Ceremonies: Marriage, Funeral, Baptismal, and Laying on Hands

By COGwriter

Are there places for any type of ceremonies in the Church of God? Is there any biblical basis for them?

What about marriages, funerals, baptisms, blessing of little children, healing/exorcism, and ordinations? Are they biblical?

While we do not tend to use the term "sacrament," certain ceremonies are sacred in the sense that God's blessing and/or Holy Spirit are involved in them.

This article will discuss the type of ceremonies that the Church of God tends to be involved in.

A related sermon is available online and is titled: Church of God Ceremonies.

Marriage Ceremonies

The Book of Malachi teaches:

14 Yet she is your companion
And your wife by covenant. (Malachi 2:14, NKJV, unless in other quotes)

The involvement of a covenant implies some type of a marriage agreement and/or ceremony would happen for one to be married.

The old Radio Church of God taught:

Does it make any difference who performs the marriage ceremony? Is it right that our young people should go to a justice of the peace or a minister of any denomination? Here is what young people NEED to know!

   A WEDDING is undoubtedly the most delightful event young people experience. It is the moment for which they have waited, perhaps months, or maybe years. You parents experienced the same joys when you were married, didn't you?
   Mothers, especially, can't keep from the natural desire to live over again their marriages in their daughters. Just ask any husband!
   Yet with all the joys, anticipations and hopes — as God intended marriage to be — there is also the SERIOUS side of marriage. Responsibility comes with it — financial, emotional, parental and spiritual problems present themselves. Marriage is indeed the most serious physical union in which human beings can be united. But how few understand what is involved before they are married!

World in Confusion

   As our church is growing constantly each year, we are confronted with young people who inevitably do as God intended — they want to marry. It thus is becoming one of our great responsibilities to teach and train and prepare our young people who are anticipating marriage. How many of you wish now that you had understood what marriage and life were all about when you were young!
   The very first principle which all children, and especially young couples planning to marry, should realize is that GOD ORDAINED MARRIAGE. He is the Author of this physical union. It is to Him that we should ultimately look for advice and counsel. He is the One who has explained WHY marriage has been ordained, WHAT its duties are. It is to God that we must go if we are to understand the truth about marriage ceremonies and WHO should perform them.
   Let's understand what the Bible reveals about this most important union.
   The world is in confusion. Each State has its own marriage laws. Every denomination has its opinion about what constitutes marriage. But almost no one seems to understand the significance of the Biblical revelation that God is the Author of marriage. Human beings go to human courts of law, they go to representatives of this world — justices of the peace and worldly ministers — to have the marriage ceremony performed. Most everyone believes that some official of this world "binds" husband and wife.
   Isn't that exactly how most of you were married? Of course, God, recognizing your hearts, did bind you. You were married, but it was God and not man, by the authority of a sovereign State, who bound you till death.
   But is this the way God intended marriage to be solemnized? Now that you know the TRUTH, would you have the marriage ceremony performed in that manner — contrary to God's will?
   God has overlooked our past mistakes, but let us teach our children the right way so they won't make the same mistakes.

Is a Ceremony Wrong?

   Some people who carelessly read the Bible have arrived at the mistaken notion that all ceremony is wrong.
   Jesus attended a wedding at which he performed his first miracle — turning water into wine. The church is to be married to Christ at a "marriage supper," — a ceremony. It is a matter of the kind of ceremony that is important. God approves and sanctions ceremony, but not the ritualistic practices that attend worldly social ceremonies which have no other purpose than exciting pride and vanity.

