Is there a sexual connotation to Revelation 18:4?

Calling all biblical scholars!

Revelation 18 speaks of the fall of Babylon, calling her an adulteress.

Verse 4 says “Come out of her, my people…”

In the original language is the author referring to “coitus interruptus” or a more general removal from the situation?

This is starting in GQ because I am looking for factual translation, not interpretation.

Thanks in advance!


The Greek word for “come” does not refer to orgasm.



That is not what I thought.

Is it possible that the author is trying illustrate our level of intimacy with the adulterous Babylon by implying a sexual union (reserved for the bride and bridegroom)? When he says “come out of her” is he really saying “pull out of her”?

I think one could definitely make a connection to a sexual interpretation without trying to make that specific connection.

Since this is an exhortation for God’s people to leave the city, the implication could be that it is an exhortation to no longer fornicate with the city, in the sense that they are inside of the city, and there is much debauchery. However, The New Oxford Annotated Bible makes no such connection in the footnotes. I don’t think though, that it’s too much of a stretch to look at it that way from a literary perspective. I’ve seen far more tenuous connections made and accepted as possibilities in literary analysis.

This is one of those rare instances where I have to back Shodan. The sentence is Exelthete ex autes. “come out of her.” The verb carries a sense of coming forth. Coming to the speaker. “Come here.”

Shodan is right that the English slang use of the word “come” to refer to having an orgasm does not exist in the Greek.

Yes, as in “no longer be in her”. I can see a sexual connotation to that.

The OP stated that was not the nature of the question whatsoever. No one is talking about a relationship between the word “come” and the idea of orgasm. Do you not see the connection between being inside of a metaphorical female and actual intercourse? The verse in question speaks of no longer being inside of this metaphorical female. There is a sexual connotation there that requires no incorrect association between a current use of “come” as a slang word and the ancient Greek usage of their version of the word.

ETA: I can see why Shodan would initially see that as being the origin of the question, but the OP has since clarified.

I thought those passages refered to Rome during the reign of Nero. Should one interpret “Come out of her” as an appeal to Christians to leave Rome?

“Come out” doesn’t have any sexual connotation in Greek. I don’t know that I can make it any clearer.

You’re looking at the word “come” in the English translation and transposing that meaning into the Greek. It isn’t there. There is no passage in Koine Greek that uses “come out” in the sense of “stop having sexual intercourse with”.

Put it this way - if the sign says, “Exit” , you would be misleading at best if you translated that into Greek as “stop fucking”.


I don’t believe anyone is doing that, Shodan. The OP said that was not what s/he was talking about. You do not see the sexual connotation if being inside something and then no longer being inside something, which has been personified as female? This has nothing to do with the word “come” except in an “exit” sense.

Not if you’re looking at it poetically/symbolically. Referring to Babylon as an adultress is poetic/symbolic. Asking a body of people to remove themselves from “her” is poetic/symbolic.

If this body of people was “in” her-- an adultress-- it can be seen that she was committing adultry with this body of people. The author is asking this body of people to remove themselves from her. So I think the translation you cited could mean “come out of her body,” poetically speaking, orgasm slang aside.

I think you said it much more clearly than me, Happy, but that’s exactly the point I was trying to make (and not succeeding!).

No, I’m not.

But others have grasped what I was getting at. What I was thinking was not too far of a leap.

The author (IMHO) is trying to say that God desires a union with the reader that can be described as intimate, like the level of intimacy shared between a married couple. However the adulteress Babylon has come between them and the reader has been having an affair with her.

The author is saying, “Come out of her” or “pull out” or “withdraw”. Not “jizz outside her”.

I don’t know how you can say that. It depends on how it is used.

Many normally non-sexual words can be made to have a sexual connotaion.

Think about the ways “facial” can be used. Or “swallow”. Or “bang”. Or “jerk”. Or “buttseks”. wait, that’s not a good example.

It’s not being used to connote sexuality. It means “get out of town”.

The Greek word for “leave town” is not one of those words. It’s like “exit”, as previously mentioned.

Look at the passage, and try to leave aside the sexual connotation of the word “come” in English. Babylon here is spoken of as a city. The poetic theme of adultery is not being forwarded in this injunction. The author is saying to the people of God “the city is going to be destroyed - get out while you still can”.

No - there is no sexual connotation to the phrase as used.

You’re seeing things that aren’t there.

No. The theme is not like a married couple. It is “living in a city”.

You said you wanted “factual translation”. The factual translation of the passage in question has nothing whatever to do with sex. You keep interpreting it because you see the word “come” and thinking this has secondary connotations in Greek as it does in English. It doesn’t.


n/m. My comments have been addressed.

