Derek Prince - Examples Of Laying On Of Hands In The Old Testament
Now let’s look at some examples, first of all, from the Old Testament. We’ll turn to Genesis 48 and read from verse 8 through verse 19 which is a very, very interesting passage. In this passage Joseph brings his two sons to his father Jacob, who is also called Israel, for Jacob to bless his grandsons. And let me say second to the blessing of God Himself I think the most desired blessing is the blessing of a father or a grandfather. I would say to all of you, especially you younger people if by any means possible, obtain your father’s blessing on whatever you do. It is very, very important. It’s second only to the blessing of God Himself. You will see in the Bible great importance was attached to a father’s blessing. So here we are in verse 8: Then Israel, that is Jacob, saw Joseph’s sons and said, Who are these? And Joseph said, These are my sons whom God has given me in this place, that’s Egypt. And he said, that’s Jacob Please bring them to me and I will bless them.
Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age so that he could not see. Then Joseph brought them near him and he kissed them and embraced them. And Israel, that’s Jacob, said to Joseph, I had not thought to see your face but in fact God has also shown me your offspring. If there's one thing that moves me to tears, it's the faithfulness of God. It’s not grief, it’s not sorrow, but every time I contemplate the faithfulness of God I’m overcome with tears. So Joseph brought them from beside his knees and he bowed down with his face to the earth. Notice the respect that the people in the Bible showed for parents and for the elderly. And Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand towards Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh with his left hand towards Israel’s right hand, and brought them near him. Then Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim’s head who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head guiding his hands knowingly for Manasseh was the firstborn.
Normally, the firstborn would receive the greater blessing and that would be transmitted by the right hand. And Joseph specially arranged that Manasseh, who was the elder was to come opposite Jacob’s right hand. But Jacob, prompted by the Holy Spirit, crossed his hands and laid his right hand on Ephraim and his left hand on Manasseh. He blessed Joseph and said, God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has fed me all my life long to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all evil. You know where that happened? When Jacob met the angel at Peniel that was what he was referring to. The angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; let my name be named upon them and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. Can you see also how important it is to transmit a name?
So many of these things are just going out of fashion today but they’ve never gone out of fashion with God. Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim it displeased him. So he took hold of his father’s hand to remove it to Manasseh’s head. And Joseph said to his father, Not so, my father! For this one is the firstborn, put your right hand on his head. But his father refused and said, I know, my son, I know; he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great. But truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations. So he blessed them that day, saying: By you Israel will bless, saying, May God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh. And thus he set Ephraim before Manasseh. That’s a very vivid scene, isn’t it?
You see, it’s very precise. It was understood that the greater blessing would come from the father’s right hand. But it was so real that there was a real transmission of something, it was just not a formality. It wasn’t just for ceremony, it was a vital transaction in the lives of two young men, Ephraim and Manasseh. It really determined their destiny from then onwards. So let us never underestimate the significance and the importance of laying on of hands when it’s done by the Holy Spirit. And then we’ll look in Numbers 27, where we find that Moses was telling the Lord it’s time to appoint the leader who’s to follow me. Moses knew that he would not go into the Promised Land but he was very, very concerned about the people of God, Israel.
And so Moses said to the Lord in Numbers 27:15: We will look at verse 15. Then Moses spoke to the Lord, saying, Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation. I think that’s significant, He’s the God of the spirits of all flesh. He’s the God who knows the spirit of every person. He sees into the innermost depth of human character. Let the God of the spirits of all flesh set a man over the congregation who may go out before them and go in before them who may lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be like sheep which have no shepherd. And the whole Bible tells us from beginning to end that sheep without a shepherd will be scattered and will become a prey. It's a message that runs consistently throughout the Bible. Let me suggest to you that unless circumstances are very unusual, each of you should have a human shepherd who will watch over your soul and care for you - very, very important.
