Chapter 5: ‘Keep Them From the Evil One’
By Gerald Flurry
It is interesting that John doesn’t discuss the angels and demons much. He is showing us a new kind of thinking—a thinking that is the polar opposite of Lucifer when he rebelled against God. I believe that Christ prepared John to focus on His Father as no other biblical writer did. John concentrates on the thinking of the Father and the Son.
The Apostle John is the only Gospel writer to include Jesus Christ’s prayer the night before He was crucified. That prayer is recorded in John 17. John also discusses many of Christ’s thoughts and deeds that the other Gospel writers did not. Peter was the leading apostle and John was the chief writer among the apostles.
Jesus Christ asked that God would protect His disciples—not only in that age, but every age—from the evil one (verse 15). He was quite concerned about the evil one. The King James Version just reads “the evil,” which makes it sound like a hazy, impersonal force. But Christ was referring to a very specific being—a being who has greatly damaged God’s end-time Church. God’s people have witnessed that. We must know the fierce nature of the enemy we face.
Satan stirred religious translators to water down this verse taken from one of Christ’s most heartfelt prayers, which He uttered the night before His crucifixion!
No wonder the whole world is deceived! (Revelation 12:9). They don’t believe Christ, therefore they don’t know the evil spirit being called Satan the devil.
This world worships the most evil being in the universe and thinks it is worshiping God! Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4).
We know that Satan the devil is very capable of getting inside God’s Church. He has done that in this end time—destroying the Work and turning 95 percent of the members away from God. Why was he able to do that? How could Satan have such a monstrously high success rate within God’s own Church?
Christ was keenly aware of the devil on the last night of His life on this Earth. We also need Christ’s vigilance concerning Satan. God’s people must think very seriously about this eternal life-and-death subject!
A Complete Change
The Prophet Ezekiel gives us some critical background information about this evil spirit being. God, through Ezekiel, said this to Satan: “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire” (Ezekiel 28:14).
Lucifer was one of the most splendid angels that God created—one of three archangels listed in the Bible. He was created to do a mighty work. This very impressive being was right there with God and the Logos—a cherub covering the throne of God. He could learn how God thought—he could watch how God operated. God trained him for a significant job on Earth, and later in the universe. God wanted to use him in a magnificent way.
Lucifer means “light bringer.” He had a lot of the light of God to bring to this Earth. But he became the prince of darkness! Now, Satan is the ugliest, most unhappy, miserable being in the universe. He is totally opposite of God.
That is a shocking and horrifying nightmare! Something went dreadfully wrong. Nothing like that had ever happened in the universe before.
What happened? When you see something like that, there is always a giant lesson to learn from it.
Obsessed With His Own Brightness
God continues: “Thou was perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created [God created him perfect], till iniquity [lawlessness] was found in thee” (Ezekiel 28:15). Translators always seem to want to soften the word lawlessness by calling it iniquity.
Lucifer reached a point where he simply would no longer keep the law of God, which is the love of God.
Lucifer stopped loving God. That is where lawlessness leads. If you are breaking God’s law, that is the end result. Satan began traveling down the wrong path, and he didn’t stop—he just kept going.
Here we see how the evil one thinks. He is totally lawless. Anybody who keeps God’s law becomes his primary enemy. Satan is lawless, which means he hates the government of God that teaches and implements God’s law.
“By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire” (verse 16). Here is God’s response to this violent being.
“Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee” (verse 17).
Lucifer had beauty and brightness. He became vain and proud about that, and it corrupted his wisdom! Because of that vanity, he became a massive failure. He became absorbed in his own brightness and beauty—which God Himself made!
Lucifer was like a speck in all of God’s creation, but he selfishly focused on himself. In his own eyes, he became more important than God and all His creation.
Can we become that vain about beauty? Or about things? Can vanity corrupt our wisdom? Certainly. Oftentimes, human beings become self-absorbed—wrapped up in our own beauty or looks or things.
God had a plan for this being—but instead of thinking about that vast universe and all eternity, Lucifer began to think about his own beauty! He became obsessed with his own form and shape, which God Himself made and created! This was an amazing development!
