Saturday, December 17, 2016

Revelation 18:4-5 -- On Coming Out of Babylon

"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."
Revelation 18:4-5

This is an excerpt from a whole chapter talking about Babylon, which in this case is likely a symbolic reference rather than a literal one, because this is part of a group of chapters talking about events leading up to what is often referred to as Armageddon (referred to in Revelation 16:16), which is still a future event.  So the idea of Babylon here is the idea of making sure that we aren't agreeing with or being part of the evil around us.

That's a challenging idea, because pretty much by definition, we are in the middle of "Babylon," right?  We are in the world, part of society.  God asks us to "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world" (1 John 2:15).  He also says to "be ye separate" (2 Corinthians 6:17).  But then again, we aren't supposed to just go into a convent or something.  We can't be "the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14) if we just go hide in the desert somewhere. :)  So, where is the balance?  How do we "come out" of Babylon, and yet still spread light and set an example for the world around us?

Maybe that's an answer that we have to find in each of our lives, but at least the beginning of it is here in this verse.  If we avoid partaking in sin, then we can essentially be in the world, but not of the world, right?  We can show that we are taking a stand for God while still loving and serving the people around us.  We have to not let the world overwhelm us, and remember that nothing external to ourselves can force us to make evil choices.  With God's help, we can be an influence for good, instead of just slipping into the evil around us.  Today, let us come out of Babylon.  Sometimes that might need to be literally, but we can definitely do it symbolically by dedicating ourselves to God, not to the crowd.

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