Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 10023

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10023. 'And Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the young bull' means a representative sign of the reception of goodness and truth in the natural or external man. This is clear from the meaning of 'laying hands on' as transmitting what is one's own to another, the reason why reception too is meant being that what is transmitted is received by another; from the meaning of 'the head' as the whole, dealt with in 10011; and from the meaning of 'the young bull' as the good of innocence and charity in the external or natural man, dealt with in 9391, 10021. The reason why 'laying the hand on' means transmission and reception is that by 'the hands' is meant power and since this power is the capacity to act, whatever resides with a person, thus the entire person engaged in action, is also meant by 'the hands', see the places referred to in 10019; and by 'laying on' is meant transmission on the part of the one who lays them on and reception on the part of the person on whom or thing on which they are laid. From this it is evident what 'laying the hand on' meant among the ancients, namely the transmission and transference of whatever thing it was that they had in mind, and also the reception of it by another, whether it was power, obedience, blessing, or testimony.

[2] The fact that 'laying the hand on' meant power is clear from the following places in Moses,

Jehovah told Moses to lay his hand on Joshua and to set him before Eleazar the priest in front of the whole congregation, and thereby place some of his glory on him, that all the congregation might be obedient to him. Num 27:18-20.

'Laying his hand on' here, it is evident, means a transmission and transference of power that Moses had, and the reception of it by Joshua. Therefore it says that he would thereby put some of his glory on him.

[3] In the same author,

It was commanded, when the Levites were to be purified and the priestly function under Aaron was to be assigned to them, that two young bulls together with a minchah should be brought forward, and that Aaron should bring the Levites before Jehovah. And the children of Israel were to lay their hands on the Levites, and the Levites were to lay their hands on the heads of the young bulls, one of which was to be offered as a sacrifice, the other as a burnt offering. And in this way were they to separate the Levites from among the children of Israel, and the Levites would be Jehovah's. Num 8:7-14.

The laying of hands on the Levites by the children of Israel was a sign of the transference of power to the Levites to minister on their behalf, and a sign of the reception of that power by the Levites, thus a sign of the separation of the Levites. And the laying of hands on the heads of the young bulls by the Levites was a sign of the transference of that power to Jehovah, that is, the Lord. This is why it says that in that way were they to be separated from among the children of Israel and were to be Jehovah's.

[4] In the same author,

After the children of Israel had confessed their sins Aaron was to lay both his hands on the head of the live he-goat Asasel, and he was to confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their sins; and he was to put them on the goat's head, and send it into the wilderness. Lev 16:21.

Laying hands on the he-goat, it is self-evident, meant the transmission and transference of all the iniquities and sins of the children of Israel onto that goat, and its reception of them, 'the wilderness' into which the goat was sent being hell. Lev 24:14 required that the witnesses and all who had heard should lay their hands on him who was to be stoned. This action was a sign that the witness borne by them had been transmitted and transferred to him, and once it was received he was delivered up to death.

[5] In the same author,

A person who brings from the herd or from the flock a burnt offering as a gift to Jehovah shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering; then it will be received with pleasure from him, to make expiation for him. Lev 1:2-4.
The hand had in like manner to be laid on the head of a gift offered as a sacrifice, Lev 3:1,2,8,13.
A priest was required to do the same thing if he had sinned, and so were the elders, or the whole congregation, and also a leader if he had sinned; and any ordinary persona was required to do the same thing if he had sinned, Lev 4:4,15,24,29. Laying their hands on the burnt offering or on the sacrifice was a sign of all the worship of the one presenting the offering. That is to say, it was a sign of the acknowledgement of sins, confession, and consequent purification, and a sign of the implantation of goodness and truth, thus of being joined to the Lord, all of which was brought about by transmission, transference, and reception. By transference and reception that which is meant by 'bearing iniquities', dealt with in 9937, 9938, should be understood.

[6] Since the laying-on of hands was a sign of transmission, transference, and reception, one may recognize what the laying-on of hands means in Matthew,

A ruler came to Jesus and said, My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live. Jesus went in, took her hand, and the girl arose. Matt 9:18,19,25.

In Mark,

Jesus laid hands on the blind man's eyes, and he was restored. Mark 8:25.

In the same gospel,

They brought a deaf man to Jesus, that He might lay His hand on him. Taking him aside from the people He put His finger into his ears and touched his tongue, and his powers of hearing were opened. Mark 7:32,33,35.

In Luke,

There was a woman bent right over owing to a spirit of infirmity. Jesus laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straightb. Luke 13:11,13.

In Mark,

Jesus laid hands on the weak and healed them. Mark 6:5.

[7] In these places it is evident that when the Lord laid His hand on people, and also when He touched them, the meaning was the transmission and reception of Divine power. The fact that these things are meant is perfectly clear in Mark,

A certain woman came behind and touched Jesus' garment, saying, If I touch merely His garment I shall be healed. And immediately she was healed of the affliction. And Jesus perceived within Himself that power had gone out of Him. Mark 5:27-30.

In Luke,

The woman, touching Jesus' garment, was healed. Jesus said, Someone touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me. Luke 8:44,46.

And in the same gospel,

The entire crowd sought to touch Jesus, because power went out from Him and healed them all. Luke 6:19.

[8] From this it is evident what 'touching with the hand' and 'touching with the finger' mean, and also what the following words in the same gospel mean,

Jesus came and touched the coffin in which the dead man was; and the bearers stood still. Then He said, Young man, I say to you, Arise. And the dead man sat up and began to speak. Luke 7:14,15.

It is also evident what laying His hands on children and young children means. Laying them on children is described in Matthew,

Children were brought to Jesus that He might lay His hands on them. Jesus said, Let the children be and do not forbid them to come to Me; of such is the kingdom of heaven. And He laid His hands on them. Matt 19:13-15.

And laying His hands on young children is spoken of in Mark,

Jesus took the young children up in His arms, and put His hands on them, and blessed them. Mark 10:16.

This laying of His hand on children and on young children likewise means the transmission and reception of Divine power, enabling a person's interiors to be healed, which is salvation.

[9] The meaning of touch by the use of the hands has its origin in representatives in the next life. People there whose states of life are dissimilar appear far removed from one another, whereas those whose states of life are similar appear living in association with one another; and those who touch one another there transmit their state of life to another. If this is done by the use of the hands the whole of their life is transmitted, for as stated above, by the hands, by virtue of their correspondence, is meant power, which is a human being's capacity to act, thus whatever resides with a person. Such representatives occur in the world of spirits, but they do so as a result of influx from heaven, where only the ties associating people as to affections for goodness and truth are perceived.


a lit. every soul
b The Latin means He healed [her], but the Greek, also what appears in Sw.'s rough draft, means she was made straight.

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