By Pastor Paul M Hanssen
TOUCH NOT GOD’S ANOINTED – What Does That Mean?
There are many in the church world who create doctrines and phrases of “religious ritual” from scriptures that are either misinterpreted, misunderstood, or twisted. Many do this in ignorance and due to a lack of personal study and research. Others however, twist God’s Word to strengthen their personal opinions and/or use scriptures as a whipping post to judge others for personal choices that they may, or may not have made. One such place in the scriptures that is misused is concerning “touching God’s anointed”. In this article, we shall endeavor to give a true scriptural meaning to these words.
Considering context is always key in gleaning greater insight and understanding into the meaning of scripture. There are two places in scripture where the actual words “touch not mine anointed” are used. In both cases, the same words and example are used about the same circumstance. Both instances are speaking about God’s chosen people, His nation called Israel. These words have nothing to do with “coming against” an anointed position, ministry, or person. This all has to do with the heathen touching the children of God..
1 Chronicles 16:13-22
O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones. He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth. Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations; Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac; and hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant, Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance; When ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it. And when they went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another people; He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes, Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.
God did not permit His chosen people, and the prophetic voices among them, to be “touched” and “harmed” by the heathen nations and kingdoms through whom they sojourned and whom they were called to overthrow and drive out of their God-given inheritance. God Himself said, “…for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye” (Zechariah 2:8).
The Hebrew word for touch is naw-gah. This word means to lay hands upon for any purpose; to violently strike, punish or destroy; to beat, bring down, plague and destroy.
God has not, neither will He ever, allow the apple of His eye to be “touched”. Those whom He has chosen and set apart for Himself remain cradled under the safety of His everlasting wings. He will defend His people. He is a shield and a buckler to His people. He goes to war on behalf of His people. This does not mean that God’s people will not suffer. It does not mean that they will not be faced with battles of a severe nature. However, it does mean that they will not be destroyed. God’s people will stand. They will rise from obscurity. Beauty will come out of ashes. God is the defense for His own.
For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king. (Psalm 89:18)
God also commanded that His prophets, the ones chosen by God as voices of Truth among His people, not be harmed. The Hebrew word for harm is raw-ah. This word means to spoil by breaking to pieces, to afflict and to break down, to do harm and to hurt. Even though this certainly has to do with physical or bodily harm, the main connotation and meaning has to do with the people "not adhering" to the prophetic word that came from the prophet’s mouth. Many prophets were physically slaughtered. However, the ongoing offense toward the prophets was the people mocking, scorning, rejecting, and profaning the living words of God that came from their mouths (Daniel 9:10, Jeremiah 35:15).
Not everyone who professed to be a prophet was indeed a prophet. The title a person carried, or carries, does not make that person anything. Many, even today, carry the title of prophet. And yet the lives of these self-professed prophets and the examples they leave behind them, not to mention the words they speak, do not match that of a prophet. There is only one way to know the true call and mantle upon a person’s life; Jesus said “by their fruit you shall know them” (Matthew 7:20). It is not recorded anywhere in God's word where God instructed His people to follow the voice of someone who was not a true chosen, anointed prophetic voice. Neither did He instruct them to follow a voice that did not bear the fruit and who did not live the life of a prophet. A true prophet should indeed be heard and the voice, words and life of that prophet should not be harmed or broken to pieces.
Make no mistake, God defends His chosen people and He defends those who proclaim His prophetic word!
There is another portion of scripture that must also be considered in light of the topic that we are reviewing. This, of course, has to do with the relationship between Saul and David. Once again, these scriptures are incredibly misinterpreted.
There are many preachers, pastors, and ministries who over the centuries have used these portions of God’s word to defend themselves against scrutiny and rebuke. “Touch not God’s anointed” has been used by the “so-called” anointed ones to put the fear of judgment and terror on anyone who dares speak up, or who adamantly defy corruption, dishonesty, ungodly behavior and the likes within the church of God. There is not one human being on this planet, not one “called out” person, not one chosen in service to the LORD God, who is beyond the rebuke of Truth! A person’s ministry is never to be the focus of defense. It is indeed the Truth that MUST be defended at all cost!
Standing for the Truth has never been popular. Standing against falsehood and deception has never been popular. In spite, God both expects and demands that His people stand in defense of the Truth before they stand in defense of a personality or a ministry.
King Saul was anointed as king of Israel. To make a long story short, he lost his way with God. While he yet lived, God raised up and anointed another man as king. His name was David. David was young, but He had a heart after God. Even after he was anointed king by the hand of Samuel the prophet, David served king Saul as a faithful, loyal servant. David served Saul even while Saul was in a backslidden state. David skillfully played anointed music to drive spirits away from King Saul (1 Samuel 16:17-23).
