This evening I wanted to post something which I believe is an important issue concerning scripture and its correct usage. In the past month I have seen the scripture from Psalm-105:15 inserted within comments many times: “Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm”. In most every instance when someone has quoted it, or a portion of it, its been misused to chastise another commenter concerning the judging of a teaching, teacher, or doctrine. If you are like me, then you want to handle God’s Word correctly–amen? Sometimes we all can be guilty of taking and applying scripture out of context, using it to make a point. One of the more frequently mis-used or misunderstood scriptures is the one found in Psalm 105:15. I wanted to look at it more closely, along with a few other scriptures.
First, does the bible contradict itself? Of course it doesn’t. We know that. The word of God is pure, and contains all truth, and most importantly it is God ‘breathed’…and we know God is not a man that he should lie. (Numbers 23:19)
Knowing that is true, then for those of us who use Psalm 105:15 to attempt to silence others who are pointing out unbiblical doctrine, false teachings and teachers, I ask you, what do we do with these scriptures?-:
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1John 4:1
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many…..And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many…..Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Matthew 24:3-5, 11,23-25
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 1Timothy 4:1
An excellent comment by John MacArthur on 1Timothy 4:1:
Most of us don’t talk to seducing spirits, but you’ve heard their propaganda coming out of false prophets, their mouthpieces. The doctrines they teach are not those of distorted men; they are the doctrines of demons. First Timothy 4:1 emphatically links false doctrine with demonism. False teachers and false prophets are not primarily to blame for false doctrine; demons deserve the blame. The man is only the mouthpiece. The next time you hear someone propagating something contrary to Scripture, you can be sure it’s demon influenced. All systems apart from the truth are demonic, even those masquerading as Christianity. Demons usually operate through human agents. Satan and his demons use many different approaches. They might use atheism, communism, animism, polytheism, or some form of idolatry. Of particular importance is their deceptive efforts within the context of Christianity. They are active within the faith doing all they can to destroy it.
So what is Psalm 105:15 saying?
During His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ exhorted His followers not to judge self-righteously or hypocritically. Is this necessarily what Christians do when they question the teachings of God’s “anointed” preachers and evangelists? Many teachers who claim such anointing would say so, and many more of their followers commonly reply to all manner of criticism: “Touch not God’s anointed.”
Some of these teachers add that such actions carry literally grave consequences.
Advocates of such authority assume that Scripture supports their view. Their key biblical proof text is Psalm 105:15: “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm” (KJV). But a close examination of this passage reveals that it has nothing to do with challenging the teachings of church leaders.
It first needs to be noted that the Old Testament phrase “the Lord’s anointed” is typically used to refer to the kings of Israel (1 Sam. 12:3, 5; 24:6, 10; 26:9, 11, 16, 23; 2 Sam. 1:14, 16; 19:21; Ps. 20:6; Lam. 4:20), at times specifically to the royal line de-scended from David (Pss. 2:2; 18:50; 89:38, 51), and not to prophets and teachers. While the text does also mention prophets, in the context of Psalm 105 the reference is undoubtedly to the patriarchs in general (vv. 8-15; cf. 1 Chron. 16:15-22), and to Abraham (whom God called a prophet) in particular (Gen. 20:7). It is therefore debatable whether this passage can be applied to select leaders within the body of Christ.
Even if the text can be applied to certain church leaders today, in the context of this passage the words “touch” and “do harm” have to do with inflicting physical harm upon someone. Psalm 105:15 is therefore wholly irrelevant to the issue of questioning the teachings of any of God’s “anointed.”
Moreover, even if we accepted this misinterpretation of Psalm 105:15, how are we to know who not to “touch”; that is, who God’s anointed and prophets are? Because they and their followers say they are? On such a basis we would have to accept the claims of Sun Myung Moon, Elizabeth Clare Prophet, and virtually all cult leaders to be prophets. Because they reputedly perform miracles? The Antichrist and False Prophet themselves will possess that credential (Rev. 13:13-15; 2 Thess. 2:9)! No, God’s representatives are known above all by their purity of character and doctrine (Tit. 1:7-9; 2:7-8; 2 Cor. 4:2; cf. 1 Tim. 6:3-4). If a would-be spokesperson for God cannot pass the biblical tests of character and doctrine, we have no basis for accepting his or her claim, and no reason to fear that in criticizing his or her teaching we might also be rejecting God.
