The Apple Of God's Eye

April 20, 2009

What is The Laying On Of Hands?

The laying on of hands is a symbolical act which sets individuals apart and signifies the imparting of spiritual blessings, authority, and power. In the Old Testament, a blessing was often conferred in this way. An example is Jacob’s laying his hands on Ephraim and Manasseh to pass on blessings they were to receive from God (Gen. 48:13-20).  

In the New Testament, a newly baptized person had hands laid on him for the receiving of the Holy Spirit. Notice in Acts 8:17-18 that after God’s ministers had baptized repentant converts, then “laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And … through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given.” Also see Acts 19:5-6 and II Timothy 1:6. 

The laying on of hands also accompanies an elder’s prayer for the afflicted. we read in Acts 9:17: “And Ananias … putting his hands on him [Paul] said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus who appeared unto thee in the way which thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mayest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 

Another purpose for the laying on of hands is that of ordination. An example is found in Acts 6. Here seven men became deacons when the apostles prayed and “laid their hands on them” (verse 6). 

The laying on of hands, then, serves to show that God works through His ministers. This ceremony is mentioned as one of the basic doctrines of His Church in Hebrews 6:2.

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