Is laying of Hands for Today
aymon de albatrus
"So the LORD said to Moses, "Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him." "and he laid his hands on him and commissioned him as the LORD directed through Moses." (Num 27:18,23)
"Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you." (1Ti 4:14)
Is laying of Hands for today??
Definitely YES; as this article demonstrates. However, as every thing with God, it must be done all in order and according to His rules. In general the approach would be this: Do not take up any ministry for which you are not spiritually empowered and laying of hands is one of those. Only those who are properly authorized and qualified and in order with the Lord should perform the laying of hands and God will work through such persons. Also do not be injudicious in doing that: "Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure." (1Ti 5:22)
What is the purpose for the laying on of hands?
From Scripture we glean some of its purposes:
Commissioning for the work of the Lord
Imparting spiritual gifts
Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Healing the sick
COMMISSIONING FOR THE WORK OF THE LORD
"Commission" means to authorize, delegate, or send on a mission. We see the spiritual leaders of Antioch commissioning Barnabas and Saul, after fasting and praying: "2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off." (Act 13:2-3)
God had already spoken privately to Paul and Barnabas about the work He wanted them to do before He spoke publicly to the church leaders. The public revelation was a confirmation of the call they already had received. Nevertheless the church leaders took time to first do fasting and praying before imparting on them the commission by the laying of hands and then sent them on their way.
We have the record in Scripture that Timothy was commissioned to the ministry by the laying of hands as a normal procedure (1Ti 4:14). Paul himself laid hands on Timothy to commission his ministry: Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (2Ti 1:6) Indeed we see that Paul here claims that the spiritual gift in Timothy came through him "by the putting on of my hands", thus we have here an impartation of spiritual power through the laying of hands.
The method of appointing of the first deacons (Acts 6:1-6) was accompanied by the laying on of hands. These selected men were brought before the apostles who laid hands on them and prayed. By this act the apostles showed they accepted these men as qualified to hold this office. They committed them to God for the task for which they were chosen and transmitted to them a measure of their own spiritual wisdom necessary for the task. Again before imparting the commission to do the work of Deacons the Apostles prayed for the anointing of God on them: "These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them." (Act 6:6)
We see the same principle in the Old Testament. The Levites were ordained by God to serve the congregation of Israel as spiritual leaders. In this position they represented the people before God. The laying on of hands was confirmation to the people of the Levite's authority before God: "And you shall bring the Levites before Jehovah; and the sons of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites." (Num 8:10)
Moses followed the same principle, as he approached the end of his earthly life, he asked the Lord to appoint a new leader over Israel to which the Lord responded: "So the LORD said to Moses, "Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him." (Num 27:18) Moses laying hands on Joshua was important both for Joshua and for the whole congregation of Israel. By this act, Moses transferred to Joshua in a public display a measure of the wisdom and leadership, which he had received, from God. Moses also confirmed publicly to the people God's selection of Joshua as the new leader: "And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the LORD had commanded Moses." (Deu 34:9)
IMPARTING SPIRITUAL GIFTS
Laying on of hands can impart spiritual gifts as Paul wrote Timothy: "Do not be neglectful of the gift in you, which was given to you through prophecy, with laying on of the hands of the elderhood." (1Ti 4:14)
We see here that not only the laying of hands was used for anointing to the ministry but was also accompanied prophetically with impartation of spiritual gifts to direct, encourage, and strengthen Timothy to fulfil his God-given ministry.
BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Another purpose of laying on of hands is for baptism in the Holy Spirit. There are five examples recorded in the book of Acts of how people received baptism in the Holy Spirit. The first example is that of the disciples in the upper room in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4) and Cornelius and his family in Acts 10:44-46. The other examples are of the new converts in Samaria in Acts 8:14-20; Saul of Tarsus in Acts 9:17; and the disciples at Ephesus in Acts 19:1-6.
In the first two cases the Holy Ghost intervened directly, whilst in the last three the Holy Spirit was received by the laying of the hands, as we see in the case of Paul: "So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."" (Act 9:17)
The Holy Ghost is Sovereign and He baptises whom He wants with or without the laying of hands, nevertheless we see that it is Scriptural to lay hands on those seeking such baptism by those in spiritual leadership.
