“Get Out of Her, My People”
“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.”—Rev. 18:4.
1. When did the call to get out of Babylon the Great sound forth, and why was this call then fitting?
“GET OUT of her, my people.” That call has been sounded out since 1919, the year in which the nations fighting in the world war of 1914-1918 signed the peace treaty. Organized religion of the world had backed up that global fight. What about those whom the Bible’s God calls “my people”? These peaceful Christians had come under bondage, even to imprisonment, to Babylon the Great and her political paramours who were engaged in World War I.
2. What similar call was earlier issued through Jeremiah?
2 The call to “get out of her” had been set down in Revelation 18:4. There was a like call set down earlier in Jeremiah 51:45: “Get out of the midst of her, O my people, and provide each one his soul with escape from the burning anger of Jehovah.”
3, 4. (a) According to Jeremiah 50:8-10, their “escape” was to be from where? (b) By the time for fulfilling this latter prophecy, did Babylon have the same relationship with Jehovah as during Nebuchadnezzar’s rule? Why?
3 “Escape” from where? Jeremiah 50:8-10 plainly answers: “‘Take your flight out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth even out of the land of the Chaldeans, and become like the leading animals before the flock. For here I am arousing and bringing up against Babylon a congregation of great nations from the land of the north, and they will certainly array themselves against her. From there she will be captured. . . . And Chaldea must become a spoil. All those making spoil of her will satisfy themselves,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.”
4 By the time those prophetic words were to take effect, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon would be dead. One of his royal successors, namely, Belshazzar, the son of Nabonidus, would be ruling in the Babylonian Empire, in 539 B.C.E. So by then what Babylon had symbolized prophetically from the start of Nebuchadnezzar’s rule in 625 B.C.E. had changed. Jehovah had called Nebuchadnezzar “my servant.” (Jer. 27:6) Also, during the exile of the Jewish prophet Daniel in Babylon, Jehovah had had dealings with Emperor Nebuchadnezzar in connection with two important prophetic dreams. (Dan., chaps. 2 and 4) Even down to the year 592 B.C.E., King Nebuchadnezzar’s exploits were foretold in prophecy. (Ezek. 29:17-20) So during those years at least the Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar was used as Jehovah’s instrument to deal out His vengeance to the disloyal kingdom of Judah and the neighboring nations. Nebuchadnezzar’s work in harmony with Jehovah’s will pictured the work of Jesus Christ during this “time of the end,” where we are now.
5. According to Isaiah 44:28, through 45:7, by the time of Babylon’s fall the work of Jesus Christ was prefigured by whose work, and how did Daniel’s explanation of the handwriting on the wall harmonize with what Isaiah foretold?
5 According to Isaiah 44:28 through 45:7, during the time when the fall of Babylon was impending, the work that prefigured what the glorified Jesus Christ would do during the “time of the end” was taken over by Cyrus the Great, the ruler of the Medo-Persian Empire. On the very night that Babylon fell in 539 B.C.E., the prophet Daniel interpreted the handwriting on the wall that had appeared to King Belshazzar: “PERES [the singular number of the third word of the cryptic handwriting], your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.” Daniel’s eyewitness account goes on to say: “In that very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed and Darius the Mede himself [as the associate of Cyrus] received the kingdom.”—Dan. 5:28-31; 9:1, 2.
6. (a) What Babylon pictured in Belshazzar’s day is set out in what Bible book and is what today? (b) Who founded that symbolic Babylon, and this takes in what religions?
6 What ancient Babylon pictured in her last days as mistress of the world is set out in the book of Revelation as written by the inspired apostle John about 96 C.E., when the remains of old Babylon were still standing. From what John wrote in Revelation 16:12 through 19:3, it becomes plain that the doomed Babylon of Belshazzar’s day pictured the world empire of false religion that still exists. That empire, now comprising all the religions of the doomed world, was started by “a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah.” He was Nimrod, a great-grandson of Noah, and he founded the city of Babel on the Euphrates River. (Rev. 16:12; Gen. 10:8-10) The empire now called Babylon the Great takes in all the religions “in opposition to Jehovah” and is now in its “time of the end.”—Dan. 12:4.
