The Mystery of Babylon
"And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there."
Let's take a look at BABYLON . . . it's origin, its rise to world empire status, its strong influence on every culture . . . to this present day, and its eventual and ultimate destruction.
It might surprise you to find out that not only has Babylon never really left us, but also that the Bible dedicates six entire chapters to it's final judgment and destruction in such specific detail as to tell us that this destruction is, at least in part, yet future.
The literal place called Babylon is located in modern day Iraq. In Biblical times this area was also referred to as the Land of Shinar.
The vicinity of this ancient city is often referred to as the "cradle of civilization" and with good reason. It is where we get: The Garden of Eden . . . The 1st people (Adam & Eve) . . . Satan’s 1st appearance . . . Nineveh . . . the Abraham & Lot story . . . and one of it’s most notorious claims to fame - the Tower of Babel.
Babylon is mentioned approximately 300 times in Scripture. The only city that is mentioned more is Jerusalem.
Some have said that the Bible can be viewed as a tale of two cities: Jerusalem and Babylon. The city of God, and the city of Satan. You will find this is even more true than the quaint expression implies.
So let's take a close look at this complex and extremely controversial, highly contested topic of both history and prophecy and see if see if we can unravel the Mystery of Babylon.
Once Upon a Time
We are going to start right at Babylon's - not so humble - beginnings . . . and follow the progress of a few people whose wickedness influenced a city, a people, a nation, an empire, a planet.
We see Babylon or Babel's origin shortly after the flood.
"Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar." Genesis 10:1,6,8,9,10
Now concerning verse 9, Nimrod it is said was of great significance to dealing with the problems of wild animals in the land, and so strengthened his position of leadership with the people. But the phrase "before the Lord" can also be translated, "against" or "in defiance of the Lord". Now let's look at one of Nimrod's most famous endeavors. . .
"And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." Genesis 11:1-4
This declaration was in direct defiance of God's instruction to "replenish the earth" found in Genesis 9:1.
"And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth." Genesis 11:5-9
We see that only four generations from Noah, the building of the tower of Babel became a symbol of man's unified rebellion against God.
The name Babel itself in the Semitic means "The Gate of God". But in the Hebrew it derives from a different root, and means "to confound" or "confusion". So we see that the very beginning of Nimrod's kingdom of Babel was steeped in rebellion against God.
The name Nimrod comes from the Hebrew word "marad" which means "he rebelled". We also see that this rebellion involved all the people of the world in civil and religious unity, to the point that God thought it necessary to intervene.
What we are going to see is that through Noah's Grandson Cush, Cushs' son Nimrod, Nimrod's wife Semiramis, and her son Tammuz, and through the city of Babylon was the foundation laid for almost every idolatrous religious and mythological system in existence. These four individuals were exalted to the status of deity, complete with their own legends, which fast spread through the entire world populace. …
The Jewish Encyclopedia says of Nimrod;
"that it was he who made all the people rebellious against God."
The Jewish Historian Josephus wrote:
"Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God. The multitudes were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod and they built a tower, neither sparing any pains, nor being in any degree negligent about the work: and by reason of the multitude of hands employed in it, it grew very high… the place wherein they built the tower is now called Babylon."
We know from many sources that the wife of Nimrod was the infamous Semiramis. She is reputed to have been the foundress of the Babylonian mysteries and the first high-priestess of idolatry. Babylon was the HQ of this mystery-religion when it began. It eventually spread in various forms throughout the whole earth; and it is alive & well today!
H. A. Ironside in his commentary of the Book of Revelation, gives us the following insights:
"Building on the primeval promise of the woman's Seed who was to come, Semiramis bore a son whom she declared was miraculously conceived! And when she presented him to the people, he was hailed as the promised deliverer. This was Tammuz, whose worship Ezekiel protested against in the days of the captivity. (Ezekiel 8:14) Thus was introduced the mystery of the mother and the child, a form of idolatry that is older than any other known to man. The rites of this worship were secret. Only the initiated were permitted to know its mysteries. It was Satan's effort to delude mankind with an imitation so like the truth of God that they would not know the true Seed of the woman when He (Jesus Christ) came in the fullness of time.
From Babylon this mystery-religion spread to all the surrounding nations. Everywhere the symbols were the same, and everywhere the cult of the mother and the child became the popular system; their worship was celebrated with the most disgusting and immoral practices. The image of the queen of heaven with the babe in her arms was seen everywhere, though the names might differ as languages differed. It became the mystery-religion of Phoenicia, and by the Phoenicians was carried to the end of the earth. Ashtoreth and Tammuz, the mother and child of these hardy adventurers, became Isis and Horus in Egypt; Aphrodite and Eros in Greece; Venus and Cupid in Italy; and bore many other names in more distant places. Within 1,000 years Babylonianism had become the religion of the world, which had rejected the Divine revelation.
