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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Out of the World or Out of the Evil?
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. (John 17:15)
The above passage may be translated as follows: "I do not ask that You should take them out of the world but that You should keep them from the evil one."
The term "keep" contains the idea of guarding in protective custody. The word from, as employed in the King James, no doubt conveys the thought accurately: "keep them from [out of] the evil [one]."
The same grammatical construction is used by the same writer, in Revelation 3:10:
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
The above verse, Revelation 3:10, is one of the foundation verses of the erroneous "rapture" teaching. Notice that this verse does not in any manner speak of a withdrawal of people from the surface of the earth but of a guarding of them during a period of temptation. To see in this passage a withdrawal of the Church from the earth in order to escape Antichrist or the great tribulation is an example of the tendency of people with a preconceived notion to add to the Word of God that which it does not state or imply.
Christ is not praying that the Father would remove us from the world but that He would protect the elect from all the influences of Satan.
Previously in this booklet (John, Chapter Seventeen) we emphasized the idea that Christ was preparing to go to the Father rather than to Heaven as a place, and that we also are being prepared to go to the Father as to a Person rather than just to a delightful place. In fact, we are being prepared to be brought into eternal union with the Father through Christ.
There is a practical difference between viewing Heaven as the destination of our spiritual pilgrimage and viewing eternal union with the Father as the destination of our spiritual pilgrimage and discipleship. Our choice of goals has an effect on how we live as Christian people.
In the passage we are examining now we intend to view the negative dimension of our redemption—what we are being saved from.
We have suggested that we are pressing toward rest in the Father.
But what are we moving from ?
If it is true, as we maintain, that we are moving toward a Person rather than merely toward a place, is it true also that we are moving from a person rather than from a place?
Are we being redeemed from the earth or are we being redeemed from the image and power of Satan? Is God redeeming us from the land or from the enemy? Is our journey from earth to Heaven or is it from Satan to God?
Our understanding of what we are being saved from, as well as the destination we are moving toward, directly affects the manner in which we apply ourselves to our discipleship.
To be continued.