The TRUE Marriage Ceremony

   Not every detail in the marriage ceremony is revealed, but we can understand the principles. God was present at the first marriage — He brought Eve to Adam and gave her to be his wife. There was a time of festive rejoicing at the marriage of Jacob (Gen. 29:22). A simple ceremony is absolutely necessary to avoid the evils of fornication, adultery, bigamy and kindred practices that would result without a ceremony.
   Marriage is a union, involving vows, which is BOUND BY GOD through prayer (Matt. 19:6). It is a setting apart of two young people to become husband and wife. Throughout the Bible, in ceremony, there is the constant example of setting apart for special purpose by PRAYER TO GOD and LAYING ON OF HANDS (Num. 27:18-23; Acts 6:6; 8:18).
   How plain it is, then, that the marriage ceremony ought to be performed by one who stands as God's representative, since it is God who binds. The ceremony ought to be performed by one whom God hears — one of God's ministers whose prayers God will answer. How foolish to go to some one whom God doesn't hear to have the ceremony performed, and then go to God's minister to ask him for Gods blessing.
   The true ceremony should be performed by laying on of the minister's hands on the clasped hands of the couple and, through prayer to God, asking God to bind the couple according to His Word (Matt. 19:6). Of course, all legal requirements of the State should be attended to also.

Young People Need Counsel

   Before marriage, more than any other time, young people need advice. Most of you who are parents have come to realize this by hard experience. You probably didn't have the kind of counsel you really needed. God did not intend that young people should go to ministers who do not even know the law of God for advice on problems which involve some of the most important spiritual and physical laws which God ordained.
   But how are young people — perhaps your children — going to receive the proper advice before marrying if they live great distances from God's ministers? How can they have the marriage performed if they can't afford to travel far? Is it fair?

At Annual Festivals

   God is always fair. Since He intends his ministers to perform marriages for those who have come to understand the truth, He has provided the way and at no extra cost! God loves our young people, and so He has made the way possible.
   We who have come to know the truth understand that it is a command to attend the annual festivals. With the Tabernacle being built in Texas at the most central point, man hundreds of you will be able to attend three times a year. Since you are also commanded to save a second tithe anyway in order to attend, it wouldn't be any extra expense to have the marriages of young people occur at the annual festivals!
   God intended his annual occasions to be times of great joy apart from the world. He wants young people to be free from unnecessary problems as they enter marriage (Deut 24:5). What time could be more appropriate than these holy occasions? It is the perfect solution to encouraging young people in the church not to have such fellowship with the world as would lead to marriage outside of the faith.
   Yes, what a joy it is to understand the TRUTH! (Hoeh H. WHO Should Perform the Marriage Ceremony? Good News. August, 1953)

The old Worldwide Church of God taught:

God said in Genesis 2:18, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." Adam was very lonely. He even looked among the animals for a mate, but found none (verse 20). Then God put Adam to sleep, took one of his ribs and fashioned a woman, Eve (verses 21-22).

When Adam woke up, God presented Eve to him. And what was Adam's response? Was it the calm, cool, collected "Now this is bone of my bones" that most Bible translations give (verse 23)?


The original Hebrew word for "now" is pa 'am. Its meaning is far more intense than a casual "now." Pa'am means to "impel" or "move." And Adam was moved, all right, at the sight of Eve. He was a skyrocket in flight — "now" might be better rendered "wow"!

Adam was exuberant. He thought Eve was all he needed to be happy, that she was the answer to all of his problems. But God knew better. You see, man cannot live by mate alone, but by the very Spirit of God.

So God entered their lives and performed the first wedding ceremony. This was not just for honor's sake, but was an example for all future married couples. God married them, for it was only by God living in each of them (through the Holy Spirit) that true marital happiness could have been produced. It is God in the midst of a marriage, dwelling in the lives of husband and wife, that joins them together in unending marital bliss (Matthew 19:6). (Williams E. Sweeten Your Marriage - With the Fruits of the Spirit. Good News Magazine August 1985)

The example was not that couples were to only present themselves before God to be married, but that they needed someone to join them. Without such a public joining, there is no undeniable commitment, Plus it causes issues if children come along. A public ceremony tells the community that the couple is together and any children are expected to be claimed by both.

