“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.” (Rev. 18: 4)
God’s plea to His people has ever been to “come out of Babylon, and be ye separate.” God’s people from the earliest post-diluvian times were to be found in Babylon, for we find that Abraham and his father Terah and his brothers lived in the vicinity of the Chaldean empire where the worship of the gods of Babel was practiced.
“And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. (Genesis 11:28).
As so often happens when God’s people live in such environments, they were influenced by the worldly practices about them and had compromised their worship of Jehovah by introducing idolatry into their midst. They had forgotten the difference between the sacred and the profane.
“And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.” (Joshua 24:2).
Because it appeared well nigh impossible for God’s people to practice the purity of the faith while living in the midst of Babylonian worship, God gave His first command to “come out of Babylon.” It was addressed to the receptive heart of Abraham.
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:” (Genesis 12:1).
When, because of sin, the patriarch Jacob found himself also in Babylon and again surrounded by pagan practices, God again made the call for separation.
“And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.” (Genesis 31:3).
The call for separation from Babylon was essential. Apparently, so persuasive were the influences of the Babylonian religion, that only Abraham and his nephew Lot and their families were untainted by it.
“His brother Nahor with his household clung to their home and their idols. Besides Sarah, the wife of Abraham, only Lot, the son of Haran long since dead, chose to share the patriarch's, pilgrim life.” (Patriarch and Prophets, p. 127).
The worship of the Babylonian counterfeit of true faith was so widespread that Abraham must have found it extremely difficult to resist. But this he did with great fidelity.
“Faithful among the faithless, uncorrupted by the prevailing apostasy, he steadfastly adhered to the worship of the one true God.” (Patriarch and Prophets, p. 125)
Here we note the emphasis on Abraham’s great faith, a faith which receives the most extensive mention of all in Hebrews chapter 11. In part, there it is record that
“By faith (Abraham), when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” (Hebrews 11:8).
Just as God’s people who accept the latter-day call keep God’s commandments, they also keep the faith of Jesus, so also did Abraham. Note that he obeyed. God had not left Abraham ignorant of the requirements of the Decalogue.
“He communicated His will to Abraham, and gave him a distinct knowledge of the requirements of His law and of the salvation that would be accomplished through Christ.” (Patriarch and Prophets, p. 125)
For a third time God’s people, through the sin of Jacob’s sons found themselves in the midst of the worship of the Babylonian system. This time they were in Egypt, but the Egyptian religion was merely a local modification of the Babylonian. Once again God’s people proved unable to stand against the surrounding influences. And once again God’s call to come out of “Babylon” was made. Speaking to Moses, God said,
“Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10).
When for the fourth time, one thousand years later, God’s peculiar people were once again found in Babylon because of their sin, God in His love made the plea to come out again and separate from the evil apostate worship centred there.
“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.” (Jeremiah 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.” (Jeremiah 51:6).
In the last days of earth’s history God has once more renewed this plea through the mighty voice of the loud angel. Never was this call more urgent. Never was it more powerful.
“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.” (Revelation 18:4).
As God called the children of Israel out of Egypt, that they might keep His Sabbath, so He calls His people because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:11,12).
Only those who are prepared to reject the false teachings of Babylon and keep the faith of Jesus so that they may keep God’s commandments will heed the call to seek safety outside the walls of evil Babylon. Many Seventh-day Adventists complacently feel that they are safe within God’s fold since they have left the churches of Babylon. It is of no value to remain with God’s remnant people while espousing the false doctrines which characterize the churches of Babylon and from which God is urgently calling us.
Thus this call must even penetrate to the ranks of the careless, the unholy, and those in our midst who have not forsaken the errors of the Christian churches around them. Some question the need of wisdom of emphasizing the distinctiveness of our faith within our church. They further feel that it is intolerance of the views of others to suggest that they cannot cherish their errors and yet find salvation. Some suggest that doctrine is unimportant and that it is only the heart that matters. Such do not seem to recognise that as a man
:...thinketh in his heart, so is he”. (Proverbs 23:7).
Further, they ignore the evidence of their senses which should indicate the depravity of so many who reject the testing truths of God’s word. But God states through His servant that the wine of Babylon is
“...her false doctrines” (Maranatha, p. 171).
It is because of false doctrines that God calls men and women from Babylon. It is because of these false doctrines that the apostate churches are Babylon. Every minister of the gospel and every sincere lay person are duty-bound to raise the alarm and to challenge their fellow church members, as well as those outside the fold, to leave Babylon. The Seventh-day Adventist Church, we can state on sound authority, will never become Babylon itself. Nevertheless, many of it’s members, those who will eventually be shaken out in the mighty shaking time, are found among the ranks of Babylon, for they have espoused her doctrines. While the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not Babylon, yet many members espouse the abominations of Babylon.
Thus God’s last plea in love to the inhabitants of this world will be given by those who fear God and keep His commandments. They will be spirit-filled, humble worshippers of God, men and women who aschew the prevailing evil about them, and are not content with a form of godliness, but only with the deep love of Jesus. Those for whom the message strikes a responsive chord will be men and women who have dedicated their lives to Jesus and are now awakened to the glory of the gospel in its fullness. Some others, sinful in their life-styles, will be brought to the feet of Jesus as they sense the implications of this loud-cry message. No message will call forth more decisions than this one. Every human being, who has reached the age of accountability will be forced to make this eternal decision. This decision will be based upon the fullest evidence of God’s love and His requirements. The privilege and responsibilities placed on those chosen to present this great message are awesome beyond words.
Extracts from “Adventism Proclaimed” by Standish and Standish, pp