‘Touch Not God’s Anointed’: One of the Most Abused Verses in the Entire Bible

by | Jul 17, 2018 | Church & Ministry

“It doesn’t really matter what you say I have done. God has called me here, and you can’t stand in His way.”

According to a friend of mine, these were the words a leader of a congregation used as he responded to a congregant who sought to challenge him on issues of deep concern—issues of sin.

It reminded me of something that happened while I was in Bible school. I had been attending a church on Long Island led by a dynamic preacher. Everyone loved his fiery teachings. He was truly anointed. However, I became concerned when, during a service, he physically attacked an usher. The usher had laid his hand on someone, and the wife of the pastor removed his hand, as he was there to usher, not to pray. The usher reacted angrily to the pastor’s wife, and both he and the pastor had to be physically restrained.

I stopped going to this congregation. A few weeks later, some of my college buddies came back to the campus with glowing reports of Pastor Phil’s (not his real name) latest message. “You’ve got to hear it, Ron!” they crowed.

I popped the cassette into my Walkman (it was 1986) and listened as Pastor Phil screamed at the people and blamed them for this and that. I did not sense anointing but human anger.

A few weeks later, I was told that Pastor Phil prophesied over a young lady in the church, just after he returned from a four-day prayer retreat, in which it was discovered he brought the very same young lady with him. Someone saw them return together, and Pastor Phil was confronted regarding his adulterous affair.

‘He Is Still Anointed!’

When the elders sat down with Phil and his wife for this confrontation, the very first words out of his wife’s mouth were, “He is still anointed.”

Most women would have hit him, yelled at him and called him a cheating jerk—yes, even believing women. But this wife’s greater concern was for her husband’s authority in the congregation—that it would not be forfeited. While this was an elder-led team, she had much freedom as the senior pastor’s wife and loved being in that position.

In her mind, Phil was God’s anointed, even if that anointing did not help him stay pure. It was as though she were saying, “David committed adultery, and he was still king. Who are these elders to remove us from power? We are God’s anointed!”

The theory that leaders can only be removed by God comes from 1 Samuel 26:9-11, where David warns his trusted friend Abishai not to kill King Saul:

David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him. For who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed and remain unpunished?” David said, “As the Lord lives, the Lord will strike him, or his day will come to die, or he will go down into battle and perish. The Lord forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed, but now please take the spear that is at his head and the jug of water, and let us go.”

A Dangerous Doctrine

From this text, some leaders have derived a very dangerous doctrine regarding a senior leader and accountability. According to this doctrine, the senior leader is understood as having a position like the ancient kings of Israel. He is “God’s anointed”; therefore, he is not to be removed by any process of men—no matter what he does. He is beyond congregational discipline. While he may have elders or a board, they are advisers only, and all decisions are his to make. Within his sphere, he is the final authority (or, as I call it, dictator).

If he abuses people or they do not like his decisions, they have two choices. They can either submit to his leadership and entrust the situation to God, or they can quietly leave the community. In any case, they are to make no waves or protest in their leaving. Those who do are labeled rebellious troublemakers and often become the target of malicious rumors and gossip.

In these circles, the authority of the senior leader is taught in very absolute terms. We are told, “Touch not God’s anointed.” I believe it is a destructive and devilish doctrine, and people should separate from those who teach it.

First, this was no even a doctrine in the Old Covenant. This was David not wanting to take matters into his own hands, and make himself King. There are plenty of examples of kings being rebuked in the Old Covenant.

  • Nathan rebukes David
  • Samuel rebukes Saul
  • Elijah rebukes Ahab
  • In fact, David publicly rebukes Saul, after he spared his life. David even says, “May the Lord judge between you and me.” (1 Sam. 24:12)

To be clear, we should honor and respect those who have embraced the yoke of leadership, but leaders should be held to an even higher standard than those in their congregations:

“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1).

And if you find yourself in a place where you need to bring correction to a leader, do with a loving, humble heart.

The Leader Is Not a King

In the New Testament, congregations are not led by kings. Yes, I know in many circles the pastor and his wife are treated like royalty. Some even refer to the pastor’s wife as first lady.

Just this morning, a pastor friend was telling me of a young elder who said, “Now that I am an elder, people will respect me.”

My friend told him that it was quite the opposite: “Now that you are an elder, you give up your rights in order to serve.”

In Hebrew, the word for minister (mesharet) is the same word for servant. A leader is called to serve, not to be crowned. Yeshua said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35).

New Testament congregations should be governed by teams of elders under the direction of a senior leader who is accountable to the team. Both Titus and Timothy, who were senior leaders, were encouraged to appoint elders (Titus 1:5; 1 Tim. 3:1-13). And elders govern the congregation:

The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Tim. 5:17, emphasis added).

God’s Anointed

Saul did not declare himself God’s anointed. He didn’t tell people, “You can’t touch me because I am God’s anointed.” In fact, when David did not kill him, but cut off part of his garment, Saul did not rebuke him, but repented to David.

It most cases today, it is the senior leader who declares himself to be God’s anointed and therefore untouchable by man. In the case of David and Saul, it is Saul’s enemy, David, who calls Saul God’s anointed. It is a dangerous thing for a man to declare himself God’s anointed.

