“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, ‘Come out of her [Babylon], My people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.’” Revelation 18:4.
I wonder how many people have read these words and wondered what it means for them. It is significant that this voice came from heaven and was addressed to those whom Jesus called “His people.” Who are “His people”? And what is “Babylon”?
Paul prophesied to Timothy that difficult times would come, and that, under a covering of “Christianity” people would be “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
What is religiosity?
This unfaithfulness—not wanting to give up one’s own, sinful lusts while still holding on to Christ as an atonement for one’s sins—is referred to as “harlotry”, or spiritual adultery by Paul and James, (James 4:4) while John states clearly that friendship with the world (the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life) is enmity towards God. (1 John 2:16) What God calls Babylon the great, the mother of harlots, and of the abominations of the earth, is a religious organization riding on the back of a beast—a world system that is under the power of Satan.
For centuries the beast (the world system) has supported a form of Christianity which has not brought people to a victorious life, but bound them to man-made doctrines and religious authorities which have a form of godliness but deny the power there is through living a crucified life.
Do we not see more and more clearly that this false Christianity follows the ways of the beast instead of loving God and keeping His commandments, and condones the beast’s immoral ways instead of refuting them?
We know that not everyone who calls Jesus “Lord” belongs to the kingdom of heaven, but those who do the will of God the Father, and depart from lawlessness. (Matthew 7:21-23) It is those who have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires who belong to Christ. (Galatians 5: 24) They hate sin, and desire to live a victorious life, pleasing God in every way.
Where shall they go?
Such people cannot feel at rest in a “harlot system” (religious system). In these last days, God is opening people’s eyes to see the awful depravity of Babylon – the harlot – and the beast. Some with all good intentions try to reform their particular branch of Christianity, to obey God rather than men and follow the word of God, as the reformers did of old. They experience the same treatment from the harlot spirit as God’s people in previous generations. They are silenced or excluded. The harlot is incurable. The word from heaven is “Come out of her, My people.”
But where shall they go? “Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.” Hebrews 13:13. What happened to Jesus “outside the camp”, removed from human approval and expectations? He was crucified. Outside the camp are those who believe in being crucified with Jesus. They are not satisfied only with Jesus being crucified for them, so that their sins are forgiven through His atoning death, but their longing is to overcome sin and reign with Him in life—now and in all eternity. Rather than merely holding on to a form of “Christianity”, without giving up their own sinful lusts, they have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires!
One body – His bride
“He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5:15. Although He died for the sins of the whole world, those who are truly repentant, are deeply thankful for God’s mercy. They grieve over their failings and cannot be nourished by a preaching that gives nothing more than forgiveness of sins at best. At worst the harlot preaches forgiveness without repentance, and allows people to continue living in sin with the false hope of going to heaven.
But Christ rose again so that He is able to give us all the help we need to live wholly for Him and be His own special people, zealous for good works. (Titus 2:14)
God Himself gathers into one body all those who live a crucified life. They are faithful to Jesus, their heavenly bridegroom, and will be His bride, His precious possession, for whom He died. (Revelation 19:7 and Revelation 21:1-27)