Linked with the central mystery was countless lesser mysteries, the hidden meaning of which was known only to the initiates, but the outward forms were practiced by all the people. Among these were the doctrines of purgatorial purification after death; salvation by countless sacraments, such as priestly absolution; sprinkling with holy water; the offering of round cakes to the queen of heaven as mentioned in the book of Jeremiah; dedication of virgins to the gods, which was literally sanctified prostitution; weeping for Tammuz for a period of 40 days, prior to the great festival of Ishtar, who was said to have received her son back from the dead; for it was taught that Tammuz was slain by a wild boar and afterwards brought back to life. To him the egg was sacred, as depicting the mystery of his resurrection even as the evergreen was his chosen symbol and was set up in honor of his birth at the winter solstice, when a boar's head was eaten in memory of his conflict and a yule-log burned with many mysterious observances. The sign of the cross was sacred to Tammuz, as symbolizing the life-giving principle and as the first letter of his name. It is represented upon vast numbers of the most ancient altars and temples, and did not, as many have supposed, originate with Christianity."
A Dysfunctional Family & A Name Game
In the previous quote from Ironside we have already mentioned how we see the Babylonian Mother & Child worship spread throughout the world but under different names. When you thoroughly research this topic of ancient Babylon, you find many many stories & legends from other cultures where the stories are the same, right down to the detail, but the names vary. Most can be traced right back to this dysfunctional family!
For instance . . .
CUSH, who was the son of Ham, and grandson of Noah . . . is also known as;
Bel "The Confounder", Belus, Chaos, Janus, Merodach, Mercury, Hermes..etc.
NIMROD is also known as; Ninus, Nin, Kronos or Saturn, etc.
From Persian records we are expressly assured that it was Nimrod who was deified
after his death by the name of Orion, and placed among the stars.
SEMIRAMIS was also known as; Rhea the "tower-bearing goddess" Ishtar, Arstarte, Ashtaroth, Venus, Isis, Isi, Cybel,
Fortuna, Ceres the Great Mother, Irene the Goddess of Peace, Shing Moo, the Holy Mother etc.
TAMMUZ was also known as; Bacchus "The Lamented One". Osiris, Iswara, Deoius, Jupiter-puer or Jupiter the boy, the boy Plutus, Baal, This son who was worshipped was given the names of promised Messiah who was to come, as Christ in the Hebrew of the Old Testament was called Adonai the Lord. . .So Tammuz was also called Adon or Adonis. Under the name of Miithras he was worshipped as the Mediator.
Now, as if that is not confusing enough, how about this . . . Any name attributed to Tammuz "the Son" you can also attribute to "Nimrod" and visa versa. . . because when Semiramis had her son Tammuz, she not only declared that he was virgin born. But she also declared that he was the reincarnation of Nimrod! Which is why when you research this topic in both Christian & Secular sources you will sometimes see Nimrod called the husband and sometimes the son of Semiramis.
Alexander Hislop writes:
"As Semiramis the wife was worshipped as Rhea, whose grand distinguishing character was that of the great goddess mother, the conjuncture of her with her husband, under the name of Ninus, or "the Son" was sufficient to originate the peculiar worship of the Mother and the Son so extensively diffused among the nations antiquity; and this no doubt, is the explanation of the fact which has so much puzzled the inquirers into ancient history, that Ninus is sometimes called the husband and sometimes called the son of Semiramis. This also accounts for the very same confusion of relationship between Isis and Osiris, the mother and child of the Egyptians for as Bunsen shows, Osiris was represented in Egypt as at once the son and husband of his mother and actually bore as one of his titles of dignity and honour, the name "Husband of the Mother"."
A Mystery Religion Spreads
Sadly, not only did this Mystery Religion with it’s practice of worshipping male & female deities known as the God’s & Goddesses carry over to Egyptians and the Greeks and beyond. But even God’s own chosen people - the Jews - were heavily influenced by it. And even though God warned them thoroughly. . .they still gave themselves over to this abominable idolatry. In Deuteronomy ch. 13 God warns them of the consequence they would face, if they chase after other gods.
And later in the book of Judges:
"And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth." Judges 2:12-13
Ashtaroth was the name the Israelites used for the Queen of Heaven. In the book of Jeremiah, we see how their worship of her angered God.
"The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger. Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces? Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched." Jeremiah 7:18-20
This is discussed all throughout chapters 7 and 44 of Jeremiah.
Herodotus, testifies, that in Egypt this "Queen of Heaven" was the greatest and most worshipped of all divinities.
Also in the New Testament in Book of Acts 19 we see the worship of a goddess Diana. Semiramis is also believed to be the prototype for this goddess who "first made towers in cities" . . . When we look at the Ephesian Diana, we find evidence to this very same effect. In general Diana was depicted as a virgin, and the patroness of virginity. Yet she was represented with all the attributes of the Mother of the gods, and as the Mother of the gods, she wore a turreted crown, such as no one can contemplate without being forcibly reminded of the Tower of Babel. Now this tower-bearing Diana, is by an ancient scholiast expressly identified with Semiramis.
So far what we have established is the origin of physical Babylon. Also, that out from that physical Babylon came a hideous, Babylonian, idolatrous, religious system. What we are now going to do now is take a look at what happened to the physical city of Babylon.
After it's initial beginnings, the region around and including Babylon came under rule of numerous dynasties until the Amorites invaded leading to the first Semitic dynasty, with its king Sumuabum circa 1900 BC.
