Revelation 18:6

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. Revelation 18:6

The previous verse noted that the sins of Babylon the great have reached to heaven, and that God has remembered her iniquity. Now it says, “Render to her just as she rendered to you.” As a note, some manuscripts leave off the word “you” – “Render to her just as she rendered, and repay…”

Either way, it is not those who were called out of her in verse 18:4, nor is it those who have been martyred by her, that are being called to render retribution. Rather, this is a rhetorical way of highlighting the Lord’s right to judge. It is the Lord who renders according to His wisdom –

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people;
For He will avenge the blood of His servants,
And render vengeance to His adversaries;
He will provide atonement for His land and His people.” Deuteronomy 32:43

The Lord sees the ill-treatment of His people by the wicked, and He will act accordingly to ensure that justice is met. With this understood, it next says, “and repay her double according to her works.”

This is the same thought seen in Jeremiah 16 when referring to the Lord’s double repayment for the sins of Israel –

“‘Behold, I will send for many fishermen,’ says the Lord, ‘and they shall fish them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. 17 For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity hidden from My eyes. 18 And first I will repay double for their iniquity and their sin, because they have defiled My land; they have filled My inheritance with the carcasses of their detestable and abominable idols.’” Jeremiah 16:16-18

It is also found in Isaiah 40 when Israel is promised restoration after having received her just due –

“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!”
Says your God.
“Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her,
That her warfare is ended,
That her iniquity is pardoned;
For she has received from the Lord’s hand
Double for all her sins.” Isaiah 40:1, 2

Unlike Israel who was under covenant with God and thus spared total annihilation, Babylon is not. Israel found restoration, but Babylon will be completely destroyed. The verse ends with the thought of the rendering being exactly as she deserves. God is being rhetorically spoken to, and His punishment upon Babylon is to be such that “in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her.”

The cup of her fornication, as was seen in Revelation 14:8 and 17:4, will become the cup of God’s vengeance and her punishment. The “double” can mean either twice the quantity brought to bear upon her, or it can mean that the ingredients of the mixture will be double strength. Either way, a double rendering will come upon her for her iniquity.

Life application: To double something is to bestow a right – the firstborn son of a family in Israel received a “double portion.” This means that if there were 5 children, the inheritance would be divided into 6 and the firstborn would receive two-sixths, or a “double portion.” When Elijah the prophet ascended to heaven, his protégé Elisha asked for and received a “double portion” of the spirit he possessed.

A double portion then can mean blessing and honor in either a physical or spiritual sense, but it can also mean shame and punishment in both senses as well. The great harlot will face the latter, and her judgment for her treatment of the saints will be severe.

There is nothing good in this harlot, and she has filled her cup to overflowing with the righteous anger and wrath of God. Great and awesome will be her destruction. This is coming because she has rejected the good path that leads to life, and she has pursued only wickedness. Above all, she failed to simply present the gospel to her people in order that they might be saved.

The Lord will judge her. That time is coming. Before it does, be sure to come out from this wicked harlot and be saved through the simple gospel message – Christ died for our sins, Christ was buried, Christ rose again on the third day. Believe this unto salvation. Here is a short description of salvation as the Bible reveals –

It is the gift of God through the coming of JESUS.

Heavenly Father, we look at the wickedness of the world around us and the false teachers of our religious institutions, and we desire You to remove them. And yet at the same time, it would be far better for them to repent and turn to You. We know all wrongs will be made right so help us to wait on Your time of judgment and work now to turn many to righteousness. Amen.