Instruction about baptisms and of the laying on of hands
The Bible itself speaks of "The Foundation".
Paul encourages the Hebrews not to stick with the elementary teachings about Christ. He want to move on. Of course they need the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instructions about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. (Hebrew. 6:1 and 2). But that is the foundation, not the building itself.
Those first things that a Christian should know is called by Paul 'milk' in contrast with solid food. (1 Corinthians 3:1)
He uses this image to make it clear that a christian should grow. A newly converted christian gets 'milk', or the basic things which are the foundation of our belief.
Later on, when you are more mature, you get solid food. Solid food is not good for a baby, it would suffocate. A baby needs milk first. The same way is it with newly converted people, no Matthew r what age they are.
First there must be a good foundation, then the more in-depth studies can be studied. Some are ready for that after a few months, for others it will take years. You know for yourself when you are ready for solid food.
Last time we talked about the first part of the foundation. About Jesus Christ who was crucified. About repentance, faith in God and forgiveness. Not very exhaustive, because you could write a book about every subject, but you can go on yourself with the basic information we gave. And now we are going to look to baptism.
The Greek word is: Baptizo. That means 'immerse'. Why is the word immerse used and not 'sprinkle'? We can find the answer in the letter to the Romans, written by Paul.Romans 6:3-4
Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Baptism is an image of being buried with Christ. Under water we can't live. So, when we go under water we are actual dead, in the grave. We want to show by this that we let our old life behind us, we leave it in the grave. But that's not all. The one who baptizes lift us also out of the water, out of the grave. And that is the second part of this beautiful meaning of baptism: getting part of new life. Jesus rose from the dead, and in that way the rising up from the water grave stands for rising up from the dead. The death that ruled over us when we were without Christ. Now we can live a new life.
5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--
7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
You probably want to know how it happened that people are baptized with sprinkling of water, while speaking about adding into the covenant. When babies are baptized (sprinkled) the parents do a vow, the child doesn't say anything (it even can't). The pastor speaks about that the child is taken into the covenant.
Why is it that in some churches totally different values are used then in other churches which uses Romans 6 as base?
That is a rather complicated story and therefore not so suitable to deal with in a kind of beginners course.
I will try to summarize it in a simple way.
It has to do that the church for centuries has tought that the Jews murdered Christ and that therefore Gods covenant with the Jews is transferred to the church.
The church is in that vision 'spiritual Israel'.
In the meantime churches are coming back one by one from that dogma. They too see that it is a miracle that Israel is a nation again. In one church they openly teach that God didn't reject Israel, in the other they are not that far.
When one thought that Gods covenant with Israel went to the church, one looked how the covenant with Israel was confirmed. That was done by circumcision by boys at the age of eight. Paul was very specific about the act of circumcision with Christians, so that was not what the church wanted to do, something else must be found. They thought that baptism would be a good replacement. The child will be cleansed from the original sin and included in the covenant with God.
Those gentleman who figured this out were of course absolutely honest in their meaning, but as far as I'm concerned, and many other 'evangelicals', they were wrong.
In the New Testament we can't read something like child baptism. Baptism as mentioned in Romans 6 has to do with a personal decision. You admit that you are a sinner, you convert to God and accept that Jesus died for you on the cross. So, when you turn away from your old life (Paul calls that life in the flesh - that is earthly minded) you die spiritual. It is not possible to this by your own for God. Therefore we die in Jesus (in the likeness of his death. Romans 6:5), and we rise 'in the likeness of His resurrection'.
It is not possible for a baby to agree with this all. You have to be kind of mature to take that decision.
There is a nice story in Acts about a man of Ethiopia, who, after some explanation recognized that he had to be baptized. He asked Philip:
"36 See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? (KJV)
When you see this question and the answer that is given by Philip, you know when it is good to be baptized. Philip answers:Acts 8:37
"And Philip said, If thou believeth with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.(KJV)
(Strange enough this verse is not in the NIV!)
The Ethiopian guy was already explained what it meant: For his life was taken from the earth (we would say: That Jesus would die) as we can read in verse 33. Beyond doubt Philip explained that this have to be done by every believer, because the eunuch understand what it means to be baptized.
