JUDGING AND TOUCHING THE UNTOUCHABLES
By: Victor T. Stephens
"If an offense comes out of the truth, better is it that the offense come than that the truth be concealed."
~ Thomas Hardy
Touch Not My Anointed
Consider the following passage:
Saying, "To you I will give the land of Canaan as the allotment of your inheritance," When they were few in number, indeed very few, and strangers in it. When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people, He permitted no one to do them wrong; Yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes, saying, "Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm." (Psalm 105:11-15)
Now, who are the "Anointed"? The phrase, "My anointed ones" is typically used in reference to Israel's kings.
"Here I am. Witness against me before the Lord and before His anointed: Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I received any bribe with which to blind my eyes? I will restore it to you." (1 Sam. 12:3)
And he said to his men, "The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord's anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord." (1 Sam. 24:6)
But David said to Abishai, "Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord's anointed, and be guiltless?" (1 Sam. 26:9)
So David said to him, "How was it you were not afraid to put forth your hand to destroy the Lord's anointed?"
(2 Sam. 1:14) See also Psalm 20:6 and Lamentations 4:20.
Now ... who are the prophets? The phrase "My prophets" is used in reference to God's patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
"Now therefore, restore the man's wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours." (Gen. 20:7)
Looking at Psalm 105 in greater context, it says:
O seed of Abraham His servant, you children of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth. He remembers His covenant forever, the word which He commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac, and confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, "To you I will give the land of Canaan as the allotment of your inheritance," When they were few in number, indeed very few, and strangers in it. When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people, He permitted no one to do them wrong; yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes, saying, "Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm." (Psalm 105:6-15)
Now ... reading the passages preceding Psalm 105:15 and other related texts, "Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm" is literally speaking in terms of not inflicting physical harm upon God's anointed and prophets in the Old Testament. Neither of these designations mean that an appraisal regarding the teachings of today's church is inappropriate. This scheme of butchering Psalm 105:15 functions to enhance the financial resources of rapacious demagogues. Moreover, using fear of some form of retaliation for "speaking out", it also serves to keep congregants in "their rightful places" ... empowering pre-existing political correctness in the church.
Now, let's postulate momentarily that "Touch not My anointed" is defined as "Not touching (correcting) a pastor's teaching." In that case, how would we know who not to touch? How would we be able to discern the many false teachers the Bible so clearly points out? Anyone can claim to be a preacher, prophet, or evangelist. The latter question is just what false teachers fear. Satan's ministers do not want us to see them in their authentic form. Therefore, they twist Psalm 105:15 into a different rendition because it stifles debate and shields them from correction and exposure.
Who are the Anointed in the New Testament?
False church leaders twist and pull Psalm 105:15 from the Old Testament to instill the notion that they are exclusively God's anointed. However, according to Scripture, all believers under the new covenant are the anointed priesthood.
"Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, 22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee." (2 Cor. 1:21-22)
"... who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (2 Cor. 3:6)
"... you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 2:5)
"... and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."
"And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth." (Rev. 5:10)
Nowhere in the New Testament do we find a single verse that indicates God's anointed is restricted to leaders in the church. Every believer in the body of Christ has been anointed by the Holy Spirit with specific gifts.
Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged
Let's now look at Matthew 7:1.
"Judge not, that you be not judged." (Matt. 7:1)
Along with Psalm 105:15, Matthew 7:1 is one of the most misquoted and abused verses in the Bible. Now, in order to understand this verse in proper exegetical context, let's take a look at verses two through five for greater clarification.
"For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." (Matt. 7:2-5)
It should be clear that this passage is instructing us not to judge hypocritically. Romans 2:3 says:
"And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?" (Romans 2:3)
Thus, in proper context, Matthew 7:1 does not mean we are prohibited from investigating and judging doctrines taught by leaders in the church.
Now ... Jesus says in Matthew 7:15-16, 21-23:
"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord', will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" (Matt. 7:15-16, 21-23)
How can we discern false teachers and false prophets if we do not judge their doctrines by the Word of God? Let's consider the following overwhelming evidence that firmly supports judging the teachings of those behind the pulpit:
1. John 7:24 says that we are to:
"Judge with righteous judgment" (John 7:24)
This meaning that we are commanded to exercise moral and doctrinal discernment.
2. In Romans 16:17-18, Paul commands believers to:
"note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple." (Romans 16:17-18)
The word "note" means to "discern and judge". When false teachers are identified, Scripture commands us to "avoid them"; yet many Christians will ignore the warning and blindly follow them.
3. 1 Timothy 5:20 says:
"Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that others may take warning." (1 Tim. 5:20)
Public sin, which includes false doctrines, is to be judged and rebuked publicly to warn others of impending danger.
4. In the Book of Galatians, Paul publicly exposed (Judged) Peter's hypocrisy.
"When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, 'You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?' " (Gal. 2:11, 14)
5. In the first Book of Timothy, Paul judges the false doctrines of Hymenenaeus and Alexander.
"Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme." (1 Tim. 1:19-20)
6. In 1 John 4:1, it says to:
"Test the spirits to see whether they are of God." (1 John 4:1)
In order to "test the spirits", we must judge them.
7. In 1 Corinthians 5:12, it states:
"Do you not judge those who are inside?" (1 Cor. 5:12)
This verse clearly indicates that Christians should judge sinful acts, which include those who teach false doctrines within the church.
8. In 1 Timothy 1:3, it says:
"As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer ...." (1 Tim. 1:3)
In order to determine if a doctrine is false, we must judge it by the Word of God.
9. In the second Book of Timothy, Paul instructed Timothy to:
"Rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths" (2 Tim. 4:2-4).
Now, on what grounds would one be able to "Rebuke" without having to judge doctrine? Moreover, note that Paul says the time is coming when people will no longer adhere to sound doctrine, but rather will congregate with many false teachers who teach what they want to hear. Thus, they will reject truth and follow false teachers. This is clearly happening today. That said; let's take a look at how Paul addressed the church at Corinth regarding false teachers.