Posted by: Heather | September 1, 2010

Touch Not Mine Anointed!

I Chronicles 16:22  …Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

When we think of the anointing, we can view it in many different ways.  If we hear an especially good sermon or teaching, we will often say the speaker was anointed.  Many churches believe in the biblical principle of anointing with oil and praying for the sick.  If we sense the presence of the Holy Spirit around us, many will say they ‘feel the anointing’.   Although these tend to be very positive ways people view anointing, this passage in I Chronicles has often been painted in a very different light.

I am a subscriber to some discernment websites, and often see some interesting articles there.  Many times, if a well-known minister is asked about something questionable in his/her teachings or running of their ministry, they will immediately revert to the use of this scripture.  “Touch not God’s anointed!” is the resonating cry of those that believe they are above biblical inspection.  This has almost become a ‘buzzword’ in some circles if a religious leader doesn’t want to answer a question raised to him/her.  This is not only the case in well-known ministries, but in little known ministries where the leadership refuses to be questioned or challenged.

In a biblical sense, the anointing isn’t a thing, it’s an action.   Anointing happened for many different reasons according to the Hebrew customs, but in certain instances of religious or political nature, a consecration ceremony was performed on one chosen as a leader.  Those chosen for the positions of priest and king would be anointed with a certain blend of oil.  When we anoint with oil in the church today, we smear a small bit of oil on the head of the one we’re anointing.  In the cases of some offices such as the Levitical priests that served in the tabernacle/temple, this anointing would be similar.  In the most important of offices though, it wasn’t quite so subtle.   For example, when Aaron was anointed as the high priest, the oil was poured over his head until it ran down his face.  The anointing of oil was used as a representation of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

There is a term I had not heard until fairly recently…spiritual abuse.  We think of physical and verbal abuse in our society, and are aware of the dire consequences of such.  But, there are many church leaders today that are guilty of spiritually abusing their members.  Using manipulation, intimidation, and other methods to keep people inside the four walls of a church is nothing short of spiritual abuse.   This type of abuse wrecks lives, just as the other types of abuse we’re most familiar with.  In these types of churches, people believe (and are taught) if they leave a certain church they will go to hell.   They are either not encouraged to study the Word of God (believing only what they’re taught), or to study it through a pre-determined lens, with the criteria mapped out by a particular belief.   Their leaders refuse to be challenged to any degree, and will not allow open discussion on any question that might go against the belief of the pastor or church.

Now, given all of this information, let’s examine the context of I Chronicles 16:22.  David, the king of Israel, had prepared a place for the ark of the covenant, and desired it to be brought to Jerusalem, and set in the place he had prepared.   He appointed some Levites to minister there.  They constantly gave praise and thanks to God with songs and musical instruments.  David gave them a psalm to sing, and what a great reminder it was!  The song spoke of God’s greatness, and how they should remember all of His marvelous works.  He spoke of the land God promised His people, the nation of Israel, and how God had protected them as they traveled from one nation to another.

Then, David makes the statement in this song that is the clear context for this passage of scripture.  As he speaks of how God protected the nation of Israel, he says in verse 21-22 (NIV) that “He allowed no man to oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings.  ‘Do not touch my anointed ones’; do my prophets no harm.

The context of this scripture is speaking of those in leadership that would touch (violate or injure) His anointed ones…His people!  God in His mercy did not allow the Israelites to be oppressed by any as they made their journey to the Promised Land.  In fact, kings were punished when they tried to do so.   The word ‘prophets’ here is also very different than how we see it today.  In this context, a prophet is one who has familiar communication with God, and to whom God makes His will known.  This includes, but is not limited to, the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc).

I truly believe we should give honor where honor is due.  Honor the man and woman of God for their office, and the responsibility God has placed on them.  However, a true man or woman of God knows and realizes what their position is…that of a servant, not a lord over God’s people.  Being anointed of the Holy Spirit is not something just for those we consider religious leaders.  It is for all of those that God calls His people.  If you are often discouraged from questioning a teaching in an appropriate manner (not for malicious intent) by use of the phrase ‘touch not God’s anointed’ or something similar, give much thought and prayer to your association with the person who uses this against you, because they are stifling your spiritual growth.  Ezekiel 34:2 (NIV) says it quite wisely:

This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock?