The churches who talk about including in the covenant, do that based on verses from Colossians 2.
" In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ,
12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead."
Because these verses speak about circumcision (which has to do with the covenant with God) as well as baptism, one thought the baptism took the place of circumcision.
Texts are sometimes difficult to read, that's why it is a good idea to take some other translations.
"The Living Bible" is a good alternative. Very good understandable English.
For real bible study the King James Version is better.
Let us read now the New Living Translation:
11 When you came to Christ, you were "circumcised," but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision-the cutting away of your sinful nature. 12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.
Also very beautifully are the next verses:
13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
This is overwhelming!
It shows fantastic how complete the dying of Jesus was. Not only for us, but also against the spiritual powers which offer resistance to God.
When we read these verses well, it is clear that they show that a personal choice has to be made and that it is not about an automatic insertion in to the covenant with God.
One says that baptism later on is confirmed with the conformation. Of course there is nothing against a public statement about your faith, but this rule is manmade and can't be find in the bible as the way we have to go.
About everything is a lot to say. In other bible studies this subject will be studied.
When you read well, you would noticed, that in Hebrew 6 the bible speaks about 'baptisms' - Plural.
We talked about one baptism, baptism by submerging. And some words about baptism by sprinkling.
The other baptism we have to study is the baptism with, or in the Holy Spirit.
Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Included in the foundation of the christian faith is a doctrine of baptism. Above we talked about the baptism of repentance and rebirth. The baptism of submergence. Dying with Jesus and being resurrected with Him.
When Peter speaks to the Jews in Acts 2 they ask him:
"Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.".
So they were baptized and got the gift of the Holy Sirit. Is that the same as being baptized in the Holy Ghost?
When we want to see this more clear we have to read some bible verses first.
Just before Jesus went to heaven He tells the disciples not to leave Jerusalem,
" but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.
5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
(The word 'with' should be translated in both cases with 'in'.)
Jesus speaks here of two baptisms. One in water and one in the Holy Spirit. Are those both the same baptism?
When you are baptized in water, are you then automatically baptized in the Holy Spirit?
No, that is not the same. When you become a believer and will be baptized, then you receive the Holy Spirit, but that is not the same as being baptized in the Holy Spirit. I will try to explain this.
At the last supper Jesus said to His disciples:
"32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." (KJV).
So, the disciples were not converted at that time. That wasn't even possible, because Jesus didn't yet die for their sins and wasn't resurrected. It was not possible for them at that moment to turn away from their old life, to die with Christ and go on in a new life with Him. When Jesus appeared to them after His resurrection He saw their faith, He knew their hearts and knew that they were converted.
"19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"
20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."
22 And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."
Jesus blows on His disciples and gave them the Holy Spirit. (In Hebrew is the word for wind and spirit the same).
In the beginning of John Jesus tells something about that:John 3:8
"8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."
Why did the disciples get, after they were converted, the Holy Spirit? Why do people who are converted get, and like Acts 2 shows us: let themselves baptized, the Holy Spirit? That answer we can find in the letter to the Ephesians.
"13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory."
When we become a believer we receive the Holy Spirit as a deposit. God has, so to speak, the contract what we have in conjunction with eternal life and the inheritance that has to do with son ship, made legal by marking it with a seal. And as we can read, that seal is the Holy Spirit.
In that beautiful chapter 8 of Romans we read more about this:
"10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you."
It will be clear, as I hope, that everyone who became a believer, received the Holy Spirit, as a seal, as a deposit, as the life giving Spirit. But that is not the same as being baptized in the Holy Spirit.
You can be a lifetime believer and received the Holy Spirit as a deposit, but not baptized in the Spirit.
Gods word says that it is sure that you will receive eternal life and the inheritance. But being baptized in the Spirit is something that gives your life an extra dimension. You are so full of Him that it overflows. So, the disciples received the Holy Spirit before Jesus went to heaven. Apparently it is possible to receive beside that, or with that, something extra: baptism in the Holy Spirit. Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem for that and He explained them what the purpose of that baptism will be:
"8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
Through that announced baptism, they would receive power to witness.
