Revelation 18:5
For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
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(5) For her sins have reached . . .—Better, For her sins have reached as far as heaven. The idea is of a great heap firmly fastened, and towering, like another Babel, as far as heaven. (Comp. 2Chronicles 28:9, and Ezra 9:6.) The idea is more than that of the cry of sin reaching heaven, as in the case of Sodom (Genesis 18:20-21); the sins themselves, many and imperial, have touched the face of heaven. God hath remembered her. (Comp. Revelation 16:19). Sometimes the oppressed have thought that God had forgotten the voice of the enemy (Psalm 74:10-23); but the long-suffering of the Lord is salvation (2Peter 3:8-18.

18:1-8 The downfal and destruction of the mystical Babylon are determined in the counsels of God. Another angel comes from heaven. This seems to be Christ himself, coming to destroy his enemies, and to shed abroad the light of his gospel through all nations. The wickedness of this Babylon was very great; she had forsaken the true God, and set up idols, and had drawn all sorts of men into spiritual adultery, and by her wealth and luxury kept them in her interest. The spiritual merchandise, by which multitudes have wickedly lived in wealth, by the sins and follies of mankind, seems principally intended. Fair warning is given to all that expect mercy from God, that they should not only come out of this Babylon, but assist in her destruction. God may have a people even in Babylon. But God's people shall be called out of Babylon, and called effectually, while those that partake with wicked men in their sins, must receive of their plagues.For her sins have reached unto heaven - So in Jeremiah 51:9, speaking of Babylon, it is said, "For her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies." The meaning is not that the sins of this mystical Babylon were like a mass or pile so high as to reach to heaven, but that it had become so prominent as to attract the attention of God. Compare Genesis 4:10, "The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground." See also Genesis 18:20.

And God hath remembered her iniquities - He had seemed to forget them, or not to notice them, but now he acted as if they had come to his recollection. See the notes on Revelation 16:19.

5. her sins—as a great heap.

reached—Greek, "reached so far as to come into close contact with, and to cleave unto."

For her sins have reached unto heaven; that is, the cry of her sins; according to what is said of Sodom, (one of the types of antichrist), Genesis 18:20,21.

And God hath remembered her iniquities; the time is come when God will punish her for her idolatry and persecution, and all the abominable things done and committed by her.

For her sins have reached unto heaven,.... Or "have followed unto heaven"; one after another, in one age after another, until they have been as it were heaped up together, and have reached the heavens; the phrase denotes the multitude of them, God's knowledge and notice of them, and the cry of them to him; see Genesis 18:20 the Alexandrian copy and Complutensian edition read, "have cleaved", or "glued", and so the Syriac and Arabic versions seem to have read; her sins were as it were soldered together, and stuck fast to her, and being joined and linked together, made a long chain, and reached to heaven, and cleaved to that, and cried for vengeance:

and God hath remembered her iniquities; and is about to punish her for them; for as forgiveness of sin is signified by a non-remembrance of it, so punishment of sin by a remembrance of it, and of the persons that commit it; see Revelation 16:19.

For her sins have {a} reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

(a) He uses a word which signifies the following of sins one after another, and rising one of another in such sort, that they grow at length to such a heap, that they come up even to heaven.

Revelation 18:5. Plutarch (de sera uindict. 15) is strong upon the solidarity of a city, which is liable to be punished at any time for past offences.—κολλᾶσθαι (“Heaped up to the sky are her sins”) in the familiar sense of haerere = to follow close upon, or to cleave, the idea being that the mass of sins actually presses on the roof of heaven. The figure would be different if, as Holtzm. conjectures, κολλ. referred to the gluing together of the leaves composing a roll; the record of Rome’s sins would form so immense a volume that when unrolled it would reach the very heavens. “Etascendit contumelia tua ad altissimum, et superbia tua ad fortem” (4 Esd. 11:43).

5. have reached] Lit., have cleaved together.

Revelation 18:5. [197] Ἐκολλήθησαν) Wolf says, this reading is suspected by me.[198] For the verb κολλᾶσθαι is said only of those, who adhere to any object or person, as pleasing to themselves; but I do not perceive how this can be said of sins, and moreover of sinners, with reference to the heavens. But the verb κολλᾶσθαι is used in a wider sense, Zechariah 14:5, Καὶ ἐγκολληθήσεται φάραγξ ἓως Ἀσαής. Lamentations 2:2, Τὰ ὀχυρώματα τῆς θυγατρὸς Ἰούδα ἐκόλλησεν (Κύριος) εἰς τὴς γῆν. Passages might be added, in which דבק and κολλᾶσθαι correspond with each other. But the two former passages prove the matter: for ἕως and εἰς in them, and ἄχρι in the Apocalypse, render the expression altogether similar; and the word הגיע is found in them, which word is used, 2 Chronicles 28:9, to denote a slaughter reaching to the heaven: LXX., ἜΦΘΑΚΕ. The Apocalyptic phrase answers to that passage of Jeremiah 51 (in the Greek 28) 9, ὍΤΙ ἬΓΓΙΣΕΝ ΕἸς ΟὐΡΑΝῸΝ ΤῸ ΚΡΊΜΑ ΑὐΤῆς (ΒΑΒΥΛῶΝΟς); in Hebr. it is נגע, of which word John undoubtedly had an idea in his mind. But ἈΚΟΛΟΥΘΈΩ is never used to express this word; the synonymous words, ΦΘΆΝΕΙΝ, ἘΓΓΊΖΕΙΝ, ΚΟΛΛᾶΣΘΑΙ, are used. The MSS., with general consent, have ἘΚΟΛΛΉΘΗΣΑΝ: Erasmus, ἠκολούθησαν, from mere conjecture, as it seems; for not even does Andreas thus read it. Whether ΑἹ ἉΜΑΡΤΊΑΙ here denote sins, or rather punishments, the passage in Ap. ch. Revelation 16:13 is different; for the works follow with those who die in the Lord the sins do not follow with Babylon even to the heaven.

[197] Ver. 4. Ἐξέλθρτε, come out) This coming out will be enjoined immediately before the infliction of the plagues of Babylon.—V. g.

[198] ABC read ἐκολλήθησαν. Vulg. h Cypr. 316 have “pervenerunt:” Rec. Text. ἠκολούθησαν, without good authority.—E.

Verse 5. - For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. That is, the accumulation of sin is so great as to reach up to the heaven. Exactly the description of the judgment of Babylon given in Jeremiah 51:9, "Forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country; for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies." The last part of the verse is a repetition of Revelation 16:19. Revelation 18:5Have reached (ἠκολούθησαν)

Lit., followed. But the best texts read ἐκολλήθησαν clave. Compare Jeremiah 51:9. For different applications of the verb see on Matthew 19:5; see on Luke 15:15; see on Acts 5:13. Compare the classical phrase for following up closely a fleeing foe, hoerere in terga hostium, to cleave to the backs of the enemy. See also Zechariah 14:5 (Sept.), "The valley of the mountains shall reach (ἐγκολληθήσεται) unto Azal." The radical idea of the metaphor is that of following or reaching after so as to be joined to.

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