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The Anointing of God

What I am about to write might seem strange coming from one that the Lord Jesus has, for some reason, chosen to function in the role of a Christian leader.

I think it is important to teach what the Bible teaches about things. In this case, I believe the topic should cause us to see ourselves (whatever our roles in the Body of Christ) and other Christians in a new light.

Perhaps that will result in increased unity among us and in more people harvesting their spiritual gifts in Christ.

Sometimes a person who does a good job of singing or delivering a sermon or writing a book is described as “being anointed.” The implication is that the talented are “anointed” and those Christians who aren’t talented are not “anointed.” (In truth, they are just gifted by God to do such and such and EVERYONE has such gifts in some area.)

In addition, every now and then we see someone utter this quote in an ominous fashion:

“Don’t touch God’s anointed.”

It is commonly used in the Christian world as a way to warn what some consider to be the “little people” to never dare question modern day Christian leaders. The premise is that Christian leaders are “anointed” and that non-leaders are not (or are less anointed than are leaders) and that God will severely punish these “non-anointed” Christians if they do anything to which a Christian leader might object.

Frankly put, this technique is most often used to manipulate and control people. (Such techniques are only ever employed by those who lack trust that the Lord is their protector.)

To be sure, most people who ever use the term “Don’t touch God’s anointed” aren’t insecure leaders who lack trust in the Lord. Most are people who just parrot what they hear others say because terms like this sound Biblical and it makes them look spiritual to use them.

Some say it because they truly believe that if a “nobody” in a Christian organization questions a leader God will punish them harshly. They say it to protect their friends.

The term DOES have a Biblical basis – it’s just always used out of context after the Cross and Resurrection and under the New Covenant.

“And he (David) said to his men, ‘The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my master (King Saul), the LORD's anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.’” (1 Samuel 24:6)

Context is important.

This was written in a time when God would choose a person for a task and would cause the Spirit of the Lord to fall upon him. Often the person was anointed with oil. This was a visible representation of the invisible empowerment of the Holy Spirit of God.

This is how Saul became the first king of Israel.

“Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head (the physical anointing), and kissed him and said: ‘Is it not because the LORD has anointed you (the spiritual anointing) commander over His inheritance?’” (1 Samuel 10:1)

Then Samuel prophesied over Saul about the Spirit being ON HIM sort of like a spiritual royal cloak that would empower him to do the things God had chosen him to do.

“Then the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you (the spiritual anointing), and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. And let it be, when these signs come to you, that you do as the occasion demands; for God is with you.” (1 Samuel 10:6-7)

Years later Saul is out of control and no longer representing God well as King of Israel. This grieves the prophet Samuel.

“Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul, and the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.” (1 Samuel 15:35b)

God would soon remove Saul’s role as king and place it on David instead – but it had not yet happened completely the day that David could have killed Saul but chose not to, leading him to say this:

“And he (David) said to his men, ‘The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my master (King Saul), the LORD's anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.’” (1 Samuel 24:6)

Saul was still, at that time, physically the king over Israel. David recognized that God was perfectly capable of dealing with that in His time, so David did nothing to cause anything to happen. David knew what God had chosen to do about it all.

“Now the LORD said to Samuel, ‘How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.’” (1 Samuel 16:1)

God’s decision was to replace Saul with David as King of Israel. And He started by giving David the spiritual anointing to do so, along with the symbolic anointing with oil as a physical representation of that.

“So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the LORD said, ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him (the physical anointing) in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward (the spiritual anointing). So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.” (1 Samuel 16:12-13)

Then something tragic happened to Saul.

“But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the LORD troubled him.” (1 Samuel 16:14)

Because of how Saul practiced his role as King of Israel, God LIFTED the Holy Spirit that had rested upon Saul and in its place came a distressing spirit. Saul refused to repent and that distressing spirit became evident to those around him.

“And Saul's servants said to him, ‘Surely, a distressing spirit from God is troubling you.’” (1 Samuel 16:15)

This happens to this day whenever a Christian leader fails to represent God well in the role or task he has been chosen to perform. The Holy Spirit won’t leave him….but God will remove His empowerment to do the task and maybe to populate the role anymore.

The fact is that from the time the Spirit was removed from Saul and placed upon David he was no longer spiritually anointed to be the King but God allowed him to remain in the position. It was during this time that while pursuing David to kill him he stepped into a cave to relieve himself and David chose not to kill him, recognizing that God had chosen to allow Saul to remain in the position of King even while David had the spiritual anointing to be King (1 Samuel 24:1-7).

I have written all this as a foundational teaching about the CONTEXT of David’s comments (and I paraphrase here) that he would not “touch God’s anointed.”

To clarify, the context is these words were spoken:

  1. Under the Old Covenant during which NO ONE had the Holy Spirit living within them

  2. Under the Old Covenant during which a select few leaders were chosen by God to have the Holy Spirit RESTING upon them.

It is important to have this foundational understanding because whenever mention of the idea of “being anointed” is used today under the New Covenant it seems to be used improperly. Whenever it is used it somehow implies that a human Christian leader is somehow more spiritually important than are the people he leads.

The truth is that ALL Christians are equal in Christ, are EQUALLY ANOINTED, and have equal value since the same price was paid for all: the life and blood of Jesus.

The fact is that there is a strong contrast between what Saul, David and various prophets experienced regarding “the anointing” prior to Jesus rising from the dead and what is available to every, single Christian who will walk with the Lord.

SO MUCH HAPPENED for humanity when Jesus rose from the dead. There was set in place a way that we would get back EVERYTHING lost in the Fall of Man. One thing we have available is that the Holy Spirit literally comes to dwell within the human spirits of all born again people…..Christians.

