Ancient Landmarks

Ancient Landmarks
Ralph J. Billings

The Egyptians first used surveying as early as 1400 B.C. to accurately divide land into plots for the purpose of taxation.

In 120 B.C. the Greeks developed geometry and the first surveying equipment and correct procedures for conducting surveys.

Ferdinand Rudolph Hassler was born on October 7, 1770 in Aarau, Switzerland. His father was a wealthy manufacturer of watches and quite active in civic affairs. Young Hassler was appointed to an administrative bureau in 1786 and was concerned with collection of revenue from properties and surveying was required. In 1791 Hassler and his exacting taskmaster, George Tralles, measured a baseline near Bern that was over 40,000 feet long.

In October, 1805 Hassler sailed for America. There he met Thomas Jefferson and became a member of the American philosophical society which was concerned with taxation and ultimately the accurate measure of land.

In 1806 Hassler was commissioned to start the first of much surveying of the Hudson River valley which led to the surveying of most of the eastern seaboard.

Hassler had brought with him the standard unit of weight and measure and established the methods of proper survey techniques which are still largely used today.

Over the next century the accurate measure of land was a priority as America spread farther and farther west. Many man hours of research, field work, computing, mapping and staking were spent to establish an amazing network of accurate and interrelated points across the states to establish benchmarks to define altitude and location of landlines. Many of these benchmarks can be viewed locally as a metal disk mounted in concrete or steady rock at each of the corners of section lines.

Recent years have seen the establishment of the global positioning system, or GPS, using satellites to pinpoint landmarks with extreme accuracy. Airlines, ships and even automobile travel use the GPS system to get from point to point.

All of the established benchmarks are interconnected and have a built-in set of checks and balances so that no one benchmark could be moved with out conflicting with the other established benchmarks.

The established surveying system of the unites states reminds us of a scripture in Jeremiah

— King James

Jeremiah 6:16 “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.”

Although we are admonished to establish precept upon precept there can be no division lest one precept contradict another.

— King James

Isaiah 28:10 “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:”

These admonitions apply to our personal lives as well.

— King James

2 Corinthians 10:12 “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”

The first original benchmark set by Rudolph Hassler established the point by which all other benchmarks are set.

— King James

Matthew 21:42 “Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?”

The legal authority and accuracy of any one benchmark is found in and bound to it’s relation to all the other benchmarks. Thus we do not have the liberty to arbitrarily set our own standards as they relate to salvation.

— King James

2 Peter 1:20 “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.”
21 “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.”

Many centuries passed in the establishment of a standard unit of measure for time, weight and length. Today these are measured with astounding accuracy. Much of our commerce, trade and transportation depend on the accuracy of the measure of time, weight and distance.

Man has continualy upgraded in the exactness of measure whereas the lord has forever established the word and no man or any thing change it.

— King James

Matthew 5:18 “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

It does seem reasonable to look at these natural phenomenon and garner a lesson to help establish our Christian walk through this world. We are pilgrims and strangers in a strange land and need all the help we can get to be sure of the accuracy of our walk with Christ.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”