A Study of Hebrews Chapter 1: Part 10

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Sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

There is a chain of development from the previous portion here that expands upon the uplifting work of the High Priest. We cannot even begin to stress how powerful and triumphant the terminology that was penned by the writer. This is all one-thought which commences with when He had by Himself purged our sins. He continues with the result of having purged our sins in that He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. These are the words of exaltation and victory! Christ personifies accomplishment and conquest since He is an unfailing Saviour. The thought of a priest actually sitting down was foreign to the Hebrews since there was never a real purging of sin but merely a covering for a time. There was not even a chair in the tabernacle for the priest to sit down because Jehovah knew the work of this priest would never be accomplished. Our Great High Priest however did what none other could imagine to do; He got the job done! 

This portion is derived from the language of the 110th Psalms where Jehovah makes the announcement of the reign of the Messiah. Jehovah said unto my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put thine enemies [as] footstool of thy feet… 5The Lord at thy right hand will smite through kings in the day of his anger. (Psalm 110:1,5). These are the words of judgment that would have been very familiar with the original audience since it would have implied a place of deity (see Mark 14:61-64). The writer brings out this expression almost as a preview for a latter and expanded rendition of these words. We read the same thoughts from the writer of the Hebrews in chapter 10; And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

The most precious idea of this entire statement is that the Lord did not sit down just in any place but at the right hand of the majesty on High. Theologian J.I. Packer expresses the term “majesty” by stating:

The word majesty, when applied to God, is always a declaration of his greatness and an invitation to worship. The same is true when the bible of God as being on high and in heaven; the thought here is not that he is far above us in space but that he is far above us in greatness, and therefore is to be adored.[i]

Heresy always seems to find its place in the most peculiar of verses. Some have taken this to demonstrate a separation between the Father and the Son in order to attempt to disregard His deity. Let us point out right away that the “right hand” denotes a position of power and glory. This is what is called anthropomorphic language used to demonstrate a spiritual truth with physical language. It has nothing to do with an actual geographical place but a position of honour. Reformer John Calvin comments:

The right hand is by a similitude applied to God, though he is not confined to any place, and has not a right side not left. The session then of Christ means nothing else but the kingdom given to him by the Gather, and that authority which Paul mentions, when he says that in his name every knee should bow. (Phil. ii.10) Hence to sit at the right hand of the Father is no other thing than to govern in the place of the Father, as deputies of princes are wont to do to whom a full power over all things is granted[ii]  

He sits on the throne of the most High, the glorious God of eternity, and functions with the delight of the Father as our High Priest in that He continuously intercedes for us. A.W. Pink rightfully writes:

“Sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Three things are here denoted. First, high honor: “sitting”, in scripture is often a posture of dignity, when superiors sit before inferiors: see Job 29:7,8: Dan. 7:9,10, Rev. 5:13. Second, it denotes settles continuance. In Gen. 49:24 Jacob said to Joseph that his “bow sat abode” is literally “sit”…third, it signifies rest, cessation from His sacrificial services and sufferings.[iii]


[i] Knowing God, J.I. Packer, Intervarsity Press, Page 82-83

[ii] Calvin’s Commentaries, Vol. 22, John Calvin, Bakerbooks, Page 39

[iii] An Exposition of Hebrews, A.W. Pink, Baker Books, Page 40


Written by shawnkjmcgrath

August 2, 2009 at 8:26 am

Posted in Hebrews Ch.1

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