The entire book of Revelation is teaching us that this world we are living in will not be eternal and permanent. But what this world wants us to believe is that this will continue on and the end is not here yet. In today’s passage in Revelation 18:4, God is telling us to come out!
In order for us to enter into the new Jerusalem, we need to come out of this spiritual Babylon. We need to come out of the place of sin so we can come into the place of God. Let us think of 3 incidents in the Old Testament where God uses the expression “come out”:
1. To Abraham (Acts 7:2-3, Genesis 12:1)
God told Abraham twice, a double command, to come out. First, God called him to come out of the sinful world of the Ur of Chaldeans, where Babel was, its influences and the people there. The second time God didn’t want Abraham to become too comfortable in being settled in Haran, the comforts, luxuries, security that he must have felt when he was around and living with all his relatives and people he knew and the settlement, the wellbeing that the world is providing. So God told him to come out these 2 times. We need to come out these 2 times as well, from the place of sin and complacency, from the comfort of this world so we can start walking with God and making a progress towards the fulfilment of God’s will.
2. To Lot (Genesis 19:12-13; 15-17)
“Come out” is the cry and voice to save us from the final judgment and destruction. Lot was hesitating but the compelling grace of God brought him, his wife and two daughters out. Sodom and Gomorrah was a place of worldly pleasure and abundance. Ezekiel talks a lot about the city of Sodom having careless ease, having no problems with immorality, even abominations before God (Ezekiel 16:49-50). Spiritual anaesthesia has numbed the people’s spiritual senses towards sin, they soon did not know what sin is and what sin is not. That is the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
The sons-in-law laughed, Lot’s wife looked back and became a pillar of salt. It does not mean that she actually became salt, but that she became part of Sodom. Sodom became a heap of salt and dirt and ashes salt after the fire and brimstone came down (Deuteronomy 29:23, Zephaniah 2:9). Her heart and identity were still connected to Sodom.
3. To Israel (Jeremiah 51:45-48; 6-8)
Even after 70 years in Babylon captivity, many Jews did not come out of Babylon to return to Israel. They had become comfortable in Babylon. It was more suffering to return to Israel and re-establish the city. In Babylon, they already had children, businesses set up and running, etc. God is warning them through Jeremiah that they will fall and perish with Babylon unless they come out. Where is Babylon for you and me? What are the reasons why we cannot come out today?
Only those who come out of Babylon can enter into the new Jerusalem. When do we come out? We need to come out today, not when the judgment is falling upon Babylon.
We need to be separated from Babylon. We cannot physically come out of this world yet. How are we then to separate from this world?
In Genesis 1, God’s Word does the work of separation and consecration. At the end of that work are holiness and purity. Abraham was separated from sinfulness and became the father of faith because he followed the Word of God. That is called obedience. God’s Word was first.
Revelation 14:4 speaks of the 144,000 as the ones not defiled by the world. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes, they keep chaste by keeping out of the world (Babylon).
Revelation 18:4 says to come out so you will not participate in her sins. How do we come out? We need to stop participating in her sins. What are her sins? God is referring to this sin of Babylon as intoxication or drunkenness of the wine of Babylon (Revelation 18:3, 17:2).
Intoxication from wine usually has many different symptoms:
• It makes the person more vulnerable to sin and temptation.
• It makes us insensitive to danger.
• It makes the person numb from fear.
In the same way, Babylon’s influence causes us to be conformed to the world, blinded to its insecurity, and numbs us from the fear of the coming judgment. Babylon is delusional and causes people to become delusional too, thinking that things are OK and secure when it is not (Revelation 18:23). Those who identify themselves with Babylon will be judged (Revelation 18:15; 19).
(1 John 2:15-17 NKJ) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world– the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life– is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
Have we separated ourselves through obedience like Abraham in following God’s Word? Are we taking the Word lightly like Lot’s sons-in-law or are we forced to follow like Lot’s wife but our hearts remain back in Sodom? If we don’t have that holy separation, we won’t be able to separate ourselves from Babylon at the time of judgment.
As we are not able to come to church, let us spend more time to pray at home, wherever you are, ask God to separate me from this world and come out. May we be like the brides ready to receive the bridegroom.