Text: Prov. 22: 28 Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.
What are Ancient Landmarks?
A landmark in the ancient times was considered a sacred thing that helped perpetuate family holdings and was used as a means of protection against deceit, error, and confusion. It might be a rock, a post, or a metal stake.
According to Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, Ancient Landmarks are “The ancient borders or boundaries; by which lands, estates, and inheritances, were marked, bounded, and distinguished; set by ancestors in agreement with their neighbours; which to remove was contrary to a law, and a curse is denounced upon those that did it, Deuteronomy 19:14;
“Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour’s landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it” and was always reckoned a very heinous crime in early times; See Gill on Job 24:2.
“Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof”.
This was so sacred a thing among the Romans, that they had a deity which presided over those bounds and had its name from them.
Some apply this, in a political sense, to laws of long standing, and customs of long prescription; and others interpret it, in a theological sense, of doctrines and practices settled by the fathers of the church; which, if understood of Christ and his apostles only, will be allowed; but if of the ancient fathers of the church that followed them, it should not be received; since they were but fallible men, and guilty of many errors and mistakes, both in doctrine and practice”.
When the Children of Israel got to the Promised Land; Joshua divided the land amongst the tribes; and the elders divided their portions amongst themselves. Objections would have been brought before Joshua and settled. Such that landmarks were then agreed by tribes, clans, families, and individuals.
Joshua 13:7 Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance unto the nine tribes, and the half tribe of Manasseh,
To remove such landmarks later; in order to play smart or cheat the other party was a crime that would incur punishment from God; as God Himself that watches over them. The punishment from removing such is even greater if the cheated party has no power to defend themselves.
Dt. 27: 17 “Cursed is anyone who moves their neighbour’s boundary stone.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
Prov. 23: 10 Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:
Hosea 5:10 The princes of Judah are like those who remove a landmark; I will pour out My wrath on them like water.
Examples of ancient landmarks removed:
Literally, in I Kings 21: 16-19, we see how King Ahab helped by his wife, Jezebel removed the landmark bordering Naboth’s vineyard and the King’s palace.
Theologically, in I Kings 12: 28-30, we see how King Jeroboam removed ancient landmark as touching the worship of Yahweh from Jerusalem to Bethel & Dan.
Both violations had severe consequences from God.
The times we live are changing. Society and social trends are changing at a break-neck pace and it is tough to keep up with it. Certain things that had become landmarks are been thrown away in a jiffy.
Evangelist Billy Graham once said that “we laugh now at things that used to embarrass us thirty years ago”. Not because those things have become less embarrassing, but because as societies, we do not have shame anymore. We have lost our human dignity.
Fortunately, there are certain landmarks that will never change. Such things are intended never to move so we can always go back to them for re-orientation and marking our absolutes.
Nearly 3,000 years ago Solomon wrote in Proverbs 22:28: “Do not remove the ancient landmark . . .” His wisdom remains relevant to this day. He understood that when we tear down the boundaries that protect lands and property, tensions can set off fighting and even wars can begin. I can categorically say that most wars are as a result of conflict to boundaries.
There are several beliefs and practices that believers of God have adhered to in time past, which are still required of us today. Our age has become modernised than theirs; those beliefs and practises however cannot change; because God that gave them has not and does not change.
- 3: 6, I am the Lord, I change not. Dan. 7:9, Ancient of Days. Ex. 3: 14, I am that I am
Jesus Christ wrote letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor through John the Beloved around AD96. The first letter was to the Church in Ephesus started by Apostle Paul in AD 52 (Acts 18:19 and visited again by him in Acts 19:8-10); just over 44years of existence, they had deviated from crucial beliefs, doctrines and practices that Paul founded the church upon.
They have left their first love, and abandoned their first works. They were asked to repent and go back to those landmarks, otherwise, they would be wiped off (Rev. 2: 1-7).
Sadly, the church candlestick was removed by AD200. The church was less than 150years when it finally died. Most likely, they did not heed the warning in Christ’s letter to them.
