As we have reviewed in the past few posts on Psalm 110, we’ve learned that the early Messiah believers relied on this passage in a very strong way to validate the exalted position of Yeshua. Another of the interesting facets of this psalm is how it conveys the Messianic role to be “at the right hand” of YHVH.
Psalm 110:1-3: “A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.
There are many passages in the Believers’ Writings (New Testament) that refer to Messiah Yeshua as assuming this place of power at the right hand of God:
Matthew 26:64 KJV – 64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
Luke 22:69 KJV – 69 Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.
Acts 7:55-56 KJV – 55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
Romans 8:34 KJV – 34 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.
Ephesians 1:20 KJV – 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
Colossians 3:1 KJV – 1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Hebrews 1:3 KJV – 3 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;
Hebrews 8:1 KJV – 1 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;
Hebrews 10:12 KJV – 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
Hebrews 12:2 KJV – 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
1 Peter 3:22 KJV – 22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
With all of these references (and many omitted ones) to this position of Yeshua in his exalted position, what does that phraseology actually mean? Could it be that Yeshua is physically seated in a physical place on the right side of YHVH in heaven?
As much as our minds are quick to jump to that type of visual representation, I don’t believe that is the purpose of what is being described in these passages. You’ll notice, even in the selection of verses above, how the “right hand” language is combined with concepts like “power,” “majesty,” and “throne.” All of these convey a sense of authority, and not necessarily physical location. I believe we have to take a wider scriptural perspective to gain some additional insight.
Looking at other places in scripture where this type of language is used, it does appear to be used to denote a place of power and authority.
Psalm 17:7 KJV – 7 Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them.
Psalm 18:35 KJV – 35 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.
Psalm 20:6 KJV – 6 Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.
Psalm 60:5 KJV – 5 That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me.
Psalm 63:8 KJV – 8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
Psalm 118:16 KJV – 16 The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.
Here is an example from another Messianic psalm:
Psalm 80:14-19: “Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself. It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance. Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself. So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”
In these passages, God’s right hand is spoken of as the “action performer” demonstrating his strength. It is this idea that is being conveyed with the picture of God’s right hand: his right hand is a conduit through which God’s power is realized.
Returning to Psalm 110, as I was reviewing that passage during a recent study, I was struck with the “right hand” terminology as it reappears in v. 5: “The Lord (Adonai) at your (i.e., Messiah’s) right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.”
Psalm 110:4-7 KJV – 4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. 5 The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. 6 He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. 7 He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.
I can understand how the Messiah can be spoken of as sitting at YHVH’s right hand (demonstrating the power and authority of YHVH), but how could YHVH then also be sitting at Messiah’s right hand?
In my recent article “Two or Three Lords in Psalm 110,” we reviewed how the Hebrew word Adonai is a term that was reserved for only referring to YHVH. So how can it be that the Lord (YHVH) is at the right hand of the Lord (l’adoni, that is, Messiah), who is seated at the right hand of YHVH? It appears we have too many “Lords” and too many right hands!
Sometimes the scriptures will describe this secondary condition of having God “at my right hand” as if YHVH himself is working alongside of the speaker:
I have set Yahweh continually before me because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8
You have taken hold of my right hand. Psalm 73:23.
For He stands at the right hand of the needy, to save him from those who judge his soul. Psalm 109:31.
The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade at your right hand. Psalm 121:5
These references demonstrate a figure of speech that seems to be describing a sense of protection and comfort that is present in the life of the individual. Having YHVH at your right hand is a picture of divine strength and security.
“In the Scriptures, sitting at the right hand of God is not the same idea as having God at your right hand. Being seated at God’s right hand is a reference to the authority of the throne of God. But when the Bible refers to having God at your right hand, it means God and His power is with you purposefully. Being seated at God’s right hand is one thing; having God at your own right hand in your endeavors is quite a different idea.”
“Brother Kel,” in an article titled Psalm 110:5
For me, understanding that the Hebrew way of communicating through using this vivid type of imagery helps to eliminate that potential of misinterpreting dynamic concepts as being literal observations. When the Bible states that God is at my right hand, I can understand that to be a picture of God’s purpose, comfort, and protection being evident in my life, not that God is physically standing next to me on my right side.
Similarly, when the Bible states that Yeshua is at God’s right hand, it is relaying to us in a poetic form the truth that is explicitly stated elsewhere: that all power and authority has been given to him as the Messiah, the son of God.
Matthew 28:18 KJV – 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.