Even though Lucifer was brilliant, you have to say he became terribly shallow—spiritually.
Yes, he was a mind-dazzling creation—yet he was nothing like the Logos or God! He didn’t have Revelation 1 brilliance and brightness! His beauty didn’t approach God’s own beauty. Still, he grew self-obsessed!
Have you witnessed that happen to human beings? I have even seen members of God’s own Church, who possess the Holy Spirit, orient their minds so much on themselves—or their things or some kind of beauty they like—that it has taken them away from the God who created them!
God created us all—and yes, He did create us with a certain beauty and brightness. But it is madness to get our minds focused on that, rather than the far more beautiful, far more dazzlingly bright, Creator God and His plan!
Beauty Is Vain
God says in Proverbs 31:30 that beauty is vain. I don’t think most people who are beautiful believe that.
A young man may set his sights on a very physically beautiful woman. What is that beauty going to accomplish? God wants us to passionately give our lives to His Work the way Jesus Christ did. Will that woman’s beauty help that young man in the Work? I know of no way it would help the Work. It hasn’t done anything for us here at headquarters that I know of.
God is trying to teach us that there is a deeper kind of beauty you had better make your priority, or you will get in serious trouble.
How many times have we seen spiritual beauty overlooked in human beings?
Even in God’s Church, this is a danger, because we can follow the world’s example, where beauty is almost everything! Yet God says it is nothing, if you look at it spiritually.
Lucifer had tremendous beauty, and he got his mind on that, of all things. That is stunning to me.
Obviously, a man who is going to get married wants a woman who appeals to him—but you had better beware of the danger there. If your heart is in God’s Work—if you are giving your whole life to God and this Work as Christ did—you must be extremely careful.
Haven’t we all seen a few outstanding gals—who possessed truly dazzling spiritual beauty—overlooked because maybe they didn’t have the physical beauty that some other women have? The same can be true the other way, too—men being overlooked for purely physical reasons.
We don’t want to get our minds on that! That is the way Satan thought. This great created being actually got his mind on his own beauty! That took precedence over everything, and it fouled up his mind. He began to corrupt his wisdom and grow obsessed with himself!
Lucifer introduced a new kind of thinking in the universe that had never been there before. How ugly he became, losing sight of the real beauty that God was creating in him. That became the worst disaster ever—that is, before mankind was created.
Lucifer hated God’s law. He rebelled and became lawless. Now, that spirit and way of life fills this Earth. Mankind follows its lawless god! And that thinking is destroying God’s Earth as it did much of the universe. It will also destroy your eternal life.
Does Satan have excitement in his life? If he were physical, I’m sure he would have already killed himself. He is miserable and full of hate—the polar opposite of how God thinks.
The irony is, Lucifer was the light bringer, and had the opportunity to bring light to the whole world, and God wanted to give him everything. He had the unparalleled honor to be a covering cherub over the throne of God, watching God do everything. And he must have done such a good job that God sent him to rule Earth with a third of the angels to bring light—with the potential to fill the whole universe with light and godly beauty. Had he succeeded on Earth, Lucifer would have undoubtedly ruled over all the universe under God.
Instead, he became obsessed with himself. He lost sight of that mind-staggering vision and became obsessed by his own beauty!
To God, that is lawlessness of the worst kind!
What a universe-rattling failure.
This is real. It’s not a Hollywood movie. It happened. Now Satan is out there, and he hates everything about the God Family.
God’s own Laodicean people are facing a catastrophe of even greater magnitude. However, 50 percent of them will die forever! How could they turn away from God the Father so easily if they really loved Him? How could they rebel against the one who has given them everything? What’s wrong with their thinking? Well—God says they are “rich, and increased with goods” (Revelation 3:17). They are into beauty—physical beauty. They have exalted their own physical desires.
The tragedy is, Jesus Christ was transforming them into the most beautiful bride there ever will be throughout all eternity! There will be only one Bride of Christ to rule the universe with Him forever! The fact that they chose their own kind of physical beauty is insulting, lawless, obscene! But we have seen it happen.
