The word “landmark” is used four times in the Old Testament, and not once in the New Testament. The word “landmarks” occurs only once.
God commanded the Jews to not remove a landmark, particularly not their neighbor’s. If they did, they were cursed for doing it, according to Deuteronomy 27:17: “Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour’s landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen.”
A landmark marked the corner of a piece of property. It was important because a man’s life was often tied to the land, since he often derived his life from it. Altering the position of a landmark was a serious offense, and the Romans gave those who were found guilty the death penalty.
There are two references to “landmark” in the book of Proverbs, and again the command to not remove it still stands. The unique thing about these two verses is that these refer to one landmark, and they both are singular. They also refer to an “old” or “ancient” landmark, as we see in these verses:
Proverbs 22:28 “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”
Proverbs 23:10 “Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless.”
God saw fit to protect landmarks, particularly old ones that were set by people in the old days.
In the church today, this same principle stands very strongly. It is seen very clearly in Jude 1:3, which says: “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.” Did you notice that God says the faith “once delivered” is to be defended and held onto at all costs? It is not to be abandoned – ever.
When was this “faith”, or things that we ought to believe and practice delivered? God delivered them in the first century: “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Peter 2:21). The word “prophecy” in this verse refers to the Word of God, not just to future events.
What does “prophecy” consist of? According to Revelation 19:10, we see that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” In plain English, this means that the whole Bible is about Christ! The key to the landmark that the Church is not to remove is centered on the truths concerning Christ Himself!
The early church “fathers”, or early Christians, have marked the way to live for God. Some churches today have moved the landmark and they no longer point to Christ, our Savior. They have set themselves adrift and have no solid ground on which to base their less than solid teachings and message.
There are several reasons why the landmark of Christ should never be moved. These reasons include:
1. The Church lives only because Christ as God in the flesh redeemed it.
2. The Church exists to honor and worship Christ.
3. The Church’s purpose is to bring people to Christ.
4. The Church has no mission without a glorified Christ.
5. The Church can only accomplish its mission by being empowered by Christ.
6. The Church has no future hope apart from the expected literal return of Christ.
In addition to these things, it needs to be remembered what the message of the Church is – the simple Gospel. This consists of only three things: the death, burial, and literal resurrection of Christ, according to I Corinthians 11:3,4.
When church members can only talk about their parties, events, socials, and other activities, and Christ is not mentioned, or, when evangelism is no longer practiced, you can be sure that that Church has left its landmark. When music is more important than the preaching and teaching of the Word of God – it has left its landmark. The early church thrived on the daily teaching and preaching of the Word of God. May God help us to follow their example and not move the landmarks by our life, words, or actions (or a lack of them), for those who follow after us.
Evangelist Mike Valles
Learn more about Christ and how He is the Theme of the Bible, in my book: What Is the Bible Really About?