Come Out of Her, My People
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the Great!” These are such sweet words to the believer. No more worldly temptations; no more suffering persecution. The Tormentor of the saints—Babylon, Rome, the Great Prostitute, the city full of corruption and degradation in which you live—that prime actor for the dragon who caused the saints so much distress, has finally fallen. I’ve spoken of Revelation’s “back and forth” manner of proceeding. Here, chapter eighteen expounds upon 16:17-21 and the city’s fall, and in chapter nineteen we shall watch the saints rejoice over its fall.
The great city which was the seat of economic activity and luxury, civic affairs and culture, comes crashing down in a day. The beast and ten kings who shared an incestuous relationship with her in greed and immorality finally turn and destroy her. Instead of luxury, she is now a haunt for every unclean thing. No one but a demon would want to live there, and there are demons aplenty to fill her. All the nations were drunk from “the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality,” a metaphor for their collusion with her in every kind of sin, though I am sure that the great city exported plenty of actual sexual immorality as well.
But our focus needs to be on the words from a voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues.” Isaiah said the same thing to the Jews of old in 52:11 and Jeremiah in 51:45. God’s people must be different; God’s people must be peculiar. They have been called out of the world; indeed, the church is the group of God’s “called out ones.” This calling out will take different forms. At the very least is the calling out to be a pure and holy people—a people who shun the world’s lusts and graft, a people full of faith and good works. But there are times when more is required of us. There may be certain occupations which are closed to us because of what the world requires of those engaged in those capacities. We may come to the time of choosing between economic hardship and God’s will. We may face shunning and slander from an angry world as is already happening in some quarters in our own country. Our culture romanticizes about rebels, but not our kind. The world does not, indeed cannot, understand holiness.
And now Babylon is repaid “double for her deeds.” She thought she would never know retribution, that she sat as queen, that the Lord did not care. And now death, mourning, and plague. Come out of her and save your life.