The Apostle John shows us how to think like God and avoid Lucifer’s crushing disaster.
The Opposite of Lucifer
Consider again the Gospel of John. The Apostle John describes the Logos as being so much brighter than Lucifer ever was—so much more beautiful in form and shape. And yet, when He became a man, what did Jesus Christ focus on? God the Father! In verse after verse after verse, Christ said, This truth originated with my Father—my Father is greater than I—I do nothing but what I see my Father do.
Except for the Father, Christ possessed unparalleled beauty and unmatched brightness. But Jesus Christ never thought about Himself to the extent that it was unlawful. Study that in John’s Gospel—it is one of the most exciting studies you will ever have! What love and what humility God in the flesh demonstrated when He was on Earth.
That was the same love and humility He possessed as the Logos for eternity! Why couldn’t Lucifer have learned from that majestic example?
In his Gospel, John virtually skips over what happened with the angels! That is a stern warning to us. Satan and one third of the angels are to be plunged into the blackness of darkness forever. God saw then only He could be trusted to rule the universe. So John focuses on how God is recreating Himself in man.
One of the most striking aspects of John’s Gospel is how the Almighty Logos kept exalting His Father. What an obedient Son He was and is.
Lucifer failed utterly because he exalted himself—not his Creator.
John’s Gospel is probably the most wonderful book in the Bible to illustrate how Christ focused on His Father. Christ always directed us to His Father—never to Himself.
His purpose for coming to Earth was to declare His Father (John 1:18). The good news, or gospel, is about how we can be born into the Father’s Family!
Satan is still the god of this world. He has sold his self-oriented line of reasoning to the world—and that is exactly the way the world thinks. John was doing everything he could to discourage people from thinking that way.
Certainly beauty in people is a wonderful thing. I’m not against beauty. God created it. But it is still vain. It is of no real value to God; if it were, I suppose He would have made all of us extremely beautiful and handsome physically.
Let’s not forget that we are all made in the likeness of God. But that’s only the beginning. God is now creating His own mind and character in His firstfruits. In the resurrection we shall be born into God’s Family with unparalleled beauty that lasts forever!
That is where our focus must be. That is what should excite us mightily. We are going to have the magnificent beauty of that God pictured in Ezekiel chapter 1 and Revelation chapter 1—forever!
We must think about this more deeply—maybe far more deeply than what we have in the past.
Let’s not fall in love with the creation—let’s fall in love with the Creator!
What is He like? What is God like, who can create human beings and angels, who can design and manufacture the magnificent universe? Think about God! Because that is what we can become—if we can get our minds off ourselves, our own beauty or something physical that dazzles us, and get our minds on the Creator!
It makes sense to fixate on God—to be dazzled by God. But it isn’t logical to a selfish mind.
It’s lawless to focus on beauty the way Lucifer did. We must anchor our minds in God’s law. The First Commandment is, You shall have no other gods before the true God!
We are to become perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect—in mind and character (Matthew 5:48). That is unparalleled and unsurpassed by any other kind of beauty.
Think about it: Is beauty in this world more a blessing than a curse? I don’t think so. I would say beauty is more of a curse. Look where it leads the men and women who have it! Look at the kinds of lifestyles it leads them into. It can be very dangerous.
If you’re a man who is committed to and whose passion is God’s Work, as it was with Jesus Christ, and you marry a woman who is only partially committed to God’s Work, what will happen in your marriage? You will obviously have difficulties, conflicts and serious problems. And I submit to you that you will have some serious regrets.
There are examples of beautiful women in the Bible who were truly committed to God. There are also examples of beautiful women who weren’t so committed, and husbands who had real problems with them. If you’re a young man and you want a physically beautiful woman, you had better be careful in choosing her.
Nothing is better than a good marriage, and nothing is worse than a bad marriage.
Let’s make sure we put God first and let God direct us to that beautiful woman or handsome guy. Let Him do the directing, and then the marriage will be right and good and beautiful and productive.
We must keep our minds focused on the Creator. The Apostle John tells us how to do that.