Six kings and a century later we come to Hammurabi. A quick note concerning Hammurabi . . . He enlarged the city, and made it a prosperous capital and trading center. Also he was one of the nine kings that we read about in Genesis 14 where we see Abraham rescuing his nephew Lot, only under the name of Amraphel, king of Shinar. He is also known as "the law giver". Who received his law giving power from the sun god Shammash. A large stone or "steele" was found by the French in 1902 with a bas relief depicting this giving of the power of law, along with 44 columns of cuneiform which are a collection of these laws. There also seems to be an interesting parallel between him and Moses, which we're not going to get into now.
But it wasn't until 625 BC, and Nabopolassar, the last viceroy appointed by Assyria, that we see the emergence of a Neo-Babylonian empire, that climbed to its height of power and domination under his sons reign, Nebuchadnezzar. It was Nebuchadnezzar's grandson Belshazzar who was in charge of the city of Babylon the day that the Medes and the Persians came against it in 539 BC.
The city itself was huge. The walls were laid out in a square, and approximately 15 miles in length each side. They were approximately 85 feet thick and 300 feet high. Inside of this wall was another wall with a moat between them and 250 watch towers.
Which leaves us with the question: what ever happened to this physical city of Babylon?
As we mentioned earlier, at least six entire chapters are dedicated to detailing the destruction of Babylon:
What is important now for us to understand is the fact that the literal city of Babylon has never been destroyed. . .ever! Many Biblical helps are in error over this. The reason that a lot of commentaries place no significance on the yet future destruction of a literal and physical Babylon is that they mistake the conquering of Babylon, in 539 BC, for its destruction. Let's look at this take over starting at Daniel 5.
"Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another." Daniel 5:1-6
"And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified: Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.
And this is the writing that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old." Daniel 5:22-31
This was the night of the transfer of power to what would now be the new world empire of Medo-Persia with Cyrus as its king. Don't get confused about the fact that Darius "took the kingdom". Cyrus had appointed him governor over the region, while he, himself ruled over all the lands. The story of Cyrus is quite intriguing, as he was named prophetically in scripture approximately 100 to 150 years before he was born. Lets take a closer look at this prophetic passage prophesying of Cyrus.
"That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid." Isaiah 44:27-28
Continuing in Chapter 45:
"Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel." Isaiah 45:1-3
Let's look at some of the specifics of this prophecy and compare it with the historical account of Cyrus' take over of Babylon.
Belshazzar was supposed to be making every effort to make sure that the city would be safe against the imminent attack of the Medes and Persians . . . not only does he fail to do this . . . but he instead throws a party! Not only does he throw a party . . . but he leaves the doors wide open!! (Did you suppose he was just trying to fulfill prophecy? Nah, I don't think that he had a clue concerning the prophecy in Isaiah, but it does show his arrogance and stupidity.)
- 'I Will Dry Up Thy Rivers'
The Euphrates river ran right thru the city. According to HERODOTUS and XENOPHON, Cyrus diverted the Euphrates river into a new channel and, marched by the dry bed into the city.
- 'Subdue Nations'
Cyrus conquered, the Cilicians, Syrians, Babylonians, Lydians, and Bactrians. His empire extended from Egypt and the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, and from Ethiopia to the Euxine Sea.
- 'Loose the Loins of Kings'
Although this phrase could be referring symbolically to catching them by surprise and so them being in a vulnerable position . . . in the context of this passage which seems to prophecy precisely the events of Cyrus' take over . . . it seems more likely to refer to severe stomach or abdominal distress, even to the point of Belshazzar losing control, so to speak, of his bodily functions.
- 'To Open the Gates. . . and the Gates Will Not Be Shut'
HERODOTUS 1.191 - In the revelry in Babylon on the night of its capture, the inner gates, leading from the streets to the river, were left open; for there were walls along each side of the Euphrates with gates, which, had they been kept shut, would have hemmed the invading hosts in the bed of the river, where the Babylonians could have easily destroyed them. Also, the gates of the palace were left open, so that there was access to every part of the city; and such was its extent, that they who lived in the extremities were taken prisoners before the alarm reached the center of the palace.
- 'Gates of Brass'
HERODOTUS 1.179 - says, Babylon had a hundred massive gates, twenty-five on each of the four sides of the city, all, as well as their posts, of brass.
- 'Bars of Iron'
With which the gates were fastened.
Anyway . . . I don't know, maybe it's me . . . but that doesn’t sound like Cyrus came in and destroyed Babylon. Also . . . don't you think that if Cyrus came in and destroyed Babylon, that the Bible would say that Cyrus came in and destroyed Babylon?
Now let's flash forward to the 19th century . . . where a person by the name of Hormuzd Rassam made an interesting discovery relative to this very topic. He discovered what is known as "the steele of Cyrus" on which is inscribed with this boast spoken by Cyrus himself:
"Without any battle, he entered the town, sparing any calamity . . . I returned to the sacred cities on the other side of the Tigris, the sanctuaries of which have been ruins for a long time . . . and established for them permanent sanctuaries. I also gathered all their former inhabitants and returned to them their habitations." (You can also see the steele on display at the British museum.)
Ok let's now compare what we have just read to. . .
