration of His satisfaction in that work, and, as Peter told the crowd at Pentecost, it contrasts sharply with how the people of Jerusalem treated Him: “that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified” is “by the right hand of God exalted” (Acts 2:33,36, KJV).
The writer to the Hebrews writes beautifully of His exaltation at God’s right hand as confirmation of His finished work. “Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (1:3, KJV). “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” (10:11-12, KJV). What lovely contrasts: “every priest” and “this man;” “standeth” and “sat down;” “daily” and “for ever;” “offering … the same sacrifices (plural), which can never take away sins” and “offered one sacrifice (singular) for sins.” What a work! It is no wonder God exalted Him to the highest possible place!
We are reminded in this connection of the sublime words of Paul to the Philippians: “He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross … God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:8-11, KJV).