Notice something from the Hebrew scriptures:

14 Yet you say, "For what reason?"
Because the Lord has been witness
Between you and the wife of your youth,
With whom you have dealt treacherously;
Yet she is your companion
And your wife by covenant.
15 But did He not make them one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. (Malachi 2:14-15)

Notice one has a wife by covenant--this implies an agreement apparently in a public manner.

From a Christian perspective, a public wedding helps fulfill the following that the Apostle Paul admonished:

40 Let all things be done decently and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:40)

22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22, KJV)

1 Walk as children of light. (Ephesians 5:8)

A public wedding ceremony demonstrates the biblical commitment, plus eliminates doubts that the couple is involved in fornication. Furthermore, it makes it clear that both parties intended to be married.

The Old Testament and New Testament both refer to weddings:

11 On the day of his wedding, The day of the gladness of his heart. (Song of Solomon 3:11)

1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. (John 2:1-2)

1 And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: 2 "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, 3 and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; (Matthew 22:1-3)

So, there must have been some type of thing to watch or people would not have been invited.

It is possible that a Levite, priest, or community leader spoke, attended, and/or performed some type of ceremony related to the weddings in ancient times.

The following points to a wedding for parties that were engaged:

7 And what man is there who is betrothed to a woman and has not married her? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man marry her. (Deuteronomy 20:7)

Furthermore, notice the following that Jesus taught:

11 "But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 12 So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' (Matthew 22:11-13)

This strongly supports the view that a wedding was considered a somewhat dignified affair as one was to be properly dressed simply to attend. The Meyers NT Commentary says that the Greek words mean "a dress suited for a marriage."

Hence, there was some type of ceremony.

Can a marriage be valid without a ceremony or document?

Yes, but legally and otherwise, this is not ideal in the 21st century. I have also heard of accounts where one of the two in such arrangement considered themselves to be actually married, and then the other party apparently did not feel so, and left.

Do we have the exact words of a marriage ceremony in the Bible?


But there are many statements in the Bible concerning marriage and the ceremony we use in the Continuing Church of God includes going over many of those scriptures. These scriptures and related statements help impress the seriousness and commitment that marriage entails. Not just for those who are getting married, but also for those who one day may get married. The marriage ceremony is a type of training process for both. And for those that are already married, it should serve as a reminder of how they should view marriage and help them readjust to the Bible in areas that they may have drifted from or never attained.

The marriage ceremony is not just for the couple getting married. It is also for others as well as for children that may come.

Does this mean that there cannot be any type of variance?

No, but biblical principles and statements should be part of the ceremony.

The Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906 mentions that scriptures were read in the ceremony. Plus, it actually also refers to Matthew 25, which says:

1 Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

6 "And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. (Matthew 25:1-7)

While the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906 does not accept Matthew's Gospel, it does point to this showing that there was a type of wedding procession that was occuring in the time of Jesus.

From at least the time of Jacob (Genesis 29:21-22) and through the time of Samson (Judges 14:17), there were wedding celebrations.

Let me also add that the ceremony can also be a witness to others. I remember after my own marriage, my grandmother Rose came up to me. She said something to the effect that she had heard a lot of preachers at weddings (and she was a Catholic), and no one ever tried bound the couple so permanently as ours (who was a minister in the old Worldwide Church of God).

Although a specific marriage ceremony is not laid out in the Bible, here is a link to what the old Worldwide Church of God used to have: Church of God Marriage Ceremony.

What about wedding rings?

The Worldwide Church of God taught:

What does the Bible say about wearing wedding rings?

