The verse cited above, and its companion 1 Chron. 16:22 serve well to help us make a very important distinction in Bible study and application.
“Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm” is a darling passage within the ranks of Charismatic and Pentecostal communities, especially by their leadership – to fend off criticisms and scrutiny. Unfortunately for them, they commit (among others) the critical error of using a passage stripped not only of its immediate context, but of the larger context of the whole of Scripture.
Let’s start with the immediate context of both Psalm 105:15 and 1 Chron. 16:22.
In both cases (for one is a repeat of the other) the immediate context frames what is being talked about. And it is NOT, about individual, self-proclaimed prophets, miracle workers, preachers, teachers or anything of the like. This is how the pericope reads:
"When you were few in number, of little account, and sojourners in it, wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people, he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account, “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!” 1 Chron. 16:19-22
So the first thing you need to note is that this is written about the nation of Israel – not any one “prophet.”
2nd, you have to notice that God never actually said this to anyone! It is merely a statement regarding how He had decreed that Israel would remain safe from the attacks from other nations during its 40 years of wandering.
3rd, it has nothing to do with legitimate criticisms of any who are in ministry or some mythical place of prophetic or apostolic leadership.
What is being taught, is that God was faithful to His covenant promises to Israel, even during their wilderness journeys.
Back to the title of this post: yes, the Bible “says” what is often quoted in this verse – but the Bible does not TEACH what so many people try to use this verse to say it does. Instead, the Bible requires God’s people to scrutinize its teachers, to root out false teaching and those whose lives are not commensurate with a godly lifestyle.
So, for instance, the Apostle Paul publicly confronts the Apostle Peter in Antioch when his actions contradict the Gospel. So the Prophet David is rebuked by Nathan due to his sin. So Jesus criticizes the church in Pergamum for not ferreting out those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, and the Church in Thyatira for tolerating a woman who called herself a prophetess, but led others into sexual immorality and spiritual compromise. God is in no way saying we ought not to “touch” them, but to rid ourselves of them. And so too – Paul can call the “super-apostles” of Corinth into account, and Deuteronomy 13 can instruct us: 1 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.”
The Bible does NOT teach that supposed “anointed” ones or “prophets” are somehow immune from scrutiny, criticism or censure. In fact, it is just the opposite. For when the qualifications for those who would hold leadership positions in the Church are spelled out – they are to be evaluated by the congregation both as to their lifestyle, and their commitment to Biblical truth and competency in communicating and defending it.
Be careful Beloved that you find out what the Bible teaches, and not just what it “says.” It is true that Isa. 5:20 says “call evil good and good evil.” But that isn’t what it teaches. For the entire verse reads: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”
Don’t fall for the false-teacher’s tricks. READ THE TEXT – IN CONTEXT.