Discernment, False Doctrine

Touch Not My Anointed?

“Never challenge or speak out against God’s anointed,” I recently read in a book for Christian women.

Have you ever heard someone say this? Is it biblical? Who are “God’s anointed”? Why should we never challenge or speak out against them? What does it mean to be “anointed” anyway?

This is just one more of the many dangerous false teachings coming out of the Word of Faith and New Apostolic Reformation heresies. It is an adulteration of Psalm 105:15/1 Chronicles 16:22 (same text). The phrase “touch not My anointed” is lifted out of context and imbued with the meaning “never criticize, correct, or rebuke the pastor.” Unfortunately, churches that wield this false teaching like a weapon usually do so because they are pastored by a false teacher who needs to be (or is being) biblically criticized, corrected, or rebuked.

The context of Psalm 105/1 Chronicles 16 makes it obvious that this is not what this verse means, even in the Old Testament, as anyone who takes the trouble to read the whole chapter can clearly see. This verse is about God protecting the Israelites from oppression by foreign kings when they were wandering in the wilderness. “Touch not My anointed oneS” and “do my prophets no harm” is a warning to pagan nations to leave God’s people – all of them, the common people as well as the prophets – alone during the Exodus.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with New Testament churches and the idea that one should never challenge or speak out against a pastor. Pastors are only “anointed” today in the same sense that every believer is “anointed.”

In the Bible, “anoint” simply means to apply oil or another substance (Luke 7:38, John 9:6) to a body part (your own or someone else’s). In the Old Testament, one of the occasions for applying oil was in ceremonies to consecrate – set apart – someone (or something: Genesis 31:13, Exodus 29:36) for a particular purpose. For example, David was anointed with oil when God set him apart as king. All Old Testament priests were anointed with oil. Elisha the prophet was anointed with oil.

But we do not see this in the New Testament. No one is anointed with oil as part of a consecration ceremony. In the New Testament, the verses containing the word “anoint” fall into one of three categories: medicinal/hygienic application of oil and other substances, references to Jesus as the “Anointed One” (Messiah), and two passages (2 Corinthians 1:21-22, 1 John 2:20,27) speaking of all Christians as being allegorically “anointed”: set apart as God’s special people (the same way Psalm 105/1 Chronicles 16 talk about the Israelites as God’s special, set apart people).

The only individual in the New Testament who was anointed – literally or allegorically – in the Old Testament, ceremonial, consecrated sense is Jesus. Why? Because He fulfills all three of those Old Testament “anointed” positions: prophet, priest, and king. He is the final prophet, the Great High Priest, and the eternal King.

Therefore, no New Testament believers are “anointed” to any position but we are all spiritually anointed – set apart to and for Christ as His special possession. We are to submit to our pastors and elders (Hebrews 13:17) insofar as they teach and obey God’s written Word (1 Timothy 5:19-20, Acts 5:29), but “never challenge or speak out against God’s anointed”? Only if the Anointed One you’re talking about is Jesus.

7 thoughts on “Touch Not My Anointed?”

  1. Hi, Michelle! Thanking the Lord for leading you to write about this, and to explain in depth the correct context.

    May the Lord continue blessing your ministry.

    Regards, Mila

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You teach and state things so well and so clearly Michelle. Thank you! This article is excellent.

    I used to love the ‘anointing’ services at church – where the pastor and ‘leaders’ would go around and place oil on people’s foreheads.They’d usually do it once a year. People would fall down and I would always find it hard to stand under what I thought was the presence of God. I would see light and have intense experiences… what on earth is going on in these meetings! It’s not just emotions – there is something else happening. It sickens me to think back on them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What about this verse: is it speaking of the Spirit of God as the anointed one or the believer as the one anointed? Seems to me the Spirit of God.
    As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
    1 John 2:27 NASB


    1. Hi Robin- Verse 27 should have been included with the link to verse 20 (and 2 Corinthians 1:21-22) in the third paragraph from the end. Thanks for catching that! I’ve corrected it.

      Verse 27 is speaking of the Believer as the one who is anointed by the Holy Spirit: “the anointing which you [Christians] received from Him“. When it says “His anointing” in the second half, it means “the anointing from the Holy Spirit.”

      If you read the passage in context (18-27), verse 20 helps make 27 clearer.

      Hope this helps :0)


  4. I have agreed with the premise of the thought that this phrase has been wrongfully used by wicked preachers. I agree that it is for the people of Israel, their prophets. Along with that, I agree that Kings were to be anointed.
    My question would be, do you know who Israel is?
    Have you studied the OT Scriptures fully, to see what their promises and prophecies were to be for the end of days?
    Have you studied the promises, prophecies and covenants made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and then to Jacob’s offspring, including the adoption?
    These things are so important, that you cannot correctly translate the NT until you havel


    1. Yes, I’ve studied all of that and plan to study it more in the future. Understanding the OT is certainly helpful to understanding the NT. (I’m not attempting to “translate” the NT, though, as I do not know Greek and there are plenty of good English translations available.)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great article.
    Another point is that in 1 Samuel 24, David quotes that scriptures twice when he is actually criticizing God’s anointed, Saul publicly, but he quotes it so that his men won’t kill him. Thus, 1 Samuel 24( like Galatians 2 when Paul publicly challenges Peter for his legalism), teaches us that we ARE to challenge wickedness and false teaching publicly, even when it is being done by kings and apostles.

    Liked by 1 person

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