Clarion Call

(Dean Schmucker) #1

4 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
5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
Rev 18:4-5

Who is Babylon? Many have said the Roman Catholic Church, but I think it’s bigger than that. I believe religious Babylon includes all the visible, external organizations that have called themselves “church”, but in reality are not organized by the power of the Holy Spirit, but according to the wisdom and tradition of man. His people are now IN this false church, for He could hardly call them out, save that they were in it in the first place. But is anyone listening?

(SeanO) #2

@manbooks There are 4 main ways of interpreting Revelation. In only two of the interpretations of Revelation, the futurist and historicist, would Babylon be a modern entity. And with the futurist this would only be true if we are in the tribulation now (per my understanding) - if this is the last generation. In a partial preterist approach, Babylon might be Jerusalem - the OT prophets compared idolatrous Israel / Jerusalem to pagan nations - a spiritual Babylon. In the idealist approach Babylon might represent any entity that bows down to the temporary powers of this world rather than to God.

Interpreting Babylon as Roman Catholicism I would generally associate with the historicist approach because of the terrible injustices being committed during Luther’s day, but that approach (per my understanding) is not common these days.

1 - Futurist - the idea that most of Revelation will occur at the end of history right before the return of Christ
2 - Partial Preterist - most of Revelation was fulfillment by the events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and now we only await the return of Christ and new heavens / new earth
3 - Idealist - Revelation has no historical fulfillment - it is instead a depiction of the great struggle that is ongoing in every generation between God’s Kingdom and evil world empires
4 - Historicist - each section of Revelation represents a different portion of history - so we could break history into chunks of a few hundred years and correlate them to Revelation (Roman Empire, Muslim invasions, Papacy) - this view is not common anymore

(Dean Schmucker) #3

I suppose that I’d fall into the futurist camp, but unlike the pretribulation crowd, I do see the Church very much present in the Tribulation. If not, to whom is Christ speaking in Rev 18:4? Perhaps AD 70 was a type of what will happen in the end, but I don’t see it as a fullfilling of revelation.

(SeanO) #4

@manbooks So, in the context of your question about Babylon, do you think that Babylon could be a type of all earthly cities that choose to bow down to the world rather than to God? Do you personally think we are in the last generation? How come?

(Dean Schmucker) #5

Yes, that is what i see. These could well be the last days, As i mentioned in my other post, men have akways hated God, but Romans 1 indictment seems closer to fulfillment than in any other time in history. Also, the church doesnt live any differnly.

(SeanO) #6

@manbooks You know, while it does feel like the world is in seriously bad straights right now, I think it can help us to take a look at how past generations behaved as well. The reality is that the world used to be much more brutal than it is now - that is not to say people themselves are inherently better now. People have always been people and brutal things still happen. But when Jesus first came to the earth the idea of fundamental human rights was not a thing. Humans, by God’s grace, have made some serious progress. Check out these stats just over the last two hundred years.

And think about history - really consider it - it’s brutal. I’m not sure we can make a quantitative argument that people are worse now than at any other time in history. In fact, the reality may be conditions are generally better now.

Regarding the Church, even in Paul’s time the Church was constantly misbehaving. And if we look at the Church Fathers we see people beating other people into behaving like Christians and legalism and heresies and other generally horrifying things. I am very glad I live now instead of during the Middle Ages in Europe - they might have burned me alive for believing differently - even though I seek to obey Jesus. And what about racism in America for the last 200 years?

I’m not saying that this is not the last generation. I’m also not arguing that people are getting better. But I don’t really think we have any quantitative evidence to support the idea that people are worse now than in the past or that the Church is any more compromised than it has been throughout history.

The road to Jesus has always been narrow and people in every generation have missed the Gospel in their own way. To be a Christ one is to stand out in any period of history.

(Dean Schmucker) #7

I think whats different in this generation is the noise. Men have always hated God, but now everyone has access to the media, internet, 3tc.
So yes maybe in reality things not so bad, but it seems that way. Dinesh Desouzas movie on American Exceptionalism makes your point for you. Human rights are not normal. Nor is democracy. Or freedom. We have all these things today because of the Gospel, the very message that those who enjoy those rights despise

(SeanO) #8

@manbooks That is a great point about the noise. Today we hear about bad events from all around the world instantaneously, whereas in ancient times news could only spread in limited areas and took weeks or months to travel. Having instance access to so many tragic things can be overwhelming for sure. And yes, I’m always amazed how Jesus literally is the fulcrum of history. His presence in the world altered not only those who accepted Him, but the conscious of the world - the Church became salt and light in a dark and dying world.

(Dean Schmucker) #9

Anyway, there should be those who are hearing the call, and responding. I don’t believe the purified, holy and set apart Church will arise except through persecution, and given how hated Christians are now, that might be sooner than later.

(SeanO) #10

@manbooks Do you feel certain that the purified Church will exists before the day of judgment? The parable of the wheat and the tares seems to suggest that the wheat (holy, set apart ones) and the tares (those not walking with Christ even though they appear to be) will grow together until the end. Tares look like wheat but can clearly be told apart from it at the time of harvest.

Matthew 13:24-30 - Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ”

(Dean Schmucker) #11

38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one ;

From this I would conclude that Jesus was not speaking of the church only. The tares would appear to be unbelievers. Of course, there are many unbelievers who call themselves Christians, and they are tares, if indeed they may appear otherwise.

Do you understand verse 38 differently?

(SeanO) #12

@manbooks I agree the tares are people who are unbelievers / unsaved. But I believe, if I understand correctly, that the tares are those who outwardly appear to be wheat but are actually not, which is why the advice was not to uproot them yet lest the wheat also be pulled out. So it would not be unbelievers generally, but rather those who have an outward appearance of being believers.

(Dean Schmucker) #13

Amen. And the persecution I mentioned earlier will drive them away, leaving nothing but the true church.

(SeanO) #14

@manbooks I’m not sure if that will happen or not. What Bible verse do you use as a basis for the idea that persecution will purify the Church at some point in history?

(Dean Schmucker) #15

II Thessalonians speaks of a great apostasy at the end of the age. Also, Jesus implies it in Luke 18:9. Is this the result of persecution? The LORD promised us that if they hated Him, they will hate us, for a servant is not greater than his master. Also, Matthew 24: 9-13 indicates that “the love of many will wax cold”. So what I am seeing is a wave of persecution coming to test the saints. This is nothing new to our brothers outside of the West, but hints of what is to come are already present. The divide in the USA between traditional and progressive values is getting wider and wider. People of Faith, I sense, are getting more and more hated by those in the progressive camp. Right now, we are hitching our wagon to a leader whose moral character would have disqualified him to be President not so long ago. This may have some temporal relief, but one day he will be gone, and he will be replaced by someone far more radical on the other side.

Anyway, my observation about persecution at the end is based on the fact that Jesus promised it, and also just noting that the conditions for those of us in the West to face the same as our brothers outside the West are rapidly developing.

(SeanO) #16

@manbooks Thank you for sharing. Yes, there are a few different views of what the ‘end’ means. Some think we have been living in the ‘end’ ever since the time of the apostles. Some think it occurred with the end of the Old Covenant and destruction of the temple / Jerusalem in 70 AD. Some think it is a future time of tribulation.

I am always cautious about using the current political situation - such as the political divide in America - as a basis for whether or not the end is near. Martin Luther had much better reason to suppose he was in the end than us and he was wrong. So I think caution here is helpful.

But certainly Jesus said that because we are not of the world the world will persecute us.