A Voice in the
Wilderness

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Re: Unteachable? ...the "gates of hell"

Apparently, I'm "unteachable."  At least, this is what I was told
"yesterday". [Ed: "yesterday" being the day prior to the date this is
being written, which is not the same as when it's mailed.] As I've said
from time to time, there is hardly any 'experience' or scenario that is
suggested in VW writings but what I have either experienced it myself,
or seen it firsthand, or it has been witnessed by someone who has
experienced it. If something is "made up" as an object lesson, it is
labelled as such. Otherwise, scenarios illustrated are real ones, that
somebody at some time, somewhere -has- experienced.  e.g. the Christian
wife who is seen on the arm of her unsaved husband going into a bar,
and then being judged by the women in her church; the Bible teaching
pastor who was ousted from his church amidst phone threats to his
family, etc.  -Those- kinds of things.

On other occasions I have suggested that things I preach others should
do, or will experience; I do and experience them myself. If I proclaim
that Christians will experience onslaughts of the enemy, things will
very shortly come my way, also. Well, here's another real life example.  
And when I share a personal experience like this, it is for the purpose 
that  1) you can know that when these things happen to you, you know 
you are not alone and can take courage for your own life; and  2) there 
is something we all can learn from it.  I would never be so bold as to
suggest what Paul did, as being an "example" to "imitate/follow"(2Th3:9)
Only Jesus was such a -perfect- example.  (1Pt2:21) But in Paul's case,
many of the things which happened to him, he rejoiced, because others
were emboldened to speak out for the Lord, (Phil1:12-18) and it
resulted in the furtherance of the Gospel message.

Yesterday a customer from a "Restoration blah blah Ministry" came to
pick up his vinyl letters for a couple of banners he was making. (In my 
front window is a small paper banner with "A Voice in the Wilderness" 
along with VW's website URL.  Next to the door is a little table with
the printed version that goes to the postal mailing list, for people to
take "freely".) As he is writing out his check, "What's 'A Voice in the
Wilderness'?" Typically when people ask "-who- does this?" or "is this
-yours-?" I try to down-play it, and will answer on the order of "it's 
not -mine-, but I put them there."

Well, this fellow gets 'going'. He presses the question, "blah, blah, 
blah, are you a Christian? blah, blah" So, I respond with something 
like, "perhaps you are aquainted with John the Baptist and 'the voice 
of one crying in the wilderness'?"

"Oh, so you proclaim judgement and condemnation?"

"Well, the Scriptures proclaim all sorts of things... judgement,
condemnation, salvation, God's love, how to live the Christian life,
the Gospel of Jesus Christ...."

So then he starts "preaching" to me.

He begins by saying that he believes that there's "the word" ...and 
then "the word". Translation: "Scripture" -and- "added words that are
revealed". (And he's pointing to his head as he defines the "revealed"
word.)

He then proceeds to share something that had been revealed to him. All 
cock-a-maney, distorted, perverted. As I tried to suggest to him that 
his understanding of the particular O.T. passage he was "interpreting" 
needed to have the understanding of the difference between "Israel" and 
the "church" or "America" etc., he talks about "-spiritual- Israel."
And then goes into talk of "warfare" and such stuff.

At this point I ask him "where?"  "Spokane." "No, where -IN-SCRIPTURE-"
did he "find this command" to be in "offensive warfare" in Spokane?

"..[the] church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
[Ed: found in Mt16:18]

This little phrase, to him, encompassed God's command for the "church"
to be on the "offensive" to do spiritual warfare. So then I tried to
reason with him a bit, about basic grammar and words. -Who- is trying
to "prevail" against -whom-? That the "gates of hell" are on the
"offensive" AGAINST the -Church-.

Well, he went into the little 'funny-ha-ha' thing the charismatic
preachers do with this one.  And -here- we come to the first matter
that I hope we can glean some understanding from this lengthy narrative.

How many times have you seen Benny Hinn, etc. talk about this, during
the rare moments they are "teaching", and not blowing people over "in
the spirit" or "healing" people?  They will stand up there, and don
their 'comedian' hat, and ask, "When was the last time you saw -GATES-
running and chasing after people!?!?" And with their 'cleverness' the
whole congregation is in fits of laughter, hardly able to contain
themselves at the ludicrousness of such a thing. Ha, ha, ha!!!  And so,
since -gates- are "stationery" devices, it MUST BE THE CASE that the
"Church" is on the offensive.

So, Dear Believer...

How do you answer such a taunt of the unregenerate scoffers?  It is a 
matter of understanding the meaning of the word "gate".

