that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places … And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church.
–Ephesians 1:20, 22 ESV
Consider these words describing the honor of the one reigning as victor—“seated him at his right hand.” Consider also the words of shame describing the ones conquered and put into submission—“he put all things under his feet.” These word meanings belong to a culture dominated by the values of honor and shame.
Observe the two verses in the Psalms from which the words in Ephesians are clearly derived:
The LORD says to my Lord: Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
Now consider how the following Old Testament verses reinforce 1) the honor of being seated at the right hand of the king, or 2) the honor of kingship ordained by God, or 3) the shame of enemies in being ‘put under the feet’ of the conqueror:
So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah. And the king rose to meet her and bowed down to her. Then he sat on his throne and had a seat brought for the king’s mother, and she sat on his right.
–1 Kings 2:19
daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor; at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.
Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king in place of David his father. … And the LORD made Solomon very great in the sight of all Israel and bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.
–1 Chronicles 29:23, 25
You know that David my father could not build a house for the name of the LORD his God because of the warfare with which his enemies surrounded him, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet.
–1 Kings 5:3
In the New Testament, the supreme exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ is frequently described by Christ being seated at “God’s right hand;” and that simultaneously, all enemies of Christ are shamed by being “put under his feet.” The passage quoted from Ephesians chapter 1 at the beginning of this post is but one of many verses in the New Testament which reflect this theme.
Jesus said to him, … from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.
This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For God has put all things in subjection under his feet. …
–1 Corinthians 15:25–27
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
And to which of the angels has he ever said, Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet?
Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven.
But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.
–1 Peter 3:22
Again, notice the sheer frequency of this theme in the New Testament: Jesus Christ is seated and enthroned at God’s right hand in highest honor—and correspondingly, all enemies, indeed “all things,” have been utterly subdued and shamed—put under his feet. The force of this truth cannot be appreciated without understanding the pivotal cultural value of honor and shame.