QUESTION: Will the people who belong to Babylon the Great die during Babylon’s destruction or will they survive until Armageddon? And when will the weeds will be thrown into the fire? At Armageddon, or before?
ANSWER: Revelation 18:4, an oft-quoted verse by the Watchtower, states: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.”
This indicates that persons who are connected to false religion at the time it is judged by God will be held guilty for “sharing in her sins.” However, the revelation of God’s judgment goes on to relate that the kings of the earth and the merchants who profited from their immoral relations with the harlot will grieve over her destruction. Obviously, they are not physically killed then.
Although the plagues brought upon the iniquitous harlot include “death,” the destruction of all individuals who once supported Babylon the Great does not occur then. However, the reason God requires his people to get out before the empire of false religion is destroyed is because those who do not will not thereafter be recognized by God as his people and consequently will not receive his protection during the war of Armageddon.
Likewise, those agents of Satan who will be uprooted from among God’s people and bundled up to be destroyed are not immediately thrown into the fire. How do we know? Because according to Jesus the judgment of the weeds results in the “weeping and gnashing of their teeth.”
Although the multitudes of misguided churchgoers might imagine this portrays the condition of the dead who have been condemned to the fires of Hell, in reality it depicts the lament of those phony sons of the Kingdom who will be judged as such, and who will be faced with the reality of ultimately being put to death.