7. (a) When did the “escapees” get out of ancient Babylon? (b) When do the escapees get out of Babylon the Great, and why then?
7 From that worldwide religious empire, Jehovah’s people are called to “get out,” and this without delay. That empire is what was prefigured by the Babylon about which Jeremiah spoke in Jer chapters 50 and 51. In the case of the ancient Babylonian Empire, the exiled Jews and their companions could not “get out” until after it fell to the Medes and the Persians in 539 B.C.E. (Isa. 14:12-17) However, what about this 20th century? What about those whom Jehovah today calls “my people”? These are commanded to “get out” of modern Babylon the Great before she is destroyed in the coming “great tribulation” foretold by Jesus Christ. (Matt. 24:21, 22; Rev. 1:1; 7:14, 15) The reason for this is that these escapees need to avoid being plagued and destroyed with Babylon the Great, the still-standing world empire of false religion.—Rev. 18:4.
8. The getting out of those called out of Babylon the Great since 1919 betokens what, and who was instrumental in this connection?
8 There will be no getting out of Babylon the Great after her former political lovers turn upon her and blot her out of existence. (Rev. 17:15-18) Jehovah’s dedicated people have gotten out of her since the postwar year of 1919 C.E. This betokened that in some sense Babylon the Great had already fallen. How so? In a figurative way. In 1919 her enslaving power over Jehovah’s people was broken. Since then they have never again come into religious bondage to Babylon the Great, as they did during the world war of 1914-1918. Their liberation is to be credited to the One who inspired Jeremiah to foretell it as part of His purpose. That One is Jehovah. To that end he used his Greater Cyrus, the glorified Lord Jesus Christ. This antitypical Cyrus began to reign in the heavenly kingdom in 1914, after the close of the “seven times” as foretold in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. (Dan. 4:1-37) Since 1919 the reigning Greater Cyrus has liberated millions of seekers of religious freedom from Babylon the Great. Remaining faithful to his kingdom, they will be kept safe, well protected by him. Neither the clergy of Christendom nor the leaders of non-Christian religions control them.
RETURN TO THE MOUNTAINTOP CAPITAL FORETOLD
9 Now more than 60 years later let no one imagine that the religious liberation of a small, despised remnant of Jehovah’s people was merely accidental. It came in fulfillment of his own Bible prophecies. In his prophecy, given by means of Jeremiah in 625 B.C.E. to foretell Babylon’s fall in 539 B.C.E., we read:
10 “‘In those days and at that time,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘the sons of Israel, they and the sons of Judah together, will come. They will walk, weeping as they walk, and for Jehovah their God they will seek. To Zion [the mountaintop capital site] they will keep asking the way, with their faces in that direction, saying, “Come and let us join ourselves to Jehovah in an indefinitely lasting covenant that will not be forgotten.” [For what purpose?] There is the sound of those fleeing and those escaping from the land of Babylon to tell out in Zion the vengeance of Jehovah our God, the vengeance for his temple.’”—Jer. 50:4, 5, 28.
11. Does Jeremiah’s prophecy have reference to the Jewish Zionist Movement, and what do the facts today indicate?
11 This has no reference to the Zionist Movement organized by the Austrian Jew Theodor Herzl in 1893. The Jerusalem that the Jews today occupy they gained by force of arms in the Six-Day War of 1967, and the temple mount is topped by the Islamic “Dome of the Rock” that does not call attention to the name of Jehovah. To which “Zion” has the remnant peacefully returned since 1919?
12. To what Zion has the remnant peacefully returned since 1919?
12 It is the Mount Zion that the Christian apostle John saw in vision 26 years after Jewish Jerusalem was totally destroyed by the Roman legions in 70 C.E. Regarding this, he writes: “And I saw, and, look! the Lamb standing upon the Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand having his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads. . . . and the sound that I heard was as of singers who accompany themselves on the harp playing on their harps. And they are singing as if a new song before the throne [of God] and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one was able to master that song but the hundred and forty-four thousand, who have been bought from the earth. . . . These are the ones that keep following the Lamb no matter where he goes. These were bought from among mankind as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.”—Rev. 14:1-4.
