‘Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).’
What is so very special about God’s ‘right hand’? His right hand is special and important, because it SYMBOLISES His power and strength. With it he vanquishes His enemies (Exodus 15:6) and He saves His redeemed (Psalm 17:7; 108:6; 138:7). We note from the opening text that His right hand is ‘righteous’. He uses His power in righteousness (Jeremiah 12:1; Ezra 9:15). With it He does only what is right.
When we ‘picture’ God, we may imagine Him seated on His throne in glory (Revelation 4:2-11). The vision we see is awesome. Beside Him, and to His right (Luke 22:69, 70), there is another throne, upon which there is seated the glorious Person of His Son, Jesus Christ.
In Biblical times the chief guest at a banquet had the privilege of sitting next the host at his right hand, which was the place of honour. The Scriptures tell us that the risen and ascended Christ sits at the right hand of His Father. Here’s the text: ‘But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till all His enemies are made His footstool (Hebrews 10:12, 13). So Jesus sits in the place of honour where He waits until He comes to judge all mankind (Revelation 20:11-15).
Does God have a Gender?
We know that God is Spirit (John 4:24) and that He has always existed (Psalm 90:2) as one God (Mark 12:29) in three Persons. Despite knowing this, we ascribe to Him human form. We may even think of Him as a Man, because His Son came to the earth as a Man. I wasn’t surprised, therefore, in this age of *gender equality, to read a tweet on Twitter which posed the question, “Is God a man or a woman?”
For those who don’t read the Bible, but believe they know what’s in it, perhaps it’s not such a daft question? Even for those who do read the Bible and think they understand it, perhaps it’s not an inappropriate question either?
The Scriptures more often than not, refer to God as ‘He’ or ‘Him’, both of which are singular, masculine pronouns. Understandably, this could be a matter of concern for those championing gender equality. They reason, “Surely, this is bias on the part of a Creator.” So for them the Bible is likely to be viewed as chauvinistic. Not only from their point of view is God portrayed as being masculine, but biblical doctrines concerning gender favour men!
The truth is God does not favour men over women. All are equal in His sight (Galatians 3:28), but each have their roles to play.
God Himself is not a man; neither is He a woman. As mentioned above, Jesus came to the earth as a **real Man; but in heaven He has no gender; for He is Spirit (John 4:24), and He said of Himself. “I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM (John 8:58).”’ He existed spiritually before the creation (Revelation 1:8, 11; 21:6; 22:13). Likewise, the third Person of the Trinity is Spirit. Nowhere in the Scriptures is He described as having a body. All three Persons of the Godhead are genderless, since they are Spirit.
God’s Right Hand
Going back to the topic of God’s right hand, God revealed Himself in the form of His Son, Jesus, who came to the earth as a **real Man, but a very special Man. He was unique, having been born of the virgin Mary through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35).
Surprisingly the New Testament makes few mentions of Jesus doing anything with His ‘right hand ’. The only texts I can find are in the Book of Revelation: 1:16, 17 and 2:1. Nevertheless, the phrase ‘right hand’, when referring to God’s right hand is spoken of many times in the Old Testament.
So what is the significance of God’s ‘right hand? As stated at the beginning of this article, it is a SYMBOLIC, or figurative representation of His power to save (Psalm 20:6) or destroy (Exodus 15:6). With it He saves His people, Israel (Psalm 44:3), and with it He redeems them (Psalm 20:6). With it He triumphs over His enemies (Exodus 15:6), and with it He performs miracles (Exodus 15:12). With it He revives (Psalm 138:7) and guides (Psalm 139:10); He gives strength (Isaiah 41:10) and helps those who fear Him (Isaiah 41:10).
God does not sit on a throne in heaven with a raised right hand, but He is *** all-powerful, and figuratively, He wields His power through and by His right hand.
*The Christian and Gender Orientation
**Reality of the Risen Christ
***The Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnipresence of God