“Remove Not the Ancient Landmark”

Kent Bailey

In Proverbs 22:28 the divine record states, “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” In consideration of this specific text we note that this verse had reference to boundaries that dealt with tribal allotments and individual family properties. In ancient times such landmarks were regarded with far more respect than they are in modern times. Among the Romans we find that landmarks were often deified. Ovid tells us that frequently the pagan priests would bring their sacrifices and offer them upon the landmarks as a testimony to the greatness and the seriousness of such.

In the Old Testament the Jews had a high regard for landmarks. In Deuteronomy 19:14 Moses commanded that the Jew remove not his neighbor’s landmarks. In accordance with this divine requirement we read of a curse placed upon any who violate Old Testament teaching regarding such. This, of course, was during a time prior to fences as we know them. Such being the case, landmarks were often nothing more than loose stones placed upon the ground, yet these boundaries were to be respected. The same was true regarding God’s spiritual boundaries (Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6). During the Old Testament period those who rejected God’s spiritual landmarks were severely punished (Lev. 10:1-2). In Leviticus 10:1-2 we read of Nadab and Abihu introducing a strange fire into the Old Testament system of worship. In Leviticus 16:12 the fire introduced into the worship of God was to be taken from the altar. Nadab and Abihu introduced an unauthorized fire into worship and lost their lives as punishment due to their sin.

These men were the right men to offer up this incense. They brought the correct incense; they came to the correct place; however, they removed the ancient landmark in one area—they failed to respect divine authority in obtaining the fire that they introduced into worship from the wrong place! They were guilty of the sin of presumption. They presumed to do that which God had not authorized.

In the New Testament God has set spiritual landmarks that we dare not move. In 1 Peter 4:11 we note,”If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever, amen.” We also note in Colossians 3:17, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

In considering the above stated passages, we conclude that the New Testament authority of Christ is paramount. Please note the universal rule as set forth by Biblical inspiration—whatsoever we do in word (what we teach) or by deed (the practices in which we engage)—must be authorized by the authority of Christ as set forth in the New Testament. The vast majority of individuals within the religious world have not come to grips with this foundational Biblical truth. Thus, it is not uncommon at all to see individuals and collective religious groups of individuals remove ancient spiritual landmarks of God.

Spiritual landmarks of God have been moved relative to basic Biblical morality. In modern day society we constantly take note of how individuals violate the authority of Christ regarding the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21). We also take note of how a general attitude of worldliness is readily accepted even by brethren (1 John 2:15-17).

This willingness to remove God’s spiritual landmarks has destroyed the very foundation of many homes, in that the masses (including some brethren) have even rejected what the Bible teaches about marriage, divorce, and remarriage (Matt. 19:1-9). Today, the abomination of sodomy and “same sex marriages” is officially sanctioned in our society (Matt. 19:4-9; Rom. 1:24-28, 32). All of the moral atrocities recorded in Romans chapter one is comparable to reading news reports of modern day society.

Spiritual landmarks of God have been removed relative to the New Testament church. Christ built only one church (Matt. 16:18-19; Acts 2:47; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4; 5:23). The church of Christ exists in only two extensions:

  1. In the totality of all those who have obeyed the gospel of Christ, i.e, saved individuals, and

  2. As a local collective functioning unit known as a local church (Phlp. 1:1; 1 Pet. 5:1-4). When local churches seek to assume a work larger than the local church inclusive of works of other local churches, the by product of such an endeavor results in a larger organization than a local church and brethren seek to activate the universal extension of the church. Such activity is unauthorized by the New Testament.

Spiritual landmarks of God have been removed relative to the gospel plan of salvation. Those who have attained accountability and are outside of Christ are in a lost condition (Rom. 3:23; 6:23). To be saved from past alien sins, one must believe the gospel of Christ (Mark 16:15-16), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess the Deity of Christ (Acts 8:37; Rom. 10:10), and be baptized for the remission of sins to enter the church (Acts 2:38,47). Regarding the simplicity of this plan, the denominational world rejects truth. The affirmation of the false doctrine of faith alone contradicts the very nature of Biblical faith (John 1:12). A Biblical faith necessitates actions of obedience(Jas. 2:24). When individuals or groups of individuals teach a false plan of salvation they remove spiritual landmarks which God set.

Spiritual landmarks of God have been removed relative to the New Testament worship, work, organization of the church and the nature of Biblical fellowship. Within the scriptures God has specified divine requirements essential for us to worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24). We are authorized to engage in the preaching of the apostles doctrine, the Lord’s supper every first day of the week, contributing financially as God has prospered us, prayer, and the singing of Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. To make addition, subtraction , or alterations regarding these Biblical concepts is to remove God’s ancient landmarks (2 John 9-11).

The same is true regarding the work of the local church and its organization. God has placed limitations on our activity both individually and collectively. That which is unauthorized is sinful (Col. 3:17; 2 John 9-11). The work of the church is limited to evangelism, edification, and benevolence. Such work must be accomplished by the local church with local oversight (1 Pet. 5:1-4). Again, any work and or oversight of a work that is larger than the local church produces a different arrangement authorized by the scriptures and is sinful (1 Pet. 5:1-4).

Biblical fellowship is also a crucial spiritual landmark of God. Such is limited by the scriptures to those who walk in the light of God’s truth. When either individuals or collectives of individuals walk in the darkness of sin they do not have the fellowship of God. Such is the case with Roman Catholicism, Protestant denominationalism, all false religion as well as with all those within the Lord’s church, who teach fatally false doctrines and practice error. We must respect God’s laws of inclusion and exclusion regarding fellowship (2 John 9-11).

Let us have utmost concern and take heed not to remove God’s ancient landmarks of the Faith.

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Author: Editor

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