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Morrish Bible Dictionary

Hands, Laying on of

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This was very significant in the sacrifices of the O.T. At the consecration of Aaron and his sons, they laid their hands on the bullock for the sin offering, on the ram for the burnt offering, and on the ram of consecration, showing identification of the offerers with the sacrifices. Leviticus 8:14,18,22 . At the consecration of the Levites the children of Israel first laid their hands on the Levites, and the Levites laid their hands on the head of one bullock for a sin offering, and on another for a burnt offering, to make atonement for the Levites. Numbers 8:10-12 . On the day of atonement Aaron laid his hands upon the head of the scapegoat, and confessed over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and it was sent away into the wilderness to signify the putting away of the sins confessed over the goat. Leviticus 16:21 .

There was also the laying on of hands as the induction to office, as Moses laid his hands on Joshua, and gave him a charge from the Lord as his successor. Numbers 27:23 . The apostles also laid hands upon those that had been chosen to take charge of the poor, Acts 6:6 ; and it is probable that in the appointment of elders, hands were laid upon them. Timothy was counselled not to 'lay hands suddenly' on any man. 1 Timothy 5:22 . As a mark of commendation and fellowship hands were laid on Paul and Barnabas when sent forth on their missionary journey. Acts 13:3 . A gift was imparted to Timothy with the laying on of Paul's hands, the elderhood being associated with the apostle in the act. 1 Timothy 4:14 ; 2 Timothy 1:6 . The Holy Spirit was also given with the laying on of the apostles' hands. Acts 8:17 ; Acts 19:6 . The sick were often cured with the laying on of hands. Mark 6:5 ; Luke 4:40 ; Luke 13:13 ; Acts 28:8 . This apostolic action has been imitated in Christendom and much misused, great pretensions being made as to a status given and spiritual blessing imparted; whereas if it were regarded as a simple recognition and mark of fellowship in service it would be a scriptural act.

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Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Hands, Laying on of '. Morrish Bible Dictionary. 1897.

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