"And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there." Isaiah 13:19-21
Once again. God's word is Very Specific!
You will also read within these passages that this destruction takes place in "The Day of the Lord", that it is God's indignation. As of this writing, "The Day of the Lord" has not yet begun.
"As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the LORD; so shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein." Jeremiah 50:40
"And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations; but thou shalt be desolate for ever, saith the LORD." Jeremiah 51:26
There isn't any place within it's over 4000 year history, that you can apply these specific details!
However, it is true that although Babylon was not destroyed, that it did fall into ruin and decay.
In 331 BC Alexander the Great defeated the Medes and was hailed as king. He also made the city of Babylon the capital of the Greek Empire. He had huge plans for the city, but they went unaccomplished due to his death in 323 BC.
The empire was now divided between Alexander's four key generals. Seleucus ended up taking the portions of Babylonia and Syria.
The downfall of Babylon as a city began with the founding of Seleucia on the Tigris, in the reign of Seleucus Nicator (after 312 BC). This greatly affected the trade routes and the inhabitants of Babylon soon began to migrate to this new site, and the ruined houses and walls of the old capital ultimately became the haunts of robbers and outlaws.
It is said that the walls were demolished by later (Seleucid) kings on that account, and it is not improbable that, with the walls, any houses which may have remained habitable were cleared away.
Fortunately, the palaces restored by Nebuchadnezzar were too firmly built to be easily demolished, hence their preservation to the present day. Meaning there are still visible ruins.
So here is a Question. . .
Since there is no notable Babylon around or that what remains of it seems so insignificant . . .
Why is God going to punish it and utterly destroy it, with such force and fury as to shake not only the earth, but the heavens as well? Is God that angry with the dirt and the rocks and the shrubs and the ruins as to levy His great wrath upon the piece of real-estate where Babylon once rested her foundations?
Remember that we are also following the progress of another Babylon, a Spiritual one. Let's look in on it and see how its coming along.
As long as Babylon was of major power and influence, the religious system stayed there on it's own base. As we talked about earlier, the decline of Babylon started with a power shift to Seleucia, during the Greek empire.
As the city continued to decline. . .it's headquarters were eventually moved to Pergamos. Pergamos should sound familiar to you since it is one of the churches in the book of Revelation that received a letter from Jesus.
It was the capital of Asia until the close of the 1st century and was completely given over to the worship of Greek idols.
The name Pergamum literally means. . ."mixed marriage". It was here that Christianity married Paganism.
Well from here the pagan priesthood migrated to the Etruscan plain, and eventually Rome became the headquarters for Babylonianism.
Chuck Smith says in his book: "The Last Days, The Middle East & the Book of Revelation" (pg. 175)
"The whore of Babylon has brought man to a place where he no longer trusts in the blood of Christ to save him. Instead, he trusts in his rituals or in his own goodness. The whore of Babylon also brings superstition into God's Church, convincing people not to put their faith in Christ, but to invest in instead in medals, statues and patron saints. The relationship between the erring church and the ancient kingdom of Babylon is more than a Spiritual one. She has even incorporated into her life, as we have already seen, several practices that originated in Babylon."
As if some of this topic hasn't already been controversial enough, here is where it really raises some eyebrows. Anyone who has studied Church History and is familiar with some of the Classics such as 'Foxes Book of Martys' should already be familiar with much of this information.
The traditional view of the Reformers and Protestants throughout the ages has been a given that the Whore of Babylon was none other than the church of Rome, a paganized form of "Christianity". It is only in recent times that this thought has been abandoned by some in the interest of Ecumenism.
Below we will briefly touch on some of the clues that we are given in the book of Revelation to identify - what we see now referred to as - "Mystery Babylon."
We will see why many identify Rome - and more specifically - Vatican City as the Babylon we see in Revelation.
For a much more in-depth look at each of these get a copy of Dave Hunt’s book "A Woman Rides the Beast"
A Woman Rides The Beast
"And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead [was] a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration." Revelation 17:1-6
"And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth." Revelation 17:9
"And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth." Revelation 17:18
- A City on 7 Hills
We are told in the above passages that this woman is "a city" and she sits "on seven hills". Some have said that the woman is the United States. No, the US is a country. Even the ancient city of Babylon in Iraq is not built on seven hills.
Rome is, however.
The Catholic Encyclopedia states:
"It is within the city of Rome, called the city of seven hills, that the entire area of Vatican State proper is now confined."
Catholic apologist Karl Keating also confirms that Rome was known as Babylon and cites 1 Peter 5:13.
- A Whore
The woman is called a "whore". Obviously this cannot be speaking of literal physical fornication but Spiritual.
In 1986 John Paul II, gathered in Assisi Italy the leaders of the world's major religions to pray for peace:
there were snake worshippers, animists, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, North American Indian Witch Doctors, and the Pope said they were all praying to the same God. The pope allowed his good friend the Dali Lama to replace the cross with Buddha on the altar of St. Peter's Church in Assisi and for him and his monks to perform their Buddhist worship.
There have since been subsequent meetings in Assisi and elsewhere for the same purpose. The Ecumenical movement is in full swing, trying to unite all religions under one umbrella, and this effort is being led by the Roman Catholic Church.
