The expression, “the hand of God,” is frequently used in the Bible, and with a wide range of meaning. For instance, it is used to signify God’s eternal purpose and executive power (Acts 4:28, 30) ; His providential bounty and goodness (Psal. 104:28): His mighty power to preserve and defend (John 10: 28,29) ; His sovereign power (Psal. 31:15) ; His help (Neh 2:8, Psal. 74:11) ; His favor (Luke 1:66) ; His spirit (1st Kings 18:46, Ezek 1:3, 37:1); His providence (1st Chron. 29:16, Job. 2:10).
By the laying on of hands, priests were consecrated, ministers were ordained, and special gifts conferred on individuals (Num. 8:10, Acts 6:6, 13:3, 1st Tim. 4:14). At the command of God, Moses, by the laying on his hands appointed Joshua his successor (Num. 27:18). The Apostles, through the laying on of hands, conferred the Holy Ghost on those who had been baptized (Acts 8:17, 19:6).
If you will study the manner in which Jesus used His hands in healing and the directions which He gave His disciples for using them for the same purpose, you will, probably, get an enlarged idea of the importance and place which Jesus intended the laying on of hands should have among His followers. Jesus Himself healed the sick by laying His hands upon them: “He laid His hands on a few sick folk, and healed them” (Mark 6:5). “Now, when the sun was setting all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto Him and He laid His hands on every one of them, and healed them” (Luke 4:40); “And He laid His hands on her and immediately she was made straight and glorified God” (Mark 13:13).
Apparently the use of His hands was commonly regarded as a regular part of His procedure, for Jairus said to Him, “My little daughter lieth at the point of death ; I pray Thee, come and lay Thy hands on her that she may be healed; and she shall live” (Mark 5:23).
After commanding His disciples to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,” Jesus declared, “these signs shall follow them that believe; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18).
That these were not mere idle words from the mouth of Jesus is shown by the fact that it was through the laying on of the hands of Ananias that Paul received his sight after he had been smitten with blindness while on his way to Damascus (Acts 9:17). And Paul also healed in the same manner: “And it came to pass that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux, to whom Paul entered in and prayed and lay his hands on him and healed him” (Acts 28:8).
We have quoted only a few of the many passages in the Bible (Cruden’s Concordance gives more than 500 such) in which the hand is used as an instrument in conveying some thought of blessing or in healing.
But they are sufficient to show that both the prophets and Jesus understood the power of the hand and made an extensive and varied use of it.
Jesus even made healing by the laying on of hands one of the tests of the genuineness of the belief in Him of those who profess to follow His teachings (Mark 16:18). It is not strange, therefore, that the hand has played an important part in Christian literature and in the symbolism and ceremonies of the church, but under the influence of the words and example of the prophets and of Jesus, is it not strange that Christian people have not further developed this instinctive idea that the hand is the means for blessing and help?
From the time of Edward the Confessor to the reign of Queen Anne, the English and French rulers “Touched” and cured thousands of sufferers from scrofula.
Although the hand as a means for expressing conscious thought is most important, it is far more important as a means for impressing and awakening response from the unconscious mind.
It is the unconscious mind that must be aroused in all healing, for it is upon its actions that all healing depends. The unconscious mind, or the healing mind—God’s healing power in man—is the only healer of the ills of man.
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