TOUCH NOT THE LORD’S ANOINTED
Touch not the Lord’s anointed. This phrase has probably been used more in the last few years than throughout the history of the world.
False teachers have used this partial verse to squelch any questions about their erroneous teachings. When other Christians
begin to question them or mention their wrong teachings to their disciples, immediately we “World-bound apologists” are admonished to “touch not the Lord’s anointed.”
I have not been intimidated by such admonitions and have usually re0plied something like this “The Lord’s anointed would not preach false doctrines nor another Jesus nor would they mind being challenged about their teaching.”
But recently, I decided to study that portion of Scripture and determine what was really meant by the context of the passage and to understand, if I could, this “doctrine” of not touching, or questioning, the teachers of our time.
ONLY ONE ACTUAL REFERENCE
The actual phrase appears only twice in the Old Testament: I Chronicles 16:22 and Psalm 105:15. In the first reference, the
expression is used in a psalm of thanksgiving that David had written to the Lord. In the second instance the Psalm is merely repeated in the collection of psalms. It is not actually a second reference, but merely a repetition of the earlier verse.
(Let me interject here that it is rare that only one scripture reference is used as a foundation for a doctrinal position).
In the psalm, David is thanking God for His protection over the children of Israel as they entered into the land of Canaan when they “went from nation to nation and from one kingdom to another people.”
David continues in verse 21: “He (God) suffered no man to do them wrong, yea, he reproved Kings for their sakes, saying touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.”
Let me make a quick point or two here. First, God was warning the kings of the heathen nations not to touch His “anointed.” Secondly, in that context, God is not implying that each of the millions of Israelites were “anointed for service,” but rather they were consecrated (set apart) unto Himself — His chosen people.
From Strong’s concordance, we learn additionally that the Hebrew word for “touch” exclusively means to physically lay hands on or to strike as a means of punishment. God’s warning to the kings of Canaan was that they were not to do physical harm to His chosen people. By no stretch of the imagination could this passage be interpreted to mean that these heathen kings were to say nothing against the “religion” or “lifestyle” or “teaching” of the Israelites who were traveling through the land.
In another passage often used by modern ministers who threaten those who question their teachings is found in I Samuel 24:6. This concerns David sneaking up on Saul in the cave and cutting off a portion of Saul’s robe. David was grieved after he had done this thing and said, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.”
Again we need to realize that the Hebrew word is the same in this text: naga which means to physically touch another person. David knew that the Kingdom had been taken from Saul; he knew he was God’s chosen one now and had been anointed as King of Israel.
He was not smitten because he had questioned Saul’s authority, but rather because he had put himself in the position to do physical harm to a man he much loved and respected even though Saul had vowed to kill him. Again let me emphasize the importance in the context of these scriptures that the wrong is in physically touching or striking the chosen one of the Lord. It has nothing whatsoever to do with questioning the “anointed one’s” teaching.
SCRIPTURE IS ALLEGORIZED
Modernist false teachers allegorize the Scriptures and try to demonstrate that questioning their doctrines is tantamount to bringing down the wrath of God on our heads. Some of these men have made public threats against their detractors and even put curses on the children of their critics.
It is abundantly clear that these passages do not teach that self-appointed and self-anointed ministers are not to be questioned or
challenged about their doctrine. In fact, quite the contrary is true.
Another favorite passage of these false teachers (I have concluded that any preacher who rejects the idea that his teaching can be
questioned is, in fact, a false teacher) is Matthew 7:1 that says, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” These false prophets have
concluded erroneously that Christians are never to make judgments about teachers or their doctrines. Verse 2 clarifies the Lord’s words. Jesus explains that if we make judgments we will then be judged by the same standard. If we judge teachers and teaching according to the Word of God, we will be judged (and our teaching as well) by the same word.
JUDGMENTS MUST BE MADE
Christ certainly was not prohibiting judging, as these men claim today. In fact, the New Testament is full of instructions and
admonitions to make judicial decisions we are told to try the spirits (I John 4:1); Judge prophecies, (I Corinthians 14:29); distinguish between good and bad fruit, (Matthew 7:16-23); identify false teachers, (Romans 16-23); identify false teachers, (Romans 16:17,18); to discern good from evil (Hebrews 5:11-14) both in a person’s life and behavior, but also in their teaching.
We are told in Scripture to disfellowship habitual sinners from the congregation which requires a judgment (I Corinthians 5). We are told to separate ourselves from those who chase after wealth (I Timothy 6:5); those who preach another gospel (Galations 1:6-9); and those who denigrate the true prophets of God (Jude 8 and II Peter 2:10). All these activities require making a judgment.
Luke identified the Bereans (Acts 17:11), those who were discerning and “judgmental,” as more noble than other Christians
because they judged the preaching of Paul, an anointed apostle of God, by checking the Word of God, by checking the Word of God daily to “see if these things are so.”
Although it is not specifically stated I imagine that they did so because Paul encouraged them to check out what he was preaching. To hide behind a smoke screen based on an allegorized passage from the Old Testament is a cowardly, deceptive and unbiblical activity that no true man of God would succumb to. Men of God who proclaim the truth of the Word are not threatened nor alarmed by scrutiny of the preaching or their ministry.
Even if there were scriptural prohibitions against questioning the teaching of the “Lord’s anointed,” that protection would not extend to those whose teaching resembles fairy tales rather than wholesome, biblical instructions (See II Timothy 4:34). Many of these men claim a “heavy anointing” of God’s Spirit when they preach, perform or entertain (whatever it is that they’re really doing).
But God’s Spirit cannot, and will not, honor false doctrine and heretical teaching with true “signs and wonders following.” To do so would add confusion to the already much misguided professing church. God is not the author of confusion. If he will anoint false teaching and teachers as well as the true WORD AND ITS FAITHFUL PROCLAIMERS, WE CAN NEVER KNOW THE TRUTH AND CAN NEVER BE FREE.
These men who protest the questioning of their teaching remind me of some men William Shakespeare once wrote about. He said, “Me thinkest thou protesteth too much.”
My advice to these errant brothers is “Preach the Word.” If they will do that they will not be afraid of their followers, and others,
checking their teaching against the Word of God.
Rev. Larry Thomas is an itinerant preacher and author who travels extensively in the U.S. and Canada. He is president of Amazing Grace Ministries, Box 563, Excelsior Springs, Missouri, 64024-0563.
God Bless you until we meet again