The laying on of hands, by definition, is an action in which one person of faith places his hands on another person to transmit, transfer, or impart something into the receiving person. The doctrine of laying on of hands is found in both the Old and New Testaments.
There are multiple benefits God intended to bring to you through this often overlooked divinely appointed practice. Some Christian churches rarely, if ever, practice the laying on of hands. Yet the benefits of this ministry called “laying on of hands” are incredibly important and valuable to the believing people.
1 Timothy 4:14
Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
In the Old Testament, this practice was used to symbolically transfer sins. The people would place their hands on the priest, thus signifying the transfer of their sins to the priest. The priest would then lay his hands upon an animal’s head, signifying the transfer of all sins into that animal. The animal would then be slain as a sacrifice to make atonement. (Exodus 29:10; Leviticus 3:2; Leviticus 4:15; Numbers 8:12)
In the New Testament, Jesus became both the priest and the sacrifice. Our sins were imputed to His body while He hung on the cross. Somehow, supernaturally, all of our sins were sent back into time and placed upon Jesus, and all of His righteousness was sent forward into time and placed upon us. It happened miraculously when we truly repented of our sins and expressed faith in Jesus Christ. (II Corinthians 5:17-21; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 3:9)
PURPOSES FOR THE LAYING ON OF HANDS
Let’s look at some of the benefits you can receive through the laying on of hands.
We find in both the Old and New Testaments the practice of laying on hands for the impartation of blessings. (Genesis 48:14; Genesis 48:20: Hebrews 11:21)
What exactly does it mean to have a blessing imparted unto you? In the Hebrew language, it means a “benefit” or “advantage,” which may not be visible to the physical eye, but will become obvious in some way or another.
The first time I ever had hands laid upon me. I received a special benefit. Prior to the laying on of hands, I could barely remember where I parked my car half the time but afterward found that I could remember things much better, especially Scripture. I had a special advantage imparted unto me. People actually thought I had received a “photographic memory.” Of course, I did not, but I did somehow receive an unusual new ability to remember things more clearly than ever before.
I remember having fellowship with a brother who belonged to a particular church, one that did not believe in the laying on of hands. Consequently, my friend had never experienced this. Well, somehow, I could always remember where the right Scriptures were when we discussed the Bible. He had been a Christian for several years and I had been saved for less than a year. He would get so frustrated because, as intelligent as he was, he often had difficulty remembering where certain Scriptures were. Then I’d tell him where to look, and sure enough, he found them.
Now, I didn’t flaunt this special advantage. It’s just something I had received freely from God through the laying on of hands.
I believe that’s why mothers brought their children to Jesus, desiring Him to lay His hands on them. These parents wanted their children to have a special advantage (blessing) in life.
“Then were there brought unto Him little children, that He should put His hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And He laid His hands on them and departed thence.”
“And He took them up in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them.”
Do you know what this means when it says Jesus blessed them? It means, through the laying on of hands, Jesus invoked a blessing (an advantage; a benefit) upon those youngsters that would cause them to succeed in every area of life! Now that’s a precious gift.
Parents, do you want your children to have a special advantage in life? Do you want your children to have a blessing that will cause them to succeed in life? Of course, you do. Then let me ask you this question. Have you had your children dedicated to the Lord, where the elders of the church lay hands on them, asking God to impart a blessing, a benefit, and an advantage unto these little ones?
Matthew 19:13-15 (MSG)
One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: “Let the children alone, don’t prevent them from coming to me. God’s kingdom is made up of people like these.” After laying hands on them, he left.
We have taken this practice of child dedication so lightly, forgetting the real reason we lay hands on the children and dedicate them to Jesus. Child dedication is a solemn time of not only dedicating these precious ones to Jesus but a time of the laying on of hands with the intent of imparting blessings into these cherished little lives. What an honor, to be a Christian parent with the privilege of dedicating your children to the Lord, and having a unique blessing invoked upon them. This is really one of the primary objectives of the laying on of hands: to impart blessings!
The discipline of Laying on of Hands is a major key to healing, special advantages, being filled with the Holy Spirit, being given power and authority, and receiving gifts of the Spirit.