Babylon – a Confusing Mystery
Is Roman Catholicism the ‘MYSTERY BABYLON’ of Revelation?
See also: World Church
The Bible speaks of a mystery upon the earth. A name was written:
MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH (Revelation 17:5)
The word ‘Babylon’ means “confusion”, and the Bible refers to it as a ‘mystery’ or something that is hidden, secret and obscure. Let’s examine the origin and meaning of the word ‘Babylon’.
According to the Bible the sons of Noah started to re-populate the earth after the flood. Noah had a great grandson called Nimrod, a great hunter and leader. He built some of the first cities and one was ‘Babel’ or Babylon in the land of Shinar (ancient Babylonia or modern day Iraq) (Gen 10:10). But Nimrod was anti-God; even his name (Hebrew root ‘marad’) means ‘rebel’, link. According to historian Josephus, Nimrod persuaded men not to ascribe to God and to build a tower too high for any further flood waters to reach! So, on a plain in the land of Shinar they started building a tower to heaven in order to make a name for themselves (Gen 11:1-9). This is highly significant in that Babylon came to denote man’s defiance against God; it symbolised the glorification of man rather than God.
This tower is mirrored in the European Union today. An official EU poster (now banned due to protests) promoting the EU Parliament clearly showed the Tower of Babel and the words ‘Many Tongues One Voice’. These words are in direct defiance of God’s condemnation of man’s arrogance in Genesis 11. Secular history and Chaldean legend fills in more of the picture.
Semiramis: It is claimed that after Nimrod’s death his evil wife Semiramis soon became pregnant, link. She told the people that a ray of the sun had come to her and impregnated her with a child and that it was actually Nimrod coming back in a reincarnation of the sun god. The child was called Tammuz. Moreover, in the Chaldean Mysteries Semiramis was worshipped as Rhea, the great ‘Mother’ of the gods, and this led to the peculiar worship of ‘Mother and Son’. This mother/son idolatry is found in many ancient cultures, link. For instance, the historian Durant claims that the adoration of Mother and Child was found in pagan Egypt, where the Babylonian mother was known as Isis and her child as Horus.
So it was that through her actions Babylon became associated with idolatry and prostitution [Hislop, The Two Babylons, 1858] and the historian Herodotus wrote of how Babylon was the prime evil source from which all systems of idolatry flowed. As we shall see, it seems that a satanic hand, the current ‘ruler of the world’ (John 14.30) has used this Babylonian root to grow a counterfeit Christianity.
Sun Worship through Constantine
After his ascension to the Roman throne, Constantine set up the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. There he invited Christian bishops to work out their theological differences. So started the path to state interference in the Christian faith, link, although Constantine continued to support both Christianity and paganism. For example, he retained the title Pontifex Maximus (greatest Pontiff and High Priest of the state cults).
The term pontiff comes from Roman pagan times where the highest priest was considered a ‘bridge builder’ between men and gods. It was a distinctly religious office under the early Roman Republic, but gradually it became politicised and eventually subsumed into the Imperial office. So the title Pontifex Maximus gave Constantine authority over both spiritual and civil affairs, link. Constantine also presided as Summus Pontifex (Highest Pontiff, Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Bishops, link). The veritable meaning of Summus Pontifex and Pontifex Maximus is simply ‘high priest’, link.
Under Constantine, pagans were now allowed to bring in idols of Semiramis, the ‘Queen of Heaven’, and of Nimrod, the ‘Sun god’ into the church. Despite his accommodation of Christianity, historian Johnson claims that Constantine never abandoned sun worship. The significant point here is that the term ‘pontifex’ later became a term used for Christian bishops, and the title of Pontifex Maximus was applied within the Roman Catholic Church to the Pope as its chief bishop! Also, Summus Pontifex (Highest Pontiff) is sometimes used as a Papal title. Today, noteworthy titles of the pope are Papa, Summus Pontifex, Pontifex Maximus and Servus servorum Dei, link, implying that the pope has both spiritual and civil authority over men. Not surprisingly, many claim that Constantine and not Peter was in fact the first pope, link, link.
So through Babylon and Constantine’s pagan roots, the Roman Catholic Church adopted the idolatries of sun god worship and Mother god/mother child worship, and the concept of state interference in the Christian faith. In particular it adopted the pagan concept of Pontifex Maximus or ‘chief human bridge between God and man’ – a human ‘high priest’ holding both spiritual and civil authority over the affairs of men. Today, the Vatican has worldwide political influence, link.
Catholicism – Counterfeit Christianity
A modern example of sun worship is seen in the Roman Catholic monstrance. This displays a round wafer of bread (called the Eucharistic Host) which is used in the Catholic Mass.
In post-medieval times the monstrance took the form of a sunburst on a stand, usually topped by a cross (as shown). The monstrance is also used in some Anglican and Lutheran Churches, link.
