Ellen G. White Writings

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From Trials to Triumph, Page 86

to which I have called them.’” Acts 13:1, 2, RSV. These apostles, solemnly dedicated to God by fasting and prayer and laying on of hands, were authorized not only to teach the truth but to perform the rite of baptism and to organize churches.

Proclaiming the gospel among the Gentiles was now to be prosecuted with vigor, and the church was to be strengthened by a great ingathering of souls. The apostles’ teaching concerning breaking down of “the middle wall of partition” (Ephesians 2:14) that had separated the Jewish and the Gentile world, would naturally subject them to the charge of heresy, and their authority as ministers of the gospel would be questioned by many believing Jews. In order that their work should be above challenge, God instructed the church to set them apart publicly to the work of the ministry, a recognition of their divine appointment to bear to the Gentiles the glad tidings of the gospel.

Both Paul and Barnabas had already received their commission from God Himself, and laying on of hands added no new qualification. It was an acknowledged form of designation to an appointed office. By it the seal of the church was set upon the work of God.

To the Jew this form was significant. When a father blessed his children, he laid his hands reverently on their heads. When an animal was devoted to sacrifice, the hand of the priest was laid on the head of the victim. When the ministers in Antioch laid their hands on Paul and Barnabas, by that action they asked God to bestow His blessing on the chosen apostles in their appointed work.

At a later date unwarrantable importance was attached to laying on of hands, as if a power came at once on those who received such ordination. But in the setting apart of these two apostles, there is no record that virtue was imparted by the mere laying on of hands.

Years before, when the divine purpose concerning Paul was first revealed to him, Paul was brought in contact with the newly organized church. Furthermore,

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