January 9, 2015
Well, have you gotten past the hustle and bustle (and commercialization) of the Christmas season and New Years? Whewww!!! Get's really tiring, doesn't it? Unless a person is really focused on what's taking place spiritually, and the new dimensions of the Spirit that God is taking us into, this holiday season can really become stressful and distracting with all of the sales pitches, and all of the Regressives' (I refuse to call them Progressives, and they are NOT liberals -- they are anything but!) efforts to get rid of the name of Jesus, taking every spiritual significance away from the celebratory activities of the season.
Anyway, let's get on with our discussions.
Hebrews 6:1-3, KJV: “Therefore 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, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.”
So far we have talked about the foundation of repentance from dead works, of faith toward God, and we spent weeks dealing with the doctrine of baptisms. This week (and next) we need to talk about the impartation that comes from the laying on of hands. Let’s take time today to lay some foundations in our understanding as to both the historical and post-Pentecost implications associated with this.
In order to properly deal with this subject, we need to get back to the root of Hebrew thought so as to understand where this practice comes from, and the spiritual significance of having hands laid upon someone.
Out of several hundred references throughout Scripture, the very first time we see someone laying hands upon another occurs when Jacob lays his right hand on Ephraim, and his left hand on Manasseh — the two sons of Joseph.
Genesis 48:13-20, KJV: And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near unto him. And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.
And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head.
And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head. And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.
We can infer in each of the previous instances where we see the Blessing conveyed that hands were laid upon the one being blessed, but this is the first time we actually see it happening. What makes this event so important in our understanding is that we see the laying on of both the right hand — to Ephraim, who was the younger son of Joseph — and the left hand — to Manasseh, who was the firstborn son of Joseph, and normally the one to whom the primary blessing would be conveyed.
As Jacob begins the blessing, however, he speaks the same words over both Ephraim and Manasseh (see verse 16: The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers' Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.) He thus communicates the same blessing with both right and left hand, conveying the onoma of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
But watch what happens next. Joseph knows from family history and from the general practice of the time that the one receiving the greater blessing must have the laying on of the right hand. Jacob, however, has a direct word from the Spirit of the Lord and acts accordingly. Where we read that Jacob guided his hand “wittingly,” we see the Hebrew word, sakal, which means: to act circumspectly, to act with wise insight and foreknowledge. Interestingly, it also contains the meaning: to cause to prosper.
Notice how Jacob differentiates now between the blessing of the right hand, and the blessing of the left hand (see verse 19): And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.
It becomes clear, therefore, from this example, that the right hand conveys power, authority, multiplication of the specifically imparted in a manner which is easily seen and demonstrated in the years to come. It’s not that the blessing conveyed with the left hand is anything to sneeze at (and we will talk more about this later): it’s just that there is a totally different character to the blessing of the left hand.
It should also be clear from Jacob’s words that he was describing a blessing that would manifest itself in not just years, but generations to come. One does not become a multitude of nations in a generation, or two generations, or even three generations! The Hebrew word translated “multitude” is the word, rob, which literally means: huge, multiplied in number, an innumerable abundance.
The blessing and impartation that comes by the laying on of the left hand, therefore, is of great consequence, and not to be diminished or degraded.
There is an aspect of the laying on of hands that needs to be considered — and this is one that is generally missed because it is not so obvious or plainly written in Scripture — and that is the impartation of the anointing of Holy Spirit. Consider Samuel and David:
I Samuel 16:12-13, KJV: And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward.
One of the aspects of the commissioning that happens when folks are anointed is that it comes with the right hand. Though not specifically stated in this instance, Samuel would have used his right hand to pour the oil upon David. Once the oil was poured on him Samuel followed the priestly tradition of using his right hand to rub the oil upon David’s head and smear it liberally into his hair and skin.
Every time we see the anointing of a king or a priest anywhere in the Old Testament, the oil was first poured upon the individual, and it was then rubbed into their head, signifying a saturation that was to spread throughout their entire being.
The anointing was a commissioning which set a person apart for the purpose to which God had called and designed that individual to fulfill.
