“and it came to pass, in my going on and coming nigh to Damascus, about noon, suddenly out of the heaven there shone a great light round about me, I fell also to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me, Saul, Saul, why me dost thou persecute?
`And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? and he said unto me, I am Jesus the Nazarene whom thou dost persecute– and they who are with me the light did see, and became afraid, and the voice they heard not of him who is speaking to me– and I said, What shall I do, Lord? and the Lord said unto me, Having risen, go on to Damascus, and there it shall be told thee concerning all things that have been appointed for thee to do.” (Act 22:6-10 YLT)
While he saw a great light round about him, the voice Paul heard was identified as being that of Jesus the Nazarene, not of God. (According to previous testimony in Acts, Jesus is resurrected from the dead at this point in time, situated at the right hand of God.)
Paul became temporarily physically blinded from that encounter and sometime thereafter Ananias explained what happened to him…
“`And when I did not see from the glory of that light, being led by the hand by those who are with me, I came to Damascus, and a certain one, Ananias, a pious man according to the law, being testified to by all the Jews dwelling there , having come unto me and stood by me, said to me, Saul, brother, look up; and I the same hour did look up to him; and he said, The God of our fathers did choose thee beforehand to know His will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear a voice out of his mouth, because thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard; and now, why tarriest thou? having risen, baptize thyself, and wash away thy sins, calling upon the name of the Lord.” (Act 22:11-16 YLT)
Ananias explained that Saul was chosen by God:
- to know the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’s will
- to see the Righteous One, and to hear a voice out of his mouth
It is my understanding the Righteous One is the one situated at the right hand of God.
God and His Right Hand Man
The Psalmist writes:
“O God of hosts, turn, we pray thee: look on us from heaven, and behold and visit this vine; and restore that which thy right hand has planted: and look on the son of man whom thou didst strengthen for thyself. It is burnt with fire and dug up: they shall perish at the rebuke of thy presence. Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, and upon the son of man whom thou didst strengthen for thyself. So will we not depart from thee: thou shalt quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. Turn us, O Lord God of hosts, and make thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.” (Psa 80:14-19 Brenton)
Notice the characters mentioned in this passage of Psalm 80:
- Lord God of hosts, and
- the son of man whom thou didst strengthen for thyself
It appears to me that the man of thy right hand referenced in this Psalm is the son of man whom God didst strengthen for himself.
While I believe the psalmist is speaking of David being that Right Hand Man on earth at that time, I also believe it is prophetic of “the Son of Man”: Jesus the Anointed (Christ), being that Right Hand Man in heaven at this time.
The earlier testimony of Peter in Acts regarding Jesus being the Right Hand Man to God is found here:
“`This Jesus did God raise up, of which we are all witnesses; at the right hand then of God having been exalted–also the promise of the Holy Spirit having received from the Father–he was shedding forth this, which now ye see and hear; for David did not go up to the heavens, and he saith himself: The Lord saith to my lord, Sit thou at my right hand, till I make thy foes thy footstool; assuredly, therefore, let all the house of Israel know, that both Lord and Christ did God make him–this Jesus whom ye did crucify.'” (Act 2:32-36 YLT)
Again, I believe there are two distinct beings identified in this passage:
- The Lord God, aka the Father
- Jesus, who is referred to as “my lord” and made Lord (Master) and Christ (Anointed One)
The former being is God, and the latter is not God, but rather His Right Hand Man.
Near the end of Stephen’s testimony recorded in Acts 7 he testifies:
“And hearing these things, they were cut to the hearts, and did gnash the teeth at him; and being full of the Holy Spirit, having looked stedfastly to the heaven, he saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and he said, `Lo, I see the heavens having been opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God.'” (Act 7:54-56 YLT)
This confirms the notion that Jesus is not God, but he stands at the right hand of God.
I believe it is crucial that we understand this distinction between Jesus and God, not just in reading the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and the book of Acts, but also in reading the correspondence of Paul written to his various audiences.
When Paul saw the light, he heard the voice of the glorified Son of Man (aka “the Righteous One”) and went forth bearing testimony concerning that man, all with the understanding that Right Hand Man identified as Jesus (aka “Lord” and “Christ”) was distinctly separate from the LORD God.