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Under the old covenant the laying on of hands identified the sinner with the sin offering. Le 4:24 and he hath laid his hand on the head of the goat, and hath slaughtered it in the place where he doth slaughter the burnt-offering before Jehovah; it is a sin-offering. The one who laid hands on the sin-offering was in a sense putting his sins on the victim - goat whose shed blood would afford the one offering the sin-offering expiation from sin. The sin-offering presented was a type of Christ - God's anointed one, whose shed blood cleanses us from every sin. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin, thus we see that Adam was forgiven for his sin, when God covered him with the skins of animals who blood was obviously shed for that to happen. Again, the skins were a type of the one who was to come as mentioned in Gen:3:15, who would upon his death on the tree where his blood was shed in order that all humanity might be reconciled to God and that the sins of all those who come to believe in the one whom He has sent will have the forgiveness of sins. 1Jo 1:7 and if in the light we may walk, as He is in the light — we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son doth cleanse us from every sin; Examples of the laying on of hands in the NT: Ac 8:17 then were they laying hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. Ac 8:18 And Simon, having beheld that through the laying on of the hands of the apostles, the Holy Spirit is given, brought before them money, 1Ti 4:14 be not careless of the gift in thee, that was given thee through prophecy, with laying on of the hands of the eldership; 1Ti 5:22 Be laying hands quickly on no one, nor be having fellowship with sins of others; be keeping thyself pure; Heb 6:2 of the teaching of baptisms, of laying on also of hands, of rising again also of the dead, and of judgment age-during, In some cases it had to do with people receiving the holy spirit, in others it had to do with putting someone into the position of responsibility in the assembly.
This "formed at an early period a part of the ceremony observed on the appointment and consecration of persons to high and holy undertakings;" (and in the Christian Church was especially used in setting apart men to the ministry and to other holy offices. It is a symbolical act expressing the imparting of spiritual authority and power. --ED.)
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