Carved on tombs of long forgotten men of an age sunken in oblivion are yet to be found inscriptions such as “Reborn for eternity” and “Be of good cheer.” These claimed spiritual rebirth through belief in a saviour and a supreme creator. Yet their god was not the God of Abraham, and their “savior” was not the Hebrew Messiah. They had been baptized and initiated into the brotherhood or fellowship of their faith, made confession of their sins to their priest, offered prayers and pilgrimages, partaken of sacramental meals, and believed themselves, through faith in a ‘savior,’ to be promised immortality. These were the adherents of what were and are called today the Mystery Religions.
Their savior-gods were gods of “sympathy.” Aesculapius was styled “the greatest lover of men,” as was also Serapis. Lucius addressed Isis in this manner, “Thou bestowest a mothers’ sweet love upon miserable mortals, thou dispellest the storms of life, and stretchest out thy right hand of salvation to struggling men.” The Great Mother of Pessinum was by her loss of grief brought near to suffering mothers. The religious rites of almost all the numerous mystery religions were centered around a symbolic passion-drama that represented the trials and suffering of the deity, in which joy succeeded grief and life was born of death.
These religions, present in the times of the apostles, were doubtless what Paul referred to in II Thessalonians 2 as the “mystery of iniquity.” Their influence within the Roman Empire was seeking, by their very similarity to Christianity, to undermine the doctrines, laws, faith, and very existence of the Church of God.
In Revelation 17, the Apostle John was given a vision of what this influence would ultimately do to the vast majority of “so called” Christianity. Here this apostate church is called “Mystery Babylon the Great.” In Revelation 18 God’s children are commanded to come out of the apostate church, and in Revelation 14 is found the fate of all those who do not come out of this false religious system.
When the message of Christ first went out, the Greeks had begun to abandon their religion (Polytheism) in search of a more rational faith. Roman religion was a practical and patriotic “state religion.” Also a religion of Polytheism, it was a religion of the educated, both cold and formal. It became an instrument of government in the hands of the nobility.
Both Romans and Greeks, having largely lost faith in their national and ancestral gods, looked toward the religions of the East to satisfy their yearnings. They sought a personal religion to satisfy personal ends without reference to the State. Rome’s interference in the affairs of the East brought her armies and merchants and officials into contact with the mysytery-religons of the Orientals, of which the “Great Mother’ was a leading initial example. Thousands of Orientals who traveled westward brought their mystery-gods with them. The Roman Senate sanctioned the energy of these cults, which the masses had accepted. Oriental mysticism and emotionalism gained official entry, and with them they brought astrology. “Such was the picture of the religious condition of Rome about the time when Jesus was born.”
The Chaldean Mysteries can be traced back to the days of Semiramis, who lived only a few centuries after the flood, and who is known to have impressed upon them the image of her own depraved and polluted mind. That beautiful but abandoned Queen of Babylon was not only herself a paragon of unbridled lust and licentiousness, but in the Mysteries which she had a chief hand in forming, she was worshipped as Rhea, the Great “Mother” of the gods. With such atrocious rites as identified her with Venus, the Mother of all impurity, she raised the very city where she reigned to an eminence among the nations, as the grand seat of idolatry and consecrated prostitution.
It would be tedious indeed to describe in detail all that has been handed down to us from different lands about the various names, rites, and legends of Nimrod, Semiramis, and Tammuz. It may be seen from the pages of history that all this mystery-religion had to do as it gravitated form one culture to the next was to change her names and adapt to the local legends slightly and she was ‘in business” again.
Semiramis, for instance, has been known in various countries as: The Great Mother, Venus, Astarte, Ishtar, Eostre, Aphrodite, the goddess of fertility, Cybele, Rhea, Dinogmene, and Isis.Tammuz has been known as Adon, Adonis, Horus, Kore, Deoius, and Jupiter.
Semiramis was the wife of Nimrod, who was the founder of Babylon, as we learn in Genesis 10:10.She taught the people that after Nimrod died he would take possession of the sun. She claimed that a full grown evergreen tree sprang overnight from a dead tree stump, which symbolized the springing forth unto new life of the dead Nimrod. She also claimed that on each anniversary of his death, Nimrod would visit the evergreen tree and leave gifts on it. The Christmas tree, exchanging gifts at Christmas, the burning of the Yule log, the hanging of the mistletoe, the eating of the boar’s head, and the Christmas goose all had their origin in Babylon.
