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Can we use OT passages about moving landmarks today?

By Joseph D. Meador

religion, articles, christianity



Brother Meador, recently I attended a meeting of preaching brethren in Kentucky where it was advocated that passages relating to "ancient landmarks" in the Old Testament (Pro. 22:28) could not be used to condemn modern innovations in the church. Please give your thoughts on this matter.


The Hebrew word for landmark signifies a property boundary which may have been a stone or a simple furrow. The sin of removing a neighbor's property line is mentioned in Deuteronomy 19:14; 27:17; Proverbs 22:28, 23:10; end Job 24:2. Moving the landmark even slightly was equivalent to theft-taking the property of another.

When the prophet Hosea decried the spiritual guilt of those who had moved beyond the boundary of God's Word he challenged the leadership of Israel by stating: "The princes of Judah are like them that remove the landmark: I will pour out my wrath upon them like water" (Hosea 5:10).

His meaning is clear. There is not a hint of confusion in his statement. Those in a position of tribal leadership over the southern kingdom who had either promoted or tolerated digression from God's revealed Word were to be held accountable as spiritual thieves. Such who compromised the truth, either presumptuously or by rationalism, were looked upon as one who had removed a landmark.

But what is the significance of such a comparison today?

From the New Testament we learn that Jesus Christ has all spiritual authority; that his authority is contained in his Word; and that his Word is our infallible and absolute guide to life and heaven (Matt. 7:28-29; Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18; Heb. 1:1-2; 2:14) Therefore, all teachings which oppose the Word of God as our objective and divine standard must be rejected. We must not remove the landmark of the authority of Christ's Word.

Some say we are led by both God's Word and human sectarian traditions. While many appeal to the authority of religious leaders, the church, parents, friends, and loved ones, Jesus forever settled the question of the futility of following human traditions when he taught the lesson of Mark 7:6-16.

Those who would move a landmark of God's Word to accommodate denominational and sectarian traditions, or personal opinions, are in violation of God's boundary line for truth.

A so-called new theory of Bible interpretation will cause many among us to miss the sweet home-going to heaven. The "new hermeneutic" is a theory which, like evolution, is humanistic and devilish to the core, because it is based upon human philosophy. The "new" hermeneutic is in reality a rotted theological left-over from the Protestant dining table of 1900-1960. Yet, some of our teaching brethren at the "fast-food" buffet table of academic freedom have fasted and starved themselves from the gospel for so long that they will now swallow almost anything! To such brethren, the orthodox truths of verbal, word-for-word, plenary inspiration, and the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture are meaningless!

Those who in any way advocate this teaching are in a very real sense guilty of moving the ancient landmarks of the teaching of Christ. They have either knowingly or unwittingly set themselves against his Kingdom-the church of Christ. Such ones should be sought after and lovingly urged to repent. If they refuse they should be exposed and then marked in accordance with God's will (Rom. 16:17-18: 2 John 9-11).

Published February 1997