When a band of brothers are caught playing football on and near mamma’s flower beds what happens? Judgment & wrath. When they see wrath coming what do they do? They leave their game and run. The new rule of the game is to put a brother between you and mother. That way she spends down her energies pouring wrath into your sibling and your own parts are spared. Avoidance of the garden would have been prudent. When that fails the next best thing is avoidance of the judgment.
In the middle of Revelation 18 we see some kings who fooled around with Babylon. Here is what it says:
9 And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. 10 They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say,
“Alas! Alas! You great city,
you mighty city, Babylon!
For in a single hour your judgment has come.” (Revelation 18:9-10–ESV)
So by the 9th verse Babylon has gone up in flames. She was judged, judged quickly and thoroughly. Do the kings run to help? No they, the football playing brothers, stand far off. They are sad because the game is over. They are not sorry they were playing it.
We three kings of orient “were”
I don’t think there were three kings standing far off, but that Christmas song seems to be a nice play on this situation. In Jesus’ day the wise men saw the star of God in the east and went there to find him, to worship him. That story is recorded in Matthew 2, right at the beginning if you want to refresh you memory.
Here in Revelation 18 the kings saw a bright burning in the distance. It was not a star, but a storm of destruction: God’s destruction, God’s judgment on Babylon. They knew what was happening. Their policy was avoidance, not worship. The kings of the world had been Babylon’s consort. They had had an intimate connection with this great city, and in like measure they were intimately troubled over its demise. See how John the Apostle records their reaction? They wept and they wailed over the smoke of her burning. [Read more…]