On the other hand, in Rev. 3: 7-13, we have the sixth letter of Jesus through Apostle John to the Philadelphia Church. Jesus commended the church: that even though they had little strength; they still kept Jesus’ words and had not denied His name. Jesus then promised them open doors that no man can shut; victory over the wicked people disturbing them, and safety from tribulations coming.
One crucial thing Jesus, however, told them was to ‘hold fast to what they had so that no one would take their crown in the end’.
Today, God has laid it in my heart to speak to us on revisiting the Ancient Landmarks, which we will view from a theological perspective as Gill’s Exposition has mentioned. This is to charge us to uphold things pertaining to beliefs, doctrines and practises settled by the fathers of faith, which Christ and His apostles also preached and practised.
Jude 1: 3 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
Jude, the apostle of Christ wrote this about 2,000 years ago. Prior to this King David also wrote in…
Psalms 44: 1
We have heard with our ears, O God; our fathers have told us the work You did in their days, in days of long ago.
My concern today is that the kind of faith I see in my generation is incomparable to my father’s generation faith that I saw with my eyes and those generations before his that I have read; and I’m thinking what will the Christian faith be like in my children and grandchildren generations. Little wonder, Jesus talking about prayers said in…
Lk. 18: 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
So, in a sense, this is why this letter of Christ is coming to us today, for those that have an ear to what the Holy Spirit is saying, they shall live. But to anyone who ignores these instructions, as a watchman, it would be that I have cried.
Some Ancient Landmarks Doctrine & Practices that must not be removed by us
- The Ten Commandments
Jesus Christ consistently upheld the 10 Commandments as given in the Old Testament. In His Sermon on the Mount, He very pointedly stated: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil” (Matthew 5:17).
Although some mistakenly think that “fulfil” in that passage means to abolish or do away with the old, what Jesus said afterwards shows this could not be the case.
Continuing, Jesus said: “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (verses 18-19).
You shall have no other gods before Me (Mt. 4:10; Lk 4:8). Nothing must be more important.
You shall not make any idols for yourself (Acts 15:20; I Cor. 6: 9-10). Not worship another thing
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (Lk 4: 16; John 20: 19; Acts 17: 2; Troas Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16: 1-2; Gen. 2: 1-3). A day specially dedicated to the worship of Yahweh..
You shall not murder (Mt. 19: 18). Whether in actual sense, writing, spoken words, etc.
You shall not commit adultery (Mt. 19: 18). In real sense or in the heart.
You shall not steal (Mt. 19:18). Either from Man or God…
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour (Mt. 19: 18). For favour/hatred..
You shall not covet (Lk. 12: 15). beware of greed, a man’s life does not consist…
- Church core operations
Acts 2: 42 (ERV): The believers spent their time listening to the teaching of the apostles. They shared everything with each other. They ate together and prayed together.
Mt. 21: 12-13: Then Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those selling doves. And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
This is the distinct reading of scripture and explanation of the right interpretation of the reading for people to understand; it is not pep talks, storytelling, eloquent orations, noise making, etc (Priests read and explained Neh 8:7-8). Today, some believers would prefer to scrap sermon from order of service. While there should be teachings/training on other aspects of life for parishioners; preaching the word is a paramount.
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
John 6: 63
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (how to grow your business; make more money; pass your tests; etc)
- Biblical Courtship for young couples is nearly extinct; it is not dating, as it is practised today (I Thess 4:1-7). …For God has not call us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
For the ladies, by the time someone says they like you or propose to you; bring them for counselling; so, we can direct you aright; so you do not make mistake.
For the guys, God says ‘he that finds a wife, findeth a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord’ (Prov. 18: 22). You are not to search for a live-in lover or a co-habiting partner. What you need to find is a wife, so you can obtain favour from God.
If you are engaged to marry someone and somehow got overtaken by passion and pregnancy occurred; the ancient landmark expects that you honour your promise to them.
