Have you ever heard an “apostle,” “prophet” or Christian teacher warn someone: “Touch not the Lord’s anointed”?
Many church leaders — not just in the apostolic-prophetic movement — quote this verse from Psalm 105:15 when anyone criticizes or challenges their teachings or actions. Sometimes, they may quote the entire verse: “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.”
When quoting this verse, they usually imply or directly state that God will judge a person who criticizes them and perhaps strike the person dead.
Yet, they are quoting this verse out of context. The verse is contained within a psalm, Psalm 105, which is about God’s protection of the people of Israel and His deliverance from their oppressors. Just a few verses before verse 15, we can see that the “anointed ones” weren’t just the leaders of Israel, but all the people of Israel. The verse showed that God would not allow the people of Israel to be physically harmed by their enemies because He was divinely protecting them.
Yet, church leaders today who quote this verse don’t mention that it was referring to all the people of Israel. They act like the verse was speaking only about leaders — and that it applies only to them.
This verse has nothing to do with criticizing or questioning church leaders. In fact, many Bible passages warn us to carefully evaluate church leaders’ teachings and actions by Scripture. For example, the apostle Paul urged Titus — a church leader in Crete — to appoint overseers who would oppose teachers who were contradicting Scripture (Titus 1:9).
No church leader is above such scrutiny, according to the Bible. Even the apostle Paul’s teachings were tested according to Scripture by the people who lived in Berea (Acts 17:11). And notice that the Bereans were praised for doing this — they weren’t told to just accept Paul’s teachings because he claimed to be an apostle. If the apostle Paul’s teachings needed to be tested by Scripture, then certainly no teacher today is above scrutiny.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t respect our leaders. The Bible teaches us to respect them. But showing them respect doesn’t mean that we don’t test their teachings and actions by Scripture. Our first loyalty is to the Bible, not them.
Also — this is a crucial point — the New Testament teaches that all Christians are the Lord’s anointed, not just special “apostles,” “prophets” or teachers. The apostle Paul told the Corinthians believers: “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).
In case Paul wasn’t clear enough, the apostle John also taught that all Christians have God’s anointing when he said: “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth … As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him” (1 John 2:20, 27). The reason John said this was because certain teachers were falsely claiming they had a special anointing that set them apart from other Christians — the same thing some leaders are claiming today.
So, according to the Bible, all Christians have an anointing. This is a beautiful truth. Let it sink in.
We all, if we belong to Christ, have God’s anointing — not just Christian leaders. Yet, often, “apostles,” “prophets” and teachers try to act like they have a higher status with God than other Christians. This reveals pride on their part. Yet, one of the most important qualities that a church leader is supposed to possess, according to the Bible, is humility. It is a characteristic of our Lord who told his disciples that their lives — like His — were to be marked by humility and loving service (Mark 10:42-45).
I get concerned when I see church leaders act like only they have God’s anointing and that people who want the anointing must get it from them. All Christians have special status with God because of their relationship with Christ. All Christians have the Holy Spirit living inside them. Please don’t ever let anyone rob you of that.
And be careful if you hear a church leader quote “Touch not the Lord’s anointed” when someone criticizes or challenges them. They are using a common and unbiblical scare tactic to silence their critics.