What does Revelation 18:5 mean?
ESV: for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.
NIV: for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.
NASB: for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her offenses.
CSB: For her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.
NLT: For her sins are piled as high as heaven, and God remembers her evil deeds.
KJV: For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
NKJV: For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.
Verse Commentary:
When ego-driven sinners tried to build the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11) in order to enhance their reputation, God came down to halt the construction. He confused their language so they could not communicate, and He scattered them far and wide. Similarly, when sinners in the tribulation pile their sins as high as heaven, God will remember their iniquities. The description given in this verse is spoken by a voice from heaven as John listens in.

The era of the Judges revealed how God punishes those who do what is right in their own eyes but what is wrong in His eyes. The book of Judges records the repeated cycle of Israel's downward path to evil and subsequently being subdued by their enemies. When they turned back to the Lord, He delivered them, but eventually they sinned against Him again, and their enemies subdued them. The people of Israel learned the hard way that God does not tolerate sin. Babylon, too, will learn this lesson the hard way.
Verse Context:
Revelation 18:1–8 contains a glorious angel's pronouncement of doom on Babylon. This Babylon here appears to be a literal physical city, whereas the Babylon described in chapter 17 is a corrupt religious system. The Babylon of chapter 17 was associated with a political system but was not the political power. The Babylon of chapter 18 is the center of a demonic political, commercial, and economic system. The fall of Babylon parallels what happened to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:1–29). Religious Babylon falls in the middle of the tribulation to the delight of kings. Commercial Babylon falls at the end of the tribulation, and kings lament her fall.
Chapter Summary:
A glorious angel announces the fall of Babylon, here used to name a dwelling place for demons and the source of corrupt commercialism. Another angel summons believers to get out of Babylon and avoid being caught up in the judgment for her sins. God is ready to punish Babylon for extensive wickedness. He promises to burn the city with fire. The kings of the earth mourn Babylon's demise, and they keep a safe distance from her as she burns. Merchants, too, weep because no one can purchase cargo from her and profit from selling her goods. Like the kings, the merchants try to put distance between themselves and Babylon for fear of sharing her destructive fate. Their mourning is intense. They throw dust on their heads, weep, mourn, and lament how quickly she fell from prominence and prosperity to a wasteful state. A mighty angel announces Babylon's doom and desolation. The city that once included renowned merchants, deceived the nations, and martyred believers, is now shattered into silence and desolation.
Chapter Context:
Revelation 18:1–8 contains a glorious angel's pronouncement of doom on Babylon. This Babylon here appears to be a literal physical city, whereas the Babylon described in chapter 17 is a corrupt religious system. The Babylon of chapter 17 was associated with a political system but was not the political power. The Babylon of chapter 18 is the center of a demonic political, commercial, and economic system. The fall of Babylon parallels what happened to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:1–29). Religious Babylon falls in the middle of the tribulation to the delight of kings. Commercial Babylon falls at the end of the tribulation, and kings lament her fall.
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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