THE VOICE FROM HEAVEN
“…He calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. And when he puts forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” (John 10:3-5)
“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 context of the Scripture above as found in Revelation shows that our text refers to Babylon–not the literal city of Babylon, but to the symbolic city, described in the Book of Revelation. The term Babylon seems to signify a concentration of the various errors in the apostate church systems, personified in Revelation as mother and daughters.
“Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots,” is the name given by the Lord to the original System, thus intimating that the whole brood (both Mother and daughters) is illegitimate in every sense of the word. She neglected the Heavenly Bridegroom, and mingled in her “cup” a stupefying potion that has intoxicated the world; even the Lord’s saints were bewildered. (Rev 17:1-6)
After the Apostles “fell asleep,” the people of God gradually drifted into error of doctrine and practice, which culminated in the Dark Ages. A great System then developed (The Anti-Christ), and led the great majority into confusion and darkness. We need not suppose that in all these centuries everyone connected with this false System was hypocritical. As the people of Natural Israel were led captive into literal Babylon, so the people of Spiritual Israel, among who were some of the Lord’s true saints, were led captive into Mystic Babylon (The Church Nominal). Some of these would have liked to have gotten free, yet did not know what to do.
When we finally come down to the time of the Reformation, we see that instead of getting entirely free from Babylon and her errors (Papacy, Catholicism, the “Mother” system), the various new systems then formed (i.e. the “daughters”, Protestantism) partook to a considerable extent of the same spirit of the Mother System from which they had separated. The same spirit of persecution that was manifested in the “Mother” has also been manifested more or less in the “daughters”.
This enslaving power extended from medieval times to the Reformation; so that, looking out upon the so-called Christian world today (Christendom), we see that there could not be a better word used to picture existing conditions than the word confusion (i.e. babble, Babylon).
Yet there are even now many of the Lord’s true people to be found in this Babylonian System. But THE TIME OF SEPARATION IS HERE: those yet remaining in Babylon MUST HASTEN! The fact that some of God’s children have been in Babylon all throughout the Age shows us why God has had any respect at all for Babylon; His saints have been more or less enslaved (fenced) in there for centuries. This is the only reason why God has dealt with Babylon in any sense or degree, not for the sake of the “tares” but for the “wheat”.
BABYLON CAST INTO THE SEA
Our text with its context is a prophecy that in the end of the present Age a time would come when God would wholly reject Babylon. In the picture given us in Revelation of this time, the Lord’s rejection of the apostate systems is declared in the words, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen!“ She has been spewed out of His mouth, and the Almighty now calls upon His true people to “come out of her.” The faithful ones are delivering themselves out of Babylon during this Harvest time; the separating work (of the wheat and the tares) is almost completed. Soon, as pictured in Scripture, the “sea” of anarchy (The Great Time of Trouble) will swallow up these false systems. Babylon is to be “cast as a great millstone into the sea.” (Psa 46:2; Jer 51:62-64; Rev 18:21.) It is our belief that these prophecies are to be fulfilled in the very near future.
Some may ask: How may we recognize God’s Voice calling His people to come out of the churches now? In what manner shall we hear His Voice?
We answer that God bids His people to separate themselves from all sin and sinful conditions. Our forefathers did not hear this Voice, did not see this condition of sin. The Voice had not then spoken. Even in the time of the Reformation these entanglements of error were not clearly discerned. But now, in this Harvest time, we can see very clearly that the teachings of the nominal churches have been grossly in error–have grossly misrepresented the Divine Purpose and the Divine Character. We now perceive that Babylon is full of error and corruption of doctrine, and filled with the spirit of the world.
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, and is become a habitation of demons, and a hold of every unclean spirit, and a hold of every unclean and hateful bird.” (Rev 18:2)
KNOWLEDGE BRINGS RESPONSIBILITY
Furthermore, the times and seasons of God’s Plan are now made plain, to the discerning, (to the “wise”, not according to the wisdom of this world, but according to that wisdom which comes from above) 1 Thess 5:1; Dan 12:10; 1 Cor 2:7, 13. We are shown that we are now living in the time foretold when these systems of error are to be rejected by the Lord. Should we not leave these systems when we see all this? This is God’s Voice to “come out of her.” We hear this Voice now speaking; we see that this prophecy of Revelation is now being fulfilled.
If any remonstrate: But, Lord, we have many precious friends in Babylon, and we are loath to leave them. It will be a great loss to us to leave them all and take a stand against them. Must we come out? Our friends will think us crazy! The Lord replies: “Come out of her,” or “receive of her plagues.”
You are not sharers of her sins until the time you see this. You may have been born in Babylon, but the Lord is not holding you responsible for what you did not understand. But the more you understand, the more responsibility you have. If, when you see what the Truth is and what the error is, and yet you still chose to remain in Babylon and support her by your presence, influence, money, service or etc. you will be very culpable. If you fail to come out of her when you hear the Lord’s Voice, it will imply that you are not thoroughly loyal to Him.
You may be one of His children, but if you fail to obey the Lord through fear of earthly loss, fear of what your friends, family or fellow church members might think of you, it will prove that these things are more precious to you than His favor, and He will treat you as He treats the hypocrites: you will have a share in their experiences. If you are approving of the sins (errors, false teachings) of the spewed-out systems by upholding them and giving them your influence and support, you will surely be partakers of Babylon’s plagues. This is a fair warning. We understand that it is the duty of every Christian to break every tender tie, if necessary, and to be loyal to God, to stand free from the error and sins of Babylon. The time of her judgment has come.
We will continue with this in our next post.