“Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.”
The ark of God had been sojourning in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite after the fall of Uzza, who had fallen through being smitten of the Lord on account of his having put out his hand to steady the ark when the oxen stumbled. Now David having subdued the Jebusites, makes Jerusalem the capital of his kingdom after having established the seat of his government there, goes down to the house of the Gittite with the elders of Israel and the captains over thousands, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord. This they do, the Levites bearing the ark, with “shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps.” This, then, is the occasion of David's wonderful psalm of thanksgiving, in which his mind is stirred up to recall all the way the Lord has led his people in all the vicissitudes of their journey from their former humiliation in Egypt to their now exalted and prosperous condition in the land of promise. All this had been in fulfillment of the covenant which God had made with Abraham hundreds of years before, which covenant God had confirmed unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant, saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance. This promise God had made to his people when they were but few and were as yet strangers in that land which he covenanted to give them later on In those days of littleness and feebleness they went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another, and he suffered no man to do them wrong, even reproving kings for their sakes. The reason for all this safety in the midst of strangers and strange lands was that God said, “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” When God speaks, it must be done as he says, there is no resisting his will. When he said, “Touch not,” they could not be touched, however much their enemies might desire to do them harm. The anointing of the Lord cannot, must not, be despised, and those thus anointed, however mean they may be in their own persons and in the estimation of others, yet they must be respected and let alone, for the Lord will not suffer his anointed to be dealt with as men please. First of all, Christ is the great Anointed of the Father, and if there be any others that are the anointed of God it can only be as they receive their anointing through Christ Jesus. Before the foundation of the world Christ was anointed the great High Priest of our profession; he was appointed from eternity to offer in the fullness of time the great and only sacrifice which could and should take away all the sins of the elect. He stood from the foundation of the world as a lamb slain; not that he was actually slain from the foundation of the world, but that in the purpose, plan and predestination of God his being slain was all mapped out and virtually accomplished in the mind of Almighty God. He was, therefore, from eternity appointed, set apart, consecrated and, to sum up, anointed with the Holy Spirit of the Godhead unto the great sacrificial and mediatorial work which he should in the course of time come into the world actually to perform. All this being so, the anointed of God could not be touched, nothing could alter, hinder or hasten the work of Christ Jesus. He must come, not too late, and not too soon, but right in the right place and at the right time, to do the work and the will of the Father in the earth. All the schemes or men and devils could not touch this anointed One. His enemies could not endure the directness and the force of the truth which he preached, they took up stones to stone him, they essayed his destruction in various ways, they laid pitfalls for him and fell in them themselves, they attempted to ensnare him, but succeeded only in entangling themselves. All their schemes for his ruin came to nothing, for his hour had not yet come, and until it did come he was as safe in the belly of hell as he would have been if caught up to the throne of his Father. He could not die until his time came; that is, the time appointed of the Father, and when that time did come the intervention of Peter with his sword, and indeed of the whole church, had that been possible, could not have prevented it. But even when his hour had come he could die only in the place and at the time and in the manner decreed by his almighty Father. No farther could the wild waves of wrath encroach upon him than God had intended. It had been said by one of the prophets that not one bone of his body should be broken, and not one bone of his body was broken, though the legs of each of the thieves on either side of him were broken to make them die quicker. Jesus they could not touch, for God had said, “Touch not mine anointed.” Of course, this hateful mob had no idea of the doctrine of predestination, and would have derided the thought that they were doing only what God's hand had determined before to be done, that they could not do more and could do no less. But whether they knew it or did not know it, the predestination of God was fulfilled in all they did. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. This he did. He did not try to save them, he did not merely make their salvation a possible thing, but he successfully accomplished the salvation of all his people perfectly and completely. He finished the work given him of the Father to do. Unto all this he was anointed before the world began, and the Anointed could not be touched; that is, he could not be prevented or helped in this work, or turned aside from it one jot whatsoever. God had sworn by himself, because he could swear by no greater, that Christ should be a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec, after the power of an endless life. He alone can make atonement satisfactorily unto God for all the sins of all his people. Now, to attempt to add to the work of Jesus by some work of our own is to touch the anointed, and this cannot be done. To detract from the work of Jesus, to say that he did not do what he says he did, that all he did amounts to nothing unless men accept, this all is to touch the anointed, and this cannot be done, for God has said, “Touch not,” and what God says must stand. It cannot be otherwise than as God says. His word will not return unto him void of fulfillment, It will accomplish that which is God's pleasure, and always prosper in “the thing whereunto he sends it.” God is no less effectual in grace than he is in nature, and why men persist in claiming that God needs their help in matters of grace, when he can get along so well