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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 18 - Verse 4

Verse 4. And I heard another voice from heaven. He does not say whether this was the voice of an angel, but the idea seems rather to be that it is the voice of God.

Come out of her, my people. The reasons for this, as immediately stated, are two:

(a) that they might not participate in her sins; and

(b) that they might not be involved in the ruin that would come upon her. The language seems to be derived from such passages in the Old Testament as the following: Isa 48:20, "Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing." Jer 51:6, "Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul; be not cut off in her iniquity." Jer 51:45, "My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the Lord." Compare Jer 1:8.

That ye be not partakers of her sins. For the meaning of this expression, see Barnes on "1 Ti 5:22".

It is implied here that by remaining in Babylon they would lend their sanction to its sins by their presence, and would, in all probability, become contaminated by the influence around them. This is an universal truth in regard to iniquity, and hence it is the duty of those who would be pure to come out from the world, and to separate themselves from all the associations of evil.

And that ye receive not of her plagues. Of the punishment that was to come upon her—as they must certainly do if they remained in her. 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. As applicable to Papal Rome, in view of her impending ruin, this means

(a) that there might be found in her some who were the true people of God;

(b) that it was their duty to separate wholly from her—a command that will not only justify the Reformation, but which would have made a longer continuance in communion with the Papacy, when her wickedness was fully seen, an act of guilt before God;

(c) that they who remain in such a communion cannot but be regarded as partaking of her sin; and

(d) that if they remain, they must expect to be involved in the calamities that will come upon her. There never was any duty plainer than that of withdrawing from Papal Rome; there never has been any act attended with more happy consequences than that by which the Protestant world separated itself for ever from the sins and the plagues of the Papacy.

{f} "Come out of her" Isa 48:20; 52:11; Jer 50:8; 51:6,45; 2 Co 6:17

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