II. The Whore is Identified by Her Names
1. She has a name on her forehead, “mystery, babylon the great,” Rev. 17:5. This name is surely appropriate as far as Romanism is concerned. Paul called the Church a “mystery” because it was unknown to the Old Testament prophets, Eph. 3:1-12; 5:23-32. So here this apostate religious system is called a “mystery” because she was not known before her revelation to John. Some have tried to make a comparison between this whore and the Church, calling one the bride of Christ and the other the bride of Antichrist, but a vital truth has been overlooked in this. Antichrist has never wanted this whore. He tolerates her only until he has gained sufficient power to destroy her. He does not seek for her, love her, and nourish her as Christ does the Church, so there can be no comparison. In the second place, the Church is not the bride of Christ. (See Chapter Forty-Five.)
It is said that the papal crown bore the word “mystery” on its frontlet for some time, but it was removed by Julius III, after having his attention called to the accusation of this passage. The Roman Church has always shrouded herself in mystery. The mystery of baptismal regeneration, the mystery of miracle whereby the literal bread and wine are supposedly changed into the actual blood and body of Christ, the mystery of holy water and of the lights on altars, the mystery of plays, confession, and other rites and ceremonies, mumbled in a language that tends to be mysterious all go to help us to understand that this system is Babylon in mystery. These ordinances were unknown in John’s day but they are recognized now by all as part of the Catholic ceremony of mystery, thus identifying her as Mystery Babylon, and the only one that will meet the requirements of this prophecy in the last days. Even Catholic divines admit that this description fits their church. For instance, Cardinal Ballarmine says, “St. John, in his Apocalypse, calls Rome (the priestly term for the Roman Church) Babylon.” The celebrated French Prelate, Boussuet, in his exposition of Revelation says, “The features are so marked that it is easy to decipher Rome under the figure of Babylon.”
The Ancient Babylonian Cult
Since this is true, what is the historic relation of Babylon to the city of Rome and the Roman Church, and why should Romanism be called Babylon in mystery? That the cities of Rome and Babylon were related seems to have been well known in the earlier days. It is simple to trace in the archives of history the relation of Babylon to Rome and of Rome to the Roman Church. Let us look at the history of ancient Babylon.
This city was built by Nimrod, the mighty hunter, Genesis 10:8-10. It was the seat of the first great apostasy against God after the flood. Here the “Babylonian Cult” was invented by Nimrod and his queen, Semiramis. It was a system claiming the highest wisdom and ability to reveal the most divine secrets. This cult was characterized by the word “mystery” because of its system of mysteries. Besides confessing to the priests at admission, one was compelled to drink of “mysterious beverages,” which, says Salverte (Des Sciences Occultes, page 259) “was indispensable on the part of those who sought initiation into these mysteries.” The “mysterious beverages” were composed of wine, honey, water, and flour. They were always of an intoxicating nature, and until the aspirants had come under the influence of it and had their understanding dimmed they were not prepared for what they were to see and hear. The method was to introduce privately, little by little, information under seal of secrecy and sanction of oath that would be impossible to reveal otherwise. This has been the policy of the Roman Church and the secret of the power of the priests over the lives of men whom they could expose to the world for their sins that have been confessed to them. Once admitted, men were no longer Babylonians, Assyrians, or Egyptians, but were members of a mystical brotherhood, over whom was placed a Supreme Pontiff or High Priest whose word was final in all things in the lives of the brotherhood regardless of the country in which they lived.
The ostensible objects of worship were the Supreme Father, the Incarnate Female, or Queen of Heaven, and her Son. The last two were really the only objects of worship, as the Supreme Father was said not to interfere with mortal affairs (Nimrod III, page 239.) This system is believed to have come from fallen angels and demons. The object of the cult was to rule the world by these dogmas.
