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The Persecuted Church

 

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AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER

(ek dexion...tou theou)

To sit at ones right hand means a place of authority, it was a place of honor it meant dignity and rulership. Throughout the O.T there is used what are called anthropomorphism to describe God in some function or characteristic. this is figurative language describing a certain characteristic of God it is describing his divine actions from a human view point.

For example there are the scriptures such as the eyes of the Lord go to and through upon the earth. There are mention of his ears, feet, mouth, back, fingers, arms, and hands. None of these should be taken in the solid literal sense that God has form as a human creature, these are meant to communicate something of his being of service. Examples

God is called a shield, a buckler, a high tower, a vine, a door, a hen, the Lion of the tribe of Judah his eyes run to and fro upon the earth. Men are called sheep, lambs, salt, branches, we seek his face (do we really look for his face literally) we are to keep our eyes on Jesus (can we really see him).

Their are examples of his arm which was a symbol of his power. the arm was used as the agency of strength, when the Bible refers the arm of the Lord it is consistently about the son, as God reaches into the Earth to do his work. Ex.6:6 the Lord redeemed Israel "with an outstretched arm." Isa.53:1 " to who has the arm of the Lord been revealed." Isa.63:5 "therefore my own arm brought salvation for me. Also in like manner his hand is used to most often symbolize an activity of service.

Isa.48:13 'speaks of his hand laying the foundation of the Earth, and my right hand spanned the heavens..." Isa.62:8 " the Lord has sworn by his right hand, and by his arm of strength." Isa. 59:1" the Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save."

We also have numerous scriptures combining both the arm and hand. Duet. 26:8 " so the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm." ( also Duet.5:15, 7:19, 11:2; Ps.44:3; Jer. 32:21; Ez. 20:33) We need to distinguish when anthropormorphic or symbolic terms are used and when they are not.

The term at the right hand of God points to his exalted position he now is active on. There is numerous things that need to be considered to understand this phrase. The phrase right hand is a metaphor, God exercises his authority by his right hand.

Right after Peter writes of the resurrection he says 1 Pt.3:22 Who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having made subject to him". If he is God the Father then they are already subjected to him, If he is only a man, then the ruling of the universe is in a humans hands. So it is as in Mt.28:18 all authority was given to him in both heaven and earth. This is something he did not have as he came to earth in a state of humility Phil.2:5-8.

The term to lift up in Greek is epeirthei which means to lift up, it is in the passive state showing us that the Son was taken to heaven by God the Father. He was received up to him and sat down next to him continuing to function in his high priestly office.

Jesus returned to Father sitting down showing his work is done. Jn.14:28, 16:16,17, 20:17. Their is now a man at the right hand of God the Father, who is God the Son. Acts 2:32-35, Heb.10:12, Eph. 1:20, 1 Pt. 3:22. He is now functioning in his high priestly ministry Rom.8:34; Heb. 4:14-16, 7:24-25.

1 Tim.2:5. Because of his exaltation and new position he is able to send the Holy Spirit Acts 2:33, Jn. 7:39, and give spiritual gifts to the Church Eph. 4:7-11.

Ps. 80:17 " Let your hand be on the man of your right hand, upon the Son of man whom you made strong for yourself." The Son of man was a messianic term for the messiah, coming in human flesh.

While the phrase right hand means prominence some argue that there is only one person on the throne. Yet the scripture reads the right hand of God.

Eph. 3:11 Christ is sitting at the right hand of God." The question that arises is God a person? Yes, and we find that Christ Jesus is sitting at the Fathers right hand.The father is a person (not human of course)The Son is also a person as both God and man. . However we know from other scriptures the Son was sent by the Father from heaven and is later received back to his former place by the Father.

Ps.110:1 "The Lord said to my Lord sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool." In Heb. 1:13 we find it is the Father who says to the Son " to which of the angels has he ever said, sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool." Notice I will make your enemies, whose enemies, God's enemies. The question that arises is God a person? Yes, and we find that Christ Jesus is sitting at the Fathers right hand. Since there is only one at a time which one of these is not a person? The Father is designating a different place of position to the son.

