An Examination of “Touch Not the Lord’s Anointed”
Robert Wurtz II
Then tidings came to Joab: for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom. And Joab fled unto the tabernacle of the LORD, and caught hold on the horns of the altar. And it was told king Solomon that Joab was fled unto the tabernacle of the LORD; and, behold, he is by the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, Go, fall upon him. (I Kings 2:28-29)
Joab had conspired against Solomon to bring Adonijah into power. Fearing for his life he made a last-ditch effort to save his skin. What did he do? He ran to the tabernacle and took hold of the horns of the altar. This was a practice established under the law as a means of offering temporary asylum to those who had killed someone until it could be rightly determined whether the act was accidental, justified or murder. If the act was accidental or justifiable the killer was instructed to flee to a city of refuge where the avenger of blood could not pursue them (Numbers 35:10-34). However, if a person presumed to go into the tabernacle to take hold of these horns to avoid just punishment they were to be taken away even from the altar (Deuteronomy 19:4-14 Exodus 21:14). In other words, Exodus 21:14 kept Numbers 35:10-34 from being abused and Exodus 20:13 (Thou Shalt Not Murder) or any other capitol offense from being circumvented. Joab clearly abused the practice of “taking hold of the horns of the altar” so Solomon commanded that he be struck down- even before the altar.
A Satanic Doctrine
Likewise, in the churches of God, we are commanded and expected to deal with threats to the churches and to do so with the utmost care and resolve. God (not man) established the doctrine of church discipline and He expects that doctrine to be carried out. Why? For the protection of the saints and the salvation of the sinner. Understand that no matter who a person supposes themselves to be — they are subject to church discipline. That means everyone without exception. There are no special people in the Kingdom of God who are above the laws of God. In fact, we are told in Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11, and Galatians 2:6 that God is no respecter of persons no matter who they are promoted to be.
Believe it or not there are people who move within the churches who think they are special and chosen — insomuch that God has their back and will curse those who speak against them. To most of us this sounds like lunacy and devilry, but nevertheless they are there. How do we deal with these self-styled “special” and “chosen” people? We deal with them the same way we would the janitor in the church or the sinner who just joined it. God is no respecter of persons. He doesn’t have a set of laws for the “chosen ones” and another set for everyone else.
No doctrine can be allowed to circumvent church discipline. Many may call themselves ‘prophets’ of ‘prophetesses’ or even apostles, but that proclamation is no exemption from church discipline. There are no free passes for deceivers and sinners in the Kingdom of God.
Touch Not the Anointed?
We have all heard the stories about some poor soul who dared to “touch the Lord’s anointed” and his house caught on fire or he fell over dead the next day. Nonsense! If we were to sit down and draw a line from tragic events to people in this way we could make the Devil look like a saint and have a story to prove it. These falsehoods not only need to be rejected… they need to be repented of and renounced utterly. The anecdotal justifications for such false teachings abound and poor ignorant souls sit and tremble in fear lest they be cursed for touching one of these self-styled anointed ones.
What happened? Circumstantial horror stories are used to spark the fear of God in people so that that fear can be transferred to a man (or woman) making them untouchable. The people teaching it don’t even have the wisdom to see that the doctrine itself has brought a curse. The old timers used to speak of lies that were “hatched out of hell.” This is one of them. I suggest that one of the most destructive and diabolical lies of our generation is “touch not the Lord’s anointed.” It has produced scores of false teachers and sinners who believe they are above reproach, church discipline or even criticism. Understand that people are all too willing to pull snippets of scripture and doctrine from the Old Testament that are convenient for their purposes. If “touch not the Lord’s Anointed” was merely a typical example of such nonsense it would be one thing, but this is far more severe and dangerous.
Every scripture has a context and without it… you have a pretext. Consider this line of reasoning from three snippets from the New Testament … “Judas went and hanged himself” … “Go and do thou likewise” … “Whatsoever you do — do quickly.” This may seem comical but this is how the Old Testament is frequently abused. What about “touch not the Lord’s anointed?” God set in order a precept in the Old Testament to protect prophets, priests, and kings from abuse. He issued a warning against those that would come against the ones that He had ordained to His service (Psalm 105:15).
However, when David sinned with Bathsheba he understood that he deserved the death penalty. Kings were not exempt. Prophets were not exempt and priests were not exempt. In fact, if a so-called prophet were to give a false prophecy he was to be put to death (Deuteronomy 13:5). Just like the case of Joab, God’s word has within itself safeguards to make sure that no principal or truth can be abused or exploited. For the false prophet and the adulterous king “touch not the Lord’s anointed” did not apply to them and could not save them in the day of their sin no more than the horns of the altar could save Joab.
Heretical and Sinful Leaders
“Touch not the Lord’s anointed” is creating monsters in the church. We are commanded in Titus 3:10-11 to reject a heretic after the second warning and to note and shun people who do not follow the doctrine Paul set forth (2 Thess. 3:14). Don’t fellowship with them or eat with them. Paul warned us in 1 Corinthians 5 to put wicked fornicators out of the church until they repent. In other words, these destroyers of the churches don’t need just ‘touched’ they need to be excommunicated in some cases. Jesus congratulated the church at Ephesus for condemning false apostles as liars (Revelation 2:2). There can be little doubt that these men professed themselves to be ‘anointed’- not just ‘anointed’ but apostles! This is how they established themselves. It is the enemies strategy.
There is no such thing in the New Testament as a sinner or heretic being under God’s special protection because someone believes they are or were at some point in their life anointed (like king Saul). If a person is causing destruction in the churches they must be dealt with no matter what their name or title is. I don’t care if they raised a thousand people from the dead — they are still subject to church discipline. Period. End of story.
Only Satan could make acquiescing to lies and deceit appear nobel and biblical. He has provided the proof texts for the green light many in the churches are giving these deceivers and sinners. Prosperity peddlers, false prophets, adulterers and a host of other compromises and lies today are holding the horns of the altar as did Joab whilst pushing around the voices of Truth as did Zedekiah. Yet Solomon stated, “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD”(Proverbs 17:15). It is an abomination to allow lies and deceit to go on in order that the so-called “anointed” would not be touched. And it is an insult to God and man to condemn people who would seek to deal with the so-called anointed with “touch not the Lord’s anointed.” Sadly, many are handing the wolves the keys to the chicken house thinking they are doing God a service. It has to end. This doctrine must once-and-for-all be rejected, repented of, and renounced as the diabolical error and falsehood that it is and for the inexpressible evil that it has already caused. Perchance much future damage and destruction might be avoided.