We’ll come back to that a little later as we study some other things. So, how did the Lord respond? The Lord said to Moses, Take Joshua the son of Nun with you a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him. Set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation and commission him in their sight and you shall give some of your authority to him. I like that. Not all of your authority because Moses had unique authority. But a good portion of your authority because he’s going to need it. You shall give some of your authority to him that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. He shall stand before Eleazar, the Priest, who shall inquire before the Lord for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word, that’s Joshua’s word, they shall go out and at his word they shall come in, both he and all the children of Israel with him. All the congregation.
So Moses did as the Lord commanded. He took Joshua and set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation. And he laid his hands on him and commissioned him just as the Lord had commanded by the hand of Moses. The congregation had to see this transmission of authority from Moses, the one whom they followed for forty years to his successor. It was a vital transaction for the well being of all of God’s people. Furthermore, it was not just a ceremony something really happened to Joshua. In Deuteronomy 34 we have this interesting comment. Deuteronomy 34:9. It says: Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the Spirit of wisdom for Moses laid his hands on him. So you see what he received from the laying on of hands? He received the Spirit of wisdom. It was not just a formality, not just a ceremony, it was a real transaction.
Let’s go to one other example in the Old Testament which is in 2 Kings 13. It’s the closing scene, really, in the ministry of Elisha. And yet, it wasn’t really a closing scene because Elisha died and was buried and then a band of raiders came in to invade Israel and the men who were going to bury another just had to dump the man in Elisha’s sepulcher and run off. When the dead man touched the bones of Elisha he came to life. That’s something, isn’t it? How wonderful it is that God’s power can be transferred in so many strange ways. Let’s read here in 2 Kings 13:14: And Elisha had become sick of the illness of which he would die. This is so, what would I say it’s not what you would expect. He died of a sickness and yet his bones were so charged with God's power that when a dead man contacted his bones he came alive. You can’t explain that. There are some thing you can't explain Let me just tell you something that happend because I’m tired of people trying to account for everything that God does.
In South Africa some years ago, Ruth and I were ministering in an Assembly of God Church and the associate pastor, a young man, had been playing squash had fallen and broken his arm in four places. He came for prayer and I said, This sounds strange but I’m going to check your legs. Because this is what God has shown me to do. And if your legs are unequal, the short leg will grow out and you’ll know that God has touched you. Then I said, be very careful to thank God for it. So, you see, when people have a real need they’ll do strange things they wouldn’t do at other times. And so he went through this ceremony, I held his leg, it grew out. I knew God had touched him. He went back to the doctor and was X-rayed. This is the thing I cannot explain. There had been four breaks in his arm. Three of them were perfectly healed, the fourth was still a break. The senior pastor said to me, Explain that. I said: I can’t explain it. I could say he had seventy-five percent faith but that would be a very unconvincing explanation.
So, I’m so tired of people knowing everything that God has done and being able to explain it all. There are lots of things that God does I can’t explain. I’m quite content to leave them with God. Anyhow, we go on with this story. Joash, the king of Israel, came down to Elisha and wept over his face and said: O my father, my father, the chariots of Israel and their horsemen. That was the same thing that Elisha himself had said to Elijah when he was taken up in the chariot. And that contains a message, really for all of us. A man who really knows God can be the defense of a nation. He can be stronger than an army. And Joash, who was not a particularly godly king, recognized what Elisha meant to his people. Elisha said, Take a bow and some arrows.’ So he took himself a bow and some arrows. Then he said to the king of Israel: Put your hand on the bow.
So he, the king, put his hand on the bow and Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands. And he said: Open the east window, which was the direction of Syria, the enemy of Israel, and he opened it. And Elisha said, shoot, and he shot. And he said: The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance and the arrow of deliverance from Syria, for you must strike the Syrians at Aphek till you have destroyed them. And we find out that he struck with the arrows three times and three times Joash defeated the Syrians. Elisha was angry with him because he should have struck more times. But what I want to bring out is it was the putting of Elisha’s hands on the hands of the king when he held the bow that made it effective. Again it’s in the supernatural realm but it shows that something real can take place when one person lays hands on another.