“But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if (since) indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if (since) Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if (since) the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:9-11)

We have something that Saul, David and the prophets could never imagine; we have the Holy Spirit of God living inside us just like Adam and Eve did prior to their fall.

Because of this wonderful FACT, the reality is that every, single Christian is equally anointed and the Bible tells us this is true.

“Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God…” (2 Corinthians 1:21)

Paul is speaking to what some might consider the “little people” in the church in Corinth (EVERY Christian in that city.) Please note that, as an apostle, he says that they are all established together and anointed together by God.

There isn’t a hint of inference that as an apostle he is more anointed than are they.

The Apostle John, speaking to Christians like you and me, many of whom considered by many in the modern Church to be spiritual “nobodies” because they have no spiritual titles or positions, says this:

“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.” (1 John 2:20)

Think about that. We have something King Saul and King David and the Old Testament prophets had….but better because THIS anointing is inside us and not just resting on us like a spiritual cloak.

EVERY one of us Christians has this – not just people who are more visible because of their titles, positions or prominence in a Christian Gathering.

It is VERY important for the advancement of God’s Kingdom on the earth that EVERY Christian, that is…..that ALL these ANOINTED people….seek God to see what they are individually anointed by God to do….and, simply, do that.

Christianity was never intended by God to be a spectator sport!

We are ALL important to His plan. We are ALL crucial to His works. We are ALL equally valuable! Its past time we abandoned the exclusivity built into the idea that only a very few are “God’s anointed.”

“But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” (1 John 2:27)

The question that arises, then, is this:

“Why would God, Who says that ‘we know all things’ and that we ‘do not need anyone teach’ us because of the anointing all Christians have, establish some in leadership roles and name those roles?”

“And He (God) Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…” (Ephesians 4:11-13)

I am one of those leaders. This is an important question for me to reason through so that I might fully fulfill God’s purpose for placing me in this role AND to do so in a humble manner.

This is an important question for us all to reason through so that we might thoroughly fulfill and completely benefit from God’s purpose for leading us to the people that He uses to watch over us, teach us, guide us in His Kingdom on the earth.

I believe that if a Christian leader allows the Holy Spirit, Who dwells inside him, to pastor through him…teach through him…..counsel through him…..watch over through him, etc. it truly IS the Holy Spirit doing all these things.

A Holy Spirit-led teacher isn’t the one doing the real work; it is the Holy Spirit doing the work with the human Spirit-led teacher in partnership with Him. The real “work” of teaching is resist our inclination to quench the Holy Spirit as HE teaches through us. This is what the term “fellowship of the Spirit” really means.

“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:1-4)

When I teach the Bible as I often do and, indeed, am doing now as I write this, I seek to so closely follow what I perceive to be the Spirit’s leading that the person who sits under the teaching is literally led to a point where the Holy Spirit Who wrote the Bible and dwells in that person’s human spirit responds to His own teaching through me outside the person.

“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God…” (Romans 8:16)

This is, I believe, what the term “the Spirit bears witness with our spirit” really means. Further, I believe this is the purpose of God establishing earthly Christian leaders: to glorify God in their leading and not at all to garner for themselves any special significance.

It is not to elevate any Christian leaders to a place of prominence over other Christians. There are NO levels in true Christianity in which some “nobodies” are at the bottom of an organizational chart and at the pinnacle are the “anointed” ones that cannot be touched without the wrath of God consuming them.

Jesus is the head (Ephesians 4:15) and the rest of us are, equally, the Body of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 12:12 and following Paul goes to great lengths to make this point and does so perfectly.

So far, we have seen the true context of the idea “don’t touch God’s anointed” and we have seen that, in Christ, ALL Christians are equally anointed by Holy Spirit Who indwells all Christians.

It IS true that the Bible teaches that we are to honor those who function (sometimes temporarily) in spiritual roles, functions and positions.

“Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.” (1 Timothy 5:17)

“Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:20)

“Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17)

I believe that honoring those in places of spiritual authority is not for the purpose of benefiting those people as much as it honors God for choosing that person for that task.

Most importantly, though, when a person honors someone who is leading him, teaching him, etc. the person who is being taught more readily RECEIVES from the Spirit leading or teaching through that person. So, when I honor the man who watches over my soul or when I sit in on a Bible study and I honor the one teaching, I benefit the most from the honor I give that person.

I’ll end with an idea I had while praying about this whole idea of using the Old Covenant idea of “Don’t touch God’s anointed” in a New Covenant context.

We saw that ALL Christians have dwelling within their human spirits the Holy Spirit of God, the Source of “the anointing”. We also saw in 2 Corinthians 1:21, 2 John 2:20 and 27 that all Christians “have the anointing” and “are anointed”.

We all have different roles, gifts, functions and positions in God’s Kingdom but we all equally share the anointing that comes with Holy Spirit in our lives.

Why can’t we, then, take the term “Don’t touch God’s anointed” to simply mean “Don’t hurt your brothers and sisters in Christ.”?

In fact, is it not time we stopped practicing Christianity in terms of what NOT to do? Why don’t we simply love one another?

“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.” (Romans 12:10-13)

“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:1-2)

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)

“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9)

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.” (1 John 4:7-12)

Finally, may this be truthfully said of us:

“But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another…” (1 Thessalonians 4:9)

I pray that this article successfully counters the division among the saints that the term “Don’t touch God’s anointed” usually creates and sustains.

Holy Spirit had Paul write that “there should be no schism in the body” (1 Corinthians 12:25).

Since the false entire idea that some Christians are anointed and most are not is inherently DIVISIVE, it is to that end that this has been written: that “there should be no schism in the body”.

Pastor Mike McInerney

Mike McInerney Ministries

Decatur, TX

© February 13, 2017

(For use with permission)

©2018 by Mike McInerney Ministries