Semiramis did not marry again after the death of Nimrod, but a few years after his death she gave birth to a son called Tammuz. She claimed that the spirit of the sun, her husband Nimrod, was the father of Tammuz. And so he was considered the “son of the sun.” he became a great hunter like his supposed father Nimrod. Adam Clark states that Tammuz (called Adonis in the Vulgate) was fabled to have been a beautiful youth beloved by Venus (Semiramis), who was killed by a wild boar in Mount Lebanon. The women of Phoenicia, Assyria, and Judea worshipped him as dead with deep lamentation. Tammuz signifies “hidden” or “obscure,” and hence the worship of his image was in some secret place.
The forty days before the time of the celebration for the moon were set apart as days of weeping for Tammuz, (see Ezek. 8:14). Dr. M.F. Ungar states that “He departed to the nether world, being recovered by the wailing Ishtar, bursting buds of springtime marked his return to the upper world. The Greek counterpart of Tammuz was Adonis and the Egyptian Osiris. Tammuz cults are thought to be referred to in (Jer. 22:19; Amos 8:10; and Zech. 12:10).
The Babylonians in their popular religion supremely worshipped a goddess mother and a son, who was represented in pictures and in images as an infant or child in his mother’s arms. From Babylon, this worship of the Mother and Child spread to the ends of the earth. In Egypt, the Mother and the Child were worshipped under the names of Isis and Osiris. In India, even to this day, as Isi and Iswara; in Asia, as Cybele and Deoius, in pagan Rome, as Fortuna and Jupiter-puer, or Jupiter, the boy; in Greece, as Ceres, the Great Mother, with the babe at her breast, or as Irene, the goddess of Peace, with the boy Plutus in her arms; and even in Tibet, in China, and Japan, the Jesuit Missionaries were astonished to find the counterpart of Madonna and her Child devoutly worshipped.
The winter solstice was celebrated in Babylon as the birth date of Tammuz, the winter solstice being the beginning of winter when the sun is the maximum distance from the equator, (the later part of December). This was the time when Nimrod would visit the evergreen tree and leave gifts upon it. This was the shortest day of the year and the time when the pagans celebrated the return of the sun, as the days would begin to grow longer. Semiramis would be worshipped as the “Queen of Heaven” and her son as the “Divine Son of Heaven.” This festival became known as the Saturnalia, when friends and family exchanged gifts. The winter solstice, or the “nativity of the sun,” was also celebrated by the Persians as the birthday of their god, Mithra. When the festival began to be celebrated at Rome it was called the feast of Saturn, and lasted five days. In both Rome and Babylon it became a drunken festival.
The spring festival, (at the time of the vernal equinox when the day and night are most nearly equal), was the celebration of Tammuz’ return from the underworld. His mother was so evil that it is said that she married her own son! Inscribed on the monuments of ancient Egypt are inscriptions saying that Tammuz (the Egyptians called him Osiris or Horus) was “the husband of his mother.” According to the legend, when Tammuz was killed, she was grief-striken and followed him to the underworld to the realm of Eresh-Kigal, queen of the dead. In her absence, the earth lost its fertility, crops ceased to grown, and animals ceased mating, all life was threatened. Then Ea, god of water and wisdom, sent a messenger from heaven to the underworld to bring back Ishtar, or Semiramis. The messenger sprinkled her and Tammuz with the water of life, giving them power to return to the light of the sun for six months of the year. Each year, therefore, Tammuz would again return to the realm of the dead for six months, Semiramis would pursue him, and her grief would move Ea to rescue them. The legend underwent many changes in its passage to other countries, but the essential theme of an autumn death and vernal resurrection remained.
On the eve of the celebration of this legend the people offered sacrifices to Semiramis (or Ishtar) and then retired until early morning. On this morning, a Sunday, sometimes before dawn, everyone would meet again outside with their faces to the East, toward the rising sun, praising their goddess for bringing them the long-awaited first day of spring.