Think Like God
As much as any writer in the Bible, John really analyzed God’s mind. He was in love with the way God thinks.
Like John, we should all seek to grow in the mind of God.
John’s focus on God’s mind helped him recognize just how much Jesus Christ focused on God the Father.
“[T]he only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him,” John wrote (John 1:18). Christ truly declared the Father—and that’s what you and I must do! It’s all about family! We want to be in the Family of God! The Father is the Head and always will be. Christ knew that more deeply than any being ever will, and He is totally committed to this Family that His Father is bringing into being. No example in the Bible comes close to exalting the Father as Christ does.
John is the only biblical writer to even mention the Logos. Only John gave us the Logos perspective and the Logos thinking. The Word was the Spokesman for the God Family even before He became God’s Son. When He came to this Earth, He was speaking for the Family, but He was not the Head and He wanted everybody to know that! So He kept pounding the lesson home.
But if you look at Christianity today, you see all of the focus on Jesus Christ! That offends Christ! Those religious people don’t know Christ if they teach it that way! Christ didn’t teach it that way at all!
There is nothing more exciting than the thinking of God. If you really want to bring excitement into your life, study God’s thinking, and emulate God’s thinking!
The Father Is Greater
“Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you [through the Spirit]. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I” (John 14:28).
Look how Christ continually exalts the Father above Himself—unlike false Christianity today. Christians in this world don’t follow Christ. That is why they don’t understand God’s Word.
Christ exalted the Father every step of the way. If only Lucifer had thought that way! If only the Laodiceans would be humble like that! If only they would listen to their Father as Christ listened! Human beings are just worms (Psalm 22:6) made of dust (Genesis 3:19). Why won’t the Laodiceans just listen to their Father, who only wants to bring them into His Family and let them marry His Son? How could mankind be so ignorant and rebellious that they would let their calling slip away so easily? The Laodiceans have lost the Family message. They don’t even know who they are! All because they don’t honor the Father.
“Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me” (John 14:30).
Again Christ reminds us that we must overcome Satan as He did if we are to be His Bride, sharing our Husband’s throne (Revelation 3:21). With God’s Holy Spirit, we can overcome the devil and qualify for the most prestigious calling ever given to any group of people.
The prince of this world has nothing in common with God. God and Satan are polar opposites. Satan has nothing good in him—nothing of God. He was a beautiful creation and a light bringer at one time, with a tremendous future ahead of him. But he went dreadfully wrong and became the arch-rebel of all time.
What is so exciting about the self? Why can’t we overcome the pull toward the self?
Well, we can if we are comforted by the Holy Spirit and have the peace of God come into our lives. “Peace I leave with you,” Christ said (John 14:27). No matter how serious your trials are, that is an absolute promise to God’s people. All the material things the Laodiceans have are worthless without that peace of God. Life isn’t even worth living if you lose the purpose God has for your life.
“But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do” (verse 31). Was Christ trying to put down His Father, or direct attention to Himself? That is an absurd question.
Besides God the Father and Jesus Christ, nothing will ever be more beautiful than Christ’s Bride! God is making His Bride beautiful! We have the opportunity to be part of that! He is building the most gloriously beautiful character in us. Physical beauty and things have nothing to do with it.
We will be the Bride of Jesus Christ for all eternity. I wonder if that truth still grips us and shakes us and fills us with the kind of zeal that Jesus Christ has!
Who are we to be given an opportunity like this? There will never be another opportunity like it.
God calls the lowly of the world for a reason: because the rest of the world is so caught up in the physical. God chooses lowly people in order to confound the wise and the beautiful of this world.
But still—we can get wrapped up in ourselves. All we are is just a little speck of dirt on this Earth in the vast universe. Yet we can become enamored by this little speck of mud. When we get excited about ourselves, we forget all about the vast universe and the Family of God and everything of value.
John does a marvelous job of helping us get our minds on the Creator so we don’t end up like the god of this world. He provides the solution to Lucifer’s rebellion! He gets us into the thinking of God Himself.
The Bride’s greatest beauty is that she thinks like her Husband. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.