During an address on "The Final Judgement" given by Pope Benedict XVI on 23 November, he said:
"God will accept into his eternal kingdom those who have made the effort every day to put his word into practice. This is why the Virgin Mary, the most humble of his creatures, is the greatest in his eyes and sits as Queen at the right of Christ the King. We desire to entrust ourselves with filial confidence once again to her heavenly intercession, so that we might realize our Christian mission in the world."
According to general Christian church teaching, Jesus literally "sits at the right hand of God." The Roman Catholic Church went one further, however, when it defined as dogma the idea that Mary was:
"taken up body and soul to the glory of Heaven where, as Queen, she sits in splendour at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages" (Apostolic Constitution "Munificentissimus Deus": AAS 42, [1 November 1950]).
So, where does that leave God in this heavenly triumvirate - sitting on the left of Jesus? Because the Pope claims to be the Vicar of Christ on earth, you will see that it is actually Rome that is seated in the middle, in the place of honour.
Proponents of the Virgin Birth, the Miraculous Incarnation and the Trinity doctrines often cite verses which describe the post-resurrection Jesus as "sitting at the right hand of God" to support their claims but there is neither consistency of application nor understanding in their arguments. Is Jesus a co-ruler with God? Does he hold his position as the Son of God? Is he actually the YHWH of the Old Testament? Or does he rule as part of the Trinity? etcetera, etcetera...
Because of unscriptural doctrines, it is actually confusion which now reigns. It is a shameful indictment of the current crop of theologians and biblical scholars that by this, the 21st Century, the necessity for making some elementary observations on the use of symbolic and figurative language still exists.
In the next post, we will endeavour to clear away this fog of confusion by applying a realistic interpretation to verses such as these:
"...who is on the right hand of God, having gone into heaven; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him." (1 Peter 3:22)
"So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken unto them, was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God." (Mark 16:19)
"But he (Stephen), being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God." (Acts 7:55-56)