by Harold Barber
"And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. 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. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities."" Rev. 18:1-5
In this book of symbols, the Revelation, we find many thought provoking scenes. Many deep spiritual truths are revealed to those who care to tarry before God in earnest prayer and meditation. This is not a book which can be read hurriedly and its meaning grasped without thought and prayer. In its chapters are many truths that are very needful for those who would be kept from chaos and confusion existing in the world today.
In this particular part of John's vision he saw an angel come down from heaven having great power: and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit,þand a cage of every unclean and hateful bird " Also, he 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." First, I want you to notice the source from which the message came. It was not a message from man but from God. The voice John heard came from heaven. God is warning his people of a place and condition which is called Babylon and is fallen (spiritually), is become the habitation of devils, and from which they must flee in order to save their souls. To ignore this warning is to be lost eternally. We must heed the warnings of God and obey Him in all things, even though it may lead us contrary to the preconceived ideas we have had all our lives. It is safe to follow God, as He leads us in truth. No one would dare deny the call of God for his people to come out of Babylon, for it is plainly written in our scripture lesson. The controversy is on the point as to what constitutes Babylon, what may be termed Babylon, the place that is fallen spiritually and from which God calls his people.
Most people as they view the nominal christian (so-called) world see three great branches of religion. They see the Roman Catholic Church, the Protestant churches, and the Jewish faith. To them, these three go to make up God's church, and it's only a matter of choice as to which one they embrace. But to speak the truth, none of the three, nor the three together go to make up God's church: but, on the contrary, they do make up Babylon of which our scripture lesson speaks. Popery, as found in the Roman Catholic Church today, dates back to A. D. 270. Years preceding this date it was developing, but did not exert much power until 270 A. D. and. fully developed in 530 A. D. and ruled along with its political power, the entire civilized world from approximately A.D. 530 until A. D. 1530, a period of one thousand years. This period is known in history as the dark ages. The Roman Catholic Church does not date back to the days of Jesus. It is not the church Jesus built.
During this period of one thousand years, Rome's teachings were forced upon the world at large, but in A. D. 1516 a venerable old priest of the Roman Church began to denounce and expose publicly the evil practices of his church, which finally resulted in his ejection from the church and the bursting forth of the 16th Century Reformation, which broke the world supremacy of the Roman church. As this priest, Martin Luther, began his preaching, thousands of people who were hungry for God rallied to the message he brought and embraced it. It was a Bible message to a sin benighted world. "the just shall live by faith." The result was that entire nations turned from the Roman Catholic religion throwing of f her yoke of bondage and embraced true Christianity insofar as God had revealed it at that time. Rome's power was broken by the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
The preaching of the Gospel which brought about the loss of Catholicism's universal dominion also brought about the rising of another evil just as great, the Protestant system of religion.
Great strides of progress were m a d e during the days of the reformation, until disagreement arose among the reformers. They could not agree on certain points of doctrine, so division came among them. The disagreements became so bitter that the different groups began to oppose one another and went so far as to send armies on the battlefields to support their creeds with carnal weapons. Each group made their own regulations, wrote their own creeds and disciplines and upheld them by very possible means. Luther denounced Zwingli as an heretic.
The Calvinist would have no dealings with the Lutherans. Calvin consented to the burning of Servetus because of differences of religious views, while in England we are told the Angelican Protestants waged bitter war against the Catholics and also Protestants who would not conform to the established church. Thus we see from the reading of history the true spirit that animates Protestantism, and that spirit has not changed unto this day. Protestantism is built upon a false foundation and is animated by a false spirit, notwithstanding the fact that many good honest hearted people are in her, having never realized her fallacy nor imbibed her false spirit. A little honest hearted investigation will reveal her false foundation and position. Her foundation is one of division which God strongly condemns. She is built upon the various creeds which have been written since A. D. 1530 (this was the beginning of creed writing and of denominationalism which separates one body of so-called Christians from another.) None of our present day denominations date back any farther than this date. The first Protestant creed was written in A. D. 1530, which sets the date of the birth of Protestantism. This matter of creed writing, which separates one body from another, is contrary to the great plan of God to save the world. He wills that his people be one that the world might believe. Furthermore, these creeds make allowance for sinful hearted, unscrupulous men to become fullfledged members of any denomination they desire to unite with and or fellowship. A creed is an ecclesiastical document drawn up by a conference of men which becomes the constitution of a religious body and the terms upon which the members are accepted, fellowshiped and tested. The new birth is not the sole requirement for membership; therefore a person who has never been born of the Spirit of God, never been a real christian, can join a denominational church and be recognized as a full fledged member with all privileges afforded the other members. Any church which does not recognize the spiritual birth as the sole means and requirement of becoming a member is not God's church. When we are born of God, we are born into his family, his church, and are as much a child of God as any other who has been born of God.
