The Priestly Blessing

Please forgive me if this seems like bragging. I pastor a great church! Friendship Central Church in Chattanooga, TN is growing with prayerful and biblical people. They are not quickly or easily motivated by programs or personalities. One of the questions I get asked as a leader is, “Where is that in the Bible?”

I am never offended by that question. It lets me know that the Berean believers are still alive and well. Each week following worship and each day following the National Prayer Call I announce a benediction. I give the priestly benediction of Numbers 6:23-27 along with my own prayer for the people.

This past Sunday, I actually did the hand gesture that Aaron and the high priests would have given in the Tabernacle during the benediction. Pastor Mark Bolin of Estill Springs, TN. taught on the Aaronic blessing at The Gathering 2011.  It was powerful! He closed the session out showing us the hand gesture used by the Hebrews.

The priest would raise his hands with palms facing downward. Thumbs would be outstretched and touching. The four fingers of each hand would be split into two sets. (Like the Vulcan greeting on Star Trek).

When the hands and fingers were properly positioned it would form the Jewish letter “Shin”. It actually looks like a “W”.  This is the letter that forms the Hebrew word picture and definition of Shaddai. Shaddai is one of God’s covenant names (Genesis 15). It is a promise from the Father to provide all we need and too much.

According to Jewish tradition the Divine Presence would shine through the hands of the priest casting a covering of blessing over God’s people. This is called by the Jews the Nesiat Kapayim. It is the official “lifting of hands” ceremony. It is not specifically described in the Bible, but the history and traditions of the Jewish people teach us this protocol.

Think about this the next time you are running out of church and leaving worship without a benediction.

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