After Christ ascended into heaven, Christ sat down at the "Right Hand of God." The apostles taught this throughout the New Testament. This can also be found in the Old Testament and is a part of the Old Testament prophesies concerning the messiah. The teaching that Christ sat down at the "Right Hand of God" shows that Christ is our judge, priest, and advocate between God and man. The Westminster Larger Catechism states,
Christ is exalted in his sitting at the right hand of God, in that as God-man he is advanced to the highest favor with God the Father, with all fullness of joy, glory, and power over all things in heaven and earth; and doth gather and defend his church, and subdue their enemies; furnisheth his ministers and people with gifts and graces, and maketh intercession for them.
Westminster Larger Catechism Question 54
Christ sat at the Right Hand of God
The gospels of Matthew and Mark expressly state that Christ, after He rose from the dead, ascended to heaven and then sat down on the "Right Hand of God."
So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. (Mar 16:19 NAS)
“But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” And they all said, “Are You the Son of God, then?” And He said to them, “Yes, I am.”
(Luk 22:69-70 NAS)
This is clearly taught throughout the New Testament. In Acts we read,
“Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.
(Act 2:33 NAS See also Act 5:31)
Christ sitting at the "Right Hand of God." is not some futuristic event; but, an actual event that took place during the apostles time.
The Right Hand of God visible to Stephen
Christ sitting on the "Right Hand of God" is shown to be visible from earth in heaven. When the Jews stoned Stephen, Stephen stated that he saw "Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."
But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
(Act 7:55-56 NAS)
Clearly the apostles believed and saw, Christ sitting at the "Right Hand of God" when Christ ascended to heaven. Stephen was killed for his belief in Christ. His statement that Christ was at the "Right Hand of God" inflamed the Jews to kill him even more. This begs the question, "What is the Right Hand of God."
What is the Right Hand of God?
We get a definition of what the "Right Hand of God" is from the Epistle to the Hebrews.
Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, (Heb 8:1 NAS)
Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:2 NAS)
From this we see that the "Right Hand of God" is where the "Throne of God" is. This would make sense, since the Jews wanted to kill the apostles for making this statement. It teaches that Christ is God.
What is the throne of God?
Since the "Right Hand of God" is where the "Throne of God" is, understanding what the throne of God is will give us insight to where Christ is sitting.
Who’s throne is it?
The Throne is God the Father and the Son’s throne.
It’s God’s throne
God reigns over the nations, God sits on His holy throne.
(Psa 47:8 NAS)
It’s the Father’s Throne
He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
(Rev 3:21 NAS)
It’s the Son’s Throne
But of the Son He says, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom.
(Heb 1:8 NAS)
The throne is God the Father and Christ’s. This shows that the "Right Hand of God" and "sitting on God’s throne" are the same thing.
Where is the throne of God?
In Matthew, the throne of God is Heaven and the Earth is His footstool.
“But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
(Mat 5:34-35 NAS)
This explains where exactly Stephen saw Christ sitting prior to his death. There are plenty of other references stating that God’s throne is in heaven.
If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
(Col 3:1-2 NAS)
The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.
(Psa 11:4 NAS)
The LORD has established His throne in the heavens; And His sovereignty rules over all.
(Psa 103:19 NAS)
Thus says the LORD, “Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest?
(Isa 66:1 NAS)
Clearly Christ "ascending into Heaven" and sat at the "Right Hand of God" or "God’s throne."
When did God’s throne exist?
The throne of God was not created when Christ ascended to it, nor will the throne stop existing. God’s throne is an everlasting throne.
Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Thy kingdom.
(Psa 45:6 NAS)
Thy throne is established from of old; Thou art from everlasting.
(Psa 93:2 NAS)
Thou, O LORD, dost rule forever; Thy throne is from generation to generation.
(Lam 5:19 NAS)
Therefore, Christ will rule forever.
What happens on the throne?
God and Christ are worshiped on the throne. Christ is ruler over all things and is judging the world from His throne.
He is worshiped on His throne
All those in heaven are worshiping God and Christ who sit on the throne.
And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And a voice came from the throne, saying, “Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.”
(Rev 19:4-5 NAS)
The dead are judged by Him
Also, at death, the dead come before the throne and are judged in the presence of God and Christ.
