“Get Out of Her, My People”!
What is it from which we must flee for our very lives? Why is it so urgent?
THE citizens of ancient Babylon in 539 B.C. reflected the confidence of their rulers. How secure they felt because of their military, economic and political might! Was not Babylon the queen of the kingdoms, the pride of the entire world? Was there any nation like her in strength? Was she not extremely religious and protected by her gods?
The fortress city that was Babylon seemed impregnable. Strange then were the words of Jeremiah, a worshiper of Jehovah. He had warned: “Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and provide escape each one for his own soul. Do not be rendered inanimate through her error. For it is the time of vengeance belonging to Jehovah. There is treatment that he is paying back to her.” What would be the result of this startling prediction? Jeremiah continued: “And Babylon must become piles of stones, the lair of jackals, an object of astonishment and something to whistle at, without an inhabitant.”—Jer. 51:6, 37.
In that fateful year, 539 B.C., these words spoken long before had fulfillment as God-fearing Daniel interpreted the handwriting on the wall for Babylon’s king, saying: “God has numbered the days of your kingdom and has finished it.” (Dan. 5:26) While this seemingly incredible pronouncement was being delivered within the palace, it was being fulfilled outside, as Medo-Persian hordes had diverted the river Euphrates, which flowed through Babylon, and were now pouring into the city over the dry river bed. “In that very night Belshazzar the Chaldean [Babylonian] king was killed, and Darius the Mede himself received the kingdom.”—Dan. 5:30, 31.
What a shock to that ancient world! Proud, powerful Babylon had fallen unexpectedly in one night! Whoever imagined such a thing? Not the Babylonians. It was men like Jeremiah and Daniel who did.
SIGNIFICANT FOR OUR DAY
All this is not without tremendous meaning for our day. Babylon of old was the pride and joy of God’s adversary, Satan the Devil. It was his organization. It so completely represented his foul works that in the Bible, especially in the book of Revelation, it became a symbol of his wicked world organization. Satan the Devil, “the god of this system of things,” has built up a Babylonish organization that extends worldwide. First John 5:19 states: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” Revelation 17:5 tells of its wicked influence in these words: “Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth.”
This Babylonish world boasts of its military might, political ideologies, economic prosperity and great religions. However, God has decreed the same fate for modern Babylon that befell its ancient counterpart, warning: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues. For her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind.” The ominous advance notice adds: “In one day her plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire, because Jehovah God who judged her is strong.”—Rev. 18:4, 5, 8.
UNWISE TO IGNORE WARNINGS
The people of ancient Babylon realized too late the correctness of the warning. Their case, though, was not unusual. Throughout history, men and nations have repeatedly ignored warnings, feeling secure and complacent in their own wisdom and strength. Note the results of this attitude to Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
On May 31, 1889, the city was wrecked by one of the most awful catastrophes ever recorded. A flood from a burst reservoir annihilated the city and surrounding towns; thousands were killed. The people, who were repeatedly warned during the day, took no alarm! In the middle of the afternoon one engineer fled down the valley and shouted for all to flee for their lives, but it was too late. Right behind him a gigantic wall of water thirty feet high and a half mile wide hurtled into the city at 150 miles an hour. Johnstown was crushed. It had ignored the warning!
How like the inhabitants of the world in Noah’s day! When warned of the coming deluge and invited to a place of safety, they rejected it. But God had decreed a destruction. Genesis 6:5, 11 shows why: “Consequently Jehovah saw that the badness of man had become great in the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time. And the earth came to be ruined in the sight of the God and the earth became filled with violence.” Great must have been their shock when the flood cascaded down! Like the people of Babylon and Johnstown, they realized too late that they should have listened to the warning.
HANDWRITING ON THE WALL TODAY
Now, in this year, the handwriting on the wall for modern Babylon, Satan’s world, is clear. Since the beginning of World War I in 1914 this world has entered its foretold “time of the end,” the warning of which has been sounded faithfully by Jehovah’s modern witnesses for over eighty years. Detailed Bible prophecies are being fulfilled before our eyes. Many prominent men are filled with foreboding about the future.
Dean Acheson, former United States secretary of state, declared our time to be “a period of unequaled instability, unequaled violence and revolutionary change.” He stated: “I know enough of what is going on to assure you that, in 15 years from today, this world is going to be too dangerous to live in.” He also commented on public apathy in regard to such warnings, saying: “We can be told that all sorts of things are going to happen. We never believe it until it’s happened. Then it’s too late to deal with.”
Columnist David Lawrence said: “When has the world been more disturbed in time of so-called ‘peace’ than it is today? From almost every part of the globe come the dispatches telling of human violence.” This has been so characteristic of the age since 1914 that the editor of The New Cambridge Modern History gave its Volume XII, summarizing our time, the title “The Era of Violence.” Commenting on this, the London Daily Telegraph and Morning Post of May 27, 1960, said: “What an appalling age ours is of the 20th century, compared with the civilized humanity, the hopes of indefinite liberal progress of the 19th century. We have lived amid the barbarism of two world wars, the ruin and devastation, the loss of millions of precious lives; the rise of brutal forces like Russian communism and German national socialism with their deliberate killings of further millions; the virtual extermination of the Jews in Europe; the discovery of nuclear fission to put an end to the whole thing, with no corresponding increase of human wisdom, or political sense, to prevent it. Above all, though we play at our games, there is the sickening feeling of everything being on the brink.”
The Sun of Clearwater, Florida, June 6, 1960, said: “For 30 years the opening of a new decade has been like opening a can of devils.” This is exactly the situation foretold by Revelation 12:12 to occur from the year 1914 onward: “Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.”
Add to this the general moral breakdown of our day. One high official stated: “Anyone who notes the speed with which our jails and prisons are filling up can see something is wrong.” A South African newspaper, Eastern Province Herald, reported: “The present moral decline should be regarded as a dangerous warning. Throughout the history of the world, extremely low morals have always preceded the collapse of empires and civilizations.”
A heavy responsibility falls on yet another part of the Babylonish world, the false religious element, which has divided people and confused their knowledge of God. Notice these statements in the press: “The Churches have failed.” “Our churches are practicing a Christianity without Christ; our ministers are allowing themselves to be swayed from their true purpose.” One minister admitted: “We have been dishonest before God, dishonest before our neighbors and dishonest before ourselves. From God we have usurped glory . . . we have extinguished the light of truth.”
A comment appearing in The Scotsman of November 23, 1959, summed up these views: “To my mind existing churches . . . have little or no power left to control unconscious drives that produce our terrible wars and lunatic arms races.” The author said he could not help believing “that our whole civilization is approaching a dangerous crisis.”
GET OUT OF HER NOW!
All these things are parts of the great sign of the times that Jesus gave, indicating the near end of this world. The complete wrecking of modern Babylon with her hurtful politics, commerce and false religions is fast approaching, yes, within our lifetime!
God is judging the nations today. The warning work of Jehovah’s witnesses grows day by day. Take heed to it for your own safety during the coming universal war of Armageddon. What should you do? Study God’s Word to ascertain his will and purposes. Then, as you make your mind over to conform to his will, separate yourself from this world’s wicked practices and schemes. Put your hope and trust in God’s established kingdom.
Shortly, God’s executional forces will go into action to fulfill Revelation 18:21, which foretells: “And a strong angel lifted up a stone like a great millstone and hurled it into the sea, saying: ‘Thus with a swift pitch will Babylon the great city be hurled down, and she will never be found again.’” While there remains time, flee for your life from modern Babylon!