The Bible nowhere criticizes the wearing of a ring in general or of a wedding ring in particular. Exodus 35 records that rings were included in the offering the Israelites gave for the building of the Tabernacle. There is no indi-cation that God was displeased with their wearing rings. God was with Joseph when Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt. Joseph served God, and God caused him to find favor in the eyes of the Pharaoh. In Genesis 41:41-42, we find that Joseph accepted a ring from Pharaoh as a symbol of the high office that had been bestowed upon him. God was not displeased with this, and the next few chapters show that God continued to bless and guide Joseph. Just as the ring given to Joseph served a symbolic purpose, a wedding ring is merely a symbol of the marriage vows that have been made. One further example is the parable of the prodigal son, Jesus used this parable to illustrate God the Father's love toward a repentant sinner. The father, who pictured God, ordered a ring to be put on the son's hand (Luke 15:22). (Questions & Answers. Good News, November-December 1988, p. 13)

Although some have claimed that wedding rings were of pagan origin, it should also be pointed out that the first recorded tradition of giving a ring for marriage is in the Bible is in Genesis 24:22-30 where when a golden nose ring was given by Eliezer of Damascus to Rebecca. He did this AFTER finding out that she met Abraham's family requirements (Genesis 24:2-4) to possibly become Isaac's wife (Genesis 24:47). After God spoke with Job, people gave him a ring of gold (Job 42:11). Jesus also endorsed the use of rings (Luke 15:22).

Here is a Jewish source:

While the marriage ring appears to have an ancient tradition, there is no specific reference to it in the Talmud. Saadiah Gaon cites as a possible origin the phrase in Nehemiah 7:46 be’nei tabbaot (children of the rings). He considered them to be children of those who cohabited while only betrothed (with the ring) but not yet married. Contemporary scholars believe that tabbaot was simply a family name. Maharshal cites references to indicate that the ring is a Palestinian custom that only later was accepted in Babylonia practice; (Lamm M. The Marriage Ring in Judaism. https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/481776/jewish/The-Marriage-Ring-in-Judaism.htm accessed 02/20/20)

The use of the marriage-related ring in Genesis 24, was close to 4,000 years ago, and the Bible endorsed it as opposed to indicating it was an improper pagan practice.

Before leaving the topic of marriage, consider the following verse:

5 When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken. (Deuteronomy 24:5)

After getting engaged and before I got married, I had an opportunity to interview for a traveling auditor job. The pay was significantly more than I was making at the time. However, because of the admonition in Deuteronomy 24:5, I declined even interviewing for the job. Now, I do NOT believe that Deuteronomy 24:5 means that one cannot work, but that the husband is not to be gone away overnight during the first year of marriage because of business or military reasons. While Deuteronomy 24:5 is not a ceremony, its practice is something that we suggest that all newly married couples strive to follow.


What about funerals?

Is there an appropriate public time to mourn the loss of a loved one?

Usually yes.

(Usually, because Ezekiel was not allowed to mourn the death of his wife per Ezekiel 24:15-18 and Jeremiah was told not to have a funeral for those God was going to consume with famine, etc. nor bury them per Jeremiah 16:1-8. Yet, these passages otherwise imply that funerals can be appropriate.)

The first explicit reference to burials in scripture had to do with the death of Abraham's wife Sarah:

1 Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2 So Sarah died in Kirjath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.

3 Then Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spoke to the sons of Heth, saying, 4 "I am a foreigner and a visitor among you. Give me property for a burial place among you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight." (Genesis 23:1-4)

19 And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah, before Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20 So the field and the cave that is in it were deeded to Abraham by the sons of Heth as property for a burial place. (Genesis 23:19-20)

Were any type of preparations done to the deceased?

Yes, at times.

First, here is something from the Old Testament:

2 And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel. 3 Forty days were required for him, for such are the days required for those who are embalmed; and the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days. (Genesis 50:2-3)

Second, here is something from the New Testament:

3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

4 But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray Him, said, 5 "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.

7 But Jesus said, "Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. 8 For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always." (John 12:3-8)1

15: 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time. 45 So when he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. 46 Then he bought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen. And he laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed where He was laid.

16:1 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. (Mark 15:43-16:1)

The New Testament practice is showing us that Jesus approved. Notice also something from the Book of Acts:

36 At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. 37 But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. (Acts 9:36-37)

In the NKJV, the term buried is found 104 times, the term bury 39 times, and the term burial is found 17 times. Even criminals were to be buried:

22 "If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day (Deuteronomy 21:22-23).