The anointing of God, although powerful, is not overbearing, cruel, or harsh.  Neither will those be that are truly operating in it.

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Responses

  1. Wonderful article. Appreciate your sharing with us

  2. This post hits the nail on the head. Thank you for drawing this issue into the spotlight, and so eloquently too! 🙂

    “They are either not encouraged to study the Word of God (believing only what they’re taught), or to study it through a pre-determined lens, with the criteria mapped out by a particular belief. Their leaders refuse to be challenged to any degree, and will not allow open discussion on any question that might go against the belief of the pastor or church.”
    — This is a nasty bit of twisted theology, and I’ve seen this in a lot of evangelical circles. My parents’ lifelong church lost us as members when we raised concerns about their non-committal view on helping ‘the least of these’. And we’re also seeing this now in a major mission organization that used this tactic to cover up years of child physical and sexual abuse at its boarding schools for missionary kids.

    “I truly believe we should give honor where honor is due. Honor the man and woman of God for their office, and the responsibility God has placed on them. However, a true man or woman of God knows and realizes what their position is…that of a servant, not a lord over God’s people. …If you are often discouraged from questioning a teaching in an appropriate manner (not for malicious intent) by use of the phrase ‘touch not God’s anointed’ or something similar, give much thought and prayer to your association with the person who uses this against you, because they are stifling your spiritual growth.”
    –Right on the money. Well said.

    • God bless you! Thanks so much for your comment.

  3. Ms. Heather,
    You gave us a whole new perspective on a scripture I had misunderstood as well. Keep up your excellent work!

    • Thank you, Corteney! 🙂

  4. Heather,

    Great lesson! I love how you placed this oft-abused scripture into its proper context. God help us all to read the Bible the way it was intended to be read!

    • Thanks Anthony! I agree with you. That is one of my heart’s passions now…to make sure the Bible is used in its proper context. We cannot continue to take it out of context and expect to know it like we should. 🙂

  5. Heather, this commentary on “do not touch my annointed” is right on the money. We are all servants and the ground is certainly level at the foot of the cross. I do respect those God has called out, but are not we all called out in a sense?

    • Judy, yes we are. I agree with you. The main scripture that comes to mind though gives conditions on that honor. I Timothy 5:17 tells us we should deem elders that rule well with double honor, especially if they labor in the word and in doctrine. Those that rule well, and not with an iron fist, are worthy of the honor given them.

  6. Thank You! for posting this. This was something I needed to see, and wanted to understand more clearly, and do now.

    • You’re very welcome, John! It came about as a ‘need to know’ recently. I’d been wanting to know for quite awhile, and something that happened the other day sparked the need. LOL

  7. You are so absolutely correct! The annointed, in this context is the congregation! The New Testament teaches the “priesthood” of all believers, a plurality of elders, and the posture of servanthood to all those that lead. The totalitarian, authoritarian dictatorships that pass for ministies today are so frightening. The idea that a pastor is above question or honest heartfelt dissent is absurd and unscriptural. I recommend that anyone who has been the victim of this cruel and barbaric system read the old George Orwell classic Animal Farm. I know it’s not “RELIGIOUS” or “CHRISTIAN”, but it is an accurate potrayal of power run amuck! Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. In the book of Revelations they were warned about the doctine of the Nicolaitanes, those that lorded over the laity.The Lord said He hated them! If we as pastors and leaders of the flock forget, for one nano-second that Jesus instructed us that “He was among us as he that serveth” and “the servant is not above his master”, we are in peril of walking in direct rebellion to the will of God!

    • Glenn, I agree with you. I have been literally sickened by some of the things members of congregations have gone through at the hand of those that claim to lead them. It is extremely frightening, and much more prevalent than people like to think. I appreciate your comment!


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