David was loved, cherished, and revered among the people of Israel. This caused Saul tremendous grief and great jealousy. Saul even went so far as to attempt to kill and destroy David. At this point, remember, David was already God’s anointed king! (1 Samuel 18: 10-12). Yet, his time for taking his throne of leadership over the nation of Israel had not yet come to maturity.
David remained a faithful servant to Saul until he had to flee from him because his own life, calling, mantle, destiny, purpose, and anointing was under threat. David separated himself from Saul and never again placed himself at arms-length to the king who had rejected God.
1 Samuel 19:18-20
So David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth. And it was told Saul, saying, Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah. And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.
David fled to Samuel, the anointed prophetic voice of that day, and there, David shared with Samuel everything Saul had done to him. Was exposing Saul’s deeds to Samuel considered touching God’s anointed? Was David wrong for exposing Saul’s wrong? No, he was not. It is clear that the Spirit and presence of God was with David. Even at the time when Saul’s messengers came to take David to bring him back to Saul, the Spirit of God fell also on the messengers of Saul and they too prophesied. Powerful! Such was the anointing on David.
After David had fled from Saul and had established his own place of dwelling with his family and followers, Saul continued to hunt David down in an attempt to destroy him. Yet, even under these circumstances, David would not “destroy” Saul even though he had the chance to do so on more than one occasion.
Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats. (1 Samuel 24:2)
Saul’s jealousy and hate towards David was so severe that on one occasion Saul took three thousand men with him to hunt David down.
Saul ended up sleeping in a cave where David and his men had already positioned themselves. Once Saul and his men were asleep, David had a clear opportunity to destroy Saul. Yet, he would not. Instead, David cut off a corner of Saul’s robe as evidence that he did have the chance to destroy him, yet he refrained. This evidence David used to taunt Saul and expose his wicked plot against himself.
1 Samuel 24:8-15
David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself. And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men's words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt? Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the LORD's anointed. Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it. The LORD judge between me and thee, and the LORD avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee. As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee. After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea. The LORD therefore be judge, and judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand.
In his communication with Saul’s three thousand men, David exposed Saul’s error. He exposed Saul’s wicked plan, whilst at the same time placing his life into the hands of the righteous judge who was his defense. Was David touching God’s anointed by exposing his dastardly deeds? Absolutely not! However, had David destroyed Saul and put him to death, he would have been claiming God’s rightful place as the just judge who sets up and who brings down. The power to destroy belongs in the hands of God alone.
There is yet another example of David’s encounter with Saul. Here we see yet another opportunity that was given him to stretch out his hand against the LORD’s anointed. Once again, David refrained.
1 Samuel 26:7-10
So David and Abishai came to the people by night: and, behold, Saul lay sleeping within the trench, and his spear stuck in the ground at his bolster: but Abner and the people lay round about him. Then said Abishai to David, God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand this day: now therefore let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time. And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD's anointed, and be guiltless? David said furthermore, As the LORD liveth, the LORD shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish.
When given an opportunity to “kill” Saul, David held back. David made it clear unto his men that God would smite Saul His way and in His time. However, David took Saul’s spear and the cruse of water laying by his side (verse 12). He took power and sustaining strength from Saul in a powerful demonstration showing that Saul had lost this battle. David furthermore used what he took from Saul to taunt him.
1 Samuel 26:17-25
And Saul knew David's voice, and said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And David said, It is my voice, my lord, O king. And he said, Wherefore doth my lord thus pursue after his servant? for what have I done? or what evil is in mine hand? Now therefore, I pray thee, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If the LORD have stirred thee up against me, let him accept an offering: but if they be the children of men, cursed be they before the LORD; for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the LORD, saying, Go, serve other gods. Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains. Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly. And David answered and said, Behold the king's spear! and let one of the young men come over and fetch it. The LORD render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness: for the LORD delivered thee into my hand to day, but I would not stretch forth mine hand against the LORD's anointed. And, behold, as thy life was much set by this day in mine eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the LORD, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation. Then Saul said to David, Blessed be thou, my son David: thou shalt both do great things, and also shalt still prevail. So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.
To stretch forth a hand against another has to do with destruction, to kill, and to obliterate. David exposed Saul and his wrong doings, but he would not lift his hand to destroy him. Only God possesses that right and power. The fact that many departed from Saul and joined themselves to David is sure evidence that Saul was exposed. While David screamed across the valley to Saul, he was, even then, exposing Saul’s deeds. Yet, David would not lift a finger to destroy him, even though “the LORD had delivered Saul into David’s hand”.
Exposure and destruction are two very different things. Exposure opens opportunity for change, for repentance, and for a person to seek righteousness before God. Destruction, on the other hand, is final and only belongs in the hands of God. Stretching forth ones hand against an anointed one has to do with destruction. It is not within the power of any human to destroy another!!