THE VOICE OF PRESENT TRUTH
It becomes an important question then: Have ALL God’s people heard this Voice? We answer that we do not think all have yet heard; hence there must be many true Christians still in Babylon, partakers of her sins, but confused because of ignorance, because of lack of knowledge. The question might be asked: Shall we go forth making this call a special message? We answer: This is not our thought. Our thought is that where this is made a special message the result is usually different from what is intended: it makes many angry.
They say: By what authority do you call us Babylon, and by what authority do you tell us to “come out”?
Our thought is that it is the Lord who calls His people out of Babylon, not we; it is the Lord who gives the ear to hear and the eye to see, not we, the call is to be recognized especially as a Voice from Heaven.
What is this Voice from Heaven?
Apparently, the Voice is Present Truth–a presentation of the doctrines of the Scriptures, with their times and seasons–a showing that while there has been confusion and error all the way down throughout the Age, we are now in the Harvest time, when Truth is clearer than ever before. This Voice of Truth tells us whether or not we should support a system that is full of error and confusion or flee.
In what way are we to give God’s Message to come out of Babylon? We should show them the Light, the Truth, show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Pet 2:9); we should place before them the opportunity for investigation, and encourage them to prove these things for themselves. As they come to see the Truth and the bondage in which they have been, they will be glad to stand free in Christ by breaking off these shackles. This will be the Voice, then, that will show all the Lord’s people who are in the right attitude of heart that they should stand free, that they should come out of Sectarianism, that they should not misrepresent the Lord by claiming that they are of Babylon when they are not, but that they take their stand for God.
LOYALTY TO TRUTH THE TEST
This stand will mean the holding forth of the Divine Plan of the Ages, the Truth. If, after one has seen the real character of Babylon and has gotten his bearings in a general way, he then remains, it can be only by compromising the Truth. By being worldly wise he might remain and continue for a time to have popularity, to receive the honor of men. But if after seeing the Truth, after understanding the Truth, one were to continue in Babylon, he would of course be a greater sinner than one who had not been so enlightened. It is not our thought that we should avoid doing our duty in the proclamation of the Truth, but that we should avoid arousing unnecessary antagonism; for people in error are in no condition to have the errors they cling to lightly spoken of. They must be in the right condition before one can even whisper to them, “Come out of her.”
If, when you have heard and believe the Truth, you remain in Babylon, you will be a partaker of her sins, and more guilty than the average one among them (Rev 18:4). When you are able to hear this Voice yourself–this Voice, which will show you the right and the wrong, the Truth and the error–no doubt you will have the fortitude to “come out.”
BABYLON’S ATTITUDE TOWARD THE TRUTH
But those who hear the Voice of Present Truth, and who obey the call to come out of Babylon, are usually subjected to persecution. In our Lord’s Day, when the believers were from among the Jews, some were put out of the synagogues. We remember a particular instance during our Lord’s ministry. A man who was born blind was asked how he had his sight restored; and when he confessed Jesus, the rulers put him out of the synagogue. (John 9:22, 34.) That same spirit, that same condition, seemed to follow with the Apostles.
All through the Dark Ages those who were faithful to the Light were kept out of the churches. The church creeds and practices were conscience-barriers to keep Light-bearers out; those faithful to the Truth were excommunicated or put to death as heretics. This condition continued to some extent even after the time of the Reformation. Servetus, a brother Christian, whose horrible death by burning at the stake was caused by Calvin, is a case in point. Jesus said,
“They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh that whosoever kills you will think that he does God service.”
The execution of Servetus was an instance of the literal fulfillment of our Lord’s words. Those who have ruled the synagogues have not always been bad people, but mistaken people. Thus it was with Saul of Tarsus, when he haled Christians to prison and approved the death of St. Stephen. And so with the churches of our day when any become enlightened and let their light shine. The same thing is true that has always been true; namely, “The darkness hates the light.” They say: If you stay with us you shall not present these matters, keep your views and opinions to yourself. So those who are loyal to God are in this way forced out of the synagogues (out of the nominal systems); indeed, the loyal ones are now called to “come out.”
“YOUR BRETHREN THAT HATED YOU”
But our day has a peculiarity that other days have not had. The Divine Plan is now so beautiful that we can see that others are in darkness, and this impelling Voice of the Truth is the Voice of God, the Voice of conscience, the Voice of enlightenment, calling us out of Babylon, which is misrepresenting God, His character, His Plan and His Word. We do not know but that they may go to the extreme in our day–to kill socially, to kill ecclesiastically, perhaps to kill physically. Nearly all the persecutions that have come to God’s people have come from professed Christians, fellow-believers.
“Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for My Name’s sake, said, let the Lord be glorified; but He shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.”–Isa 66:5
We are glad that these shall one day, not far off, we believe, see their mistake. Instead of feeling like bringing vengeance upon our enemies, we should feel quite sympathy–not with them, but for them. We should realize that it is with them very much as it was with the Jews in our Lord’s Day: those Jews and their rulers knew not what they did, or they would have been ashamed. And they will be ashamed when they come forth and realize what they did–just as Saul of Tarsus was ashamed when he realized what he had done, and so with these blinded ones of today:
“Some shall come forth to shame and lasting contempt.” This contempt will last until there has been a proper repentance for their share in the persecutions of the Lord and His faithful ones.
It is because we believe that there are children of God attempting to live on the husks and skimmed milk of human tradition–brethren in Christ starving for the pure food offered in the Word of God–that we are trying to reach and help them. Otherwise we would abandon all special efforts at propaganda; for we know that as soon as the Messianic Kingdom shall have been set up, conditions will be favorable to all to come to an accurate knowledge of the Truth as it is contained in the Bible.
The days that are almost upon us will surely bring “weeping and gnashing of teeth” to many of the Lord’s professed people; for whoever stands for error will be in opposition to God. They are about to go into a great Time of Trouble, and it will be their own fault.