From about 400 AD we find images (idols) of saints and martyrs appearing in churches, together with the adoration of the Mother and Child (the Virgin Mary) and the evolution of the ‘priest’ from the early church elder. In accordance with the title Pontifex Maximus, we find the medieval western church under the papacy becoming a powerful political machine, far removed from the church of the gospels.
In fact, with much historical documentation, Hislop (The Two Babylons) maintains that the Roman Catholic Church is a continuation of the ancient Babylonish mystery system, with most of its practices drawn from the Babylonian religion and its priesthood.
Let’s list some of the idolatrous practices and pagan doctrines of today’s Catholic Church:
- The round wafers in the sacrament and in the monstrance symbolise the sun (the sun was erected above the altars in the worship of Baal, [Hislop])
- The columns of St Peter’s Cathedral in Rome have a sun-like image, and a wall has a golden sunburst image just as in the Babylonian temple
- The Church claims that the woman in Revelation 12:1 represents the Virgin Mary or ‘Mother of God’
- The Church insists that there is no salvation by faith alone, but that further works are required e.g. through the sacraments and penance. Thus, salvation can only be achieved through the Catholic Church and Rome is the only true church
- The Church insists that the pope is unable to err in any formal statement (such as a Papal Bull)
- The Church ordination of a special priesthood is contrary to New Testament teaching (1 Tim 2:5, Heb 10:19-22)
- The Church insists that the Mass is a sacrifice as Christ continues to offer Himself on the altar
- The Church insists that the wafer and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ (transubstantiation)
- The Church is a prime player in the EU, so merging Christ’s true mission for the church with state business. Recent EU Treaty emphasis upon the ‘subsidiarity’ of nation states to the EU is a Vatican concept [Semlyn, All Roads Lead to Rome]
Pagan Christmas, Pagan Sunday: Of course, Wycliffe, Huss, Tyndale, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Whitefield, the Wesley’s, and others recognised many of these doctrines and practices as being opposed to biblical teaching, and so they opposed the Catholic Church. Even so, today’s free churches are only partially reformed from Rome in that they still retain pagan concepts. For example, December 25th was originally the heathen date used to honour the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven [Hislop]. And the Christian Sunday arose when Constantine replaced the Jewish Sabbath since he decreed no work was to be done on ‘the venerable day of the sun’ (Sunday). Perhaps in this sense we can understand the term ‘MOTHER OF HARLOTS’ in Revelation 17:5.
Ancient Babylon was destroyed by the Medo-Persian Empire around 539 BC. This destruction was foretold in Isaiah 47, where Babylon is described as “daughter of the Chaldeans” … queen of kingdoms”. She was powerful and proud, but her destruction was coming. Isaiah 47 describes history, but the chapter also looks forward to an end time Babylon. The parallels between what happened to ancient Babylon and what will happen to the future ecclesiastical Babylon (headed by the Roman Catholic Church) are striking. Regarding ancient Babylon we read:
Yet you said, ‘I will be a queen for ever … I am, and there is no one besides me. I will not sit as a widow …’ (Isa 47:7-8)
Compare this with the prophecy of the end time Mystery Babylon:
… for she says in her heart; ‘I sit as a queen and I am not a widow …’ (Rev 18:7)
Regarding ancient Babylon we read:
But these two things will come on you suddenly in one day: loss of children and widowhood … they have become like stubble, fire burns them … (Isa 47:9,14)
Compare this with prophecy for the end time Babylon:
For this reason in one day her plagues will come,… and she will be burned up with fire … (Rev 18:8)
The prophetic picture is one of an end time apostate church suffering sudden and catastrophic destruction. How? Destruction comes from the other end time Babylon – the powerful ten-horned beast of Rev 13.1, the final commercial, political and humanistic world government (see World Government):
… and the ten horns … and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, … and will burn her up with fire (Rev 17:16)
Why does this happen? A plausible explanation is that the political beast of Rev 13:1-10 is godless and its leader demands that the world worship him alone (2 Thes 2:4)(Rev 13:8). The end time church, although corrupt and ‘Babylonish’, will probably still acknowledge God as supreme above all creation, and so stands in the way of the aspirations of the end time world ruler. In fact, many see the other beast of Revelation 13 (v 11-18) as the Antichrist – represented by the papacy – and this beast is notably absent in Revelation 17:16.
Nimrod’s Babylon was originally humanistic, political and commercial, but with the influence of his wife this soon developed into idolatry, pagan worship and moral corruption (the ‘Chaldean Mysteries’). These pagan mysteries subsequently developed into an ecclesiastical Babylon which many believe is characterised by Roman Catholicism today. Here we readily see the idolatry of ‘mother and child’ worship and ‘sun god’ worship, and sadly, elements of these mysteries are still retained by today’s Protestant Church.
Both Babylons, political and religious, can be seen in Rev 17 and 18 (whilst Rev 17.14-18 is specifically the political Babylon), and prophecy indicates that the end-time apostate world church headed by Rome will be destroyed by the political Babylon. Many claim both Babylon’s can be seen within the EU, see Europe in Bible Prophecy.