Which city/town or village do you wake up in this morning? This is your place. This is home, right? No!
This is the message of chapter 18.
We may live in this city of Babylon (this false religious, idol-worshipping, pleasure-seeking city) but it isn’t our home. We are here but it isn’t our city. This is not the great ‘eternal city’ (Rome) that John’s readers would know. It fades and it will fade. It dies and it will die. It is being judged and it will be judged.
For there is another city. Therefore:-
That’s the call from heaven. The declaration over the false religious and political world system has been made, it is fallen and it is coming to an end. In what seems to be linked to the prophet Jeremiah in 51:7 “‘Flee from Babylon! Run for your lives! Do not be destroyed because of her sins. It is time for the Lord’s vengeance; he will repay her what she deserves.” John hears an announcement from heaven:
“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; 5 for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. 6 Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Pour her a double portion from her own cup. 7 Give her as much torment and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit enthroned as queen. I am not a widow; I will never mourn.’8 Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.” (Revelation 18 v 4-8)
The sins of the generations within this city are piled high and God has not forgotten them because there has been no repentance, v5.
Within the cup of this city are not only her own sins but the blood cries of those who have been sinned against and so she will receive a double portion of judgment, v6.
All that she boasted of has come to nothing, the great temptress and her seductions have failed and she will be burned, v7.
Who is behind this judgement? No one but God.
But wait, even in what might appear the last hour, God calls out in mercy again. God who calls ‘my people’ who are ‘not my people’ (Hosea 2:23) does not want anyone to fall within this city. He wants people to be in another better city than Babylon. “Come out my people!”
Is this for us? Is it because of our own compromise? Perhaps.
Maybe it is for those who are still gripped and trapped in Babylon. I would like to think so. As I see churches growing through salvations and baptisms and hear stories of wonderful works of God I understand that though contained in this city, Babylon is emptying, more are leaving for another city. Let us pray and seek to depopulate Babylon whilst we can. Let us keep calling many whilst we have the time.