The disciples were gathered at the filthiest day (Pentecost in Greek) of the feast of Weeks in one place.
"2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them."
What was the result?
Peter stood up with the Eleven and starts boldly to witness. With great power. The result: 3000 converts! And that for a simple fisherman! He himself wasn't like that. He became like that through the Holy Spirit who had filled him. Wait a moment, in Acts 1 Jesus told them that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit and here we read that they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They opened their hearts for God. He baptized them in His Spirit. The result is that they are full of Him. It flows over. A stream of living water.
There is another thing that strikes.
There was a blowing of a violent wind that filled the whole house. The breath of God, the Spirit of God. But it was also something visible 'tongues of fire'.
Peter was not a real timid person, but now God had baptized him with the fire of His Spirit, he became fiery for God and preached fiery the message of the gospel.
And they began to speak in other tongues (you can translate that as well as: languages). It attracted attention. Those simple Gallielians spoke suddenly different languages. Very extraordinary. Especially when you count how many languages are mentioned. I count at least 15. Nevertheless they were with eleven men. Very surprising.
I think, it was not just a language-pronunciation-miracle, it was a language-hearing-miracle.
From other bible studies and from practice (as if the the bible isn't practical) I know that both possibilities can happen. Paul says something about that too, I will come back to that.
We are going to read some more bible parts which speak about baptism in the Spirit.
The more you read in the bible, the more things get clear. A little bit further on in Acts we read again something that has to do with being Spirit filled. A splendid story. You should read the whole chapter 4. I take, for now, two parts from this chapter that has to do with our subject.
"8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people!,"
Again we see Peter frankly speaking, and to make it clear that he is not doing that in his own power we read that he was filled with the Holy Spirit.
His outspokenness attended. People knew that he and John were simple people from the back country. But their witnessing was bold.
A few verses later we read another interesting text.
"31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly."
Gods Spirit was poured out there too. They were filled with the Holy Spirit. And again we read that they were boldly.
You can ask yourself, reading both verses, were the ones who were baptized before in the Spirit at Pentecost now again filled. From here it is not clear, but we can't exclude that either. With other words, you might conclude from these verses that it is possible to be filled with the Holy Spirit several times in your life.
Some chapters further in Acts we can learn again something about our subject.
For the disciples it was clear when someone was 'full of faith and of the Holy Spirit'. (Acts 6:5).
For non-christians it is hard to win in a debate with Spirit filled christians.
"9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called) --Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen,
10 but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke."
At the beginning of this part of the study I tried to make it clear that there is a difference between receiving the Holy Spirit when you become a believer and being baptized in the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 6 we read a story where it becomes clear that this is indeed the fact. Philip is a great witness for the case of God. Great miracles happen. Then we read:
"12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women."
We already learned that those people who become a believer get the Holy Spirit as a deposit. We read on in verse 14:
" When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.
15 When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.
17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit."
A magnificent text. First of course because of the story and what happened, but second to learn something from these verses.
Peter and John are going to pray that those new borne christians will receive the Holy Spirit. Apparently that is not something that happens automatically. This time God had to be asked for that. Peter and John prayed for that. Receiving of the Holy Spirit, as it is called here, is in this verse the same as being baptized in the Spirit, because, as we read here, 'they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus', that is the baptizing that has to do with being born again. New life with Jesus. When they were baptized "only" in water, because that is the baptism in the name of Jesus, then it is apparently also possible to be baptized separately in the Holy Spirit.
Then the disciples pray for them, they have to ask that from God, and laying their hands on them. They are doing that in the name of God and He fills those people, He baptizes them in the Holy Spirit. God is the baptistery, but He uses people to lay their hand onto people.
Again we move on a few chapters and we arrive at at the interesting chapter where we can read the story about Cornelius. This story too we have to read first. It is in chapter 10.
We can learn from this story that God isn't teaching us rules, He is doing His things His way. Also when it is about baptizing in the Holy Spirit.
