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Friday, August 27, 2021

Quick Thought on the Laying On of Hands

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.

-Hebrews 6:1-2

The laying on of hands was part of the early faith and is not essential to a mature faith. It is seen as both symbolic and the means of transference. If we maintain this practice today (which is not unreasonable), we must understand it merely in its symbolic aspect.

The laying on of hands in the Acts Age carried with it an apostolic transference in some instances and merely as a symbolic recognition of that which already existed. Note that nothing was conferred upon Stephen when he had hands laid upon him (and the other deacons).

And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.

Stephen was one of a number who already had the gifts and wisdom. He was charged with a duty, not with any gifts or empowerments (this was in the Acts Age in any case, but even here there is no transference) . Those chosen were already "full." They received no more "faith" and no further "gifts" of the spirit. They were neither "more saved" nor "more empowered." 

Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost [gifts] and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

Paul and Barnabas had hands laid upon them, but they were already certainly full of all gifts, wisdom, and calling.

As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

On the other side, there is a conferring of gifts connected to the Apostles. Gifts were only conferred by Apostles (that I can see) while offices could be conferred by others as well.

We must also note that Timothy's selection as the "faithful" man Paul chose had been part of a prophecy:

This charge I commit to thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies as to thee
, in order that thou mightest war by them the good warfare, maintaining faith
and a good conscience; which (last) some having put away, have made shipwreck as to

Timothy is charged with defending the faith, the correcting of those who had fallen away from sound doctrine. This charge is not a supernatural power. This charge is conferred upon some to protect the flock. These have a high calling and will be subjected to many attacks (from within and without) and a face a stricter judgement of their service. This charge must only be given to "faithful" men. Etc.

Thou therefore, my son [Timothy], be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 
Lay hands suddenly on no man.