The weekly festival of the keeping of the “Day of the Sun” and sun worship is also among the most ancient of festivals. The 1971 World Almanac mentions on page 769 that this worship was introduced into Egypt in 1360 B.C. “The Hebrews must have been well acquainted with the idolatrous worship of the sun during the captivity in Egypt, both from the contiguity of On, the chief seat of the worship of the sun as implied in the name of itself (On-the Hebrew Beth-shemesh, ‘house of the sun,’ Jer. 43:13), and also from the connection between Joseph and Potiphar (‘he who belongs to Re’), the priest of On (Gen. 41:45). After their removal to Canaan the Hebrews came in contact with various forms of idolatry, which originated in the worship of the sun; such as the Baal of the Phoenicians, the Molech or Milcom of the Ammonites, and the Hadad of the Syrians.
It is noteworthy that even before Israel became a people, God had given His laws to Abraham (Gen. 26:5). However, after the long captivity in Egypt, where slaves worked on the Sabbath and the sun was worshipped; the Israelites had to be reminded what day the Sabbath was, even before the Ten Commandments were given on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 15:26; 16:25-30). We find however, in II Kings 23:4-5 and Ezekiel 8:13-16, that a portion of the Israelites returned to keeping Sunday after having been instructed to keep the seventh day again on Mt. Sinai.
Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines Sunday: “So called because this day was anciently dedicated to the sun or to its worship. The first day of the week; the Christian Sabbath; a day consecrated to rest from secular employment, and to religious worship: the Lord’s day.” The old edition of the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia states: “Sunday (Dies Solis of the Roman calendar, the day of the sun; because dedicated to the sun), the first day of the week, was adopted by the early Christians as a day of worship. The ‘Sun’ of Latin adoration, thus interpreted as the Sun of Righteousness.”
Towards the end of the first century A.D., Mithraism began to make its influence felt in Rome and the western provinces, and from that time it spread with great rapidity. Mithraism contested with the other mysteries and with Christianity for the religious hegemony of the Roman world. The Church Fathers were astounded at the resemblances. Zit is said that Roman roads were dotted with Mithraic sanctuaries, attested by inscriptions like “Soli invicta Mithroe,” (to the sun, invincible Mithra).
The Mysteries were religions of symbolism. Through myth and allegory, iconic representations, blazing lights and dense darkness, liturgies and sacramental acts, and suggestion, the heart was quickened and a mystical experience was felt by the individual.
The Mysteries were also religions of redemption which professed to remove estrangement between man and God, leading to a hope of life after death. They procured forgiveness of sins and furnished meditation. They tried to satisfy the desire for the knowledge of God. Every mystery religion imparted a “secret,” a knowledge of the life of the deity and a means on union with him. They appealed primarily to the emotions. “To understand the quality and intensity of the impression, we should borrow something from the modern experiences of Christian communion service, mass, a passion play, and bear in mind also the extraordinary susceptibility of the Greek mind to an artistically impressive pageant.
Individuals were admitted into the fellowship of the Mysteries only after an initiation. They were sworn to perpetual secrecy as to what was said and transacted behind the closed doors. It was a crime of the most heinous character to divulge the Mystery-secrets.
Confession was also a part of the Mysteries. There is ample evidence that the Samothracian, Lydian, Phrygian, Syrian, and Egyptian Mysteries anticipated the Catholicism in the establishment of a Confessional. The priests acted as representatives of the Mystery-god, exacting confessions which were sometimes even made public or recorded on a public stone.
Baptism or lustral purifications were required. Tertullian states that “in certain Mysteries, e.g. of Isis and Mithra. It is by baptism that members are initiated in the Apollinarian and Eueusianian rites they are baptized, and they imagine that the result of this baptism is regeneration and the remission of the penalties of their sins. Both the “bath of purification” and the “baptism of sprinkling” were used.
These early forms of “Mystery-Religion,” as they existed in the beginning years of the Christian Church, naturally exerted an influence upon the whole empire – and also upon the vast majority of the “Christian” community.
The Scriptures speak of different mysteries; such as the mystery of godliness, the mystery of faith, the mystery of the Kingdom, the mystery of iniquity, the mystery of God, and finally, the mystery of Babylon, or “Mystery, Babylon the Great.” But one by one these mysteries are resolved in the Holy Scriptures themselves. They are not suggested and introduced and then left unsolved and unanswered, leaving the reader in a state of unsolved confusion.
