And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.”
The end-time Babylon described in Revelation is the culmination of humanity’s attempts to rule itself apart from God. The story of Babylon goes back to the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11), through the Babylonian Empire of Nebuchadnezzar that conquered Judah, to the end-time Babylon that John describes in Revelation.
This symbolic Babylon is not located in the Middle East, but is linked to Rome (with its seven hills—Revelation 17:9) and its empire down through history, as well as a great mystery religion (Revelation 17:5).
God wants His people to escape from this evil system and the punishments it is bringing on itself. This call to come out of her echoes earlier prophetic warnings by Isaiah (52:11) and Jeremiah (51:45).
Paul expands on this theme to apply to all Christians of all ages: “Come out from among them and be separate says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17).
God’s people must not compromise with sin and temptation, even when we must live in “the world.” As Jesus prayed before His crucifixion, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (John 17:15-16).
But the time is coming when God’s people will be literally called out of this Babylonish system. For more about these end-time events leading to the return of Jesus Christ, see “End-Time Prophecy.”