Laying on of Hands Not Only Way to Bless
The laying on of hands is not the only way to bless someone, there are other ways to bless. For example, you may bless by speaking only but for this writing our focus will be on laying on of hands which employ both speaking and the laying on of hands on the head.
The laying on of hands is a religious practice made popular in the New Testament era by Jesus Christ. This practice is an ancient one going as far back into the Old Testament as the Book of Genesis. Men of God “lay hands” for many reasons one of the first recorded and most popular is to bless someone.
According to Genesis 48:1-22, Joseph went to visit his father, Jacob or Is-ra-el, and took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, with him to see their grandfather and for him to bless them.
In blessing someone the person speaking the blessing -Blessor- lay his right hand on the head of the person being blessed -Blessee- and speak the Words of God over his life. Both the right and the left hand maybe used for blessings. However, if one person is being blessed, it is customary to utilize one hand, the right hand. It is placed on top of the head of the Blessee and the pronouncement is made.
Laying on of Hands – Blessing First Born Male
In another instance, if two persons are being blessed simultaneously the procedure is the same. This was the case with Joseph’s two sons. However, it is customary to bless the first born male using the right hand. For example, Is-ra-el went against traditions and customs when he blessed his two grand sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. He request Joseph, ”bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them,”(Genesis 48:9). Joseph, being aware of the procedure for blessing of the first born, steered his sons as he did, “and Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Is-ra-el’sleft hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near unto him,” (Genesis 48:13).
But Is-ra-el, as a prophet of God was doing God’s will. He “wittingly” crossed his hands to form an “X” and blessed the younger, Ephraim, with his right hand and Manasseh with his left (Genesis 48:14). This “displeased” Joseph who attempted to correct the “error” by placing his father’s right hand on Manasseh’s head but his father refused to comply, (Genesis 48:17). “And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head,” (Genesis 48:18). But Is-ra-el told Joseph he knew Manasseh is the first born but this is God’s way, not ours, (Genesis 49:18). As a prophet of God Is-ra-el knew the future of his grandsons.
Manasseh, being the first born should be blessed by the laying of Jacob’s right hand on his head. This is usually done to bestow a double portions of the father’s or (grand father in this case) blessing on the first born male for he is considered as the beginning of his father’s strength. The first born usually receive twice as much of his father’s wealth as his younger siblings.
The Laying on of Hands Impartations
When Is-ra-el laid his hands on the heads of his two grandsons and blessed them he was representing God. The Lord had blessed Is-ra-el and made him a promise, (Genesis 48:3-4; 32:24-32). Now Is-ra-el was old and his sons too and the promise of God was not fulfilled. By the laying on of his hands the prophet of God was imparting God’s promise to him to his posterity. This blessing, therefore, is a transference of God’s blessings and promises to his future generations by the laying on of hands. The next generation, his grand children would become bearers and keepers of God’s promise to their fore-parents.
Israel’s Blessing by Laying on of Hands
Is-ra-el blessed his two grandsons saying, “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”, (Genesis 48:16). “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,” (Genesis 48:20).
A careful examination of Is-ra-el’s blessing will reveal that his blessing was not his but God’s. The words Is-ra-el spoke over the “lads” heads and life were the same words God spoke over his life. This proves that Is-ra-el was merely passing on the blessing to his posterity by the laying on of his hands and speaking God’s Words of promise. Secondly, he asked the angel which blessed him to “bless the lads,” so God was doing the blessings.
Spiritual Birth Order Changed by Is-ra-el’s Laying on of Hands
Finally, Is-ra-el, God’s prophet, in blessing his two grandsons changed the spiritual order of their birth. Recall, Manasseh was born then Ephraim, (Genesis 48:1). But when he declared ”…God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh” he in effect changed their spiritual birth order “and he set Ephraim before Manasseh,” (Genesis 48:20). Then he blessed them giving to Ephraim the greater blessing. Since then, in Scriptures, whenever a spiritual reference is made concerning greatness or prominence of Manasseh and Ephraim, Ephraim is placed before Manasseh, (Genesis 50:23; Numbers 1:10; Deuteronomy 33:17 and Joshua 17:17).
This was God’s doing. As a grandfather, Is-ra-el did not know his grandsons’ future but as a prophet of God he knew their destiny because he saw as God saw. It is for this reason he was able to bless Ephraim saying, “but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations,” (Genesis 48:10).
In closing, one of the best things you can do for each of your children (soon after birth) is bless him personally, then have a Spirit filled born again man of God, preferably a pastor bless each child also. This act of blessing and laying on of hands of the “presbytery” placed your child under the “government” of the kingdom of heaven and gives his life Divine direction and protection.
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