It is said, “Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matt. 13:11). Unlike the pagan mysteries, whose purpose is ambiguous; the mysteries of the Holy Scriptures have to do with the unfolding of the eternal purpose of God.
Before the Messiah ever came, the counterfeit Christ’s sacrifice had been worked out by the devil. This counterfeit system centered around a woman who had no husband, but gave birth to a child. In defending herself she may have said, “Oh, the spirit of the sun-god came down and overshadowed me and I had a child.” Do you see the counterfeit of the virgin birth? This son later was killed, possibly crucified, and later rose again, or so she claimed. Here was a counterfeit right down the line.
By the time the Messiah came into the world, the mysteries of ancient Babylon had already blanketed the entire Mediterranean world and were everywhere holding sway. These mysteries had been sanctified by time and made popular by usage. The purpose of our Lord was not just to die for the sins of the world, but of necessity He also had to be a teacher of true religion. It was His mission to bring the true light of God to the darkened hearts of men. The Lamb of God stated that His doctrine was not His own, but was his that had sent him (John 7:16), In making this statement our Lord made it clear to His hearers that His message had originated in Heaven and that He had not borrowed from any Babylonian source. The Messiah and His apostles reflected the pure light of truth from Heaven in a way that man-made systems of human religion have never been able to do.
The purple and scarlet clothed woman that rides upon the seven-headed beast of Revelation 17 is no stranger to the Church of God. God’s people today and through all the ages have had to do battle with her in their right to live and worship the One True God. In every age the saints of Old and New Covenant times have been exposed to her wrath and vindictiveness, and her falsehoods whose purpose is ambiguous; the mysteries of the Holy Scriptures have to do with the unfolding of the eternal purposes of God.
Before the Messiah ever came, the counterfeit Christ’s sacrifice doctrines referred to by John as “the filthiness of her fornication” (Rev. 17:4).
The Pontifex Maximus (High Priest of the Mysteries) and the priests of the religious systems of the world have never found it difficult to switch allegiances. As one civilization dies, all they (the mother of harlots and the harlots of Mystery, Babylon Rev. 17:5) have had to do was to change clothes and adopt new names, and they were “in business” again. Each succeeding civilization has had the benefit of the inherited knowledge of the previous age. Thus they have been able to build a more subtle system in their day than in the former.
When one confronts the 21st century system of Babylon he is facing all the accumulated knowledge of the past forty-five hundred years, and the false doctrines he seeks to expose have developed over this same period. The Babylon of our day is the fullness and perfection of all the past teachings of the age-old paganisms and the present day papal position.
As one looks upon the “religious” scene today, he is appalled at the confusion that exists among the hundreds of sects and denominations within present day “Christianity.” All these groups state that they are right – and that the other groups are wrong. Truly, all their ideas on any given topic put in one bag would not be very symphonic. Because of this confusion, (or Babylon, which means confusion), many have turned away from the Creator and any form of religion –feeling that there is no way for them to learn the real truth. Denominations today seem to be hiding the truth among themselves rather than publishing it. We today must seek after truth, rather than a “good denomination” to belong to. When we have the truth, and hold fast to it, we have become a part of the “Early Church” – the Church of God. Only one system of belief will do, and that is the faith delivered to the “Early Church” untainted by the confusion and filth of the Babylonian Mystery system; as it was received from the Lamb of God, and as it came in its fullness in the upper room on the day of Pentecost some nineteen hundred years ago.
No, not many faiths, for the children of the Lord are to be one; Paul said in Romans 15:6 “That ye may be one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In Philippians 1:27 Paul says that we are to “. . . stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” Paul and Apollos were – one! (I Cor. 3:8). Division is the mark of carnality, and the “The carnal mind is enmity against God” (Rom. 8:7). Our Lord prayed for oneness and unity in John 17; a unity of hearts, not organizations.
Since God’s chief weapon is truth, you may expect Satan’s chief weapon to be falsehood. This may be confirmed by John 8:44-45; “You are from the father of accusation, and you want to do the lust of your father, he who is a murderer of men from the very beginning and who never stands by the truth, because there in no truth in him. When he speaks he speaks his own lie, because he is a liar, and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe me”.
