Question from a Site Viewer
The following verses I find very confusing. When taken with the rest of Scripture, they seem to pose a contradiction. IF the “Almighty” is God, and Jesus is also God, how can He [Jesus] possibly be seated “at the right side” of God?
But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?
And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power [the Almighty], and coming in the clouds of heaven.
In the above verse Jehovah’s Witnesses (jws) would first point out that Jesus is NOT saying He is God but rather the Son of Man/God.
Furthermore, they would point out that Jesus states he’ll be seated “at the right side of the Almighty” as opposed to seated in God’s throne. Clearly, there are not two Gods. So if Jesus is God, then who is the Almighty next to Him?
I know that Jesus is God . . . but I find the above verses confusing.
The Jehovah Witnesses are right in saying that Jesus is not telling the high priest that He is God. Rather, Jesus is saying that He is the personage of Daniel 7:13. Christ’s statement concerning the fact that He was the “Son of Man” coming in the clouds of heaven would have taken the priests’ minds back to Daniel’s great prophecy. There, we have the great depiction of God Almighty as the Ancient of Days in Daniel 8:9-10. To the Son of Man of that prophecy was given “dominion and glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him [forever].” Jesus is saying that He is that person.
But Jesus adds something else. He says that He will sit at the right hand of this Almighty being. Again, to those who knew the Old Testament, this statement could not be considered a mere coincidence. Scripture had prophesied, and Christ only a couple days before had quoted this prophecy to the Jewish rulers, that a person greater than David would sit at the right hand of God. Psalm 110:1states that the one to sit on the right hand of God would be David’s Lord.
Jesus makes another statement as well. The question the high priest asks is: “Are you the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus answers: “I am.” What this means is not explained, but I think even the Jehovah Witnesses would see this as a reference to Jesus being the Son of God.
Now the question you ask is how Jesus, being God, can be seated at the right side of God. There seems to be some question raised about whether this passage undermines our teaching on the deity of Christ. It does not. The teaching on the deity of Christ is long and deep in Scripture; despite the Jehovah Witness’s attempts to disguise it. As is pointed out in this article, John gives a strong affirmation of Christ’s deity that the Jehovah Witnesses deliberately mistranslates. But even the Jehovah Witnesses translate John 20:28-29 rightly to affirm Christ blessing Thomas for Thomas’s affirmation of Christ’s deity. The Old Testament prophesied that the Christ would be God Himself. Isaiah 9:6 says that the Son to be born would be the “Mighty God” and the “Eternal Father.” The Jehovah Witnesses will point out that Isaiah calls Him the “Mighty God,” not the “Almighty.” In this the Jehovah Witness’s err. The Hebrew word translated “Mighty” is used to describe both God and man, but when used to describe God it is only used elsewhere with respect to the only true God. Scripture never calls anyone other than the LORD God Himself as a “mighty” God. To read Isaiah 9:6 as the lone exception is a reading at variance with the whole of the rest of Scripture. Thus, in Psalm 24:8, the word is used twice to describe God. In Deuteronomy 10:17, the word is used to describe the “God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God.” It is no mere coincidence that the title “Lord of lords” is also given to Christ in Revelation 19. In Nehemiah 9:32, we find the word again used to describe Israel’s God. In Isaiah 10:21, Isaiah uses his same phrase to state that the remnant of Jacob will return to “the Mighty God.” This can only be a reference to Yahweh Himself, as it is from Yahweh that they had strayed. Jeremiah, however, puts the nail in the coffin of the Jehovah Witness’s specious argument. Jeremiah uses this exact phrase and states that the “Mighty God” is the “LORD of hosts.” Jer. 32:18. Isaiah’s prophesy in 9:6 compels us to believe that Jesus is God. So does Zechariah’s prophesy in 12:10 where God is speaking and He says: “They will look on Me whom they pierced.” So is Micah’s prophesy in Micah 5:2 that states the Messiah has existed in eternity past. And then there are the numerous passages in the New Testament. Certainly, the Jewish hearers understood Jesus to claim deity as they repeatedly sought to stone him for blasphemy.
Because Scripture requires us to believe in Jesus as deity, we are then faced with the Scriptural teaching that God is one (Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29; James 2:19) and yet we have the Father and the Son (and also the Holy Spirit) denominated “God.” How these passages are reconciled has been the subject of great debate. I leave some of that to God. But I want always to affirm what Scripture affirms, that is: there are three personages “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (see Matt. 28:19; Luke 3:22; 2 Cor. 13:14, etc.) who share equality and deity and yet there is only one being, God. This has been the mystery of God. It would be nice to solve this mystery but all attempts have either denied the oneness of God and therefore been contrary to God’s own teaching about Himself; or have denied the three personages affirmed to be God and therefore again been contrary to God’s own teaching about Himself. We do not teach there to be three gods, but rather three persons in one eternal Godhead.
Thus, when we come to the Mark passage, we affirm that Jesus will be seated at the right hand of the Father, even as Psalm 110:1 testified, as Jesus states, and as Peter states (1 Peter 3:22), the writer to Hebrews affirms (Hebrews 12:2). This is not to deny that Jesus is fully the one-true God. Nor do we teach that God is one who simply manifests Himself in various forms (a doctrine known as modalism). He is and has eternally been three persons, as Jesus clarifies in John 17:5.
I trust this is helpful.
May the Lord Jesus always guide you into a personal and deep relationship with Himself.
a fellow pilgrim,