Peter is telling the gospel again with boldness, and then
"44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.
45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.
46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said,
47 "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have."
48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days."
So, Peter was send by God to the gentiles, he went together with fellow believers (Jews who believed in the Messiah, the bible calls that kind of believers: circumcised believers because God entered into a covenant with the Israelites which was confirmed by the circumcision). By the way, according the bible everyone who is not an Israelite is a gentile. That is not meant negatively, the way we think now, but it only means: no Israelites.
This Cornelius was, although he was 'devout and God-fearing', a gentile. It is that you know things like that.
Alright, Peter speaks his boldly words again and suddenly the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.
No laying of hands on, no first baptizing in water, just whaamm!
But how did Peter and his friends know that the Holy Spirit was poured out?
We can't read about a wind or about tongues of fire. The only thing we read is: they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
This is for the believers from 'the circumcision' the prove that those 'gentiles' were baptized in the Holy Spirit.
Peter thinks it is proper to baptize them in water as well, in the name of Jesus Christ.
We read one more part from Acts and after that we will have a look at 1 Corinthians 14, where we can learn something about speaking in tongues.
Paul travels a lot, at a certain point he arrives in Ephesus.
"1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."
3 So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?" "John's baptism," they replied.
4 Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus."
5 On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
7 There were about twelve men in all."
A clear story. Three baptisms are mentioned here. To be honest I had to discus the baptism of John too when we talked about water baptism, but this baptism is not for us anymore, that's why I didn't mention it. Alright, we see here three baptisms:
- a baptism of repentance (of John),
- a baptism in the name of Jesus and
- a baptism in the Holy Spirit
In this story too it is clear that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is not an automatic baptism which happens when you become a believer. Paul placed his hand on them and undoubtedly asked God them to baptize in the Holy Spirit. The prove that they were baptized was that they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
And about that speaking in tongues and prophesying we can learn more from 1 Corinthians 14. Here too we have to read the chapter first. In this chapter there seem to be some difficult verses, but in reality they are not difficult: the speaking of women in the church. This is not our subject, so don't worry about that, we will discus this subject in a different bible study.
In this chapter Paul speaks about two gifts of the Spirit. But there are more. At this moment I will only talk about 'speaking in tongues, because this speaking in tongues has clearly something to do with being baptized in the Spirit.
Though not every story of people baptized in the Spirit is mentioning that they spoke in tongues, the majority does.
1 Corinthians 14:5
"5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues,...."
That is a particular expression of Paul. He is telling this to the Corinthians, but in fact to us too.
You can conclude from this verse
1. that all those Corinthians could speak in tongues, but they are not all doing that and
2. that all of those who can't, Paul urged them to reach out for that.
Thinking those bible verses over of this chapter I think not all Corinthians were baptized in the Spirit, so that's one reason not all are speaking in tongues.
So, you could think, and the rest of this chapter causes that, that it is Paul's desire that those Corinthians also will seek the fruits of the Spirit. So that means that they first has to be baptized in the Spirit and then reach out to the gifts of the Spirit.
Apparently it is possible that God poured out His Spirit, but that you are doing not much with it.
We go back to the bible.
1 Corinthians 14:2
"2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no-one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit.".
The speaking in tongues is evidently something that is a little bit strange. You talk, you use words, but no one can understand it. You speak a language only God understand.
On its own it is wonderful, but in the congregation it is of little use. That's why it is in the church better to prophesy, that is: speaking in understandable words, words of "strengthening, encouragement and comfort." (1 Corinthians 14:3)
1 Corinthians 14:4
Because: "4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church."
Speaking in tongues is a powerful instrument to speak to God with the result that you will 'edify' yourself. The speaking in tongues is:
1 Corinthians 14:9
" you speak unintelligible words with your tongue..."
1 Corinthians 14:14
"14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful."
Someone else (and even you) don't know what you are saying. nevertheless the bible teaches us that it is good to pray in tongues. (vs.17).
This is a difficult subject, especially when you are yet not ready for this. When you have a great desire to exalt God, to serve Him, propagate His message, to witness, to be full of His Spirit, He will lead you to that point where you want to be. He will lead you to people who can pray with you and laying on their hands to you.