When a man becomes a member of a false religious system – and knowingly accepts the false doctrines of that system – he is apart from the army of the Lord. He becomes a child of the devil, and will have to become a liar in order to do the works of his father. You may expect him to bring false accusations against God’s children. Satan has different agencies to lead people astray, discourage and entice them, into all kinds of worldliness and then harden them so that they come to believe the lies they have been taught and teach others: “For this reason God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie, that all who did not believe in the truth but preferred unrighteousness might be damned” (II Thess. 2:11-13 Lamsa).
In II Cor. 11:12-15 we learn of false ministers: “But what I do, I will continue to do, so as to give no occasion to those who seek an occasion: and that, in whatever they boast they may not be found equal to us; for they are false apostles and deceitful workers, posing as apostles of Christ. There is no marvel in this; for if Satan disguises himself as the angel of light, it is no great thing if his ministers also pose as the minister of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their words” (Lamsa). II Peter 2:1-3 says: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there will be false teaches among you, who shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord who has redeemed them, and thus bringing upon themselves swift destruction. Many will follow their pernicious ways, by reason of covetousness they will exploit you with feigned words, whose judgment from the very beginning has not ceased and their damnation is always active” (Lamsa).
In all their pernicious and crooked ways you should expect to find the ministers of Satan attacking and speaking evil of the way of truth.
The Bible gives us examples of this type of false accusation. In Numbers 16 we find that Korah, with 250 famous men (Princes) confronted Moses and Aaron, saying: “Ye take too much upon you seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?”
The Lord had chosen the tribe of Levi to be priests, but these men wanted that prestige for themselves. In verse 5 and 12 Moses challenged Korah and his leaders for a “show-down” before the Lord the next day. In return (vs. 13-14) Korah blamed Moses for leading them into the wilderness, and accused Moses of lying to the people.
The Lord destroyed Korah and all his leaders (vs. 32-33). But the congregation then accused Moses and Aaron of killing the leaders along with Korah. This brought a plague which destroyed 14,700 hundred of the congregation. They were put to a second test with rods, and the Lord commanded that Aaron’s rod be put in the Tabernacle of Testimony for a witness against the rebels (Num. 17:1-10).
Because these men gave place to the devil and lied against Moses in order to gain a following, 14,700 of the people were destroyed and 250 men of renown in Israel went down with Korah. This was not for just money; but also because of greed for power and leadership. There are many other examples in the Bible where Satan has directed his accusations against the children of God, and attempted to pervert the acceptable worship of the Almighty into a travesty. We then, should not expect him to change his tactics in modern times, but look for him to be more deadly in his attack of falsehood and false accusations against God’s people and their beliefs.
Be always on guard against this adversary and heed the advice given in I Peter 5:8; “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour.”
There is to be “One Lord, one Faith, and one “Baptism.” This is not Satan’s way, he seeks confusion. Confusion hides truth. Confusion holds multitudes back from salvation. In Revelation 18 we are called to come out of this confusion, this false church, this sick system, this Babylon: “Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” God’s people (those who have not come out) are within this false system. If they were not within this false system, Holy Scriptures would not instruct them to come out. To fail to come out of this system in these last days before Messiah’s return is to share the fate of the system itself. They shall “drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb” (Rev. 14:10).
This false system with its leaders, the “Pontifex Maximus,” has sought to “change times and laws” (Dan. 7:25).Thereby we may identify him today. Over 50 years after Messiah returned to the Father, the Bible teaches us plainly, “Whosoever commits sins transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4). It would be highly inconsistent and without reason or logic to say this had reference to an abolished law.
God’s Word has nowhere replaced the Sabbath of the Commandment with Sunday, the ancient sun worship. The Almighty has never sanctioned the keeping of Easter, the spring festival instituted by Semiramis, Queen of Babylon. Lent (the days of weeping for Tammuz, son of Semiramis) is not for God’s children. Christmas (the Saturnalia, when Tammuz was worshipped on his birthday as the “Divine Son of Heaven”) is a travesty of the highest magnitude. Prayers to the Great Mother Semiramis (called the Virgin Mary by those who kneel before her idol) are an abomination.
Make no mistake, the Babylon Mystery Religion is in full force today and will grow in strength and power in the not too distant future. Have you been able to identify it yet?