Friday, July 29, 2011

Imposition of Hands

I had an interesting question come to me today.  "Why the imposition of Hands"?

In scripture the following are some of the purposes of the laying on of hands that I found:

  1. Blessings.
  2. The setting apart and anointing of someone
  3. Consecration.
  4. Imparting of spiritual gifts, strength, authority or wisdom.
  5. Substitution and the transfer of punishment.
  6. Healing 
  7. Deliverance.
  8. Prophecy 
  9. To receive the Holy Spirit. 
  10. Confirmation
I wonder what it is about the imposition of hands that dates back so far and is such a part of our religious life.  These were some thoughts I had about the topic.

Truth should point to Christ, so this must be pointing us to Him.  I'm reminded of His hands, pierced and bleeding to pay a debt.  I'm reminded of how he used his hands. Whatever he touched or laid his hands on came alive, received a blessing, or spiritual outpouring of some kind.  Even with his hand outstretched, the winds and sea obeyed him.  Or all of the above.  I wonder if by this ritual and ceremony of placing our hands upon another we are walking, acting and speaking little by little more like Christ.  Or are invited to anyway.  

Hands are where we typically receive, and from where we so often give.  The hands are very symbolic.  By laying them upon the head of another, in the right Spirit and by the right authority, we can be more Christlike, and minister as He would.  You would probably expect to find His Spirit where you minister as He did. Imagine Christ laying His hands on you.  These things are part of the restored Gospel, and the scriptures say that faith leads there. 

During the final days of Christ's life there are many examples where people laid their hands upon Christ to inflict pain, or to wound, or to harm, or to disrespect in some way.  He truly was wounded for our transgressions.  Other people's transgressions literally caused many of His physical wounds.  Throughout the atonement both physically and spiritually he was, as the scriptures say, bruised for our iniquities (Isaiah 53). The Chastisement of our peace was upon him. Now with his stripes we are healed.  Now, through Him is how we find peace.  He now offers us the Restored Gospel, which has ordinances and ceremonies involving hands being laid upon us to communicate love, blessings, comfort, and promises.  This Gospel really is something.  To me this is not something someone just fabricated to try and quiet our mental, emotional, or social needs.  

I found these thoughts both uplifting and inviting.

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