Finally, if any individual Christian is to be considered anointed, then so every Christian must be as well. For this is the only sense in which the term is used (apart from Christ) in the New Testament: “You [referring to all believers] have an anointing from the Holy One” (1 John 2:20, NIV). Thus, no believer can justifiably claim any special status as God’s “untouchable anointed” over other believers.
Nobody’s teachings or practices are beyond biblical judgment — especially influential leaders. Biblically, authority and accountability go hand in hand (e.g., Luke 12:48). The greater the responsibility one holds, the greater the accountability one has before God and His people.
Teachers should be extremely careful not to mislead any believer, for their calling carries with it a strict judgment (James 3:1). They should therefore be grateful when sincere Christians take the time to correct whatever erroneous doctrine they may be preaching to the masses. And should the criticisms be unfounded they should respond in the manner prescribed by Scripture: to correct misguided doctrinal opposition with gentle instruction (2 Tim. 2:25).
There is of course another side to this issue: criticism often can be sinful, leading to rebellion and unnecessary division. Christians should respect the leaders that God has given them (Heb. 13:17). Theirs is the task of assisting the church in its spiritual growth and doctrinal understanding (Eph. 4:11-16). At the same time believers should be aware that false teachers will arise among the Christian fold (Acts 20:28; 2 Pet. 2:1). This makes it imperative for us to test all things by Scripture, as the Bereans were commended for doing when they examined the words of the apostle Paul (Acts 17:11).
“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
The Bible is useful not only for preaching, teaching, and encouragement, but for correcting and rebuking (2 Tim. 4:2). In fact, Christians are held accountable for proclaiming the whole will of God and warning others of false teachings and teachers (Acts 20:26-28; cf. Ezek. 33:7-9; 34:1-10).
We would do well to heed Scripture’s repeated warnings to be on guard for false teachings (e.g., Rom. 16:17-18; cf. 1 Tim. 1:3-4; 4:16; 2 Tim. 1:13-14; Tit. 1:9; 2:1), and to point them out to believers (2 Tim. 4:6). With so much scriptural support, such actions can hardly be considered unbiblical.
Touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm! (Psalms 105:15 KJV)
Some discipleship groups interpret this verse to mean that we shouldn’t question or say anything negative against our leaders. This interpretation squelches legitimate questions or complaints that might stop errors.
Leaders who adopt this slant on scripture become almost immune from accountability to their people. This is only one example of the ways in which abusive discipleship groups may use Bible verses. Passages are often taken out of context and their true meanings distorted; but these groups also correctly interpret many verses. That is why it is so difficult to see what they are doing.
(Quote) from a former pastor who used this passage to control his flock, and now explains…
This particular concept is so twisted, so groundless that it would be funny if it was not so sad. In context, in those verses (Psalms 105:9-15) God is talking about the patriarchs, about how He protected them, about how He kept Abraham’s life. The main thing the scripture was dealing with is when Abemelech took Sarah into his harem. God wanted Abraham to keep his wife. God was protecting Abraham because from him was going to come a nation and from that nation was going to come the Messiah.
Also John tells us that in the body of Christ we each have the anointing of God. (1 John 2:20-27) This anointing does not apply only to the man behind the pulpit; we each have the anointing of God. The Holy Spirit is available to every one of us. We can be filled as we open ourselves and yield to God. It’s not just one man, or some church leaders on earth who God has set apart anointed. “Touch not my anointed” refers to all of us who are in the body of Christ.
Many times people forget that this scripture could never be used to mean that sheep should not question their leaders. A good leader should be honored and respected; but we are instructed (1 Thes. 5:21) to prove all things. First Tim 3:10 says that deacons must be proved.
According to Revelations 2:2, even those who call themselves apostles should be tried. Jesus commends them because they tried those who called themselves apostles and found they were false: “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars”
I pray this may have helped to shine some light on the mis-use of “…touch not my anointed”…