“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11).
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, That ye be not partakers of her sins, And that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, And God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, And double unto her double according to her works: In the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, So much torment and sorrow give her: For she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: For strong is the Lord God who judgeth her” (Rev. 18:4–8).
Another voice speaks from Heaven, and summons all of God’s people to “come out from her.” This is yet another indication that the great harlot is the old and fading Judaic system. As the Judaic system it had served its purpose, and because of the great unfaithfulness and corruption that had grown up among the leadership of the Jews, God was about to visit a great judgment upon her. And, as follows God’s pattern, He calls his faithful ones away from the catastrophe. He did this with Noah, He did it with Lot, and Jesus told His followers when they were supposed to head for the tall grass. “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh” (Luke 21:20). Then it will be time to flee to the mountains (v. 21). Jesus even goes so far as to say that the demolition of Jerusalem will be the culmination of all things. “For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled” (v. 22).
To remain is to partake of her sins, which means that such ones would also partake of the judgment.
The cry to come out of Babylon was common in the Old Testament, and they are worth quoting in a cluster.
“Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, With a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, Utter it even to the end of the earth; Say ye, The Lordhath redeemed his servant Jacob” (Is. 48:20). “Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, And be as the he goats before the flocks” (Jer. 50:8). “Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: Be not cut off in her iniquity; For this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance; He will render unto her a recompence” (Jer. 51:60). “Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon” (Zech. 2:7). “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; Go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.” (Isaiah 52:11).
In short, when the visitation of God finally falls upon apostate Israel, that “Babylon” will not be a good place to be. We want to go out of that city, just as Jesus was taken out of it, and the reproach we will bear will be only temporary. “Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Heb. 13:13–14).
This terrible shakedown of Jerusalem is an indication to us that we are receiving an unshakeable kingdom, and so we should be encouraged.
“See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:25–29).
The sins of Jerusalem had mounted up to Heaven, just as the bricks of Babel had sought to rise to Heaven. This ties Jerusalem in with the doomed city of Sodom, another image of judgment from the Old Testament. Jerusalem has already been identified as Sodom (Rev. 11:8), and the fact that her sins have now been noticed is another indication. “I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know” (Gen. 18:21).
The fact that the voice from Heaven says that the great harlot will be paid back double is another identifier. In the prophet Jeremiah, it is Israel that will be paid back double for her sins.
“And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because they have defiled my land, they have filled mine inheritance with the carcases of their detestable and abominable things” (Jer. 16:18). “Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction” (Jer. 17:18).
As Jerusalem as Babylon plays that role completely. Just as Israel was delivered from the Old Babylon, so also the new Israel will be delivered from the New Babylon.
“And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: So that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, Neither didst remember the latter end of it. Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, That sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, The loss of children, and widowhood: They shall come upon thee in their perfection For the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments” (Is. 47:7–9).