“For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries. Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.” (Reference: Revelation 18:3-5 )
Did you read the first verse of this passage carefully beloved? The writer of Revelation says that all nations have became “Babylon” – or at least the overall trend of the nation. Barnes reminded me that this is a symbolic adultery meaning that the nations have been wooed away from spiritual purity, and have indulged and become dependent on luxuries and indulgences – both in terms of commerce and lifestyles.
What is concerning to be beloved is that word “all.” We have read enough warnings, admonitions, and exhortations to know to flee such things. But the word “all” is damning, because it means no city or nation, no people or generation are exempt. Barnes says of the warning “. . . so that you will not receive any of her plagues . . .” that “The judgment of God that was to come upon the guilty city would make no discrimination among those who were found there; and if they would escape these woes they must make their escape from her.”
Historic Anabaptist Walter of Stoelwijk also gives warning concerning this passage. He says, “Woe unto such perverse men, who depart from righteousness, from light to darkness, from life to death, and go from Jesus Christ to antichrist, seeking consolation from Satan, and not in God.”
But where can we go? How do we escape the symbolism that a nation has embraced? How do we live in purity and holiness in “Babylon”? If you thought I had a good and thought out answer, I am sorry to disappoint. I fear, beloved, the best way to do this is to live carefully day by day. Each choice we make has the potential of taking us one step closer to “Babylon.” Or, it can keep us ever removed from the adulteries and lifestyle. Our spiritual and faith practices keep us away from those “excessive luxuries” and from the “plagues” that our nations suffer from. I do not mean to imply though that we are in imminent peril. But neither should we become complacent about our daily lives. We know how we should live – let us do so!
May the God who calls the Lord’s people out of Babylon walk with you each day showing you the save places to journey. Selah!