Never forget: It is not people who baptize you in the Spirit. There is no one, who put that on him or give. Only God can baptize you in His Spirit. He knows when you need that. He will lead you.
In my life it took half a year before He baptized me in His Spirit. He had a reason for that. Now I can see that reason, but is was a difficult half year. Much praying. Much calling to God. Much incomprehension on my part.
God loves you and He knows your heart. He knows when you are ready for that. Don't be disappointed, don't blame God. When people pray with you and nothing happened, it will be alright. Trust His love.
Laying on of hands
The first part of the foundation has as base the sacrificing love of Jesus for us.
The second part is about becoming spiritual one with Him, being merged into His Body.
The third part has to do with doing His works on the earth through our hands.
The fourth part goes about being perfectly one with Him when we will be for ever with Him.
That last part of the foundation will be covered next, now we will speak about 'laying on of hands'.
The laying on of hands is not only mentioned in the New Testament. It is known in the Old Testament as well.
When an animal was offered, the priest layed his hands on the head of the animal to, as if, the sins were transferred from the person who sinned to the animal which will killed instead of the sinner.
An example:Leviticus 8:14
14 "He then presented the bull for the sin offering, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on its head."
But also were hands layed on to bless. Jacob e.g. does that at his grandsons:
14 "But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim's head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh's head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn. ...20 He blessed them that day"
God Himself lays His hand on people:Psalm 139:5
5 "You hem me in--behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me."
In the NT we read several times that Jesus layed His hands on people.
13 "Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.
14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there."
Jesus did this to bless the children as we can see in Mark.
16 "And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them."
Jesus didn't only bless the people by laying on of hands, but He did that too to heal people.
23 "and pleaded earnestly with him, "My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live."
5 "He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them."
40 "When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them."
It didn't stop with Jesus. He gave the believers also that possibility to laying on of hands to heal people that way.
18 "they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."
Believers may be the hands of Jesus on earth. They may pray for people for healing, laying on of hands, bless them in Jesus' name.
Ananias was send by God to heal Paul from his blindness and also to lay his hands on him so that he received the Holy Spirit.
Acts 9:12, 17
12 "In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.". ... 17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord--Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here--has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
Paul, in his turn, layed also his hands on people:
6 "When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied."
8 "His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him."
So, it is possible to bless someone with the blessing of the Lord by laying on of hands, but it is also possible to be the hands of God for healing or for baptism in the Holy Spirit.
It is also possible that someone gets special gifts by laying on of hands. I.e. knowledge of God Matthew rs, or the gift of being a shepherd in the church (we will speak about this in another bible study).
Again some examples:
1 Timothy 4:14
14 "Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you."
2 Timothy 1:6
6 " For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands."
It is of course fantastic that God uses people to be His hands here on earth. I know from experience that it often a bigger blessing for the one who is laying on his hands then it is for the one who were laid hands on. It is so wonderful to know that God want to use you, but also to be a channel by blessing others.
It turns out that it is not only possible that through your hands something good can 'flow' to the other, but it is also possible the other way around. When you lay your hands on someone and that person is full of sins and probably then also with demonic powers, then there is a chance that you will be contaminated. We're not talking about a simple touch. When you lay your hands on someone something spiritual is happening. The purpose is that God will use your hands to 'flow' a blessing or something else to that person. You can't give something yourself, it is God who works through you. But when the person by who you make a spiritual connection by laying on your hands is not a believer in Jesus, or has hidden sins and by that is separated from God, then it is not good to lay your hand on him or her.
Paul says it this way:
1 Timothy 5:22
22 "Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure."
When you have the impression that you need to lay your hands on someone, then it is good to be sure that that person has confessed his/her sins and received forgiveness. Pray with such a person and set him/her free in the name of Jesus. Let him/her ask himself/herself for forgiveness and ask the Lord to cleanse their heart, then you can lay your hands on that person and give a blessing or what ever the Lord is laying on your heart to do.
In the next bible study we will talk about the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment