Some Christians never read the Old Testament, preferring to read the New Testament stories of Jesus and various epistles. Some may venture to read a few Psalms, but otherwise some Christians think that the Old Testament is not relevant because Jesus replaced its rules and laws. But truly these Christians are missing out on a fuller understanding of their faith.
The Old Testament tells of the messiah who is to come. The New Testament tells of the messiah who has come. They are two parts of the same story: The story of God’s love for and redemption of His creation. A number of years ago I decided that I wanted to read the entire Bible, so I downloaded a Bible-in-a-year schedule from Biblegateway and read through the Bible in an organized fashion by checking off each chapter as I read it. I must confess it took me 2 1/2 years instead of 1 year, but it was well worth the effort. By not skipping anything (not even Leviticus or Numbers) I gained a broader understanding of the whole of scripture.
One thing that I discovered by reading the whole Bible was the ways in which Jesus is portrayed in the Old Testament and how that portrayal is connected to the accounts of His ministry in the New Testament. In the New Testament, we are told that Jesus saves those who believe in Him. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12. Jesus defeated our enemies, death and the devil. We are also told that after His ascension Jesus was seated at the Father’s right hand. “After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.” Mark 16:19.
But one need not get to Matthew to find talk of being saved. Redemption and salvation were also themes in the Old Testament. We learn that it is God’s right hand that saves His people and defeats their enemies.
“Your right hand, O LORD, was majestic in power. Your right hand, O LORD, shattered the enemy.” Exodus 15:6.
I call on you, O God, for you will answer me;
give ear to me and hear my prayer.
Show the wonder of your great love,
you who save by your right hand
those who take refuge in you from their foes. Psalms 17:6-7.
Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand. Psalms 20:6
In your majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness; let your right hand display awesome deeds. Psalms 45:4.
Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness. Psalms 48:10.
Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered. Psalms 60:5.
Your arm is endued with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted. Psalms 89:13.
Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. Psalms 98:10.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10.
These are some, but not all, of the Old Testament references to God’s right hand, His mighty hand, doing great things. God’s right hand does in the Old Testament the same things Jesus accomplishes in the New Testament. I know it doesn’t fit neatly into the idea of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit being individual persons that make up the one Godhead, but it has occurred to me that Jesus IS the right hand of the Father. They accomplish the same things.
My Vine’s Theological Dictionary says that the word translated “right hand” in the Old Testament is sometimes used to anthropomorphize the power and might of God, who is spirit. Since God the Father is spirit, He does not literally have a right hand in the same way that we humans have a right hand. This supports the idea that Jesus is God’s right hand.
The nature of God is difficult for us finite humans to understand, but I think it behooves us to not try to put Him into a theological box. The scriptures seem to clearly indicate that Jesus is at God’s right hand. To get from there to the idea that Jesus is God’s right hand is to me not much of a stretch. I may not completely understand it, but if I completely understood the nature of God then He would be so simple as to not be worthy of worship and praise.
But He is worthy of all my worship and all my praise, even though I do not completely comprehend all that He is. I am humbled that I am saved by God’s right hand, and to Him belongs all the glory for my salvation and yours.