1. As shown by a scripture you mentioned in a previous post, this is in imitation of the priestly activities of the angels in Heaven.

    “And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand” (Rev. 8:3–4).

    The angels hold the incense in cupped hands in the presence of God.

  2. This might also be related to a scripture in Isaiah, of his vision of the heavenly temple:

    And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. . . .
    Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
    And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. (Isaiah 6:4, 6–7)

    The “smoke” in the temple and the “coal” that it taken with tongs off the altar is almost certainly incense and the burning of it, which in this case is used as a symbol of atonement, redemption, cleansing, and of the divine presence.

  3. Rick

    It would seem to me that the hand as a cup and the hand with palm down are a pair. Your post and the article by the Hiltons address the one, but not the other. Are insights available? The two seem to me to represent receiving and giving. Or receiving and then placing on an altar. In fact, there seems to be a logical progression of such symbols.

  4. Good point Rick. I, personally, have not seen any insights on a hand with palm down in any literature, but I will keep my eyes open. There is, of course, the laying on of hands, which is palm down.

  5. In response to Rick, don’t quote me on this, but I thought I read somewhere that there is a similar Egyptian symbol that signifies mercy and justice. Hand up is asking for mercy, hand down signifies refusal/justice. I could totally be making that up, but I thought I read it somewhere.

  6. Ferreira

    The filled hands motif is also used in the Assumption of Moses:

    “And then His kingdom shall appear throughout all His creation,
    And then Satan shall be no more,
    And sorrow shall depart with him.
    Then the hands of the angel shall be filled
    Who has been appointed chief,
    And he shall forthwith avenge them of their enemies.
    For the Heavenly One will arise from His royal throne,
    And He will go forth from His holy habitation
    With indignation and wrath on account of His sons. ” (Ass.Mos 10)

  7. Free

    The palm is symbolic of the feminine/receiving (womb etc) and the yod is the seed being sent. Thus also the protective hamsa/hand of Fatima. Bagging the seed so to speak (the dot within the circle).
    Being consecrated means being impregnated by the sacred.

  8. Eric

    There is a great description of the filled hand and how it relates to the sacrificial offerings in Bible Dictionary – “Priests”. After the initiate priests were washed, clothed, and anointed, they (the inititiates) then made three offerings: a sin offering (with the meat going to the officiating priests), a burnt offering (with anything not burnt going to the officiating priests), and a peace offering (with the meat this time being returned to the initiate – his hand is filled with the fat and meat. It seems to me that the sin and burnt offerings are “sacrifice” offerings (that is, nothing is returned to him), and the peace offering is the “consecration” offering.

    Compare this to the modern-day law of consecration. As it was practiced in Joseph Smith’s day, a person entering into the law of consecration would transfer all of his property to the Church by legal deed, after which the Church would return (usually all of) the property to the person, again by legal deed. The person’s hand is filled, but now his property is consecrated – dedicated to God in Holiness to the Lord.

  9. Andrew Lacayo

    In the Strenghtening Marriages and Families book, I forget the page number, the Author cites an interesting insight into the palm up/palm down depictions of Buddha and Bodhisattva statues, stating the palm up is the grateful reception of all divine gifts, while the palm down is the governing use of such gifts.

  10. nat

    David: Hands up could signify the asking for mercy; hands down could signify receiving/acceptance or the granting of mercy.

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