In Bible school, I had the opportunity to meet the great British Bible teacher David Pawson. After one of his messages (he was teaching all week), I was deeply moved. I felt like I had heard from a prophet. I walked up to Mr. Pawson and asked, “Are you a prophet?” He wisely said with his beautiful British accent, “That is not for me to say, but you.” And he walked away.

I was blown away. He was right. You don’t become a prophet or God’s anointed because you post it on your Facebook page or business card. You can’t declare yourself an apostle, as did the drunk and abusive character Robert Duvall played in The Apostle. No, others affirm the gift of God in your life.

So let us be done with this abusive doctrine. It is rooted in pride and leads to abuse. May God raise up strong leaders who are secure enough to be accountable to their elders. If you find yourself in a situation where a senior leader refuses to be accountable because he is “God’s anointed,” my advice is to run! Find a congregation that has clear standards of morality for its leaders.

Note of Balance

I do want to be clear about one thing. The explosion of mass media has given a wider voice to anyone who wants one. That is good. However, too often, people without all the facts enter into internet gossip and cast suspicions on leaders based on wrong information or half truths. We must fear the Lord and make sure we have all the facts, before we publicly accuse. {eoa}

Ron Cantor is the director of Messiah’s Mandate International in Israel, a Messianic ministry dedicated to taking the message of Jesus from Israel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Cantor also travels internationally, teaching on the Jewish roots of the New Testament. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua, a Hebrew-speaking congregation in Tel Aviv. Follow him at @RonSCantor on Twitter.

This article originally appeared at tikkun.tv.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Is He a God of Wrath or a God of Love?

Is He a God of Wrath or a God of Love?

Do you think the God of the Old Testament is a God of wrath, and the God of the New Testament is a God of love? The truth is that God is the same throughout the entire Bible. His wrath and His love are revealed in both the Old and the New Testaments. So why, then, did...

How You Can Have a Perfect Heart

How You Can Have a Perfect Heart

Your heart is the most important part of you. It’s not only a physical organ that keeps your blood pumping, but when the Bible refers to the heart, it’s talking about who you really are. Each person has an inner and an outer life. There’s the person we show to...

How the FBI Raid on Mar-a-Lago Is Spiritual Warfare

How the FBI Raid on Mar-a-Lago Is Spiritual Warfare

It's been a few days since the FBI raided President Donald Trump's home in Mar-a-Lago, and the Biden Administration has yet to explain to the American people why they did what's never been done in American history—the government raiding the home of a former president....

How the Holy Spirit Can Restore Your True Sanity

How the Holy Spirit Can Restore Your True Sanity

Most of my life I tried to avoid one thing—being crazy or insane. When I was growing up my mother had emotional issues and saw a psychiatrist regularly. She was on medication which only seemed to make her mood swings worse. She had high highs, and low lows. When I...

Israel Prophecy: The Enemy is Stirring an Unimaginable Conflict

Israel Prophecy: The Enemy is Stirring an Unimaginable Conflict

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJFFqAgykmU A cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants took effect late Sunday in a bid to end nearly three days of violence that killed dozens of Palestinians and disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis,...

Why Partial Obedience to God is Disobedience

Why Partial Obedience to God is Disobedience

My husband had a saying for our children growing up. “Partial obedience is disobedience.” He wanted them to understand that doing half the plan would not get them the full reward. Another reminder we used to tell our kids was, “Don’t think about it, don’t hesitate,...

RECENT ARTICLES

Kingdom Economics: Why is America Declining Spiritually So Quickly?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a surprisingly strong July Employment Report.  Total nonfarm employment was 528K (398K previously, 250K expected).  Private nonfarm employment was 471K (404K...
Can You Discern Spiritual Wind?

Can You Discern Spiritual Wind?

The wind is a funny thing. We do not know where it comes from nor where it goes. We cannot see it, but we can see and feel its effects. Wind can be gentle and refreshing, cold or hot, strong, and dangerous, and everything in between. When the wind blows, we must...

Messianic Rabbi: He That Has an Eye, Let Him Hear

Messianic Rabbi: He That Has an Eye, Let Him Hear

It is interesting that, as a Messianic rabbi the question I am asked most often by Christians is if I believe that they as Christians have to celebrate, or observe, the biblical Holy Days. They are usually asking about those days listed in Leviticus 23: Shabbat, Yom...

How the Holy Spirit Is Preparing America

How the Holy Spirit Is Preparing America

As the crackdown against Christianity in America grows, it is a cycle believers have seen before. While no one celebrates their religious freedom coming under attack, God has used this persecution to great effect throughout history. Over the centuries, there have been...

Dealing Effectively with the Dynamics of Change

Dealing Effectively with the Dynamics of Change

Change can be challenging. Some people look forward to change and embrace it. Some people dread change and try to avoid it. Since change is inevitable, so here are some of the dynamics surrounding change and the specific strategies to deal with change more...

God’s Holy Interruption Is Coming Soon

God’s Holy Interruption Is Coming Soon

This past weekend I preached at The Roads Church, a charismatic congregation located in the tiny town of Norris City, Illinois. Located amid cornfields, the population is only 1,325, but almost that many people visit the church on weekends. They come from all over...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]