What was the purpose of laying on of hands and does it apply today?

Scripture: Acts 19:6, Hebrews 6:1-2
What was the purpose of laying on of hands and does it apply today? There are many references in the Bible to people being touched by others. Sometimes it spoke of healing, sometimes setting aside deacons for ministry, etc. It is not just one type.
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Caller:  Good evening.  How are you guys tonight?

Pastor Doug:  Real good.  How are you Kevin?

Caller:  Good.  My question comes out of the book of Acts 19.  My question is, at times, they had to lay hands on people for them to receive the Holy Spirit.

Pastor Doug:  Right.

Caller:  And today, as we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are assured that we’ll receive the Holy Spirit.  What was the purpose of it then – to lay hands on them?

Pastor Doug:  Well you’ll see a number of examples in the Bible where they laid hands on the Disciples for being ordained it wasn’t just for receiving the Spirit.

There was something about the touch.  You know sometimes Jesus touched people when He healed them.

Co-Host:  Yes.

Pastor Doug:  And it’s like transferring your love to that person.  Sometimes, the Bible says, virtue went out of Jesus and He healed them all.

I’m searching for a Scripture here.  You know they actually had a doctrine – let me see here.  Here it is.  Hebrews 6:2.  Evidently, the New Testament spent a lot of time discussing this issue of laying on of hands.

And it says – I’m going to read you Hebrews 6:1 – “…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….” KJV

Evidently, the Apostles, in the time of Christ, had a teaching regarding the laying on of hands they clumped right in there with baptism and resurrection and judgment and very basic, rudimentary Christian elements.  And we, I think, have lost that basic doctrine of laying on of hands.

Co-Host:  Yes.

Pastor Doug:  But if you study what you see in the Bible, Old and New Testaments, there are a lot of instances where they laid hands on the Deacons when they commissioned them.  Jesus laid hands on the Apostles.  And it says in verse 11 in Acts chapter 19, ‘God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul.’

Now it’s not always required because Jesus, you know, He healed someone’s servant without them even showing up.  He healed a woman’s daughter at her request when the daughter was in another place.  But more times than not, even when Christ raised the dead, He would touch the girl by the hand and lift her up, except with Lazarus, He spoke.

But there was something conveyed in the touch.  And there was a doctrine in the early church that’s mentioned right here in Hebrews that has sort of evaporated we need to rediscover.

Caller:  That’s in Hebrews 6:2?

Pastor Doug:  Hebrews chapter 6 verse 2.  It seemed to be a very basic doctrine because it’s lumped right in there with baptism, resurrection, eternal judgment, faith, repentance, these were very elementary fundamentals of Christianity – and right in the middle of that it’s got, ‘of laying on of hands.’

Caller:  Ok.

Pastor Doug:  And so there was a teaching that you were to commission people.  Now I had prayer this weekend for someone who asked to be anointed for an illness.  And, according to James, we laid hands, James 5.  We laid hands on that person for healing.

So it’s done in healing, it was done in commissioning a person it was done in praying that they should receive the Spirit.  When I was in Russia Kevin, we baptized about 200 people at the end of a meeting I did there, and they all wanted me to baptize them.  Well that was impossible.

For one thing, my Russian was very poor, and so I wanted the local Pastors to baptize them.  But I said, before you get in the swimming pool, I will lay hands on every one of you and pray for you.  And that meant so much to them.

Co-Host:  Yes.

Pastor Doug:  But I couldn’t baptize.  It would take forever to baptize 200 people.

Caller:  Yeah.

Pastor Doug:  And so that satisfied them.  And you know from that time on, I’ve thought it was important to touch [lay hands on] people and pray with them before and after their baptism.

Caller:  Ok.  That answers it.

Pastor Doug:  All right.  Thanks a lot.

Co-Host:  Thanks for the call Kevin.

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