Bernard and others insists "this passage describes the dual nature of Christ, with the spirit of God (the Lord) speaking prophetically to the human manifestation of Christ (the Lord)." (p.107). the Lord is speaking to himself as the Lord not only the man. Notice he says your enemies, not my enemies. Are they only the enemy of his humanity or of his whole person? Bernard says we should note the word until. Have his enemies been made his footstool? No this event has not happen, this will occur at the 2nd coming. So he's still at the right hand he didn't change into the Holy spirit.

In Eph.1:20 " according to his mighty power which he ( the Father) worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places." So we find that there are two persons involved here. the one who raised Jesus and sat him next to him. God is a person not an it, nor just a title he is the Lord Jesus next to the Father, not just the humanity. Heb 1:3 says he sat down at the right hand of majesty, Heb. 8:1 the right hand of the throne of majesty."Heb.1:8 The Father speaking-" But to the Son he says "Your throne, O God is forever and ever... God, even thy God, hath anointed you with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." Here is God the Father saying to the Son he is God and his throne is eternal. According to the Oneness view the Son is only his humanity. Bernard says "the first portion of the above passage clearly refers to the deity in the Son, while the second portion refers to the humanity of the Son." Again he attributes this to prophecy of the future incarnation of God in the flesh. (p.121)

The term at the right hand of God points to his exalted position he now is active in. The phrase right hand is a figurative expression of a literal event. God exercises his authority by his right hand.

Acts 5:31 Him (Christ) God has exalted to his right hand to be prince and savior. Only God is the savior.

Rev.4:2 John sees the same scene that Stephen did in Acts 7, a throne set in heaven and one who sat on the throne ( God ). Rev.5:6-7 Stood a lamb as though it had been slain...vs.7 and he came to take the scroll out of the right hand of him who sat upon the throne." The lamb is Identified as Jesus and the one who sits on the throne is the Father. We then see the angels and the creatures and the elders worship both the lamb and the Father. vs.13 " Blessing and honor and glory and power be to him who sits upon the throne and to the lamb, forever and ever." According to Oneness the lamb who is only the man is being worshipped in heaven, now we have idolatry going on in heaven! Certainly Jesus is still the God/man and the father is distinct from him as he is sitting and Jesus is not.

Rev3:21" to him who overcomes I will grant to sit down with me on my throne, as I also overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne." Whether the thrones are literal is inconsequential right now to what we want to distinguish. Here we have a analogy of us sitting down on his throne, just as he did on his Fathers throne. Clearly two individuals are portrayed. In Hebrews the father says to the Son 1:8 your throne is forever, O God. He goes on and says to the Son "you Lord in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth and the heavens are the work of your hands,"The father calls the Son God, he does not call him Father. Neither does Jesus call the Father Jesus.

Right hand of God Rom. 8:34, Col.3:1, Eph. 3:20 Heb. 10;12, 12:2,1 Pt. 3:21

Right hand of power Mt. 26:64 Mk.14:62,

The Lord said to my Lord. Mt.22:43-45, Mk.12:35-37, Lk.20:41-44

 

Introduction to the Oneness Movement  Oneness Theology The Word One     Mt.28 Baptism 
  The Word Persons   God Does not change Are Tongues and Baptism Necessary ?
  Proofs of the Trinity    Preexistence of the Son Who died on the Cross ? 
  The Trinity in the Resurrection The Grace of God Jn.1:1   The Son being Sent 
History of Heresies   The Right Hand of God  Today I have Begotten Thee
From the mouth of Two or three Witnesses  Oneness Pentecostals and Trinitarians Unite
Modern beginnings of Oneness The Early Church on Oneness Who was manifested in the flesh?

 

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These are excerpts from the book Who is Jesus ? Answering Oneness Pentecostals attacks on the Trinity. A spiral book by Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason ministries Wahiawa  HI 96786

 

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