"Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her
sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."Rev. 18:4 .
THE REVELATION of our Lord to St. John is a Book of signs, in which the things stated symbolize the things meant. To illustrate: In this Book a woman is used to represent a Churcha pure woman a pure Church, a false woman an apostate Church. In Rev. 17:1-6 a picture is given of a false woman, disloyal to her engagement, and therefore no longer worthy to be the Bride of Messiah. This unfaithful woman is branded "Babylon." We read that she sat upon a beast, a symbolic statement of her control of the power at Rome.
In her hand this woman held a golden cup full of abominations, and thus symbolically she is represented as making all nations drunk with the wine of false doctrine. The cup suggests that the unfaithful Church, symbolized by this woman, had once been the receptacle of Divine Truth"Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord's hands." (Jer. 51:7.) In Revelation 17:5 she is called "The Mother of Harlots"a term suggesting a mother church, and daughter churches which are said to closely resemble the mother. As the mother was called "Babylon," the daughtersso like their motherbear also the family name.
All about us we see the fulfilment of this prophecy. We see that the daughter systems have proceeded out of the mother system; that they are all developed from her. In Pittsburgh, some years ago, a very prominent Presbyterian minister said, "Wince as you will, you must admit that this [the Catholic Church] is the Mother Church. She possesses an unbroken history extending back to the times of the Apostles. For every fragment of religious truth which we prize, we are indebted to her as the depository. If she has no claim to being the true Church, then are we bastards and not sons."
A fair examination of the denominations shows that they are more or less in sympathy with the mother system. Revelation 18 traces the history of the Apostate Church and foretells that Babylonboth Papal and Protestant systemswill fall. But the Lord has a true Church, to which He says, "Come out of her, My people!" In other words, the saints of God are scattered throughout the denominations. But now, in the closing of the Age, God sends forth the Message that His people shall no longer remain in the denominations; for the time is coming when the doom of Babylon will be upon her and she will fall.Isa. 13:1-22.
When we examine the Scriptures with the purpose of understanding prophecy, we find that during the Jewish Age, God made various types and pictures. The Jews themselves were typical. The Scriptures also show that there are two Israels, one of which is to be as the "stars of heaven" and the other as the "sand of the seashore." (Gen. 22:17; Isa. 8:14; I Cor. 10:18; Gal. 6:16.) Natural Israel was used of God to make types of the spiritual thingsthe "better things." Their Jubilee years were types of the antitypical Jubilee of better times; their Levitical priesthood was a type of the Priesthood in glory, etc.
During the great Babylonian captivity the Jews were compelled to live in Babylon, to be a part of her, to support her, although their bondage was not severe. So today God's people are required to stay in Mystical Babylon, be a part and parcel of Babylon; to support some of her wards and denominations. Therefore it becomes a difficult matter to flee out of Babylon. But we find in the Scriptures graphic pictures of what is coming upon Mystic Babylon, and those who would escape must flee. As Cyrus, a type of Christ, overthrew Babylon, so a part of the work of the Second Advent will be the overthrow of antitypical Babylon.Jer. 51:6; Rev. 18:21.
Originally "Babylon" signified "Gate of God." But the word came subsequently to have the meaning of confusion, mixture; and in this sense it is used in the Revelation. Babylon is a symbol of confusion. God's people in Babylon are dishonored; they are held in restraint. Now, through the prophecy we hear the command, "Come out of her, My people!" This call applies not only to those in Babylon the Great, but to those in other denominationsmother and daughters. "Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." (Rev. 18:4.) Be not of those who cannot see the errors of Babylon and who, consequently, are not of the called ones.
The object of the call to come out is not for people merely to withdraw from a nominal Church; but whenever any true Christian comes to see the error in which he has been held, and which Babylon has taught, he will see that he will misrepresent not only himself and the denomination to which he belongs, but also the Heavenly Father and the Word of God, if he remains connected with what he sees to be error. As he realizes his position, the voice of the Lord through His Word tells him that he must stand for truth and righteousness.
No one is called out of Babylon until he sees her true condition. So then, never urge anyone to come out of Babylon; for if they have "ears to hear," God's voice tells them plainly to take this step, and gives the reason why they should do so. This Book of Revelation shows us by symbols that dire trouble is coming upon Babylon. The nominal Church claims that Christ's Kingdom was set up hundreds of years ago. Consequently, they are not looking for Christ to come to establish His Kingdom, for they think that He set up His Kingdom at the time of His First Advent.
The expression, "Come out of her," signifies that the Lord's people are to separate from all things which are in conflict with the Divine Word. We are to come out of the errors and systems of error which are contrary to the Word of God. But we are not to organize another denomination, for the original call was to membership in the Body of Christ.
"Come out of her, My people," is a call to associate with Christ, with Messiah. This call is given by the Lord through the Prophet when He says, "Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a Covenant with Me by sacrifice." (Psa. 50:5.) They were to be gathered, not to the Roman or other systems, but to the Lord, to become one with Him. Therefore they could not be gathered to all these different denominations, nor to any one of them. Those who hear the call should come out of Babylon and take their stand with the Lord. They are no longer to be mis -representatives of God and of themselves.
Those who see these things and have sufficient courage will come out. Those who see these things and lack the courage to come out are more responsible than are the [R5092 : page 278] majority of people who are in Babylon, but who do not see. If those who see do not have sufficient courage to obey the Lord, they will surely receive of her plagues by remaining in, and will probably have a large share in the punishments of the day of vengeance.
Many people who have been identified with the different denominations are not coming into the Truth, but are becoming irreligious. They are by no means bad people; and they feel convinced that there has been a great error connected with Christianity. They repudiate much that Babylon does and says. Babylon claims that she has civilized the world; but she forgets that civilization existed before Christianity began. She forgets that Jews are just as civilized as Christians; and that Mohammedans are more temperate than many so-called Christians. By no means do we wish to say anything against whatever good people have received from her. If they get a still further blessing, they will probably find that while the blessing which they previously had was better than a message from heathendom, yet Babylon's best is far inferior to the Truth, the Light.
Dearly beloved, we are permitted to enjoy wonderful things! By the grace of God, we are privileged to see the meaning of things that were once mysterious, not only to us, but to our parents. While some in Babylon are going into infidelity, some out of Babylon are becoming stronger spiritually, entering by hope "into that which is within the veil." If Christ is our Forerunner, we shall enter there with Him. To do so will mean to become partakers of The Messiah, by becoming the Bride of Messiah, as symbolically represented. The true Church is to become associated with Christ in His Kingdom. Then will come the promised blessings to "all the families of the earth."
As we perceive the consistency of the Divine Plan of the Ages, our hearts are full of thanksgiving to God. We see that the New Dispensation will be ushered in with "a Time of Trouble such as never was"; and that this Time of Trouble is located, among other ways, by that prophecy which tells that "Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased"; that there will be a time of trouble; but that "the wise shall understand." From what source do the wise receive their instruction? They will understand according to the wisdom from on highin humility accepting the Divine Word and being blessed in so doing.Dan. 12:4,10.