Here is Part II of the article by Dr. Thomas Williamson on the subject, “Touch Not The Lord’s Anointed.” Part III tomorrow.
Touch Not the Lord’s Anointed” Is the Command for Today? By: Thomas Williamson, Th.M, Ph.D. 3131 S. Archer Avenue Chicago, Ill., 60608
In 2 Samuel 1:14-15, David had an Amalekite executed for the sin of stretching forth his hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed. What had the Amalekite done? Had he criticized the doctrine of a big-name televangelist? Had he exposed the moral failings of a preacher falsely claiming to be a holy man of God? Had he voiced opposition to some pastor’s proposed building program? No, his offense was of an entirely different nature – by his own testimony, he had taken his weapon and killed Saul, the man God anointed to be king of Israel. (I believe that Saul was already dead and that the Amalekite stripped his body and then concocted the story of having killed Saul in the vain hope of receiving a reward from David.) Regardless of whether or not this man killed Saul, David believed that he had killed Saul and had him executed for that offense, not for the offense of verbally criticizing Saul, which was something David himself had done.
Why, then, do we hear so much whining from preachers today who warn their followers, and their critics, not to touch the Lord’s anointed? Just what do these preachers have to hide, and what are they so anxious to cover up? One would think that it is the unpardonable sin to criticize or find fault with any preacher in any way. Some of the big televangelists have even hinted that God will punish their detractors with death.
To rebuke a preacher who has committed errors of false doctrine or practice cannot be the sin of touching the Lord’s anointed, because it does not involve the use or threat of physical violence. Such rebuke is appropriate and even commanded in certain instances. “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.” (Galatians 2:11.) “Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.” (Titus 1:13.) “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear,” (1 Timothy 5:19-20.) The office of elder here is the same as the scriptural office of bishop or pastor. Presumably it would also include televangelists and ecumenical evangelists, even though no such creatures are authorized in the New Testament, and they could not be higher in rank than the Apostle Peter, who Paul rebuked publicly before the congregation of Antioch.
Who is the Lord’s Anointed?
Since we are instructed so many times that we must not touch the Lord’s anointed, it might help to check out the New Testament and find out just who are the Lord’s anointed today. In 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 we read; “Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who also hath sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” The Apostle John tells us, “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things…. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (1 John 2:20,27.)
There we have it – all Christians are the Lord’s anointed. How could it be otherwise? In Old Testament times, only some believers were priests, but in this age of grace, we are all priests: “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ … But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:5,9.)
In the light of this glorious truth, that all born-again believers are the Lord’s anointed, perhaps when we are admonished by a preacher to “Touch not the Lord’s anointed,” we would do well to answer, “Same to you, buddy!” In fact, the preacher from his place of prominence in the pulpit can do more harm, to more people, than the average man in the pew, if he is following unscriptural principles and practices, and therefore he is to be more carefully scrutinized and watched. Yes, the preacher is the Lord’s anointed, if he is truly saved, but so are you, and so are we. We owe a tremendous amount of courtesy to all of God’s true preachers, including an obligation not to oppose or criticize them in an improper and unscriptural manner. But they have the same obligation of courtesy to all Christian laymen, who are also the Lord’s anointed.
PART III TOMORROW
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