“Come out of her, My people,” says the Lord.
This is an oft-spoken word from Heaven. We find it first among the prophets. Isaiah, in 52:11, warns Israel to come out of Babylon, for Babylon is about to be destroyed.
Babylonia, under Nebuchadnezzar, ruled the ancient world in the sixth century B.C. She was the means by which God punished his errant child, Israel, after centuries of idolatry and disobedience. The Jews were taken captive by that monarch, and were told to set up housekeeping in this foreign land for seventy years.
They were given this command by God. Stay put. Stay in Babylon. So what is this new command? Why now, “Come out of her!”
When the seventy years had expired, God kept His promise to restore to Israel its land, the holy city of Jerusalem, the Temple. Now they were to go back. Many did. That story is told in Ezra and Nehemiah.
But many did not. Many got comfortable in Babylon. They didn’t understand that Babylon was to suffer a far greater punishment than had they. Destruction was coming. Idolatry was everywhere. Evil flourished. This is a place of doom. Get out Israel, while you can!
There is another Babylon. We skip freely over the millennia, and come to the end of time recorded in the book of Revelation. Babylon, whether the original resurrected, or a city with the exact same characteristics of pagan worship, is sitting as a queen in the endtime world.
Her influence of evil, her prosperity in lies, her idolatrous forms of worship, are eveywhere. She is about to be destroyed. And God’s people are once more called out. Revelation 4:4 and following spell out this clear warning. Get out!
One wonders why there are people of God still living in the “Babylon” of that last day. But they are there, and God graciously gives them final warning.
But it is not of past or future Babylon I speak. I refer to the words of another apostle, Paul, as he gives the very same warning to believers in the church. Specifically, he was writing to the Corinthian church, a congregation rife with worldliness, mixed with the culture of this world, confused about holy living.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 is the relevant passage.
Paul begins by saying that Christians are not to be bound together in any partnership with an unbeliever. Marriage. Business. Christian ministry. Projects.
To thus unite with an unbeliever is to try to put sin and holiness together. Light with darkness. Jesus with Satan. Yahweh’s Temple with a temple of pagan gods..It will not work.
What is the Christian to do? Here is where that Old Testament and Revelation message come in: Come out of her My people. Be separate.
Right away voices are raised against such a message. Carnal Christians, those who want to follow Christ but still love the world, will ridicule “separatists” who won’t join them in their carnal activities. But separatism is still God’s way.
There are associations and duties we must have. But there are others that are optional. Each man must decide before God what he will be allowed to enter. But this serious word from God must always be the backdrop of his decision-making.
God tells us not to love this present world. Why is the church of our day so involved in worldly activities? Is this the way to draw men to Christ? I do not see this in the book of Acts. Men were given the Gospel and asked to repent. Those who repented moved on with the Lord and the true church.
But eventually a false church arose. It is with us still. In the false church, one must only give lip-service to a creed and a ruler. After that, it is “anything goes.” In the true church, the one separated, the one obeying the voice that says “come out”, a cross is placed before each prospective member, and that person must decide if he will get on it or not.
When the cross is firmly attached to the shoulder, says Jesus, then and only then is he “worthy” of Jesus.
Come out of her My people. Has a distant ring to it. Can you hear it? Can I? God’s Word is eternal. He hasn’t changed. The world will kill. The cross will eventually bring life. Come out of her, take up the cross, follow Jesus.