Last month we considered three momentous events that took place after, and as a direct consequence of, the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. This month, we will be looking together at what His being exalted at God’s right hand means for us, His people, on an ongoing basis. This glorious subject could easily take up a whole series of articles. In this short article, we can only touch its surface.
The Lord Jesus Christ is in heaven on our behalf: “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Heb 9:24, KJV). The context, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, is, of course, His priesthood: “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 uniquely qualified for this great priestly work for many reasons, including:
Who He is: “We have a great high priest … Jesus the Son of God” (Heb 4:14, KJV).
He is a real man: “Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God” (Heb 2:17, KJV).
His perfect sinlessness: “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Heb 7:26, KJV).
His experience of living here: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb 4:15, KJV).
His finished work: “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” (Heb 10:11-12, KJV).
Where He is: “We have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens” (Heb 4:14, KJV).
His endless life: “And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:23-25, KJV).
Paul also writes of His work of intercession: “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Rom 8:34, KJV). The word translated “make intercession” is used either of petitioning against persons (e.g. Rom 11:2) or of acting in their cause. There is no doubt which one characterizes the intercessory work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, the reference in Romans 8 is there to show that there is no possibility of us being condemned by the very One Who is interceding for us. We do not know all that is involved in His intercessory work, but we can be sure of this: He is looking after our interests, right there in heaven itself.
John writes that He is our Advocate: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1John 2:1, KJV). Regarding His high priestly work, the context is our weakness: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Heb 4:15, KJV), but here, as Advocate, the context is when a believer sins. Every other occurrence of the word translated “advocate” is from the lips of the Lord Jesus speaking of the Holy Spirit, and translated “comforter.” How good it is to know that, though we are not to sin, if we do, “we have an advocate with the Father,” Who comes to our aid. Charitie Lees Bancroft captured this well in a verse of the hymn she entitled, The Advocate.
When Satan tempts me to despair,
Telling of evil yet within,
Upward I look, and see Him there,
Who made an end of all my sin.
The Lord is interested in the welfare of His people. This is seen, for example, when Saul was “breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord,” but the Lord said to him, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? … I am Jesus whom thou persecutest” (Acts 9:1, 4-5, KJV). He is so closely identified with, and sympathetic to, His people, that their interests are His, and opposition to them is opposition to Him.
This is true not only of every individual believer, but of the assemblies of His people, as is vividly demonstrated in the first three chapters of Revelation, where He is seen walking in the midst of seven assemblies (Rev 1:13; 2:1), observing each, and intensely concerned with the circumstances of each, so that He has a message that is peculiar to each, but for all. That He knows all that goes on in each assembly is a great comfort to us, if we are seeking to be obedient to His Word, but is also most solemn, and reminds us how we ought to behave ourselves “in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1Tim 3:15, KJV).
It ought to thrill our souls to think that we are so closely identified with Him, where He is. God “set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places.” Where He is actually, bodily, we are positionally, in union with Him, for God has “made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 1:20; 2:6, KJV). In light of this, well could Paul write, “Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col 3:1-2, KJV).