Laying on of hands is not, and was not, strictly a New Testament — post-Pentecost — realm of ministry. One only has to look at how David and/or Solomon describes the hand of God — or more accurately, the hands of God, and what each hand signifies. Take a look at a few examples from the Psalms and Proverbs:
Psalm 16:11 KJV: Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Psalm 20:5, KJV: Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.
Psalm 21:8, KJV: Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee.
Psalm 48:10, KJV: According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness.
Psalm 77:10, KJV: And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.
Psalm 89:13, KJV: Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.
Psalm 91:7, KJV: A thousand shall fall at thy [tsad: left] side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
Proverbs 3:16, KJV: Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.
Ecclesiastes 10:2, KJV: A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.
We have only looked at a tiny fraction of the verses that consider the right hand and the left, but in these few we see the following:
The right hand is the hand of strength, power, authority, salvation, health, provision, as well as being the bearer of long-life.
Conversely, the left hand is the hand of mercy, of tenderness, discernment, steady support and assistance, protection and safety, wealth and prosperity and honor (respect from society) — and for those not in tune with the Lord, frowardness (foolish and non-thought-out direction resulting in chaos or destruction.)
Now, consider the application of both hands at the same time in the Word. Take a look at the following picture:
Exodus 17:8-13, KJV: Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
There are two individual pictures seen in this event: the first being that of Moses holding the Rod of Authority in his right hand, the second of the necessity of having his left hand outstretched toward the ongoing battle between Joshua (with his soldiers) and the Amalekites.
It was much more than simply having his right hand outstretched with the Rod of Authority. That Rod of Authority, of course, represented the hand of God against the enemy.
The left hand needed to also be outstretched in order for Joshua to experience complete safety and protection from the enemy he was pitted against. When both hands were extended, Joshua was able to fight effectively and completely subdue his foe.
We see one of the first examples in Deuteronomy 7 of what takes place when both hands are laid upon an individual as a sign of separation, or being set apart from the corporate body — and in this case, the act of separation is the execution of the judgment of the Law of Moses. In this instance, Moses is talking about someone who has been witnessed bowing down to, or serving some false god, and the contamination that would bring into the camp of Israel.
Deuteronomy 17: 5-7, KJV: Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die. At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you.
Here we see that those who serve as witnesses (in this instance, against someone who has committed evil) must lay both hands upon the individual who has transgressed as a sign of separation, and as an authoritative and legal act. Their act of laying hands upon the offender becomes the first witness against him or her, but it is still necessary for the camp of Israel to agree and for them to stretch forth their hands and lay them upon the individual as the final witness of separation.
In the case of a person committing an act against God within the camp of Israel, the significance of the separation from Israel meant death to the offender. For those laying their hands on the offender, they were swearing their lives to the truth before God, and they were acting as His proxy in enacting and executing His judgment.
This brings us to the critical aspect of knowing whereof we testify or bringing witness, either for or against, as proxy for the Lord. David puts it like this in Psalm 24:
Who is it that will be elevated to a high place and promoted by God? Or, who shall live and continue to be ordained to live and stand as having been set apart to the holy places and things of God?
He whose hands are clean, innocent and blameless, whose heart is clear and does not condemn him, whose soul and mind have not been self-elevated to idolatry and the worship of reason [which is useless and deceptive], nor has he sworn [by sevens] and testified falsely and fraudulently [in order to execute judgment against another]. (Psalm 24:2-3, RAC Translation & Amplification)
To add to what David has already written, he makes the following prophecy in Psalm 28:4-5: Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert.
Because they regard not the works of the LORD, nor the operation of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up.
Let’s wrap up this basis for understanding the laying on of hands by looking at one other use of the hands as David sings it:
Psalm 63:3-4, KJV: Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.
In this instance (and many other similar Psalms), David expresses the extending forth of his hands as the means to bless the Lord, to magnify the Lord, to praise His Name. When he says, “I will lift up my hands IN thy name,” he is giving his hands to the Lord, placing them IN and INTO His very character, makeup and essence — making his hands available to the Lord for His plans, purposes and destiny.
That’s our stopping place for today. Next, we will take up the transfer of the power of God!
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Blessings on you!
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