In Ruth4:1~ Boaz gathered the "elders of the city" at the "-gate-" to 
conduct some legal business regarding taking Ruth to be his wife. When 
there was civil war in Israel, and Absalom was killed; when David went 
to re-unite the people, he went and "sat in the -gate-". (2Sam19:8) The 
husband of the virtuous woman is "known in the -gates-, when he sits 
among the elders.." (Pr31:23) The "gate" was the seat of political 
governmental power. Much as the "Whitehouse" is a symbol of America's 
power. e.g. if a reporter says, "A statement was issued by the 
Whitehouse..." it does not mean that the -building- made of cement, 
paint, windows, carpet, plumbing, etc. is making this statement. No.  
The -one- in authority -in- the Whitehouse is making the statement. As
Jesus proclaims about the Altar and Temple, "..whoever shall swear by
the altar swears by it, and by all things on it. And whoever shall
swear by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. And he
who shall swear by Heaven swears by the throne of God, and by Him who
sits on it." (Mt23:20-22)

Who was "hell" created for? "for the devil and his angels" (Mt25:41) 
Who is it who is on the offensive?  "..your adversary the devil walks 
about like a roaring lion, seeking someone he may devour." (1Pt5:8) So, 
if a "gate" represents a "power", who does the "gates of hell" refer 
to? Satan. No, the "gates" are not "running after people" ...but Satan 
is! Which is why we are provided with -defensive- "-ARMOR- of God"
(Eph6:13) We are not on the offensive and -attacking-, but are
commanded to "withstand" and to "stand". "Therefore stand..." (vs14) In
other words, "make your stand and defend..."

No, our defense is not against -physical- "gates" with hinges and bars;
but "against principalities, against powers, against the world's
rulers, of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in
high places." (Eph6:12) Yes, Satan is still in "high places" until he
is eventually "..cast out into the earth.." (Rev12:9)

Well, as Mr. Customer and I were 'debating' I was not given a chance to 
give this explanation and we moved into a few other subjects. And he
was equally in error on those, talking a mile-a-minute, not allowing
himself to hear Truth. But I was equally not willing to be subjected to
his litany of error without refuting it.  So, our "conversation"
escalated into a slight "shouting match". About the point I was
wondering if it was becoming time to ask him to leave, he finally
decides on his own that it's time to leave, and as he's shaking his
head in anger, opening the door, "You're just so UNTEACHABLE!"

Well, in our present day of "love, tolerance and acceptance" people
allow false doctrine to be "shared" in their church meetings. After
all, we don't want to be labelled as "judgmental." But notice, If
someone comes along saying, "Let us go and serve other gods which you
have not known...you shall not consent to him NOR LISTEN TO HIM."
(Deu13:6-8)  When people come along proclaiming false doctrine,
"..reject a man of heresy." (Tit3:10)

You see, this expression "unteachable" is used by them, designed to 
make a person feel "guilty" (and small) for lacking some supposed
"humility". That if one doesn't open one's heart and mind to their
teaching, one is being "hateful". They prey upon the Christian's sense
of Godly "love" and distort love into a false meekness, softness and 
ultimately... moldability. But you see, this "moldability" indicates a
"change" Adaptability, flexibility.

But God does NOT change. (Mal3:6) He does not flexibly -adapt- to false 
doctrine. Regarding false doctrine we are NOT to "learn" (be taught)
the ways of false gods. (Deu12:30) If someone comes with two sets of 
"word", God's original along with some new revelation, even if that 
revelation comes from "an angel from Heaven", that new word and 
messenger is "accursed". (Gal1:8-9) You see, the desire of their 
'master' is to "pervert the gospel of Christ." (vs7)

This time I found myself "stuck" in a discussion I didn't particularly 
want to be in. I've discovered over time that people who are so blind 
to the Truth will not be persuaded with dialogue. Typically when these 
kinds of e-mails come to VW they get read (once) and -filed-. I don't 
usually bother replying to them. Paul exhorts, "But avoid foolish 
questions...and contentions, and strivings...for they are unprofitable 
and vain." (Tit3:9) And this is the context where he says, after you've 
tried to correct a person a couple times, "reject" them. (vs10) (reject 
== Refuse, shun, avoid, decline) These types of people wax vehement
with many words, and in their insistant talking (Rom16:18b), refuse to
hear you.  They are blind and have firmly shut the door to their
hearts. And you will usually notice that they eventually become hostile
and angry with you.

Paul exhorts to "watch those making divisions and offenses contrary to
the doctrine which you have learned, and -avoid- them." (Rom16:17)

The True Believer in Jesus Christ is not "unteachable", however.  It's
a matter of What and from Whom we are learning. The one who loves God
prays, "Make me know Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths." (Ps25:4)
And while we reject the teachings of false doctrine we ask, "Teach me
Your way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of my enemies."
(Ps27:11) They twist words around, making God's Word say the exact
opposite of what God said. As though, for example, there was a "white"
car sitting there. They are proclaiming the car to be "black", although
it is clean and the light is bright and it is obviously "white". When
you don't accept their notion proclaiming it to be "black", you are
"unteachable".  Because they do not receive God's Word... Only.

Our hearts cry out, "Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your
truth; my heart rejoices to fear Your name." (Ps86:11)

Amen!