How the Ancient Babylonian Cult Spread
In the days of Nimrod this cult secured a deep hold on the whole human race for it was of one language and all were one people. Nimrod gained the title “Mighty Hunter” and “the Apostate” because of his success in building cities with walls to free men from the ravages of wild beasts which were multiplying against men, and because of his freeing men of the idea of God and His wrath. As a great deliverer and protector of the people and the head of the godless civilization at that time he would naturally have great influence upon the people. He led them astray to such an extent that they gloried in the fact that they were free from the faith of their fathers.
All tradition from the earliest time bears witness of this great apostasy, which continued to such proportion that people defied God to send another flood to destroy men by building a tower to escape such. The result was that God confused their language and scattered them throughout the earth. This Babylonian system was the one which the Devil had planned to counteract the truth of God. From Babylon it spread to the ends of the earth and we have record that Abraham was chosen of God from all these idolatrous nations to represent the true God. Through him God planned to bring man back to Himself. This explains how the different nations of the world have traditions and religions somewhat similar, with changes suitable to the individual nation.
After the nations were scattered abroad, Babylon continued to be the “seat of Satan” until it was taken by Xerxes in 487 B.C. The Babylonian priesthood was then forced to leave Babylon, so it moved to Pergamos, which was the headquarters for some time. When Attalus, the Pontiff and King of Pergamos, died in 133 B.C. he bequeathed the headship of the Babylonian priesthood to Rome. When the Etruscans came to Italy from Lydia (the region of Pergamos) they brought with them the Babylonian religion and rites. They set up a Pontiff who was the head of the priesthood and had the power of life and death over them. Later, the Romans accepted this Pontiff as their civil ruler. Julius Caesar was made the Supreme Pontiff of the Etruscan Order in 74 B.C. In 63 B.C. he was made Supreme Pontiff of the Babylonian Order, thereby becoming heir to the rights and titles of Attalus, who had made Rome his heir by will.
Thus, the first Roman emperor became the head of the Babylonian priesthood and Rome became the successor of Babylon with Pergamos as the seat of this cult. Henceforth, Rome’s religion has been that of Babylon. In the year 218 A.D. the Roman army in Syria, having rebelled against Macrinus, elected Elagabalus emperor. This man was High Priest of the Egyptian branch of Babylonianism. He was shortly afterward chosen Supreme Pontiff by the Romans, and thus the two Western branches of the Babylonian apostasy centered in the Roman Emperors who continued to hold this office until 376 A.D. when the Emperor Gratian, for Christian reasons refused it because he saw that by nature Babylonianism was idolatrous. Religious matters became disorganized until it became necessary to elect someone to fill the office.
The Babylonian Religion and Roman Christendom United
Damascus, Bishop of the Christian Church at Rome, was elected to this office. He had been bishop for twelve years, having been made such in 366 A.D. through the influence of the monks of Mount Carmel, a college of the Babylonian religion originally founded by the priests of Jezebel and continued to this day in connection with Rome. So, in 378 A.D., the Babylonian system of religion became part of the Christian Church, for the bishop of Rome, who later became the supreme head of the organized church, was already Supreme Pontiff of the Babylonian Order. All the teachings of pagan Babylon and Rome were gradually interspersed into the Christian religious organization. Soon after Damascus was made Supreme Pontiff, the rites of Babylon began to come to the front. The worship of the Roman Church became Babylonish, and under him the heathen temples were restored and beautified and the rituals established. Thus, the corrupt religious system under the figure of a woman with a golden cup in her hand, making all nations drunk with her fornication, is divinely called “mystery, babylon the great.”
