Madhaparam 02-Mar-2016 Fr. Abraham Orapankal, Ph.D.
We may have heard some religious leaders of different Christian denominations - priests, pastors, ministers, evangelists, elders and even bishops – quoting certain Bible verses out of context and interpret it to suit and promote their way of thinking. Psalm 105:15 "DO NOT TOUCH MY ANOINTED ONES; DO MY PROPHETS NO HARM" is one such verse that is misused in order to silence those who criticize or question religious authorities. The implication is that spiritual leaders are above criticism, and can never be challenged, rebuked, or held accountable. Sometimes it is these leaders themselves or their devoted followers who will throw this Bible verse at anyone questioning the leaders. They will warn them of God's punishment on those who oppose "the anointed one." So let us look at the real meaning of that verse in the Bible.
Biblical scholars tell us that the word "touch" actually means physical harm. It has nothing to do with speaking or saying something about another person that ist rue, even when it is a person's wrongdoings. How do we know this? It is because that is exactly what David did about Saul. We know David was the author of Psalms. It was David who promised not to harm God's "anointed." David was referring to King Saul at the time. However, David did speak out publicly about King Saul'st yranny: "May the Lord judge between you and me. May He punish you for your action against me. But my hand will not be against you." (1 Samuel 24:12) So pointing out what is wrong – irrespective of who says or does it – is perfectly biblical!
We will be shocked to see how the Holy Bible is very critical and condemnatory towards "prophets and priests" who scattered the flock instead of feeding and keeping them in untiy. Let me cite just a few examples:
• "Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of sIrael who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep" (Ezekiel 34:2-3). In fact read the whole of chapter 34 of Ezekiel.
• Jeremiah 23 begins like this: "Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!" declares the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD God of sIrael concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: "You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds," Read the whole of chapter 23 and you are in for a real surprise!
• Jesus himself gives excellent example of criticizing the religious leaders of his time in Matthew chapter 23, calling them "hypocrites," "white-washed tombs," and "blind fools."
• Even in the very beginning of the Church, St. Paul was quite happy to challenge another pillar in the church: St. Peter. Bible says, " When Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned." Yes Paul the great apostle of Jesus publicly scolded Peter, the first Pope, when he got into theological error, as recorded in Galatians 2:11-21.
All these and many more examples in the Bible tell us clearly that Psalm 105:15 was not applicable to any of these people who criticized religious leaders! Why? Because no one is above law, no one is above criticism or accountabiltiy.
Therefore, if any minister, priest or religious/charismatic leader uses "Do not touch my anointed one…" let us be warned that it is an abuse or twisting of the Word of God. Therefore, do not be afraid because one who questions the wrongdoing of any religious leader will not be punished by God, because he or she is in fact following the Biblical way of the prophets and of Jesus Christ who challenged shepherds who were self-centered and uninterested in feeding the flock with God's word.