without their help in matters of creation, is beyond the spiritual mind to comprehend. If God cannot save a soul without man's help, how did he ever manage to get the world made right and the universe set in motion without some of us there to help him? The whole effort system as preached and believed by the so-called christians of this day is an attempt to touch God's anointed, and to rob him of the diadem which is rightfully his. It will all come to naught, they shall be confounded, shall all be overwhelmed in shame, for God has said, “Touch not mine anointed,” and he will avenge his Beloved in his own time and in his own way. However, the word “anointed” applies not only to Christ himself, but to all that are in him. Aaron was a type of Christ, and you remember that when the holy oil was poured upon his head it ran down over his beard and over his garments to even the skirts thereof. No part of the body of the high priest but what shared in this anointing. So with Christ, the antitypical High Priest, there is not a part of his body, not a single member, but what receives the anointing in, some measure. All the elect are anointed in and through him, all have an unction of the Holy One, and just as Christ cannot be touched, just as he cannot be robbed of his glory, just as he cannot be hindered or helped in all his work, just so not one of the elect can be robbed of the crown of righteousness laid up for them, cannot be blotted out of the book of life, cannot be prevented from finally persevering unto the inheritance incorruptible and undefiled reserved in heaven for them. On land or on sea, in war or in peace, in sickness or in health, in poverty or in wealth, in hell or in heaven, all and each one of God's people are safe. They are safe at all times and in all places. They live a mystical life, they move in a mystical world, they cannot be touched, none can do them hurt, they cannot suffer harm. We do not mean that God's people do not have their trials and afflictions, these they must have, but even these things cannot touch them; that is, cannot hurt or harm them, but will do them good, for no matter what comes to pass in the lives of God's people it is all for their good and for the glory of God. Everything and all things promote the welfare of God's people. Even when Stephen was being stoned to death it was only his body the stones pelted, they could not touch his life, and every blow from the stones as they were being hurled upon his poor body was but bringing death nearer and nearer to him that he might fly away and be forever at rest in the presence of the Father. The anointed, the real Stephen, his enemies could not touch. They could and they did, indeed, torment his body, but we fear not them which can merely destroy the body, but rejoice that it has been given us to fear God, who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell. We are all strangers in a strange land, this world is not our home, we have here no continuing city, we seek a city whose builder and maker is God. By faith we have caught the gleam of that city's gates of pearl, and press on to follow on to know the Lord, hoping to attain unto the resurrection of the dead and the knowing him without a veil between. In the meantime, as we move about here, in this lower world among strange peoples that cannot speak our language nor comprehend us, we are safe. Just as of old, Israel went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another, and God suffered no man to do them wrong, but reproved kings for their sakes, saying, “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm,” no now no man or men can do wrong to the church, for she is anointed in Christians and no wrong can be done her. Whatever comes her way must be right, no matter what it is. It cannot be wrong. All things that the people of God individually or collectively experience cannot do them wrong. It is all right, whatever it is. All is, as we have said, for their good and for the glory of God. We do not see how it is so, nor can we explain how it is so, but we know it is so, for God says it is so; and we believe that what God says is so. We have only to know that God says a thing to know that it is so. Reason wants an explanation, but faith accepts gladly God's word without explanation. God will not stoop to appease our reason, but he will always respond to our faith, for faith never asks but what God is pleased to give. Every One that testifies of Jesus is a prophet, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. The gospel ministry, the preaching of Jesus, is therefore prophetic according to the scriptural definition of prophecy, for it is the testimony of Jesus. God says, “Do my prophets no harm.” The gospel ministry cannot be stamped out, those that preach it cannot be harmed. They will, they must, have trials to endure that would 'daunt the most courageous, but these things will do them no harm. The life of their spirit will thrive in all these things. Preaching is not an easy task, and the pulpit is no place for a coward. If ever the church needed clear, plain forceful, discriminating setting forth of the truth of God, it is now. This is a soft age, but the truth is just as hard as ever, and it ill becomes us to modify its hardness or smooth it to men's liking. We do not believe that one so anointed to the work of the ministry can hold back part of the truth and rest easy in his Conscience. It is not necessary to ridicule publicly what the world believes, it is not necessary to be sarcastic, it is not necessary to be personal in one's remarks, nor to be insulting, but let the trumpet send forth its certain sound, let none be in doubt as to what we mean, whether they hear or whether they forbear. If we have friends, let them be our friends fully aware of our position, and not our friends because they think we are something we are not. Let us be honest, let us be straightforward. Let us not evade the Issue for which we are set as witnesses in the midst of a world gone mad with the wealth of mammon and drunken with the wines of Babylon. Let the clear far call of the trumpet of our God sound forth throughout the darkness of this present evil world. You need not fear any harm, you cannot be harmed, for God has said, “Do my prophets no harm.” His word guarantees the security of all who prophesy in his name, so go at it with all the might that is in you. “Jesus Christ and him crucified,” sound it forth to your last breath. Nothing can hurt you. God says so. Requested. L.
Elder H. H. Lefferts, Leesburg, Va.
Signs of the Times
Vol.84, No.5 March 1, 1916