HEALING THE SICK
Jesus more that anyone else practiced laying on of hands in His ministry, specially in healing the sick: "Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and He laid his hands on every one of them and healed them." (Luk 4:40)
Jesus had pity of a woman that had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself, He freed her: "And He laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God." (Luk 13:13)
Before leaving this earth Jesus instructed His disciples on the sign that will follow the preaching of the Gospel: "17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."" (Mar 16:17-18)
Jesus here speaks of the future after His departure, clearly stating that this practice was to continue till His return, at the end of times.
To be noted that the gift of physical healing is a gift of God and it has to be performed "in the name of Jesus" for the healing is not ours but of God that grants as he wills: "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you." (Joh 15:16)
Sometimes God may grant immediate healing, sometimes the healing is over a period of time and other times there may be no healing at all, as the Lord wills. Jesus Himself did not heal everybody in Israel, for example the "lame man that from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate", how many times Jesus passed by that gate but did not heal this man, it was Peter that did it, after Jesus was gone. After Jesus' departure there was many sick people left, the Apostles healed some of those, and many others were left after the Apostles as they were. Healing is of God, not ours, and He is Sovereign granting healing as He wants for His purposes, nevertheless we are commanded to pray in faith and perform this ministry till the end, the outcome is in His hands.
The laying on of hands is an act of faith and obedience to God's Word. Its effectiveness does not depend on feelings but on God that grants the increase.
The book of Acts records how God used the laying on of hands by believers to perform miraculous healings and other supernatural signs confirming His Word: "So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands." (Act 14:3)
The Apostles did many healings by the laying of the hands:
"Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the Apostles.
..." (Act 5:12)
"It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him." (Act 28:8)
Without doubt the laying of hands can be a warm action of identification, comfort, friendship and of blessing.
We see that people keenly brought their children to Jesus so that he may bless them.
"And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them
.." (Mar 10:13)
"And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them." (Mar 10:16)
In touching, especially in the laying of hands there is a spiritual transference between the persons as we see in the case of the woman with a blood issue for twelve years touching Jesus in faith and Jesus perceiving it, for He said: "Who was it that touched me?" Everyone denied even Peter said jokingly: "Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!" But Jesus responded: "But Jesus said, "Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me."" (Luk 8:46) See, something had gone out of Jesus and he perceived it, there is a spiritual transfer in touching. For example, why are we shaking hands for?
This spiritual transfer covers both blessing and cursing. One should not let just anybody lay hands on himself; the laying of hands has to be done in the name of Christ Jesus and between true believers. Surely a true believer in order with the Lord cannot be possessed by a demon but can be troubled by it, if there are unconfessed sins in his life. How many times, even in shaking hands, we have been unsettled by shaking hands with some strange person?
If someone strange lays hands on you, and you cannot avoid it, do pray this simple prayer within yourself, in faith: "O Lord Jesus, please do protect me and cover me with your holy blood."
The laying on of hands is a fundamental doctrine in our Christian faith. Without a good understanding of it, we cannot go on to perfection. God has established the laying on of hands as a means of transferring His anointing, His healing and His blessings,
The laying of hands was practiced by Jesus and His Apostles, this practice has not been revoked and it is meant to last till the end of times,
The laying of hands is best done by mature Christian in order with the Lord, Scriptures warns us not to suddenly lay hands on those who are removed from church,
These days some women want to lay their hands on the heads of men, it is best not to do that and to respect the hierarchical order that God has established,
The anointing in a believer is stirred up when hands are laid in faith and in order. This Holy anointing will heal, restore, deliver, and prosper. We need to have our spiritual gifts stirred up within us, and move into a greater anointing through the laying on of hands,
Next time you see someone who is sick, you may ask them if you can lay hands on them, as the Holy Ghost leads you, and pray the prayer of faith, start operating in faith and in the Holy Ghost. If the Spirit tells you to lay hands on somebody, do it. Don't worry about the opinions of the world, and the opinions of worldly professed "Christians",
People may fight you on this, but remember that God's word is the final word. And the Word clearly says that the laying of hands is to be practiced in the Christian walk, accompanied by fasting, prayer, prophecy; remembering that it is not of us but of God, and He grants as He wills.