“What does it mean that Jesus sat down at the right hand of God in heaven? It seems the New Testament mentions that several times.”
* * *
This imagery of Jesus at God’s right hand captures the main point of the Epistle to the Hebrews — from the Epistle’s beginning words right through to its end (1:4; 12:2). Not even angels have a seat at God’s right hand, but Jesus does (1:13-14). That main point is that Jesus does not need to make repetitive offerings, for he has taken away all our sins forever by offering his own perfect life to God on the cross, “once for all” — for all time, for all his people, and for all their sins (see 7:29 – 8:2).
This point contrasts sharply with the ministry of the Levitical priests of the Old Testament. Those priests’ work was never done. There they STAND, every day, offering time after time the same sacrifices which can never take away sins (10:11). Jesus, on the other hand, offered a single sacrifice which takes away sin forever, an offering which perfects forever those for whom it was offered. Then — his atoning work completed — Jesus TOOK HIS SEAT at God’s right hand (10:12, 14). Our Lord’s seat at God’s right hand underscores his finished work. “When he had made purification of sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (1:3).
Once Jesus had taken his seat at God’s right hand, the Bible pictures him standing again only one time — not to perform further work of atonement, for that is completed forever — but out of respect for the death of Stephen, his first gospel martyr (Acts 7:56). Our atoning offering has been made. Our forgiveness is assured. Our salvation is secure. Our Savior has taken his seat at God’s right hand!
You can read Edward’s 1973 commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, Our Man In Heaven, free of charge here. Published by Baker Book House, with a foreword by F. F. Bruce, this book is now out of print. Edward is now working on an entirely new commentary on Hebrews after 35 more years of studying, preaching and teaching from this wonderful, Christ-centered epistle.