- Clothed in Purple and Scarlet
She is clothed in "purple and scarlet", the colors of the Catholic clergy.
The Catholic Encyclopedia states:
Cappa Magna - A cloak with a long train and a hooded shoulder cape. . .[it] was purple wool for bishops; for cardinals, it was scarlet watered silk.
Cassock - The close-fitting, ankle-length robe worn by the Catholic clergy as their official garb. . ..The color for bishops and other prelates is purple, for cardinals scarlet.
- Great Wealth
Her incredible wealth next caught John's eye. She was "decked with gold and precious stones and pearls. . .." (v 4) Even Christ's blood-stained cross has been turned to gold, reflecting her riches. The Catholic Encyclopedia says, "The pectoral cross [suspended by a chain around the neck of abbots, bishops, archbishops, cardinals and the pope] should be made of gold and. . .decorated with gems. . .."
She had "a golden cup [chalice] in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication" (v 4). The Catholic Encyclopedia calls the gold chalice "the most important of the sacred vessels. . .." That Church is known for its many thousands of gold chalices around the world. A recent newspaper article reported,
The fabulous treasure of Lourdes [France], whose existence was kept secret by the Catholic Church for 120 years, has been unveiled. Rumors have been circulating for decades about a priceless collection of gold chalices, diamond-studded crucifixes, silver and precious stones.
After an indiscreet remark by their press spokesman this week, church authorities agreed to reveal part of the collection . . . some] floor-to-ceiling cases were opened to reveal 59 solid gold chalices alongside rings, crucifixes, statues and heavy gold brooches, many encrusted with precious stones.
Almost hidden by the other treasures is the "Crown" of Notre Dame de Lourdes, made by a Paris goldsmith in 1876 and studded with diamonds.
Church authorities say they cannot put a value on the collection. "I have no idea," says Father Pierre-Marie Charriez, "It is of inestimable value."
Across the road is a building housing hundreds of [antique] ecclesiastical garments, robes, mitres and sashes - many in heavy gold thread.
"The Church itself is poor," insists Father Charriez. "The Vatican itself is poor." [And the treasure described here is only part of that which is kept in one location, the small town of Lourdes, France!]
She has practiced evil to gather her wealth, for the "golden cup" is filled with "abominations and filthiness." Much of the wealth of the Roman Catholic Church was acquired by confiscating property of the Inquisitions' pitiful victims. Even the dead were exhumed to face trial and property was taken from their heirs by the Church. That practice, one historian writes, offered "unlimited opportunities for loot."
Most of Rome's wealth has been acquired through the sale of salvation. Untold billions of dollars have been paid to her by those who thought they were purchasing heaven on the installment plan for themselves or loved ones. The practice continues to this day—blatantly where Catholicism is in control, less obviously here in the United States where (for example) one pays the Church to have a Mass card placed on the altar in the name of the deceased during Mass to reduce time in purgatory. The wealthy often leave a fortune for masses to be said for their salvation after their death.
In addition to such perversions of the gospel, there are the further abominations (fully documented in police and court records) of corrupt banking practices, laundering of drug money, trading in counterfeit securities and dealings with the Mafia, which the Vatican and her representatives around the world have long employed. Former Business Week correspondent in Rome, Nino Lo Bello, who because of its incredible wealth calls Rome "the tycoon on the Tiber," says the Vatican is so closely allied with the Mafia in Italy that "many people. . .believe that Sicily. . .is nothing more than a Vatican holding." (Excerpt from the article: "A City on Seven Hills" - Dave Hunt)
- Mother of Harlots
John's attention is next drawn to the inscription on the woman's forehead: "the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth". Sadly this shoe fits here as well. Much of the cause is due to the unbiblical doctrine of priestly celibacy. The Bible states that marriage is honorable among all (Hebrews 13:4) Despite this, they forbid their 400,000 priests 800,000 nuns, and numerous bishops, cardinals, and monks from marrying.
If anyone has even casually followed the news over the last couple of years, you know that there has been lawsuit after lawsuit against priests for sexual crimes, largely against the youth placed within their care.
The great Apostle Paul was a celibate and recommended that life to others who wanted to devote themselves fully to serving Christ. He did not, however, make it a condition for church leadership as the Catholic Church has done, thereby imposing an unnatural burden upon her clergy that very few could bear. On the contrary, he wrote that a bishop should be "the husband of one wife" (1 Timothy 3:2) and set the same requirement for elders (Titus 1:5-6).
The doctrine of celibacy has been broken repeatedly by millions of priests and nuns, bishops, archbishops, cardinals and many popes such as Sergius III, John X, John XII, Benedict V, Innocent VIII, Urban VIII, Innocent X, et al. Celibacy has made sinners of the clergy and harlots out of those with whom they secretly cohabit. The Catholic Church has paid about $1 billion in out-of-court settlements in the last few years for sexual sins of its clergy in the USA alone. Rome is indeed "the mother of harlots"!
History is replete with sayings that mocked Romanism's false claim to celibacy: "The holiest hermit has his whore" and "Rome has more prostitutes than any other city because she has the most celibates" are examples. Pope Pius II called Rome "the only city run by bastards," the sons and grandsons of popes and cardinals.
