We see today the rather absurd
phenomenon of people claiming to have spiritual authority and anointing,
primarily by giving themselves titles and publishing advertisements about
their activities in social media.
The Hebrew concept in the Law, Prophets and New Covenant is quite
different. Authority and anointing come from God, and are passed on to
people together with the personal affirmation of those involved.
In Numbers 27:18-19 we see Moses hearing instruction from God, to lay
hands on Joshua and impart into him a measure of the glory of God that
was already on Moses.
In Acts 13:2-3 at Antioch, we see a similar process in which the saints
pray, fast, and through the leading of the Holy Spirit, lay hands on
Paul and Barnabas to impart to them the anointing and authority to do
the mission set before them.
Both of these passages include the laying on of hands. The Hebrew root
of this idea is Sa-Ma-Kh,
In the causative form this means to "impart by the laying of hands".
In the simple form it means to "trust".
In the passive form it means to "be based upon" or even "lean on".
In the adjective form it means "close to" or "connected".
In the noun form it means "authority" and "ordination".
In a modern form it can mean "authorized" or "official document".
The recognizing of spiritual ordination involves a personal process in
which trust is demonstrated and earned. There must be two groups or
types of people involved in ordaining someone (I Timothy 4:14; II Timothy
The first is the "older" people, veterans in the faith, who impart the
type of authority and anointing that they already have. The second is
the people who are receiving blessing from the person being ordained,
who affirm that they trust in him. The "veterans" impart, and the
second group of people affirm.
[In my own case, for example, the "imparting" elders have included Ari
Sorkoram, Dan Juster, Eitan Shishkoff, Paul Wilbur, Eddie Santoro and
others; the "affirming" elders included a larger number of congregational
and ministry leaders in active participation with us.]
Ordination is recognition of what God has already done (and will do in
the future). First the person serves. Then hands are laid upon him. The
laying on of hands is a serious moment. Doing this superficially can be
spiritually dangerous (I Timothy 3:6, 5:22). A person can't just
print a "business card".
At the moment of impartation there should be real people present who lay
on hands. The veteran elders impart authority; the younger leaders
affirm that they have experienced the fruit and integrity of the
person's life. You can't impart what you don't have, and
you can't affirm what you haven't experienced.
This article was previously published on August
on the Revive Israel website and on August 27th
here on Kehila News Israel