If you are like me, you find comfort and confidence in God’s sovereignty in salvation. When God does a saving work according to his electing love, we live in confident hope of his eternal promises and power to keep us. We relish in the thoughts of God’s saving power and we are so relieved that we do not rely on our own power or the ability of others for people to know salvation. While this is a glorious truth of Scripture, sometimes it is easy for us to overlook that it is also a glorious truth that God indiscriminately appeals to all mankind to repent of sin and come to faith in Jesus Christ.
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus stands before a crowd full of people who seem to so easily reject him. As much as Jesus says, “Woe” to those who reject him (11:20-24), Jesus appeals to all and also says “Come to me.” Jesus offers rest to all those who will leave the burdensome life of this world and trust in him.
In Revelation, this same sort of appeal is made to us who are enticed by this world and blinded to its burdens. As the Apostle John writes Revelation (as a revelation from Jesus), he often considers how the types and shadows of the Old Testament are universalized in the New. In the Old Testament, Babylon is a nation that conquers the people of God and exiles them under the opulence and immorality of its own culture. It is a picture of power, wealth, worldly knowledge and pleasures. Those drawn into the pomp of Babylon and its false gods are subject also to its fall under God’s judgment. In the same way, in Revelation this whole world is likened to Babylon. The name Babylon depicts all the wealth, pomp, power, and pleasures of the world that are an abomination in the sight of God. They never satisfy and only accumulate the burden of judgment on the shoulders of all who embrace it.
Revelation 18:2-5 And he called out with a mighty voice, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast. 3 For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living." 4 Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; 5 for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.
Have you ever considered that God’s appeal to come out of Babylon is a glorious example of his grace? All those who forsake this world to trust in Jesus Christ will become part of the kingdom of Christ. This is the victorious kingdom that will have comprehensive, eternal victory and provide hope for all its citizens for all eternity. It is the kingdom of eternal rest and refreshment.
At the end of the day, God’s appeal to us must provoke us to consider that it is an appeal to save. It is an appeal for us to flee from judgment and to the arms of an all-powerful Savior who has completely dealt with our sin. It is a flee to reconciliation and eternal hope. Jesus says, “Come.”
When we hear the word come, we should also consider that Babylon is simply not worth it. Jesus offers so much more!