If you listen to “Christian” television for any length of time you are sure to hear, “Touch Not My Anointed, And Do My Prophets No Harm.” This verse is usually quoted to silence any person from questioning or criticizing what is being taught at that particular time.
Through the use of fear proper biblical discernment is discouraged not only by the leaders but the flock is soon parroting this verse to silence any criticism that is leveled against their leader.
What does this verse really mean? Does it mean that we cannot question anything that is taught by our leaders? Three scriptures clearly refute this absurd teaching:
“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. (Acts 17:11)
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)
To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. (Revelation 2:1-3)
PSALM 105:15—Does this verse indicate that certain men called by God are beyond criticism and accountability, as Word-Faith teachers suggest?
Psalm 105:15 says, Saying, “Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm.” Some Word-Faith teachers cite this verse in arguing that they have been specially anointed by God and should not be criticized for their teachings. They indicate in their words and actions a belief that challenging their teachings amounts to challenging God himself.
CORRECTING THE MISINTERPRETATION:
The phrase “the Lord’s anointed” is used in Old Testament Scripture to refer to Israel’s kings (see 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). In this context the word cannot be interpreted to refer to modern teachers in the church. Further, the word prophets in context can only refer to Old Testament prophets, not to modern church leaders. Neither of these designations can be interpreted with reference to teachers in the modern church.
Even if we allowed that this verse could loosely refer to modern church leaders, the warning is against physically harming them. It has nothing to do with testing their teachings. In Old Testament times prophets and kings were very much in danger of physical harm—and hence the warning.
Scripture itself instructs us to test all teachings by the Word of God (1 Thess. 5:21). Like the Bereans of old, we must make the Scriptures our measuring stick for truth (Acts 17:11). The Bereans were commended for testing the apostle Paul’s teachings against Scripture. Paul affirmed elsewhere, All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.2 Tim. 3:16–17 All of us are to be constantly on guard against false teachings (Rom. 16:17–18; cf. 1 Tim. 1:3–4; 4:16; 2 Tim. 1:13–14; Titus 1:9; 2:1).
“But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” (I Jn. 2:27).
There is a sense in which every believer in Christ is “anointed” In contrast with the false teachers John described in 2:18–19, he reassures true believers reading this letter that they have been anointed and possess knowledge of the truth. This anointing referred to the Spirit of God being poured out by Jesus “the Holy One” on those who have come to faith in Christ. This anointing “you received from him abides in you” (1 John 2:27), meaning it was lasting. The New Testament described Jesus as the Anointed One (Acts 4:26–27) who also anointed those who believe in Him. In view of this, no Christian leader can lay claim to being special or above others and beyond doctrinal criticism.