My name is Solomon Keal. I am a minister for the General Church of the New Jerusalem, which is a Swedenborgian Christian denomination. These are some of my thoughts about the Lord, the symbolic meanings in the Bible, life after death, faith, charity, usefulness, loving the Lord and one's neighbor, the 2nd Coming, Swedenborg's Writings, and other theological stuff.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Laying on of Hands

In my devotional reading I just read this passage in Numbers: "And you shall bring the Levites before the tabernacle of meeting, and you shall gather together the whole assembly of the children of Israel. So you shall bring the Levites before the Lord, and the children of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites. ... After that the Levites shall go in to service the tabernacle of meeting." (Numbers 8:9,10,15)

Also in Secrets of Heaven: "It was similar with the laying on of hands when men were being consecrated, as the people did to the Levites, Num. 8:9, 10, 12, ... - the purpose being to confer power. And this is why in our own times the ceremonies of ordination and of blessing are accompanied by the laying on of hands." (AC 878.7)

I thought it was cool that the 'ordination' process for these Levites to work in the Tabernacle was accomplished by the laying on of hands from the congregation rather than from Moses or Aaron or the priests. Wouldn't that be a neat tradition for the ordination of our own ministers? To have members of the congregation lay their hands on the new minister.


  1. In the Swedenborgian Church of North America AKA Convention, ordinations involve the laying on of hands by members of the congregation that the candidate has selected, as well as family and anyone else significant, even if not part of the congregation. This is all in addition to the part played by the Ordaining Minister of Convention. It's very powerful!

  2. Are you not confusing the ordination of a Minister with his installation in the congregation?
    The ordination is sealed with the laying on of hands by another Minister/Elder. (1Tim. 4.14: neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.) The passage you refer to in Numbers supports the installation of an officer in the Church and. I believe it would be an excellent tradition representing the acceptance of the whole congregation's support of the Elder/Minister's or Deacons new authority over them.

  3. Different denominations have different traditions and ceremonies based on how they interpret the Bible. This is all part of the wonderful variety in the ways that we can worship. It's interesting to note that in Exodus chapter 29, the part that actually describes how to consecrate a priest, no part of the ceremony includes the laying on of hands. There is anointing, but no laying on of hands. So in some ways, maybe the laying on of hands is more appropriate for the 'installation into the congregation' as you say, than for the actual ordination or consecration of the priest. However in our denomination we do use the ceremony of the laying on of hands from the 'ordaining priest' to ordain a new minister.