13. (a) A few verses later, what does the apostle John report with reference to Babylon the Great? (b) Because of what in 1919 did she get a shock?
13 Interestingly, just a few verses after giving us that description, the apostle John writes: “And another, a second angel, followed, saying: ‘She has fallen! Babylon the great has fallen, she who made all the nations drink of the wine of the anger of her fornication!’” (Rev. 14:8) Despite committing religious fornication with all the politicians of the nations, Babylon the Great suffered a shocking fall in 1919, as far as influence and power are concerned. It shocked her when the Greater Cyrus, the Lamb Jesus Christ, secured the liberation of the remnant of spiritual Israelites and set them to work on spiritual reconstruction.
14. (a) Did the liberated remnant act in harmony with the slogan that “religion is the opium of the people” or what was claimed for the proposed League of Nations? (b) To what mountaintop capital did they direct themselves?
14 Revolutionaries who had by 1919 gained the political ascendancy in eastern Europe acted according to their slogan, “Religion is the opium of the people.” But theirs was not the way for Jehovah’s remnant, then liberated from religious Babylon the Great, to go. Also, a League of Nations had been proposed for consideration and adoption at the 1919 Peace Conference, and the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America favored it, calling it “the political expression of the kingdom of God on earth.” Did Jehovah’s remnant consider that the way for them? No! When they held their general convention at Cedar Point, Ohio, U.S.A., on September 1-8, 1919, they exposed it as a counterfeit kingdom of God and publicly declared that it would fail. Rejecting all substitutes proposed by men, they directed themselves to the heavenly Mount Zion, for there they saw by faith the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, standing as reigning King.—Rev. 14:1-3; Heb. 12:22.
15. Why was it with weeping that the remnant sought the spiritual Zion, and from what fresh standpoint did they study the Bible?
15 So with tears of “weeping” for joy the liberated remnant turned away from Babylon the Great and sought the spiritual Mount Zion, where their heavenly King had been standing reigning since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914. In agreement with their theocratic purpose, they studied the Bible from a fresh, new standpoint, for now they could see the fulfillment of an increasing number of Bible prophecies that had a bearing on God’s kingdom by Christ.
16. How could the vengeance that the remnant proclaimed be said to be that “for his temple,” and what “deeds of righteousness” could they recount in a prospective way?
16 Fearlessly the restored remnant began to declare “the vengeance of Jehovah our God, the vengeance for his temple.” (Jer. 50:28) They themselves were part of a spiritual temple of his, a figurative temple made up of Jesus Christ the Chief Cornerstone and the 144,000 members of the temple class under him. (1 Cor. 3:16, 17; Eph. 2:19-22) During World War I the remnant of the temple class had been badly treated, and this wicked attempt to destroy them furnished a valid reason for Jehovah to express in due time his vengeance against Babylon the Great and her paramours. Then he will carry out Jeremiah’s lengthy prophecy against Babylon to a completion. With dynamic faith that the further features of Jeremiah’s prophecy are certain to be fulfilled, that they are as good as carried out, the restored remnant take up the words of Jeremiah 51:10 and say: “Jehovah has brought forth deeds of righteousness for us. Come and do let us recount in Zion the work of Jehovah our God.”
17. For what work of repayment does Jehovah have his own timely agency in readiness?
17 As the Avenger, Jehovah has his own agency in hand and he announces his purpose to use it in these words of Jeremiah 51:24: “‘And I will pay back to Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their badness that they have committed in Zion before the eyes of you people,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.”
18. Because of all the reproach upon the divine name, from whose standpoint may the remnant utter a right desire respecting the violence and bloodshed of Babylon the Great?
18 Let us call to mind all the reproach that the Babylonish world system of religion has brought upon the name of the one living and true God, especially by persecuting dedicated persons who revere and bear his name. Then we can appreciate why it is Jehovah’s own purpose justly to wipe out that earthly agency that has been mainly used by his chief adversary, Satan the Devil. So those on earth who represent the heavenly Zion merely adopt Jehovah’s own viewpoint of matters and agree with his stated purpose when they say: “‘The violence done to me and to my organism be upon Babylon!’ the inhabitress of Zion will say, ‘And my blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea!’ Jerusalem will say.”—Jer. 51:35.
