Removing Ancient Landmarks
Proverbs 22:28 - "Do not remove the ancient landmark which your fathers have set." In this passage God's people are expressly forbidden to remove the ancient landmarks which their fathers had set many years earlier. We are reminded by the Psalmist that he had "considered the days of old, the years of ancient times" (Psalms 77:5). The Lord is recorded in Jeremiah 6:16 as saying: "Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls." Isaiah describes the "Highway of Holiness" and the context of Isaiah 35 makes clear his appeal to return to the sure way of serving God.
Landmarks--The primary meaning of the Proverbs 22 passage is about boundary lines, corner markers, etc. which delineated the boundaries of one's property. These were to be regarded with great concern. The Jews were warned not to remove their neighbor's landmark which the men of old had set (Deuteronomy 19:14). A curse of God was pronounced upon the person who would move a landmark, and the children of Israel said "Amen" when this curse was read. (Deuteronomy 27:17) The Romans actually deified their property markers, offering sacrifices to their gods and pouring blood on the property markers.
In this article we use "landmarks in a spiritual sense", "landmarks" being the basic boundary lines which mark our beliefs about spiritual things. Six such "ancient landmarks" will be noted.
An Old Testament landmark had to do with the words of Jehovah. Deuteronomy 4:2 - "You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you." A similar admonition in Proverbs 30:6 advises "Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar." Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, violated this principle (landmark) by offering an unauthorized offering before God. This violation cost them their lives.
A New Testament landmark is similar. The apostle Peter writes: "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God." (1 Peter 4:11) We must respect this fundamental principle during the gospel age. Paul expressed great surprise that the Christians of Galatia would not understand this fundamental principle. "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed." - Galatians 1:6-8. The once-for-all-time gospel will stand as a landmark until Jesus returns. God's revelation ends with the strong warning against any who would add to or take from the gospel of Christ. (Revelation 22:18,19)
The revealed nature of Jesus is a landmark that must not be removed. Many ancient and many modern theories about who Jesus was and is are efforts to remove this landmark. The confession of Simon Peter recorded in Matthew 16:13-18 stands forever as a landmark to His divine nature. Peter boldly confessed: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Any concept of the nature of Jesus that fails to recognize Him as the Son of God falls short of the revealed facts and misses the landmark of this fundamental truth. He is not just a man, He is the Son of God!
A fourth landmark in the Scriptures has to do with the question: Who will be saved? Certainly we understand that Jesus died for all - 1 John 2:2 - "And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." Jesus paid the price to redeem every human being who will come to Him. The question of who will be saved is answered by many passages. One such passage is Hebrews 5:9 - "And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him." Who will be saved? Those who come to Jesus in faith and obedience. Failure to believe and obey places one in the company of those mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 1:8,9 - which tells of the second coming of Jesus who will appear "In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." Faith that moves one to obey is the saving faith of Scripture. "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." Mark 16:16 Faith in Jesus as the Son of God, repentance, confession of Christ, and baptism put one into Christ in the New Testament way. Here is a landmark truth that will stand throughout the gospel age.
A fifth landmark relates to our worship to God "in spirit and in truth". The New Testament shows Christians who were assembling to sing, pray, teach the Apostles' doctrine, observe the Lord's supper, and contribute of their means. Would the apostles under the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit not have known how to guide the New Testament churches in correct worship to God "in spirit and in truth"?
The nature of the church - its organization, mission, work, the independence of each church, how New Testament churches cooperated; the list could go on. Whatever the bible teaches on each and every subject - that is the divine landmark for us to respect in the present generation. May God help us to emphasize only His truth and "Speak where the Bible speaks and remain silent where the Bible is silent."