PART 4: THE LAYING ON OF HANDS
Hebrews 6: 1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. (KJV)
Laying on of hands is an elementary doctrine of Christ. There are MANY Scriptural examples of people laying on hands. As we go through some of these Scriptures, keep a focus:
ON WHOM are the hands being laid?
BY WHOM are the hands being laid?
FOR WHAT REASON are the hands being laid?
Our first Scripture comes in Genesis.
· For a blessing and transfer of authority/leadership
In this passage we see
Israel, the father of Joseph, confer a blessing to Joseph’s sons Manasseh and
Ephraim, by laying hands on them. Interestingly, Israel blesses the younger son
Ephraim ahead of Manasseh by placing his right hand on his head, in this
way he transferred authority over Israel to Ephraim, according to God’s
18 Joseph said to him, “No, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.” 19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations.” 20 He blessed them that day and said, “In your name will Israel pronounce this blessing: ‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’” So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.
· Transferring authority/leadership
And the LORD said to Moses, Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the
Spirit, and lay your hand upon him.
And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation, and give
him a charge in their sight.
20 And you shall put of your honor
[authority] on him, so that all the
congregation of the sons of Israel may be obedient.
And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask for him according to
the judgment of Urim before the LORD. At his word they shall go out, and at his
word they shall come in, he and all the sons of Israel with him, even all the
The Lord instructs Moses to lay hands on Joshua and transfer full authority over Israel to him.
"And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom: for Moses had
laid his hands upon him ..."
A distinct transformation has taken place in the life of Joshua since Moses had laid his hands upon him. Suddenly he was full of wisdom.
So we see the transfer of authority by the leaders of Israel onto those succeeding them by the laying on of hands, only according to the direction of God.
when he had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. 2 And
behold, a leper came up to him and did him homage, saying, Lord, if thou
wilt, thou art able to cleanse me. 3 And Jesus put out His hand
and touched him, saying, I will; be clean! And immediately his leprosy was
cleansed. 4 And Jesus said to him, See that you tell no one; but go,
show yourself to the priest. And offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a
testimony to them.
v 14 – heals a woman’s fever, by touching her hand.
Now a small diversion from our teaching…. It’s interesting to note here in Chapter 8, the facts concerning Leprosy.
From the time of the Law of Moses until and Jesus' First
Coming, there was no record of any Jewish man that had ever been healed of
leprosy. Leprosy was the one disease that was left out of rabbinic cures; there
was no cure for leprosy whatsoever. Yet the Scriptures — Leviticus 13-14
— gave the Levitical priesthood extremely detailed instructions as to what they
were to do if a leper was healed. From a series of bird offerings to 8 days
worth of intensive investigation, to a further lengthy series of offerings, the
ceremony would then come to an end with the anointing of oil upon the healed
leper. Although the priesthood had all these detailed instructions as to how
they were to respond in the case of a healed leper, they never ever had
the opportunity to put these instructions into use: from the time the Mosaic Law
was given, no Jew was ever healed of leprosy. As a result, it was taught by the
rabbis that only the Messiah would be able to heal a Jewish leper. The
healing of the leper was, in fact, classed as a Messianic miracle, according to
(Difference between Torah, Tanakh, Talmud?
Torah = 5 books of Moses, The Law;
Tanakh = Old Testament, The Jewish Bible
Talmud = Rabbinic
commentary/explanation/interpretation of the Old Testament.)
So only the Messiah would be able to heal a Jewish
leper … The three Gospel accounts that tell us about the healing of a leper are:
Matthew 8:2-4, Mark 1:40-45 and Luke 5:12-16. Matthew and
Mark merely state that the man was a leper; but Luke, who was a medical doctor
by profession, gave more details. According to Luke 5:12, the afflicted
man was full of leprosy. That means the leprosy was fully developed, and
it would not be very long before the leper would die. We read that Jesus touched
the leper and straightway the leprosy departed from
him (v13). But we must
carefully note what Jesus told the leper to do, according to v14:
And he charged him to tell no man: but to go thy way, and show thyself to the
priest, and offer for thy cleansing, accordingly as Moses commanded, for a
testimony unto them.
