I want to share something concerning the abuse of the scripture ‘Touch not my anointed ones and do my prophets no harm’ by some Christians in the Charismatic movement.
The question is does “touch not my anointed” mean a believer or church member cannot confront a pastor whose teachings are out of line with the Bible?
This phrase, “touch not my anointed,” is used by some pastors today (often in the Charismatic movement) to say that no one should criticize anything the Man of God says or does or else God will make that person pay for it. The person who dares questions the man of God’s sermon or conduct is threatened with a curse upon their lives and the man of God uses the verse from the bible, “Touch not the Lord’s anointed and do my prophets no harm”.
Well, these pastors take this verse completely out of context.
In Psalm 105:15 and 1 Chr 16:22 The Bible declares, saying, “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!”
So let us now look at the context by asking ourselves the question “who are the Lord’s anointed according to the verse? If you look at the verses leading up to this (1 Chr 16:8-22 and Ps 105:1-15 are nearly identical), you can clearly see that “touch not my anointed” is referring to Israel and God’s protection of that nation and its patriarchs (prophets): kindly observe verses 10-14 of Psalm105; ESV.
10 which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, 11 saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as your portion for an inheritance.” 12 When they were few in number, of little account, and sojourners in it, 13 wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people, 14 he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account.
Reading these verses makes it pretty apparent that “touch not my anointed” was not spoken by God as a promise for individuals to “claim” it today. This is why it is so important to read ALL verses in the Bible in context.
Having said this, I would also add that “touch” in “touch not my anointed” is shown over and over in the Bible to apply to “physically touching” and not being criticized. The word “touch” is the Hebrew word “naga” which means “to touch, i.e. lay the hand upon” (for any purpose). The first use is in (Gen 3:3) “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch (naga) it, lest ye die.” (See Gen 32:25,32, Ex 19:12, Lev 5:2-3 for a few other examples).
We can also see David applying this when he refused to “touch” (or kill) King Saul in (1 Sam 24:4-13) because he was “God’s anointed.” In (1 Sam 24:9-10) David says to Saul, (9)”Why do you listen to the words of men, saying, ‘Behold, David seeks to harm you’? (10) Behold, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord had given you today into my hand in the cave, and some said to kill you, but my eye had pity on you; and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.'”
David repeats something similar to this later in (1 Sam 26:9-11,23-24) when he has a second chance to kill Saul and repeats it a third time in (2 Sam 1:13-16) when someone later claims to kill Saul.
Obviously then, it is unbiblical for a pastor to say this verse means that no one has the right to criticize him, even if he is teaching or prophesying falsely. Actually, the Bible says the exact opposite. Observe the following;
Paul recommended the Berean Christians as being noble for searching the scriptures to see whether what they were being taught was true. (Acts 17:11)
Paul rebuked the apostle Peter publicly for being a hypocrite (Galatians 2:11)
Paul said cursed is anyone who preaches another Gospel even if it was an angel from Heaven (Galatians1:6-8).
So, does the verse “touch not my anointed” apply to some “anointed” men of God today being above criticism and rebuke for their heretic and unbiblical conduct? No!
Unbiblical conduct? No ! And, by the way, ALL Christians are “anointed” (2 Cor 1:20-22, 1 Jn 2:20,27).
Written by Rev Million Kambuli (Baptist Theologian, Zambia)