Q: #269. Does "touch not my anointed" mean I can't confront a pastor whose teachings are out of line with the Bible?
A: This phrase, “touch not my anointed,” is used by some pastors today (often in the pentecostal movement) to say that no one should criticize anything they say or do, or God will make that person pay for it. These pastors are taking this verse completely out of context.
This verse, found in two places: (Ps 105:15)(1 Chr 16:22), says, “Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” 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 see that “touch not my anointed” is referring to Israel and God’s protection of that nation and its patriarchs (prophets):
(Ps 105:10-14) … to Israel for an everlasting covenant: (11) Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance: (12) When they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it. (13) When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people; (14) He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;
Reading these verses makes it pretty apparent that “touch not my anointed” was not spoken by God as a promise for individuals to “claim” today. This is why it is SO important to read ALL verses 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.” A look at Strong’s tells us that 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)(NASB), David says to Saul, “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. We are warned about false teachers (Rev 2:2)(Rom 16:17)(Gal 1:6-9)(1 Tim 1:3)(2 Jn 1:10-11) and false prophets (Mt 7:15)(1 Jn 4:1), and told to judge them (among many other things we are to judge: see Judge Righteous Judgment).
So, do I believe the verse “touch not my anointed” applies to some “anointed” Christians today? No! Do I believe that God will deal with someone who “touches” (hurts) a child of His (one who is in Jesus Christ: Q: #266)? I do! The Bible tells us He will: (Rom 12:17-19)(Prov 20:2)(2 Th 1:6)(Heb 10:30). And, by the way, ALL Christians are “anointed” (2 Cor 1:20-22)(1 Jn 2:20,27).