So Jesus instructed the leper to present himself to the Priest who would have done as the Levitical law commanded, and then could only have come to one conclusion – that the person who healed him was the Messiah. The failure of the High Priest to declare Jesus as the Messiah, was further proof of how the Pharisees and Sadducees condemned themselves with their unbelief.
Back to the laying on of hands…
In Matt 20: 32 And Jesus stood still and called them, and said, What do you desire that I should do to you? 33 They said to Him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. 34 So Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.
Acts 9: 10And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prays, 12And has seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he has done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all that call on thy name. 15But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. 17And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto you in the way as you came, has sent me, that you might receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit. 18And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
Here we see Ananias, who was a disciple, [just like WE are disciples], healing a man of blindness and baptizing him in the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands. Very importantly, he did so only because he was led by the Lord.
Acts 28: 8And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. 9 So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed:
Paul the Apostle healed many.
James 5:14 14Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
Here we have instructions to the church, and what to do in the church circumstance. The elders should lay hands on, pray and anoint the sick with oil.
Other healing Scriptures
Mark 1:41; 6:5; 5:3; 7:32, 33; 8:23, 25; 16:18
Luke 4:40; 13:13; 22:50, 51
· Casting out demons
Luke 4: 40Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with diverse diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. 41And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And He, rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that He was Christ.
and a woman was there who had been
crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not
straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward
and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13
Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and
Here we have many instances of the disciples laying hands on people to heal them and on some to deliver demons. It is obvious that not all those that were healed were believers. Believers could never be demon-possessed. So, disciples, being led by the Holy Spirit, laid hands on ANYONE who was sick and healed them. It was likely that these people became believers after they were healed and delivered, just like the woman who immediately praised God.
· The baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Acts 8: 14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
Here we see the Apostles Peter and John laying hands on believers so that they might receive the Holy Spirit. It also says we can’t buy the gift!
Acts 9:12 – as we have already read, Saul receives the Holy Spirit Baptism by the laying on of hands;
Acts 19: 6And
when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and
they spoke with tongues, and prophesied. 7And all the men were about
· The impartation of the gifts of the Spirit.
1 Timothy 4: 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
2 Timothy 1: 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
These 2 Scriptures tell us that gifts of the Spirit can be imparted by the laying on of hands by the elders of the church to believers.
· Separation for service (ministry).
Numbers 8:10, 11; 27:18, 20, 23
Acts 6: In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” 5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon
called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the
tetrarch) and Saul. 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 So after they had fasted and
prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
In these verses, we see certain individuals that have been set apart to do a specific work for the Lord. They had hands laid upon them by Prophets and teachers [elders of the church] and were prayed for.
· Spiritual blessing.
Mark 10: 13And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. 14But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. 15Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them. (Matthew 19:13-15)
There is, however, great need for wisdom to be exercised in ministering through the laying on of hands. Paul exhorted us to lay hands suddenly on no man.
1 Timothy 5: 22 Lay hands suddenly on no man. Why is this? It’s because people too often trust in their own understanding, their own spirit in the way they are led, rather than looking for inspiration from the Holy Spirit. In all things, particularly the Gifts of the Spirit, and specifically the laying on of hands, we MUST be led by the Holy Spirit. If the will of God is that you lay hands on someone, then you must be obedient. But be sure that you practice your gifts in subjection to the Holy Spirit, because it is the Holy Spirit that imparts the healing, that imparts the gifts of the Spirit, the authority or the Spiritual blessing. Without the Holy Spirit, the healing will not happen and someone’s faith might be destroyed – as is so often the case in the “Faith” Ministries where if someone is not healed, they are accused of not having enough faith!
Jesus had the final say on the matter…. The last thing He said on this earth
Mark 16: 17 And signs will follow to those believing these things: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will be well. 19 Then indeed, after speaking to them, the Lord was taken up into Heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
ANY believer can lay on
hands and pray for someone as long as ….
they are being led by the Holy Spirit; and according to God’s Sovereign will.