Dt. 22: 28-29
28 If a man finds a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.
- Biblical Marriage: marriage in Christianity today has come to mean nothing different from worldly marriages; but the standards of God are still the same (Gen. 2: 24; Mt. 19: 4-6).
Therefore, shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
There are lots of violations to this rule:
There are men that have not left their father and mother and entered marriage;
there are men that have left father and not mother, yet in marriage;
there are men that have left mother and not father;
there are men that have left both father and mother and still have not cleft to their wives;
there are men who are trying to cleave to wives (plural), instead of the wife (singular);
there are men who have cleft to other men (male lovers) instead of the wife (female).
The reverse is also applicable to women who have abused this ancient landmark rule as well, such that there are women who have not left father and mother, and they are in marriage…
there are women that have left mother and not father;
there are women that have left both father and mother and still have not cleft to their husband;
there are women who are trying to cleave to husbands (plural), instead of husband (singular);
there are women who have cleft to other women (female lovers) instead of husband (male).
Some have left father and mother, but have not left friends, and still in the marriage.
All these types of marriage will not work. It may not last. It will be rocky.
Today, our generation has redefined marriage to what is not in agreement with God’s word; and worse still, priests are also involved. One can only wonder which bible do such people read? The Holy Bible is explicit that those that lie with their own kind will not make heaven, talk less of going further to have such a marriage (Rom. 1: 21-28).
I Cor. 6:9 (NKJV)
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
Today, people and also Christians marry anyone and anything. But in the beginning, it was not so; He that created marriage made it between a male and female (Gen. 1:27).
Also, living partners is now the order of the day. The Bible, however, says, marriage is honourable, and bed must be undefiled. You cannot be cohabiting with someone you are not married to.
Also, it is a norm today to just have a child/children and not stay in the marriage. There are instances when people fell into the error of having a child out of wedlock, but it is not the will of God for people to set out to wilfully boycott the standard of God.
- Couples Responsibilities
Husband Responsibility: husbands are to love their wives and lead their homes on the right path. Such are gradually disappearing, so that the spiritual leaders in most homes and marriages are now women, rather than men (Gen. 18:19; Josh 24:15; Eph 6:4; Eph 5: 25-30).
Abraham; Joshua; Fathers do not provoke your children to anger; Husbands…Love as Christ, present wife glorious, as your body…
Will my lord also have pleasure? As unto the Lord…; Be subject unto their husband…
- Divorce for every cause is now common, cheap and easy, labelled as no-fault divorce or irreconcilable differences.
Today, people and also Christians put marriage away as we do to our clothes we don’t like anymore; whether children are involved or not, does not even matter. Relationship Counsellors teach that one’s happiness is key; not minding the happiness of the children that are innocent of our actions.
All these undermine the Bible’s strong position on divorce. The bible gives a leeway to divorce as a result of fornication if the ‘innocent party’ is not willing to forgive. The bible, however, says the couple should then remain unmarried (Mt. 19: 1-9).
While the life of a party in a marriage is also at risk due to physical abuse or harm; separation is necessary for counselling, repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation to take place.
- Having children is becoming a thing of the past, even though the Lord describes children as a blessing and a family with godly children a wonderful thing (Ps 128: 1-3).
While God does not want us to give birth to children we cannot provide for; He however still wants us to raise godly seeds for Him on earth, who can withstand the enemy in the gate (Ps. 127: 3-5). Happy is the man that has his quiver full of them…He shall confront the enemy…
Numbers in our day is important. The people of other faiths are using this at an advantage to themselves and to the disadvantage of us Christians and particularly Westerners. Today, people get married and make the decision not to have children, not because they do not have the means, but just because they are running away from that responsibility. A time comes when such other faiths may outnumber Christianity due to biological growth; then their voice may become louder because we have abandoned that ancient landmark of raising godly children.
- Child training in our day is been turned over to the public schools and rarely Sunday schools. This deprives their generation the opportunity to be nurtured and admonished in the way of the Lord and in the fear of God.