Even Catholic historians admit that among the popes were some of the most degenerate and unconscionable ogres in all history. More than one pope was slain by a husband who found him in bed with his wife. To call such a man "His Holiness, Vicar of Christ" makes a mockery of holiness and of Christ. Yet the name of each of these mass murderers, fornicators, robbers, warmongers—some guilty of the massacre of thousands—is emblazoned in honor on the Church's official list of Peter's alleged successors, the popes. (Excerpt from the article: "A City on Seven Hills"- Dave Hunt)
- Drunk with the Blood of the Saints
John next notices that the woman is drunk - and not with alcohol but with "the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. . ."(v 6). One thinks immediately of the Inquisitions (Roman, Medieval and Spanish) which for centuries held Europe in their terrible grip. Canon Llorente, who was the Secretary to the Inquisition in Madrid from 1790-92 and had access to the archives of all the tribunals, estimated that in Spain alone the number of condemned exceeded 3 million, with about 300,000 burned at the stake. A Catholic historian writes,
When Napoleon conquered Spain in 1808, a Polish officer in his army, Colonel Lemanouski, reported that the Dominicans blockaded themselves in their monastery in Madrid. When Lemanouski's troops forced an entry, the inquisitors denied the existence of any torture chambers.
The soldiers searched the monastery and discovered them under the floors. The chambers were full of prisoners, all naked, many insane. The French troops, used to cruelty and blood, could not stomach the sight. They emptied the torture-chambers, laid gunpowder to the monastery and blew the place up.
The remnants of some of the chambers of horror remain in Europe and may be visited today. They stand as memorials to the zealous outworking of Roman Catholic dogmas which remain in force, and to a Church which claims to be infallible and to this day justifies such barbarism. They are also memorials to the astonishing accuracy of John's vision in Revelation 17. Do not forget, that Church has not yet officially admitted that these practices were evil, nor apologized to the world or to any of the victims or their descendants. Nor could John Paul II fully apologize today because "the doctrines responsible for those terrible things still underpin his position."
"Christian" Rome has slaughtered many times the number of both Christians and Jews that pagan Rome did. Beside those victims of the Inquisitions, there were Huguenots, Albigenses, Waldenses and other Christians, massacred, tortured and burned at the stake by the hundreds of thousands simply because they refused to align themselves with the Roman Catholic Church. Listen to the leading nineteenth-century Catholic professor of church history:
The view of the Church had been. . .[that] every departure from the teaching of the Church. . .must be punished with death, and the most cruel of deaths, by fire. . ..
Both the initiation and carrying out of this. . .must be ascribed to the Popes alone. . .who compelled bishops and priests to condemn heretics to torture, confiscation of their goods, imprisonment, and death, and to enforce the execution of this sentence on the civil authorities, under pain of excommunication.
Pope Martin V commanded the King of Poland in 1429 to exterminate the Hussites (sympathizers with the martyred Jan Hus). This excerpt from the Pope's letter to the King explains why popes hated independent Christians and wanted them destroyed:
Know that the interests of the Holy See, and those of your crown, make it a duty to exterminate the Hussites. Remember that these impious persons dare proclaim principles of equality; they maintain that all Christians are brethren, and that God has not given to privileged men the right of ruling the nations; they hold that Christ came on earth to abolish slavery; they call the people to liberty, that is to the annihilation of kings and priests. . ..
[T]urn your forces against Bohemia; burn, massacre, make deserts everywhere, for nothing could be more agreeable to God, or more useful to the cause of kings, than the extermination of the Hussites.
Note this excerpt from Pope Nicholas I's (858-67) instructions to the King of Bulgaria, a new convert to what he thought was "Christianity," to force Rome's religion upon his subjects:
I glorify you for having maintained your authority by putting to death those wandering sheep who refuse to enter the fold; and. . .congratulate you upon having opened the kingdom of heaven to the people submitted to your rule.
A king need not fear to command massacres, when these will retain his subjects in obedience, or cause them to submit to the faith of Christ; and God will reward him in this world, and in eternal life, for these murders.
Why should Rome apologize for or even admit this holocaust? No one calls her to account today. Protestants have forgotten and evangelical leaders join Rome to evangelize together. They don't want to hear any "negative" reminders of the millions tortured and slain by the Church to which they now pay homage, or the fact that Rome has a false gospel of sacramental works.
The Nazi holocaust was thoroughly known to Pius XII in spite of his complete silence throughout the war on the slaughter of Jews. Had the Pope protested, as representatives of Jewish organizations and the Allied Powers begged him to do, he would have condemned his own Church. The facts are inescapable:
In 1936, Bishop Berning of Osnabruch had talked with the Fuhrer for over an hour. Hitler assured his lordship there was no fundamental difference between National Socialism and the Catholic Church. Had not the church, he argued, looked on Jews as parasites. . .?