Mourning for the loss of a loved one is in scripture:

5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. 6 And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day. 7 Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished. 8 And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. So the days of weeping and mourning for Moses ended. (Deuteronomy 34:5-8)

2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. (Acts 8:2)

While we do not see a specific ceremony in scripture, we do see bodily preparations and mourning and burial.

Funerals, of course, are not for the dead, as the "dead know nothing" (Ecclesiastes 9:5), but for the living. They remind us that this physical life is temporal:

4 "Lord, make me to know my end,
And what is the measure of my days,
That I may know how frail I am.
5 Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my age is as nothing before You;
Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.
6 Surely every man walks about like a shadow;
Surely they busy themselves in vain;
He heaps up riches,
And does not know who will gather them. (Psalms 39:4-6)

Plus, they give the ministry an opportunity to tell about biblical teachings on the death and resurrection. Actually, we have experienced growth in parts of Africa from Africans attending a CCOG funeral service and then wanting to learn more about the church.

The Bible seemingly encourages attendance a funeral:

2 Better to go to the house of mourning
Than to go to the house of feasting,
For that is the end of all men;
And the living will take it to heart. (Ecclesiastes 7:2)

4 Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)

While the passage in Ecclesiastes 7:2 is specifically related to the dead, the passage in Matthew 5:4 would seemingly also have to include mourning for the dead.

In John 11:1-27, Jesus is shown to have been a late attendee at a funeral.

Although a specific funeral service is not laid out in the Bible, we have put together a service based upon what the old Radio/Worldwide Church of God used to have, plus added more scriptures to it. Here is a link: Continuing Church of God Funeral Service.

Jesus said, "You will know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16). Why bring that up here?

Well, in addition to positive feedback I have had regarding Church of God wedding ceremonies, we have had people who heard a CCOG funeral service decide to become part of the Continuing Church of God.


When it comes to baptism, Christians realize that baptism is specifically enjoined in the New Testament.

For example, the Apostle Peter taught:

38 "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." (Acts 2:38-39)

We know that baptism was by immersion (see Baptism, the Early Church, and the Continuing Church) and followed by the laying on of hands (see also Laying on of Hands). But we do not have a specific ceremony listed in the Bible.

Essentially by looking over the New Testament, a baptismal ceremony was eventually put in writing by the old Radio Church of God and is essentially used by the Continuing Church of God (see Baptism, the Early Church, and the Continuing Church). What has been more or less used in the baptismal ceremonies of the old Radio Church of God, Worldwide Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God tends to include the following statements (the following was originally provided to the Continuing Church of God by Aaron Dean, a minister who probably spent more time with the late Herbert W. Armstrong than any other minister in the latter years of his life):

As a result of your repentance of your sins, which are the transgressions of God's holy and righteous and perfect law, and your acceptance of Jesus Christ as your personal saviour, Your Lord and Master, your High Priest and soon coming King, I now baptize you, not into any sect or denomination of this world, but I baptize you into the name of the Father and the Son and through the Holy Spirit, by and through the authority of the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. Amen.

These statements are consistent with not only Matthew 28:19 (see also Is Matthew 28:19 in the Bible?), but the other passages in the New Testament about clearly being baptized in Jesus' name.

After those statements, the baptismal candidate is immersed under the water. Hands are then laid upon the person and the baptizer prays and asks God to impart His Holy Spirit.

While baptism does not convert one, it is an outward sign that the one baptized has claimed repentance and wishes to live as a Christian.

Blessing of Children

While adults are capable of repenting and accepting Jesus as their personal saviour, little children are not. Despite this, some churches baptize infants, but in the Continuing Church of God we do not.

The Bible, however, tells us that children can be blessed.

Notice what God said to Abraham:

18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice. (Genesis 22:18)

As the above shows, blessings to and from descendants happens because believers obey God's voice.