Since it is possible to become a member of a denominational church without being a true christian. her ranks have become literally filled with members who are sinful in heart and life. Even her ministry has become contaminated with false prophets who have never tasted the redeeming love of God, but still wallow in the muck and mire of sin. Their lives are polluted with filthy habits; they attend the worldly places of amusements; they drink their beer and do many other sinful things. How can God use such a ministry? Beloved, He will not use an unclean vessel, be it the ministry or the laity. The teachers, many times, are men and women who have never experienced the new birth and are wholly incapable of teaching anyone anything pertaining to the salvation of the Lord. The church edifice is often turned into a place of sinful revelry and amusement while the congregation plays and makes merry. All this is an abomination in the sight of God, who loves purity. righteousness, and holiness. It is all foreign to the name of God and his true church: in fact, the whole foundationþis wrong, and God condemns it. Little wonder the angel spoke in our lesson and said, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and! the hold of every foul spirit. and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird."." Our scripture lesson depicts the conditions existing m the denominational world. You may say to me, "Our church doesn't do those things." I grant there are some, perhaps, who are not guilty. but it's the entire system of denominationalism that is condemned in the Word of God and He calls his people out of her Protestantism has become a great system of religion just as Catholicism. and both of them stand in certain creeds. ceremonial observances and rituals which they have themselves prescribed and are all void of the true Spirit of God. After the members have circumscribed themselves to their particular creed and observed certain rituals, many of them live as they please, living dishonestly and sinful and justifying themselves in so doing because they are members of a certain church. True spirituality has been crowded out by an overabundance of worldliness and sinful living. and denominationalism exists in a fallen state spiritually.
The same indictment is true of Catholicism. Her ranks are filled with members who know nothing about God from an experimental standpoint and who have never forsaken sin and tasted God's love in their hearts. They have circumscribed themselves to the Catholic Church, made their confession to the priest for the forgiveness of their sins, observed the ceremonial rituals of their church, and feel justified in their sinful living. Beloved. this will never get anyone to heaven. Jesus said. "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 18:3) This goes for you and me as well as those who lived in Jesus' day. We must forsake our sins and repent of them before God and be born of his Spirit and cease to do evil and learn to do well.
God brings forth the same indictment against the Jewish faith. They are strict in keeping various ceremonial laws and observances which pertain to the carnal man, but have not accepted Jesus Christ as the Son of God. This alone condemns them before heaven's courts. The Bible tells us, 'For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not. condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:17-18) This scripture alone shuts out the Jewish faith. It is impossible for anyone to be saved from the wrath of God to come who does not accept Jesus Christ as God's Son.
The three great religious faiths and all of their tributaries comprise "Mystery Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth." Within the folds of these religions can be found men of every character a n d spirit. Surely it is the habitation of devils and a hold of every foul spirit and constitutes such a condition as is detrimental to a real saint of God. The call of God to his people who are scattered in these various places is to "Come out of her, my people. that ye be rot partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."
Dear reader, you may think I have been rather critical in the things I have said in these lines. but I am trying to reveal the true nature of these institutions. The Bible teaches us, "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling: one Lord, ONE FAITH, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Eph. 4: 4-6) The great plan of God is that all his children be one in him that the world might believe. When people are genuinely saved by the power of God, they are saved by the same faith because there is only one faith. When they are genuinely saved by God's power, they do not go on living in sin, or else they are not saved. God's true people are a separated people, a peculiar people, a holy people, and they cannot mix and mingle with the sinful things that are going on under the name of the church. In fact, they won't have any desire to participate in them if truly born of God's Spirit. When people are genuinely saved by the power of God, they are born of the Spirit of God and inducted into one body. "For by one Spirit are we all BAPTIZED INTO ONE BODY, whether we be Jew s or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free, and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." (I Cor. 12:13) This one body is the true church of God which was purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. Read Acts 20:28 where Paul states this great truth. When people are genuinely saved by the power of God, his love fills their hearts, and they love those who are begotten of him. The love of God in christian's hearts will bind them together; they need not some creed or organization to hold them together. All these man made organizations we witness in the religious world have only hindered God's plan and separated christians one from another. May christians realize that God is calling HIS PEOPLE to "Come out" of all the babel of confusion in the religious world and take their stand upon the Word of God with the Spirit of God as their indwelling Comforter and Guide. If He (the Spirit) is allowed to lead the christian not one will ever join the man made sects called churches. They are man made; man governed and God IS calling His people out of them. Reader, will you flee from the darksome courts of the babel of confusion existing in the religious world and take your stand upon the pure Word of God?
The Babylon mentioned in our scripture lesson, from which God calls his true people is none other than the Roman Catholic system of religion; the Jewish religion the great system of Protestantism with all her tributaries; and all other religions predicated upon man. These all together or individually present a babel of confusion to the honest hearted. unbiased minded person seeking a true experience with God. They constitute the greatest hinderance to precious souls who desire to know God personally and live for Him. My christian brother, or sister, God wants y o u to step out clear from all these manmade institutions called churches and declare your freedom in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I He wants you to take your stand upon the pure Word of God, with the true people of God who have been born into His great church through the spiritual birth and are living holy and pure before Him. What will you do with the call of God, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues?" Babylon (all these false religions) is doomed under the great hand of God's wrath. She is ordained to eternal destruction by the Word of God. Will you remain within her courts and go down to destruction or flee and save your precious soul? God is calling you out.