"I am only doing," he boasted, "what the Church has done for fifteen hundred years, only more effectively." Being a Catholic himself, he told Berning, he "admired and wanted to promote Christianity [Catholicism]." (Excerpt from the article: "A City on Seven Hills"- Dave Hunt)
Essential reading: 'Foxes Book of Martyrs'
Finally, we can't speak of Rome without interjecting about this Woman. That fact that a Woman rides the Beast, has to grab our attention. It sure grabbed John’s attention!
If we were to think of a symbol, synonymous with Roman Catholicism, it would be a woman. A woman they call Mary. She is said to be ever Virgin, free of sin, the list goes on.
Interestingly when they depict her it is usually a woman with a baby in her arms. Have we seen this before? Hmmmm.
Remember the list we mentioned earlier, of other names to attribute to Semiramis and Tammuz? We have two more, Mary and Jesus. But they are not the Mary and Jesus of the Bible!
The 'Mary of the Bible' was a wonderful woman who we should respect and admire. Her last recorded words recorded in John 2:5 are "Whatsoever HE saith unto you, do it". She did not draw attention to herself. She pointed them to Jesus.
And Jesus, Our Jesus, died and was resurrected as a man in his thirties. He ascended into Heaven and Hebrews 10 tells us he sat down at the right hand of the Father.
He is coming back soon as a King to Judge this world! Read Revelation 1 and Revelation 19 and see the description of Jesus. That doesn’t sound like a helpless baby to me.
The "Mary" of Roman Catholism is called the "Queen of Heaven". There is only one Queen of Heaven mentioned in Scripture and we saw her in the book of Jeremiah.
SHE WAS AN ABOMINATION TO GOD!
Messages from Heaven
If you haven't already . . . we highly recommend you watch the video or read the book Messages from Heaven. It is an extremely eye-opening and chilling look at the very present working of the "Queen of Heaven" who is masquerading as "Mary the Mother of Jesus" in apparitions occurring regularly the world over.
Many of these apparitions have been approved by the Roman Catholic Church and declared "legitimate". It is interesting to note that one of these Apparitions, has asked to be declared the Co-Redemptrix. She claims she will usher in an era of Peace. She calls herself "The Lady of all Nations" . . . Interestingly we see a Lady bearing similar title in Scripture.
"Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate. Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers. Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man. As for our redeemer, the LORD of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel. Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms." Isaiah 47:1-5
This is almost identical to the title that the apparition of Mary in Holland has given herself in the 20th century. In Holland “Mary” appeared many times to visionary Ida Peerdeman. The apparition has asked that all nations would address her as “The Lady of All Nations.”
It is very provocative to read what the Lord says just prior to addressing her by name. "As for our Redeemer, the Lord of hosts is His name, The Holy One of Israel."
The Lord knew 2700 years in advance that the Lady of Kingdoms would want to be known as Co-Redeemer, and He says emphatically that He alone is the Redeemer. The Lord even states that He will not arbitrate with a man on this point (v. 3). He says, in effect, this is not up for discussion! He and He alone is the Redeemer of all!
Even so, Isaiah 47:4-5, predicts that she will be called “The Lady of Kingdoms” by her followers, and suggests that she will petition her followers to proclaim her as Co-Redeemer. To date, her request seems near fulfillment. In 1997, Newsweek ran a cover story on Mary, discussing her potential new role as Co-Redeemer. Here is an excerpt:
In the last four years, the pope has received 4,340,429 signatures from 157 countries - an average of 100,000 a month - supporting the proposed dogma [Co-Redemptrix dogma]. Among the notable supporters are Mother Teresa of Calcutta, nearly 500 bishops and 42 Cardinals, including John O’Connor of New York, Joseph Glemp of Poland and half a dozen cardinals at the Vatican itself. Nothing like this organized petition drive has ever been seen in Rome. But then, it isn’t often that Catholics beg a pope to make an infallible pronouncement.
The above article was from 1997. Currently there are nearly 7 million petitions that have been sent to the Pope urging him to do this!
Additionally, Pope John Paul II applied the title “Co-Redemptrix” to Mary on at least five occasions, including papal teachings accompanied by profound theological treatments on the unique participation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the redemption of humanity by Jesus Christ. It was rumored that he would announce Mary as “Co-Redemptrix”. According to many Marian theologians, the Co-Redemptrix doctrine will be the last and final Marian dogma, and it will usher in her triumphant reign promised at Fatima.)
Religious & Commercial?
So we see that Rome, and more specifically, Vatican city certainly qualifies as the woman, or spiritual Babylon, that rides the beast as detailed in Revelation 17. But in chapter 18, what we also see are verses that seem to apply more to the destruction of a physical piece of real estate. For example. . .
"For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate." Revelation 18:17
This seeming enigma is easily reconciled with the following verse:
"But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." Daniel 12:4
It seems that the closer we get to the fulfillment of a specific prophecy, the clearer in meaning and understanding it becomes.
Do you know that since 1980, Saddam Hussein has dumped billions into the reconstruction of the literal city of Babylon! He has rebuilt the walls on the original foundations, He has rebuilt Nebuchadnezzar's palace, the Ishtar gate, the procession street that was originally built by Nebuchadnezzar, and the Ninmach temple. He also has built his own palace and guest house, some artificial hills, a restored Greek theatre, plus other rebuilt temples, and the cou-de-gra of all . . . it was rumored that he had plans to rebuild the tower of Babel!