The Effects of This Union Upon Organized Christianity
The changes that transpired in the doctrines and practices of the Roman Church by this union did not come all at once. The Roman Church of today is purely a human institution; her doctrines, which militate against God’s Word, were never taught by Christ nor the apostles. They crept into the church centuries afterward. It can be seen how easily the Babylonish rites were introduced into, and made a part of this church, when the greatest influence in it became the Supreme Pontiff of the Babylonian Order. The adherents of each religion would not compromise so a union of the two was the outcome. The following points in conjunction with the above history of the rise of the Catholic Church will show some of the pagan elements that entered into the church, many of which were taken from the Babylonian religion:
(1) The first after this union was the introduction of the worship of the saints, especially of the virgin Mary. Thousands of pagans entered the church in those times who were accustomed to worshipping the gods of towns and places, and who were not thoroughly Christianized. The veneration of saints and holy men became a worship. Saints were considered lesser deities, whose intercession availed with God. Places connected with the lives of holy men were considered sacred and pilgrimages resulted. Relics or bones of saints were believed to have miracle working power. The worship of the virgin Mary was set up in 381 A.D., three years after Damascus became head of the Babylonian Cult.
Just as the Babylonian Cult worshipped the “Queen of Heaven” and her “Son” and did not worship the “Supreme Father” because He, supposedly, did not interfere with mortal affairs, so the Roman Church has a similar worship in that they worship Mary as the “Mother of God” and her “Son.” The image of mother and child was an object of worship in Babylon long before Christ. From Babylon this spread to the ends of the earth. The original mother was Semiramis, the beautiful queen of Nimrod, who was a paragon of unbridled lust and licentiousness.
In the “mysteries” which she had the chief part in forming, she was worshipped as “Rhea” (Chronicon Paschale, Vol. 1, page 65), the great “Mother of the Gods” with such atrocious rites as identified her with Venus, the mother of all impurity. She raised Babylon, where she reigned, to eminence among the nations as the great seat of idolatry and consecrated prostitution. (Hesiod, Theogonia, Vol. 36, page 453). The apocalyptic emblem of the harlot with cup in hand was one of idolatry derived from ancient Babylon, as they were exhibited in Greece, for thus the Greek Venus was originally represented. (Herodotus, Historia, Book 1, cap. 199, page 92).
The Roman Church has taken this as her emblem. In 1825 a medal was struck bearing the image of Pope Leo XII on one side and on the other side Rome symbolized by a woman with a cross in her left hand and a cup in her right hand and a legend around her “Sedet Super Universum”; i.e., “The whole world is her seat.”
From this original, practically all nations have copied a similar worship and in each land the same figure is carried out under different names. In Egypt the mother and child are known as Isis and Osiris; in India, Isi and Iswara; in Eastern Asia, Cybele and Deoius; in pagan Rome, Fortuna and Jupiter-puer; in Greece, Ceres or as Irene with Plutus in arms, etc. In Tibet, China, and Japan the Jesuits were surprised to find the counterpart of the madonna (the Italian name for virgin) and her child as devoutly worshipped as in Rome itself. Shing Moo, the mother of China, is represented with child in her arms and a glory around her exactly as if a Catholic artist had painted her. Where did these nations get this common worship if not from Babylon before the dispersion in the days of Nimrod? Thus the worship of Mary in connection with her Son is of Babylonish origin for there is no such worship in Scripture.
(2) Our next allusion is to the supremacy of the pope over all moral and religious affairs of the church, and unlimited and immediate authority over the lives of all as was true of the Babylonian Pontiff, as we have seen in Chapter Twenty-Seven.
(3) The worship and veneration of images was begun early. It was first decreed by the Second Council of Nice, 787 A.D. In the ninth century certain emperors attempted to abolish such worship but it was so rooted in the people and the attempt was so resisted by the ignorant and the monks that the emperors gave up their persecutions and in 869 A.D. a synod at Constantinople declared in favor of them. Image worship is purely pagan and came from Babylon.
(4) Private confession to a priest grew from a small beginning in the second and third centuries to an elaborate system in the time of Innocent III, 1215 A.D., but it was not decreed by council until the Council of Trent, 1551. People were compelled to confess to a priest at least once a year and to do penance according to the degree of sins committed. Penances were fastings, scourgings, pilgrimages, etc. Without confession no one had a right to the sacraments. This is the same system Babylon had, which bound the people to the priest by fear of exposure or divine wrath.
