79. And He laid His right hand upon me, signifies life from Him. This is evident from the signification of "right hand," as being, in reference to the Lord, life from Him (see above, n. 72. It signifies life from Him, because it immediately follows the words, "I fell at His feet as dead;" and moreover, "to touch with the hand" signifies to communicate and transfer to another what pertains to oneself, and also to receive from another. To communicate and transfer to another what pertains to oneself, in reference to the Lord, as here, is to communicate and transfer life such as those have who are in a state of illumination and who see and hear such things as are in heaven. This also took place with John, for he was in such illumination when he saw and heard the things that are described in Revelation "To touch with the hand" is to communicate and transfer to another, because the whole power of man is transferred from the body into the hands; consequently what the mind wills that the body should do, that the arms and hands do (from this it is that by "arms" and "hands" in the Word is signified power, see Arcana Coelestia 878, 3091, 4931-4937, 6947, 7673, 10019).
But this power is natural power, and communication thereby is an exertion of the bodily forces; but spiritual power is to will the good of another, and to will to convey to another as far as possible what is with oneself. This power is what "hand" in the spiritual sense signifies, and its communication and transference are signified by "touching with the hand."
From this it can be seen what is signified by this, that the Lord, who is here called the "Son of man," laid His right hand upon John, when John lay as dead, namely, that He communicated and transferred to him life from Himself (see above). "To touch," and "to touch with the hand," has a similar signification in many passages in the Word, as in the following. In Daniel:
The Lord, who there appeared to him as a man clothed in linen, whose appearance was as the appearance of lightning, and His eyes as torches of fire, and His feet as the brightness of polished brass, touched him; and restored him to his standing; and lifted him upon his knees; and touched his lips, and opened his mouth; and still again touched him, and strengthened him (Daniel 10:4-21).
Jehovah put forth His hand, and touched my mouth, and said, I put My words into thy mouth (Jeremiah 1:9).
And in Matthew:
Jesus stretching forth His hand to the leper, touched him, saying, I will; be thou made clean. And straightway his leprosy was cleansed (Matthew 8:3).
In the same:
Jesus saw Peter's wife's mother sick of a fever, and he touched her hand, and the fever left her (Matthew 8:14-15).
In the same:
Jesus touched the eyes of the two blind men, and their eyes were opened (Matthew 9:29-30).
In the same:
When Peter was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed the disciples, and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him. And when the disciples heard these things they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. Then came Jesus and touched them, and said, Arise, be not afraid (Matthew 17:5-8).
Jesus came and touched the bier of the dead, and said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. Then he that was dead sat up, and began to speak (Luke 7:14-15).
In the same:
Jesus touched the ear of the deaf one, 1 and healed him (Luke 22:51).
And they brought [to Jesus] little children, that He should touch them; and He took them in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them (Mark 10:13, 16).
In the same:
They brought unto Jesus those that were ill, that they might touch if it were but the border of His garment; and as many as touched were made whole (Mark 6:56; Matthew 14:35, 36).
A woman suffering from an issue of blood touched the border of His garment; and immediately the issue of her blood stanched. Jesus said, Who is it that touched Me? Some one did touch Me; I knew that power went forth from Me (Luke 8:43-46).
Because "touching" and "laying on of hands" signify communicating and transferring to another what pertains to oneself, therefore it has been customary in the churches from ancient times to lay hands upon the head of those who are inaugurated and blessed:
This Moses also was commanded to do to Joshua (Numbers 27:18-23; Deuteronomy 34:9).
As all things among the sons of Israel were representative and significative of spiritual things, so also was touch; wherefore those who touched what was holy were sanctified, and those who touched what was unclean were polluted; for "touch" signified communication and transference to another, and reception from another, as can be seen from the following passages in Moses:
Whosoever shall touch the tent of meeting; the ark of the Testimony; the table, and all the vessels thereof; the lampstand and the vessels thereof; the altar of incense; the altar of burnt-offering, and all the vessels thereof, and the laver and the base thereof, shall be holy (Exodus 30:26-29).
Whatsoever toucheth the altar shall be holy (Exodus 29:37).
Everything that toucheth the remainder of the meal-offering, and the remainder of the flesh from the sacrifice, shall be holy (Leviticus 6:18, 27).
Whosoever toucheth the dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of Jehovah; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel. And whosoever in the open field toucheth one that is slain with a sword, or the bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days. He that toucheth the waters of separation shall be unclean until even. And whatsoever the unclean person toucheth shall become unclean, and the soul that toucheth it shall be unclean until even (Numbers 19:11, 13, 16, 21-22).
He that toucheth unclean beasts and unclean reptiles shall be unclean. Everything upon which they shall fall shall be unclean, whether it be a vessel of wood, raiment, water, an earthen vessel, food, drink, an oven, (but not a fountain, pit, or receptacle of water) shall be unclean (Leviticus 11:31-36, besides other places, as Leviticus 5:2, 3; 7:21; 11:37, 38; 15 to the end; Leviticus 17:4; 22:4; Numbers 16:26; Isaiah 52:11; Lamentations 4:14, 15; Hosea 4:2, 3; Haggai 2:12, 13, 14).