Is the anointing tangible and transferable; can we impart it?
Hebrews 6:1-3 “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”
The laying on of hands has become an enlarged subject because of its use in the church today. The Bible considers it part of the ABC’s of doctrine along with repentance and baptism.
In the Old Testament It was a symbolic act accompanying a prayer for a blessing, at other times it was accompanied the word of prophecy being spoken or to affirm one into ministry. There is no Biblical basis for associating laying on of hands with a transmission of a mantle or transferring the anointing from one person to another.
It is found in the book of Acts as the practice to commission someone into ministry. The laying on of hands has become a Pentecostal tradition that is removed from its original meaning in Scripture. Touching people on the forehead or chest so they fall is considered a sign of the power of the Holy Spirit. But none of this is found in the Acts of the apostles or taught in the Epistles that instructed the church.
Paul writes--1Timothy 4:14: “Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.” In other words, God spoke what he was doing in Timothy and they approved of him into ministry even though he was young. What was this gift? The previous verse tells us V.13-Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.”
Paul laying hands on Timothy was not with the intention to pass on a gift or power or result in the abnormal behaviour as we see today ‘It affirmed the gift they saw working in him which resulted in his appointment to be a pastor. Timothy came under attack as a young pastor and Paul had to reaffirm to him in 2 Timothy 1:6-7 “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” In other words he should not cave under pressure from others because of his youth, he was approved by God and through the apostles.
What does this have to do with what we see today? Next to nothing. What we see are people lined up as the anointer comes to lay hands on people in line or sporadically wanders through the audience touching them to pass on what he has.
Yet Paul counseled Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:21-22 :“Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people's sins; keep yourself pure.” Timothy was to lay hands on people as approval for their call into ministry, but he must make sure.
A power called the “anointing” is being transferred by the touch of one person to another, however, the message of the Christian faith was to be spread by teaching from one to another. One is subjective and the other is objective.
Paul instructs timothy ‘And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.’ (2 Timothy 2.2) True spiritual growth comes through the testing of our faith, by our consistent reading, understanding and applying the Word in our lives. NOT by an impartation or a experience at a special meeting. Those who promise a quick transformation from a touch or impartation, are not delivering the truth that is taught in the Bible.
Many today are taught to get an impartation from the anointed preacher. There is no need when Scripture states we all have the same standing before God; all believers have the same Holy Spirit and Christ as our mediator. We can all receive from Jesus, who is the one we should all be seeking. Going to a certain person or meeting to seek an anointing by impartation is unbiblical. No other person is to be our mediator to receive the Holy Spirit. Whenever men become mediators, Christ’s teachings diminish and men’s teachings increase. We are then giving them, not the Lord control over our lives.
Laying hands on the sick to pray is not the same as imparting the spirit and watching them buckle.
A ‘transferable anointing’ is not seen nor practiced anywhere in Scripture. We also find that the Apostles did not rush around laying hands on people to impart an experience of ‘fire’ or power. They did not chant words over and over and expect a immediate response. The impartations done today that come through certain men are not the true anointing, who is the Spirit of God. Only God can give the Spirit; Jesus is the baptizer of the Holy Spirit, not man. Man cannot control God- there is no teaching on how to obtain or release the anointing to another.
Acts 8 is an interesting passage in which Philip preaches in Samaria and many people are saved, but Peter has to come from Jerusalem to lay hands on the people so that they might receive the Holy Spirit. When Simon the Sorcerer sees something spiritual happened and he offered to pay for the ability to pass on the Spirit to others. Acts 8:19-20 "Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit."
One wonders what would be the difference of today’s signs and wonders preachers that claim this ability. Peter said ‘Your money perish with you because you thought the gift of God could be purchased with money. … Repent therefore of this your wickedness and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned with bitterness and bound by iniquity.’ (Acts 8.22-23).
Corinthians reads ‘Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God who has also sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.’ We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit living inside us. 1 John 2.27: ‘These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things and is true and is not a lie and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.’ The anointing who is the Holy Spirit is in us, it is He who guides us into the truth so we can glorify the Lord Jesus (John 1613-15). We certainly are not glorifying the Lord when we go to men to get the Holy Spirit, it is a lack of understanding and a lack of faith.