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Right hand of God

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God Inviting Christ to Sit on the Throne at His Right Hand (1645) by Pieter de Grebber

The right hand of God (Dextera Domini 'right hand of the Lord' in Latin) or God's right hand may be used in the Bible and common speech as a metaphor for the omnipotence of God and as a motif in art.

In the Bible, to be at the right side "is to be identified as being in the special place of honor".[1] In Jesus' parable "The Sheep and the Goats", the sheep and goats are separated with the sheep on the right hand of God and the goats on the left hand.

It is also a placement next to God in Heaven, in the traditional place of honor, mentioned in the New Testament as the place of Christ at Mark 16:19,[2] Luke 22:69,[3] Matthew 22:44[4] and 26:64, Acts 2:34 and 7:55, 1 Peter 3:22 and elsewhere. These uses reflect use of the phrase in the Old Testament, for example in Psalms 63:8 and 110:1.[5] The implications of this anthropomorphic phrasing have been discussed at length by theologians, including Saint Thomas Aquinas.[6]

In Jewish and Christian art, especially of the Late Antique and Early Medieval periods, the Hand of God, or the "right hand of God", is a motif used to indicate the intervention in or approval of affairs on Earth by God. It was used when depiction of Yahweh or God the Father as a full human figure was considered unacceptable.

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  1. ^ Leland Ryken, James Wilhoit and Tremper Longman III, ed. (1998). "Right, Right Hand". Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. InterVarsity Press. pp. 727–728.
  2. ^ "Mark 16:19". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  3. ^ "Luke 22:69". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  4. ^ "Matthew 22:41-46". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  5. ^ Psalm 110:1 in parallel translations: http://bible.cc/psalms/110-1.htm
  6. ^ Aquinas, Thomas. "Question 58. Christ's sitting at the right hand of the Father". Summa Theologica. Retrieved 17 January 2011.