Rev. 18:4 – Then I heard another voice from heaven: Come out of her, My people, so that you will not share in her sins or receive any of her plagues. 5 For her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. (HCSB)
Come out of her, My people
There is “another voice from heaven” that speaks in verses 4-8. It may be the voice of the Lord, for He says, “Come out of her, My people” (v. 4). Yet the voice later speaks of “God” and “the Lord God” in the third person. It’s possible this is Jesus, speaking to distinguish Himself from God the Father. In any case, there is urgency in His voice and a command for God’s people to separate themselves from the earth’s wicked people because judgment is falling.
“Come out of her, My people,” the voice cries, “so that you will not share in her sins or receive any of her plagues” (v. 4). A few commentators understand the rapture of the church to take place at this time. If so, it is late in the tribulation period and precedes Christ’s return by a brief span. Futurists are divided as to whether the rapture takes place prior to, in the middle of, or at the end of the tribulation.
Another way to view this call, however, is as an ever-present urging for believers to separate themselves from the sinful ways of the world. Jesus reminds us that while we are in the world, we should not be of it. “If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me before it hated you,” He tells His disciples. “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you” (John 15:18-19). Later, in His high priestly prayer, Jesus tells the Father, “I am not praying that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world as I am not of the world” (John 17:15-16). The apostle Paul exhorts us, “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2).