Now you are probably thinking "that's great, except that as a direct result of the war on terror. . . Iraq now has a deposed President, and reconstruction has now come to a stop." Really? Has anyone been following the news? The war in Iraq has actually created a state of global sympathy for the nation.
Almost every major nation is now showing a huge interest in "helping" to rebuild the country. Why am I bringing this up? Because according to the passages we have gone over, not only does Babylon have to be rebuilt, in order to be destroyed, but previous to its ultimate demise, it has risen to a status of huge world economic significance, even dominance.
So now we have this scenario . . . We have poor victimized Iraq, which just happens to be very rich in resources, (approximately half of the world's proven oil reserves). We have almost every country in the world, including the United Nations, wanting to secure their piece of the pie. . . so to speak. . .by offering of their own wealth and resources in the reconstruction.
Now some would say they just cannot see the ancient city of Babylon rising to prominence in these last days. Well first of all, Iraq is already at the center of the world's attention right now. So it's not as much of a stretch as some might think. And for a perfect example of how quickly things can change on the world scene . . . let's take a look at Israel! While the Holocaust was going on, who would have believed that in just a few short years, the Nation of Israel would be reborn (1948) and that once back in their land that they would be so militarily capable as to devour their attackers . . . winning every war against overwhelming odds as prophecied in Zechariah. Case in point - we don't always know the "how" but we know God's Word will come to pass. You can count on it!
It's interesting to see that in Genesis 11:4 they said "Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth."
All the people of the earth agreed to unite together in order to accomplish the great task of building this tower, while trying to form a formidable strength of mankind in direct defiance of God.
Today we again are witnessing the same thing! The world's civil and political systems are screaming out that unity will be our only hope for peace.
While on the flip side of that coin, the religious systems are pushing just as feverishly for the same results.
Of course the ultimate is when these two systems themselves unite together opposing and exalting itself against everything that is called God. It's almost as though this whole torrid nightmare has come full circle!
Hold that thought . . .
As we mentioned before, some people hold to a 'Rome Only' view as Babylon. But, in order to do that, they have to ignore the unfulfilled prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah, or exaggerate the atrophy to fit those passages.
However, to hold a 'Literal/Ancient Babylon Only' view, you run into a similar problem since Babylon, Iraq does not meet the criteria of some of the passages of Revelation.
There are great scholars and prophecy teachers on both sides of this debate.
However, we would like to suggest that BOTH of these Babylons that we have looked at are completely relevant. Also that they BOTH have a final role to play in the grand finale.
We believe we are presently witnessing - right before our eyes - both of these systems . . . Religious, and clearly the Literal Place itself . . . rising to prominence again. And the CRY of both of these is UNITY! Through common, religion, government and purpose. But could these both be THE Babylon of the End Times?
Zechariah 5 - A Woman and an Ephah
"Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth. And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth. And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah. And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven. Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base." Zechariah 5:5-11
The ephah was a standard measure of weight and became the symbol of economy. This symbol of economy, in this case is a corrupted one, as seen with the addition of lead giving a false measure. Furthermore, it was to be placed in the land of Shinar, which is the same as Babylonia. Hence, the future center of world economy will be in the rebuilt city of Babylon. Throughout the second half of the Tribulation, Babylon will be both the center of the world economy and the world political center. (Arnold Fructenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiah, pg. 320)
Also interesting, the stork is, in Jewish terms, an unclean bird.
As we have already mentioned, the Land of Shinar is the geographic location where Babylon was located.
It seems that this woman - "wickedness, mother of harlots" etc. - is to be relocated back to where it all began. Remember ALL idolatry and paganism had its roots at Bab-El, which became Babylon!
The pagan priesthood and its attendant rites then followed the political power structures of each succeeding empire until it ultimately settled in Rome.
Zechariah's vision seems to indicate that this pagan center of power will migrate back to where it all started to receive its final judgment!
All the details to this puzzle we do not have yet. But we would like to suggest that what began in Babylon at the Tower of Babel with Nimrod & Semiramis and eventually migrated to Rome in a Paganized version of Christianity which has never left us, will eventually in some way again unite with the Political, Literal land of Shinar.
We believe we see in Revelation 17, the Religious System and in Revelation 18 the Political/Economic system.
It seems the Antichrist will tolerate this Religious system (the whore) at the beginning of Tribulation as it suites his purpose. But half way through he will turn on her and seek to destroy her. He hates her. . .he was using her. . .but eventually he will want the worship to be towards himself.
"And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled." Revelation 17:16
We believe we later see the Literal city of Babylon, 'the Beauty of the Chaldees Excellency' (in Iraq) destroyed 'like Sodom and Gomorrah' . . . 'never to be inhabited, neither dwelt in from generation to generation' to fit the unfulfilled prophecies spoken of by the prophets Isaiah & Jeremiah.
You don't have to agree with our view. Be a Berean, (Acts 17:11) Study this for yourself. whichever conclusion you may come to, you can clearly see both of these rising to world prominence with UNITY as the central theme.
Just as in Genesis.
But God has other plans. . .
This article originally appeared on harpazo.net
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