God also teaches:

32 "Now therefore, listen to me, my children, For blessed are those who keep my ways. (Proverbs 8:32)

7 The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him. (Proverbs 20:7)

Notice, that if one parent is a believer, any children he/she have are sanctified by God:

12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. (1 Corinthians 7:12-14)

Notice that the children are NOT mentioned as being sanctified because of being baptized, but simply because one or more parents is a true Christian.

The Bible does enjoin the fact that infants/toddlers can be prayed for and blest. Notice what Jesus said and did:

14 “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” 16 And He took them up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them (Mark 10:14-16).

15 Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” (Luke 18:15-17)

13 Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And He laid His hands on them and departed from there. (Matthew 19:13-15)

What Jesus did WAS NOT a form of infant baptism, but instead a ceremony that is retained by relatively few today, like those of us in the Continuing Church of God (you can also watch that ceremony The Blessing of Little Children Ceremony).

We in the Church of God normally have this ceremony during one of God's festivals as that is when children will often be gathered together in one place--but the ceremony is not restricted to then. For more information, check out the article Blessing of Children or Infant Baptism?

Healing and Exorcism

The procedure for requested healing and/or exorcism can also be considered as a ceremony.

Notice that healings and the casting out demons is something that is to happen according to Jesus:

17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. (Mark 16:17-18)


14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. (James 5:14)

Understand that no minister's hands are special or holy. No olive oil, which is typically used for anointing, has any mysterious power. It is God Himself who heals through His Holy Spirit. However, He has prescribed a physical act to show our faith and trust in Him and to show our acceptance of the authority He has placed with His servants. The specific 'prayer of faith' ceremony is not listed, but generally the minister will come up with something specific at the time. The same is true related to exorcism.

(As far as anointing of the sick and anointed cloths go, you can check out the post: How does the CCOG handle Counseling, Prayer Requests, Funerals, and Anointing of the Sick?)


The New Testament teaches about ordinations.

The Apostle Paul wrote this to Titus:

1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. (1 Timothy 3:1-6)

So, ordinations are not for novices--people new or relatively new to the faith.

The Apostle Paul wrote this to Titus:

5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you — 6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. (Titus 1:5-9)

The anointing also involved the laying on of hands (see also Laying on of Hands).

Again, no specific ceremony is listed in scripture, but since this happened, we know that some type of ceremony occured.

In the Continuing Church of God, passages related to the office someone is being ordained into are normally read, hands are laid upon the one to be ordained, the one being ordained is anointed with oil, and the one performing the ordination prays for God's intervention in the ordination and for the person being ordained.

This appears to be consistent with what the Christian church has done beginning with when people beyond the original apostles were ordained.

The ceremony is a reminder to the one being ordained about the responsibilities and to those watching it how God's government should work.


The Bible shows that there were weddings, funerals, baptisms, blessed children, healings, exorcisms, and ordinations.

Yet, the precise procedures or ceremonies used are not listed.

However, in general, we can get some type of idea of what a Christian ceremony for each of these can be by looking at the Bible and basing the ceremonies on scripture.

The ceremonies are a sign or signal of a change and/or request to God.

They provide a pubic witness.

In addition to those mentioned in this article, we also have an annual Passover ceremony (see Keeping Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread) as well as keep practices associated with the biblical Holy Days (see also Should You Observe God's Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?).

We also have a weekly church service liturgy that is consistent with that of the early Christians (see What was the Liturgy of the Early Church?).

If funerals are counted, there are at least seven ceremonies in the Continuing Church of God, not counting church services on the Sabbaths and Holy Days.

  1. Blessing of Little Children
  2. Baptism
  3. Passover
  4. Marriage
  5. Healing and Casting Out Demons
  6. Ordination
  7. Funerals

In the Continuing Church of God we base the ceremonies on what the Bible teaches and intend to fulfill their biblical purposes.

A related sermon is available online and is titled: Church of God Ceremonies.

Thiel B. Ceremonies: Marriage, Funeral, Baptismal, and Laying on Hands. http://www.cogwriter.com/ceremonies.htm 2017/2018/2019/2020 /2021 0708

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