And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.
(Rev 20:11-12 NAS)
But the LORD abides forever; He has established His throne for judgment, And He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity.
(Psa 9:7-8 NAS)
So the throne of God is also a court room where judgment is pronounced upon those who die and Christ is the judge.
“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. “And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;
(Mat 25:31-32 NAS)
All things, powers, authorities, and angels are subject to Him
Who (Christ) is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.
(1Pe 3:22 NAS)
Understanding that "He sat down at the Right Hand of God" makes it very clear why the Jews wanted to kill the apostles for making this claim.
John calls Christ the Ruler of the Kings of the earth as the present and not as some future event.
And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood,
(Rev 1:5 NAS)
Christ clearly sat down on "God’s Throne," which is the "Right Hand of God," when He ascended into heaven. This is not a future event; but, an event that happened, is happening, and will continue to happen.
Prophesy in the old testament
In the Old Testament, God promised that there would be a descendant from David that will sit on God’s throne forever. God promised that there will be a priest who will continually offer sacrifice in the peoples place.
“And it shall come about when your days are fulfilled that you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up one of your descendants after you, who shall be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. “He shall build for Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever. “I will be his father, and he shall be My son; and I will not take My lovingkindness away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. “But I will settle him in My house and in My kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.” According to all these words and according to all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David.
(1Chr 17:9-16 NAS)
The promise that there "the Levitical priests shall never lack a man before Me"
Jeremiah stated that God will place a priest forever to intercede for His people.
In those days Judah shall be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she shall be called: the LORD is our righteousness.’ “For thus says the LORD, ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man before Me to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to prepare sacrifices continually.'”
(Jer 33:16-18 NAS)
This was fulfilled when Christ sat at the "Right Hand of God." The apostles taught that Christ is our High priest and that he intercedes for us at the "Right Hand of God." This is a direct fulfillment of Jer 33:16-18.
And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.
(Heb 10:11-13 NAS)
Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
(Rom 8:33-34 NAS)
Jerusalem, "The Throne of God"
The Old Testament prophecy states that God will bring His people to Jerusalem on mount Zion. Jeremiah calls Jerusalemn, "the Throne of God"
‘Return, O faithless sons,’ declares the LORD; ‘For I am a master to you, And I will take you one from a city and two from a family, And I will bring you to Zion.’ “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding. “And it shall be in those days when you are multiplied and increased in the land,” declares the LORD, “they shall say no more, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ And it shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they miss it, nor shall it be made again. “At that time they shall call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the LORD,’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of the LORD; nor shall they walk anymore after the stubbornness of their evil heart.
(Jer 3:14-18 NAS)
We know from earlier that the "Throne of God" is Heaven. So to say, the city Jerusalem is called "The Throne of God" can only mean that the city Jeremiah was talking about is in heaven. These prophesies were known well by the apostles and the Jewish Rabbis. So when the apostles claimed Christ sat at the "Right Hand of God" and that He was on God’s throne, they could not believe it because they saw the prophesies as being earthy.
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect
(Heb 12:22-23 NAS)
The promise of the "New Jerusalem" is not earthly; but, heavenly
Clearly, the apostles taught that Jesus was the "King of the Jews" and that Christ fulfilled the prophesies in His first coming. Luke says,
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.
(Luk 1:32-33 NAS)
In Peters sermon, he explains how ascending to heaven and sitting on the "Right Hand of God" fulfilled the promise that, one of Davids descendants was going to sit upon his throne (see 1Chr 17:9-16). This was the receiving of the promise made by God to David.
And so, because he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants upon his throne, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.
(Act 2:30-33 NAS)
The writer of Hebrews says that the Psalm 45:1 verse applies to Christ and that it is fulfilled when Christ sat down at the "Right Hand of God."
And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high . . . He says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.” And of the angels He says, “Who makes His angels winds, And His ministers a flame of fire.” But of the Son He says, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom."
(Heb 1:3-8 NAS)
Christs Kingdom is not of this world
Christ accomplished sitting on the throne promised to the prophets when He sat at the Right Hand of God. Jesus said His kingdom was not of this world.
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”
(John 18:36 NAS)