The Catholic Defender: Come Out Of Her
Revelation 18:4-8 Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “‘Come out of her, my people,’ so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Pour her a double portion from her own cup. Give her as much torment and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit enthroned as queen. I am not a widow; I will never mourn.’ Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her." Certainly, the above is one of the most used scripture that is used to attack the Catholic Faith. How wrong this is, it is like pointing a loaded gun at innocent bystanders. But this is what the anti-Catholics are doing.
St. John wrote the Book of Revelation while at the Island of Patmos. This is important because all the data taken from the book of Revelation concerning the "Whore of Babylon", the anti-Christ, the false Prophet, the golden cup, the scarlet beast all points to one source. Jesus told the Apostles, "You see all these things, do you not? Amen, I say to you, there will not be left here a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down". Jesus was speaking of the Temple in Jerusalem. A warning that Jesus provides should not go unnoticed, "See that no deceives you. For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Messiah,' and they will deceive many. You will hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not alarmed, for these things must happen, but it will not be the end." Jesus is describing the fall of Jerusalem, the major war Jesus is referring to here would be the Jewish Roman War (67-70 A.D.). Jesus goes on saying, "All these are the beginning of the labor pains. Then they will hand you over to persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of my name. And then many will be led into sin; they will betray and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come."
Jesus is clearly giving the Apostles an overview of what is to happen, even until the end of the world. St. John is concerned about the followers of Christ strengthening and encouraging them in the face of this persecution. By the time of John's writing of Revelation, the Church has already suffered great persecution first by the Jews and then by the Romans. Jesus then speaks about a great tribulation that will take place, "When you see the desolating abomination spoken of through Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place (let the reader understand) then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, a person on the housetop must not go down to get things out of his house, a person in the field must not return to get his cloak. Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days." Jesus speaks of great tribulation, "Pray that your flight not be in winter or on the Sabbath, for at that time there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will be. And if those days had not been shortened, no one would be saved: but for the sake of the elect they will be shortened."
St. John's warning in Revelation 18:4-8 is really speaking to the Fall of Jerusalem and the great tribulation that took place there. This destroyed the Jewish priesthood. Where was the Church at this time? The Church by this time was already building itself in Rome and so the early Christians did follow the warning of St. John. The Catholic Church effectively escaped the siege of Jerusalem. According to Josephus, he claims that 1,100,000 people were killed during the siege, of which a majority were Jewish, and that 97,000 were captured and enslaved. 11,000 of them died of starvation, it was an ugly scene. Josephus states, "The slaughter within was even more dreadful than the spectacle from without. Men and women, old and young, insurgents and priests, those who fought and those who entreated mercy, were hewn down in indiscriminate carnage. The number of the slain exceeded that of the slayers. The legionaries had to clamber over heaps of dead to carry on the work of extermination."
Josephus states "that the Romans, having taken the city, brought their standards into the court of the temple, and placed them opposite the east gate, where they offered sacrifices to them. Many who survived were sold into slavery or taken to Rome for the wild beasts. The seven-branched candlestick, the golden table of the shew-bread and the golden trumpets were carried through the streets of Rome in triumph." This was prophesied by Daniel and Jesus. Jesus told us what would happen and clearly this is what St. John was writing about. He was living in the midst of this great tribulation. Can it all happen again? Yes, tribulation will come most certainly as Jesus spoke of this as well, but it is not the Catholic Church that is the "beast" or the "whore". It was Jerusalem that killed the prophets. So as Catholics, when they warn us to come out of the Whore, we can respond saying that we already did. We left Jerusalem before 70 A.D.