The words “touch” and “touching” do not always refer to physical contact. This is brought out many times in the Old Testament in reference to specific people, personal acts, sins, thoughts and attitudes. A search of the New Testament finds the words being used in reference to such things as the resurrection of the dead, Gentiles, accusations, ministry, righteousness and love.
When the Almighty forbad Adam and Eve to “touch” the forbidden tree He was not limiting His instructions to the physical partaking of its fruit. His command went far deeper than that. Eve “touched” the tree when she gazed upon it with desire. At that time she “SAW that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasing to the eyes, and a tree to make one wise, THEN she took of the fruit of the tree and ate, and gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate” (Gen. 3:5,6). Eve spiritually “touched” the forbidden tree by looking at it with desire. She physically “touched” it by eating of its fruit. She then enticed Adam to eat of it. Eve sinned three times; Adam sinned twice by lusting for the fruit and partaking of it. Both spiritual and physical “touching” are sins. The wages of either sin was the same as it is today–death (Rom. 6:23).
Several New Testament statements cut to the heart of the matter and reveal the complete meaning of “touch” and “touching.” In 2 Corinthians 6:17 we find the Apostle Paul summarizing what he had written in the previous three verses. In verse 17 he tells those in the Corinthian church who were determined to follow the Lord to separate themselves from those in the church who refused to do so, to “touch not” the unclean thing–the rebels. Paul was telling God’s true saints to have nothing to do with those who refuse to obey the Lord. If God’s people were in the minority, they were to leave the church. If they were in the majority, they were to put the rebels out of the church.
In Matthew 22:31 Jesus made a statement “as touching (concerning) the resurrection of the dead.” When He referred to the subject He “touched” it. In Matthew 18:19 He spoke “as touching” prayer. In Philippians 3:5 Paul wrote “as touching” (obeying) the Law.
There are other New Testament Scriptures that speak about “touch” and “touching” that do not use those specific words. One familiar statement warns that a man who looks upon (touches) a women with lust is sinning in his heart. In 1 Corinthians 6:18 and 10:14 Paul admonishes righteousness seekers to “flee fornication” and to “flee idolatry.” He was warning the people not to “touch” fornication and idolatry–to not so much as think about them.
When I show people in God’s Word where He condemns a particular church doctrine or practice, the common response is to discount it. When I remind them that He commands that we abstain from even the APPEARANCE of evil, they conjure up some excuse for continuing the activity. The Institutional Church does the exact opposite of what God commands. For example she congregates on Sunday, observes Christmas and Easter, forms denominations, teaches such Satanic doctrines as the rapture, the trinity, instant salvation and rebirth, the death of the Law, going to heaven, immediate entrance into heaven or hell at death, all faith and no works relative to salvation, original sin, etc. In doing these things the false church “touches” that which God commands that she “touch not.” L.J.