I really don’t think the OP is getting hung up on the word “come” itself. It’s the Babylon/whore equivalence, and then the “[exit] out of her” imagery. You’ve explained it sufficiently above, but don’t get hung up about the word “come,” because that’s not central to the question of the OP. If “exit” were used (as I have it above), I’m sure the same OP would be written. As said above, from a literary perspective, it’s not exactly a novel reading.

Shodan, everyone in this discussion has put aside the sexual connotations of the English word “come.”

The author personifies Babylon in this chapter (as prophets have done throughout the Bible), in the verses preceding the fourth verse, he describes her as fornicating.

No, it is spoken of as a fornicating adultress. It’s referred to as “her.”

You’re absolutely right, that’s the message, being given through prophetic symbolism and poetry.

Neither newscrasher nor anyone else is doing that here.

You’re absolutely right that there is nothing sexual in the word “come” in this passage. No one’s talking about blowing a nut, but rather exiting the body of an adultress. That’s the metaphor here.

If you were to overhear someone say: “Sally is a fornicator and adultress. You must exit her,” aside from the awkwardness of the phrasing, doesn’t that create an image of someone being inside of her sexually? ‘Come out’ and ‘exit’ are the same thing here, as you earlier stated.

The author is telling the church to remove themselves from this sinful “woman” as “she” will be destroyed by God. He is saying “Get out of town,” but he’s carrying on a long-used Biblical metaphor by describing the town as a skanky adultress, and the body of believers don’t need to “be in her,” fornicating with her. And when I say “fornicating with her,” again, I don’t mean anyone is literally sticking their penis into Babylon; it’s a metaphor for living within the city, “becoming one” with it’s evil culture.

The literal translation of this passage is “come out of her,” “leave her,” “exit her,” “remove yourself from her,” “you are inside of her now, make it so that you’re not inside of her anymore,” “make yourselves an EX-PRESENCE inside of her.” How could that *not * have a sexual connotation, even while the message is indeed to get the heck out of town?

Revelation 17:1-2
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great whore who is seated on the many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and with the wine of whose fornication, and with the wine of whose fornication the inhabitants of the earth have become drunk.”

From the footnotes: 1: The great whore, a symbol that builds both on the fact that cities were grammatically constructed as feminine and on the Hebrew prophets’ metaphorical references to cities and nations as brides, wives, or harlots. 2: Fornication, sexual misconduct applied metaphorically to the city’s international commercial and political dealings, which are judged illicit and unjust.

Revelation 17:18
"The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.

Revelation 18:3 (spoken by an “angel coming down from heaven having great authority”)
“For all the nations have drunk (or “She has made all nations drink”, per the footnotes)/of the wine of the wrath of her fornication,/and the kings of the earth have/committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have/grown rich from the power of her luxury.”

Revelation 18:4 (spoken by “another voice from heaven”)
“Come out of her my people,/so that you do not take part in her sins,/and so that you do not share in her plagues”

Revelation 19:2 (spoken by “the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven”)
“He has judged the great whore/who corrupted the earth with her fornication,/and he has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

Revelation 19:7 (spoken by the same multitude)
“Let us rejoice and exult/and give him the glory,/for the marriage of the Lamb has come,/and his bride has made herself ready.”

From the footnotes: His Bride, the new Jerusalem.

Source: The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Third Edition.

If Babylon is represented as a whore in chapter 17, and then a dead whore in chapter 19, and Jerusalem is represented as God’s new bride, how does this not fit into metaphorical adultery? The heavenly multitudes exhort everyone to cease fornicating with the city/leave her, and then the whore that is Babylon dies, and God gets a new city-bride.

I suspect that Shodan and Diogenes are correct that the passage has no sexual connotation, but for the reasons given regarding the surrounding passages, not for any pun on or lack of wordplay in the verb. While the city is described as a whore and references made to kings engaging in adultery with her, I see no other sexual imagery that would reinforce the sexual meaning. The people are not described as engaging in sexual activity with the city, only the kings are mentioned in that way. OTOH, I will not attempt to defend that position at length.

It is a bit odd to see someone insist, post after post, and against all attempts to correct him that an error he has made is the error he attributes to others.

Shodan, no one is claiming that the passage meant “ejaculate outside the vagina.” The question is whether the passage means “withdraw from copulation” (possibly/probably with no reference to ejaculation, at all).
Now, to bolster the point that Shodan is insisting upon in error, I will point out that “come” did not even mean ejaculate in English until very late in the 19th century and only became common well into the 20th century. Prior to that, the equivalent verb was “spend” (as in spending one’s seed) rather than “come” (as in coming to orgasm). The change of “come” to “cum” then occurred in the latter half of the 20th century.

Exactly. I am not relating the word “come” to ejaculation, in or out of said vagina. In fact ejaculation does not part of the reference at all.

I will agree with Shodan that the author is saying, “leave town”, but using the metaphor of screwing a whore, and deciding to stop screwing her.