Spiritual Meaning of
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That by laying on the hand is signified communication and reception, is because by the hand is signified power, and as this is the activity of life, by the hand is also signified whatever pertains to man, thus the whole man in so far as he is acting (AC 10019); and by the laying on is signified communication in respect to him who lays on, and reception in respect to him, or to that, on which it is laid. From this is plain what was signified by the laying on of the hand among the ancients, namely, the communication and transfer of that which was being dealt with, and also its reception by another, whether it was power, or obedience, or blessing, or testification.
 That by the laying on of the hand was signified power, is evident from the following passages in Moses:--
Jehovah said unto Moses, that he should lay his hand upon Joshua, and should set him in the presence of Eleazar the priest before the whole assembly, and thus should give of his glory upon him, and all the assembly should obey him (Num. 27:18-20);
that by to lay on the hand is here signified the communication and transfer of the power which Moses had, and its reception by Joshua, is plain; and hence it is said that thus he should give of his glory upon him.
 In the same:--
When the Levites were purified, and the ministry of the priesthood under Aaron was committed to them, it was commanded that two bullocks should be brought with a meat-offering, and that Aaron should bring the Levites before Jehovah, and the sons of Israel should lay their hands upon the Levites, and the Levites should lay their hands upon the heads of the bullocks, one of which was to be offered for a sacrifice, the other for a burn-offering; and in this way they were to separate the Levites from the midst of the sons of Israel, and they should be Jehovah's (Num. 8:7-14);
that the sons of Israel were to lay their hands upon the Levites signified the transfer of the power of ministering for them, and its reception by the Levites, thus separation; and by the Levites laying hands upon the head of the bullocks was signified the transfer of this power to Jehovah, that is, to the Lord. Therefore it is said that in this way they should be separated from the midst of the sons of Israel, and should be Jehovah's.
 In the same:--
After the sons of Israel had confessed their sins, then Aaron was to lay both his hands upon the head of the living goat Asasel, and was to confess over him all the iniquities of the sons of Israel, and all their sins, and was to put them upon the head of the goat, and send him Into the wilderness (Lev. 16:21);
that the laying on of the hands upon the goat signified the communication and transfer of all the iniquities and sins of the sons of Israel, and their reception by the goat, is plain; the wilderness whither the goat was to be sent denotes hell. That the witnesses and all who heard were to lay their hands upon him who was to be stoned (Lev. 24:14), signified testification so communicated and transferred, which being received, the man was adjudged to death.
 In the same:--The man who bringeth from the herd or from the flock a burnt-offering for a gift to Jehovah shall lay the hand on the head of the burnt-offering; then it shall be received from him with good pleasure, to expiate him (Lev. 1:2-4). In like manner upon the head of the gift that was for sacrifice (Lev. 3:1, 2, 8, 13). In like manner was the priest to do if he sinned In like manner the elders In like manner the whole congregation. Also the chief if he sinned. And in like manner every soul that sinned. (Lev. 4:4, 15, 24, 29). By the laying on of their hand upon the burnt-offering and upon the sacrifice was signified all the worship of him who offered, namely, the acknowledgment of sins, confession, the consequent purification, the implantation of good and truth, thus conjunction with the Lord, all of which were effected by communication, transfer, and reception. By transfer and reception is meant that which is signified by bearing iniquities (AC 9937, 9938).
 As communications, transfers, and receptions were signified by the laying on of hands, it may be known what is signified by the laying on of hands in the following passages:--
The chief came to Jesus and said, My daughter is even now dead, but come and lay Thy hand upon her, then she shall live. Jesus entered in, and took her hand, and the damsel arose (Matt. 9:18, 19, 25).
Jesus laid His hand upon the eyes of the blind man, and he was restored (Mark 8:25).
They bring unto Jesus one that was deaf, that He should lay His hand on him; and He taking him from the people put His finger into his ears, and touched his tongue, and his hearings were opened (Mark 7:32, 33, 35).
A woman was bowed down with a spirit of Infirmity, and Jesus laid hands on her, and healed her (Luke 13:11, 13).
Jesus laid hands on the sick, and healed them (Mark 6:6).
 By the laying on of the hand by the Lord, and also by His touching, is here signified the communication and reception of Divine power, as is clearly manifest in these passages:--
A certain woman came behind, and touched the garment of Jesus, saying, If I touch but His garment, I shall be healed; and immediately she was healed of the plague and Jesus knew in Himself that power was gone forth from Him (Mark 5:27-30).
A woman touching the garment of Jesus was healed; and Jesus said, Some one hath touched Me; for I knew that power had gone forth from Me (Luke 8:44, 46).
The whole crowd sought to touch Jesus, because power went forth from Him, and healed all (Luke 6:19).
 From this is plain what is signified by touching with the hand or finger; and also what in the same:--
Jesus came nigh and touched the bier in which the dead man was, and the bearers stood still. Then He said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak (Luke 7:14, 15).
And what by the laying on of the hand upon children and upon babes - upon children, in Matthew:--
There were brought unto Jesus children, that He should lay His hands upon them. Jesus said, Suffer the children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me; for of such is the kingdom of the heavens. And He laid His hands on them (Matt. 19:13-15);
and upon babes, in Mark:--
Jesus took babes upon His arms, and put His hands upon them, and blessed them (Mark 10:16).
By the laying on of the hand upon children and upon babes is here also signified the communication and reception of Divine power, through which is the healing of the interiors, which is salvation.
 That such things are signified by touching, which is done with the hands, has its origin from the representatives in the other life, where they who are in an unlike state of life appear removed to a distance, but they who are in a like state appear consociated; and in that life those who touch each other communicate the state of their life to each other. If this is done by the hands, everything of the life is communicated, because by the hands, as above said, from the correspondence, is signified power, which is the active of life; thus whatever pertains to anyone. Such representatives come forth in the world of spirits, but they are effected by influx from heaven, where there are perceived nothing but consociations in respect to the affections of good and truth.
from AC 10023
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|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|