Heidelberg Catechism Lesson 19

Q. 50. Why is it added, “and sitteth at the right hand of God”?
 
Because Christ is ascended into heaven for this end, that He might appear as head of His church,[1] by whom the Father governs all things.[2]
[1] Ephesians 1:20–22; Colossians 1:18;  [2] Matthew 28:18; John 5:22.
 
 
Q. 51. What profit is this glory of Christ, our head, unto us?
 
First, that by His Holy Spirit He pours out heavenly graces upon us His members;[1] and then that by His power He defends and preserves us against all enemies.[2]
[1] Ephesians 4:8;  [2] Psalm 2:9; John 10:28.
 
 
Q. 52. What comfort is it to thee that “Christ shall come again to judge the quick and the dead”?
 
That in all my sorrows and persecutions, with uplifted head I look for the very same person, who before offered Himself for my sake, to the tribunal of God, and has removed all curse from me, to come as judge from heaven:[1] who shall cast all His and my enemies into everlasting condemnation,[2] but shall translate me with all His chosen ones to Himself, into heavenly joys and glory.[3]
[1] Luke 21:28; Romans 8:23–24; 1 Thessalonians 4:16;  [2] 2 Thessalonians 1:6–9; Matthew 25:41;  [3] Matthew 25:34.


Commentary

Most of us are right-handed, and I believe most people throughout the history of the world are right-handed. Thus, we don’t find anyone described as right-handed in the biblical records, whereas there are special mentions of left-handed persons (Judg 3:15; 20:16). The right hand is, for this reason, almost universally a symbol of power. It is commonly understood that a right hand man of a king is the second most powerful man in the kingdom. This symbolic significance of the right hand is also true in the Scripture. The Lord Jesus Christ is said to be sitting on the right hand of God or the right hand of power (Mk 16:19; 14:62). Of course, God is a spirit, and Christ is sitting on the throne because judgment has been committed to Him (Jn 5:22), so we are not to think of Christ as literally sitting beside the heavenly Father in heaven. No, when the Scripture speaks of Christ as being seated at the right hand of God, it refers to Christ’s exaltation to a position of incomparable eminence, power and authority. It is in this position that Christ is the King and Head of the Church. It is in this position that He intercedes for us, defends us and preserves us, and blesses us with all spiritual heavenly blessings (Eph 1:3).

It is also from this position that the Lord Jesus Christ will return as Sovereign Judge and King of kings (Mk 14:62). On that day, every single person who ever lived in this world will be judged. Believers need not fear to go to that judgement because the Judge Himself is also our advocate (1 Jn 2:1), and He had laid down His life to pay the penalty due to our sin. Thus, all believers will be vindicated of charges brought against them by earthly councils or by Satan the accuser of the brethren. This is why the first New Testament martyr, Stephen, was granted a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ standing at the right hand of God (Acts 7:56). The fact that He is standing is of great significance, for remember that Christ is the Judge, and we would expect the judge to be sitting down. But Stephen saw that He who is the Judge of all was standing up to defend him as his advocate. By this powerful vision Stephen was comforted with the knowledge that though the Sanhedrin condemned him, he is assured of acquittal and vindication at the heavenly tribunal.

Comments