I have witnessed parents leaving our kind church to attend Anglican/Catholic churches, just because they wanted their children to go the schools belonging to such churches. Thinking that their children will be taught biblical doctrine in such churches. More often than not, such is not the case. What a wrong mindset. Child training ought to be maximised from the home, and followed up by church that has proper Sunday school lessons.
Prov. 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
- Hospitality is a good practice and virtue from the standard practices of previous generations and the instruction of both testaments, to which the saints are to be given. (Rom 12:13); proof of good widows I Tim 5:10. – the Bible says some have entertained angels unknowingly (Heb 13:2)
- Church musicians degenerated from generation to generation from doctrinally deep, spiritually sober, and scripturally correct lyrics to songs with little substance and light melody. The psalms should guide us, and the matter must be worthy of teaching (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16). The goal is to have our heart and soul stirred toward the Lord, not just to be entertained.
- Respecting Authoritiesis ordained by God, and all the honour, respect, and obedience that scripture gives it is to be followed, whether parent, husband, master, ruler, pastor or any other authority, ruler or leader (I Peter 2: 13-17). Some Christians today do not give a damn of any authority. That was why Lucifer was thrown out of heaven, and such Christians think they will make it to heaven without obeying that ancient landmark.
- Importance of vows and promise has declined greatly from previous generations when a man’s word was his bond, the Bible, however, declared that yea or nay should be sufficient (Ps 15:4; Mt. 5: 37). Today, people, even Christian break their promises at the slightest challenge. They will not stay through a good cause just because of little issues.
- Esteeming and valuing relationships: God’s children both in the old and new testaments are enjoined to value relationships that God has brought their way (Christ, parental, siblings, spousal, brethren, friendship, etc). Today people and Christian are been taught that only self-love and self-esteem are the foundation for a happy and successful life (II Tim 3:2)…lovers of self.
- Thanksgiving is not just a good idea; it is a commandment of the living God (I Thess 5:18). First, we must have a thankful heart, and then we must give thanks. It is the mark of reprobates and carnal Christians alike to be unthankful (Rom 1:21; II Tim 3:2). Signs of end times…unthankful
- Fasting combined with prayers
People of God from ancient time practised fasting in order to consecrate themselves; seek God’s face; gain spiritual strength and to amend their ways before God. Jesus fasted; His apostles later fasted. Today, Christians are however been encouraged not to fast. Some preachers will say Jesus had done it on our behalf. Christ has paid it all. Meanwhile, Jesus Himself told His apostles to prioritise fasting (Mt. 17: 14-21).
Financial giving is one area where the church and Christianity have been facing attack in recent times. The truth of the matter is that the enemy knows that money is needed in spreading the gospel. Lack of funds will translate to stifling the gospel, especially to the advantage of other faiths who are still giving sacrificially to advance their own agenda.
Sadly, the same enemy of the church will come back and say what is happening to Christianity?
Men of God have been giving before the Law; they gave during the Law; and also gave during grace, including tithes. Jesus had a treasurer because money was coming, to the extent that Judas stole for years; and money was still available for His ministry.
Jesus taught about offering and tithes (Mt. 23:23; Acts 1:1); His disciples did also. Not practising it is disobedience to an ancient landmark.
- Serving Humanity and serving God
The Bible encourages us to use our life to serve humanity and also engage in the Lord’s service. A life spent without these will amount to waste.
Dorcas served humanity and the saints of God. It paid off for her (Acts 9: 36-42).
When Saul of Tarsus met Christ, the first thing he asked was what did Christ wanted him to do (Acts 9: 6).
There is so much nonchalant attitude among today’s Christian as touching serving humanity and in the service of God. It is sad that Christians had to be begged today to serve their own Father, their own God, especially in the Western world! Just at least to save some as apostle Paul puts it. Something that saints before us had to be killed for with joy in their hearts.
I Cor. 15: 58
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
The sermon was delivered on October 25, 2020.