Remove Not The Ancient Landmark
When Solomon became king after David's death, God suggested to Solomon that he should ask of God that which he desired most. In his answer to God, Solomon acknowledged that he did not have sufficient wisdom and understanding to judge the people properly. He said, "Give thy servant therefore an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to judge this thy great people?'
"And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life, neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies, but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern justice; behold, I have done according to thy word: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there hath been none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee." (1 Kings 3:7-12)
It is no marvel, then, that we are still reading and profiting by the study of Solomon's proverbs. Many of his proverbs are profound and thought provoking. Among his writings we read, "Remove not the ancient landmark, Which thy fathers have set.' (Prov. 22:26)
Among those landmarks which Solomon had in mind, there were undoubtedly those which designated territorial possessions, both of tribes and individuals. If these markers were moved, someone would be robbed of his rightful possession.
We as Christians are obligated to show respect for landmarks. We cannot cheat a neighbor out of his rightful possession without being held accountable for it in the day of judgment.
I realize that Solomon's words were given with the intention that they be literally interpreted. He was talking about actual landmarks. But I do not feel that I am doing any injustice to Solomon's words by making a spiritual application. Many have removed ancient landmarks in religion.
Some have done this by destroying man's faith in God. Every truth and every tenet in God's Word has been doubted and denied. Many who concede that the Bible is a good book, that is a good book of ethics, still deny everything that is supernatural or that is considered unreasonable from a human point of view. They grant that it is a good book to live by, but they disbelieve the record of the creation. They concede that it has many wonderful principles in it, but they deny the miracles of Christ. While granting that in many respects it is a most remarkable book, they deny that Christ is truly God's Son, that he rose from the dead. They deny that there is a hereafter, a heaven or a hell, an eternal being called God, or an evil spirit called Satan. They say that it is a good book but they immediately proceed to make it a hollow, meaningless hull, full of contradictions, false claims, inconsistencies and lies.
Many have not yet become aware of it, but the fact remains that many so-called religious schools, colleges and universities are turning out skeptics, infidels and atheists by the thousands. You might be greatly startled at the answers you would receive if you were to ask some leading questions of the preacher that stands before you from time to time, such as: do you believe God is a spiritual entity; do you believe that He sent His Son into the world; do you believe that the Bible was inspired by deity; do you believe the record of the creation; do you believe there is a heaven or a hell? Yes, you might be surprised!
Others have removed the ancient landmarks by suggesting that there are any number of ways to heaven. They say, "you go your way, and I'll go mine." They forget that the Lord has a preference as to the way we travel to heaven. He said there is only one way to heaven. The only other way there is in life leads down to eternal destruction. (Matt. 7:13, 14) One man says, "Hit the sawdust trail." Another says, "Sign a card saying you want to be saved.' Still another says, "Just hold up your hand if you want to be saved.' "Kneel by your radio and pray for salvation and God will save your soul," says another. He forgets that God nowhere in all His Word commanded an alien sinner to pray for salvation or that it would come in answer to prayer. It would be wrong to suggest that it is a sin for an alien sinner to pray, but it is equally wrong to tell an alien sinner to pray for salvation, that God will save him in answer to prayer, in view of the fact that God has nowhere promised to save such because he prayed. God has made known a law of pardon and with this law one must comply to be saved.
Jesus is the author of salvation to all them that obey him. (Heb. 5:8, 9) Calling upon the name of the Lord, but refusing to obey or denying the necessity of obedience does not give us divine assurance of salvation. He said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21) In Peter's first gospel sermon following the resurrection of the Lord and his ascension, Peter impressed upon the minds of his: hearers the necessity of believing on Christ. He said, "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified.' (Acts 2:36) "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:37, 38) By these words we learn that when one believes on the Lord that he must then repent and be baptized for, or in order to receive, the remission of sing. A study of the cases of conversion in the New Testament will show you that they all believed on Christ, repented of their sins, and were baptized in order that their sins might be washed away by the blood of Christ. Those who teach a different law of pardon are "removing the ancient landmarks.'
Another landmark which is divinely set forth in the Word is the frequent and regular observance of the Lord's supper. Luke tells us that the early church "continued stedfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers.' (Acts 2:42) Scholars and commentators agree that "the breaking of bread refers to the Lord's supper. That it was observed upon the first day of the week in the beginning is seen in the worship of the church at Troas. "And upon the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul discoursed with them, intending to depart on the morrow,' (Acts 20:7) That it pleases the Lord for this institution to have regular observance is set forth in Paul's letter to the Corinthians. (1 Cor. 11:26 The frequent observance of the Lord's supper is inferred in the same authors word:, (1 Cor. 11:20, 21, 33) Bible historians and religious historians contemporary with this era testify that the early church observed the Lord's supper with frequency and regularity. This landmark was established by the Lord. Remember, Solomon said, "Remove not the ancient landmark."
God gave explicit instruction to Moses concerning the tabernacle worship. We learn that when Nadab and Abihu brought strange fire into the Jewish sanctuary and offered sacrifice that it displeased God and He smote them there and they died. Why? Moses says that it displeased Him because they did that "which he had not commanded them.' (Lev. 10:1) John warns against our going beyond those things which have been revealed. "Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, hath not God: he that abideth in the teaching, the same hath both the Father and the Son." (2 John 9) Many have removed the ancient landmarks, failing to abide in the teaching of Christ, by introducing prayer wheels, incense, images, candles, holy water, mechanical instruments of music, and an unending list of innovations by which they have corrupted the simplicity of the worship of God. May we warn you against such departures and encourage you to heed the warning of Solomon, "Remove not the ancient landmark."
Tillman B. Pope, Box 217, Alma, Arkansas, June 1: "I am in a good meeting at Norford, Ark. I shall be here till the 10th. I have some time not taken for meetings. If you need a meeting write me."