19. How does the cruelty in such prayers as objected to by anyone compare with what Jehovah says, speaking for himself in Jeremiah 51:36, 37?
19 Let no objector who attaches cruelty to such prayers of Zion and Jerusalem imagine that Jehovah God would be unrighteous in answering them against Babylon the Great of today. He does not overlook the historical fact that she has resorted to violence against worshipers of Jehovah, even to shedding their innocent blood. Let him speak for himself in the words of Jeremiah 51:36, 37: “Therefore this is what Jehovah has said: ‘Here I am conducting your legal case, and I shall certainly execute vengeance for you. And I will dry up her sea [of commercial traffic], and I will make her wells dry. And Babylon must become piles of stones.’”
20. To what does the present state of things at the site of ancient Babylon testify as to Jehovah’s doing?
20 Such a prophecy, as proclaimed in 614 B.C.E., or 75 years before Babylon was captured, seemed then impossible of realization. In 614 B.C.E. Babylon was rising to the zenith of its power and glory. But today, the place where ancient Babylon haughtily stood at the Euphrates River testifies to the fact that Jehovah did not err in prophecy. There are only a few of Babylon’s original stones left there. Jehovah’s assurance to his mistreated people proved true. He did take up their “legal case” in the court of the universe; he did execute divine vengeance for them. He justly saw to it that accounts were balanced.
21, 22. According to Psalm 137:8, 9, what happiness will the Greater Cyrus have in the near future?
21 In the near future happy will be the official service of the antitypical Cyrus, the glorified Jesus Christ, to see to it that accounts are settled with Babylon the Great of today. Worshipers of Jehovah who have suffered at her hands take the divine view of justice and so can join the inspired psalmist in saying:
22 “O daughter of Babylon, who are to be despoiled, happy will he be that rewards you with your own treatment with which you treated us. Happy will he be that grabs ahold and does dash to pieces your children against the crag.”—Ps. 137:8, 9.
23. Will earthly agencies be used in the overthrow of Babylon the Great, and yet who takes the responsibility for it?
23 In due time earthly human agencies will be given free rein to wreck Babylon the Great. (Rev. 17:15-18) But Jesus Christ will be happy to take the responsibility for blotting out that world empire of false religion. Bible prophecy credits him as the Greater Cyrus with the deserved overthrow of Babylon the Great. He, when on earth as a man, and also his footstep followers have suffered at her violent hands.—Rev. 18:24.
24. (a) How does Babylon the Great show herself presumptuous with regard to rulership? (b) Whose “daughter” is she, and what calamitous things will come soon upon her, and how?
24 Babylon the Great has been the personification of Presumptuousness. (Jer. 50:31, 32) Not now the earthly Jerusalem or Zion where the Islamic “Dome of the Rock” stands, but the heavenly Mount Zion she considers to be her rival, for there the Greater Cyrus reigns as King. To show such rivalry, she says: “I sit a queen.” (Rev. 18:7) If she is to be called a “daughter” as ancient Babylon was called, that she really is to Satan the Devil. (John 8:44; Jer. 50:42; 51:33) Upon this religious fornicatrix two disastrous things are foretold to come speedily: “Loss of children and widowhood.” (Isa. 47:9; Rev. 18:7, 8; Jer. 50:9) Either the members of her religious organization will be killed off in the coming “great tribulation” or they will become dead to her by renouncing her, confessing no religion at all. This will make her mourn!
25. If any of us do not want to be classed among those Babylonish “children” that are to be dashed “against the crag,” what must we do without delay?
25 Does any one of us want to be numbered among the religious “children” of Babylon the Great when God’s appointed time comes for them to be dashed “against the crag”? If we do not want to be so classed, especially if we claim to be among those whom God calls “my people,” then what? Nothing short of taking advantage of the remaining time and obeying the merciful command from God through his Word: “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.”—Rev. 18:4; Jer. 50:8.