The original name for Babylon in the Bible was Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). At Babel, people tried to build a city with a building that was high enough to reach heaven. They did not, of course, succeed. God confused their language and he scattered them across the world.
However, people did later build the greatest city in the world at Babylon. It was very impressive. Jeremiah 51:53 refers to the astonishing height of its strong buildings; they seemed almost to reach heaven. (Of course, that was only what people thought, by the standards of their time. If they saw today’s tall buildings, the sight would astonish them even more.) However, even if those buildings did reach heaven, God would destroy them.
We know now that no building on earth could ever reach heaven. However, Revelation 18:5 says that, in the end, Babylon will really reach into heaven. It will not be the buildings that reach heaven, but the city’s evil deeds. In other words, its evil deeds will come to the attention of God in heaven. Then God, as the judge of every evil thing, will issue his judgement against it (Jeremiah 51:9).
Often, God does not punish people immediately for their evil deeds. Instead he waits, to see whether they will first turn to him (2 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 18:30-32). However, their evil deeds may become so severe that there is no remedy; then, he ‘remembers’ their evil deeds. In other words, he issues his judgement against them.
That was why, for example, God waited 400 years to punish the people called Amorites (Genesis 15:13-16). It is as if he is measuring the evil deeds of people and nations. One day, their evil deeds will reach their limit, and then God will act against them.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.