(5) The “Sign of the Cross” had its origin in the mystic “Tau” of the Babylonian Cult. It came from the letter “T,” the initial letter of Tammuz (Ezek. 8:14), but better known in the classical writings as “Bacchus,” “The Lamented one” who was Nimrod, the son of Cush.
(6) The “Rosary” is of pagan origin. It is used for the same magic purposes in Romanism for which it was used in the Babylonian mysteries.
(7) The “Order of Monks” and “Nuns” was borrowed from the Babylonian Cult. The latter is an imitation of the “Vestal Virgins” of Pagan Rome, copied from Babylon.
(8) The outstanding festivals of Romanism, such as Christmas, Easter, St. John’s Day, Lady Day, Lent, etc., are Babylonian and have no relation to Christ and the Bible. None of them were celebrated in Christendom for 200 years after Christ. Note the following:
A. Christmas, literally “Christ-mass,” was copied from a heathen festival observed on December 24 and 25 in honor of the son of the Babylonian Queen Astarte, and was kept centuries before Christ. The Chaldeans called it “Yule Day” or “Child Day.” The Christmas tree so well known now was equally pagan and was common to all the heathen in those lands. According to a legend, on the eve of the day we call December 24 the “yulelog was cast into a tree” from which divine gifts from the gods were taken to bless men in the new year. This tree was common in the days of Jeremiah who warns Israel to flee from this heathen custom, Jer. 10:1-9.
There is no warrant that Christ was born on December 25. On the contrary it seems that He was born during warm days, for He was born in a manger and in the cold months from December to February the winters are too severe for one to be traveling to pay tax as Joseph did with his family. Shepherds were in the field when Christ was born and it was not customary for them to stay with their flocks in the open from October to February. The winters of that land are so severe that Christ said, “Pray that your flight be not in winter,” Mt. 24:15-22. The only thing given in Scripture whereby we are to remember Christ is the Lord’s Supper.
The apostles did not observe such a day as is common to us. Tertullian, writing about 230 A.D., lamented the fact that Christians were beginning to observe the custom of the heathen and said, “Gifts are carried to and fro, new year’s day presents are made with din, and sports and banquets are celebrated with uproar; how much more faithful are the heathen to their religion, who take special care to adopt no solemnity of the Christians.” The church after Constantine, full of pagans, became so corrupt that, in order to conciliate the heathen and swell the ranks of nominal Christians, adopted this heathen festival on December 25 and gave it the name of Christ-mass. It is not known when this was officially done but it was not observed as a ritual of the church until the fourth century. (See the International Encyclopedia on this subject.)
B. Lady Day is observed on March 25 and is also of Babylonian origin. It is the supposed day of the miraculous conception of Mary, while, among the heathen, it was observed as a festival in honor of Cybele, the Mother of the Babylonian Messiah. In Rome, Cybele was called Domina, or Lady, hence, Lady Day.
C. Easter also sprang from the fountain of Babylon. It is not a Christian name, since its derivation is from Ishtar, one of the Babylonian titles of the Queen of Heaven. It was the worship of this woman by Israel which was such an abomination in the sight of God, 1 Sam. 7:3; Jer. 44:18. Round cakes, imprinted with the sign of the cross, were made at this festival, the sign being, in the Babylonian mysteries, a sign of life. This day was observed centuries before Christ and is possibly a factor in the origin of our Easter and hot-cross buns. (See Mosheim’s History of the Church 1, page 370.)
The Easter eggs which play a great part in this day’s celebration were common in heathen nations. The fable of the egg affirms that “an egg of wondrous size fell from heaven into the river Euphrates; the fishes rolled it to the bank, where the doves settled upon it and hatched it and out came Astarte, or Ishtar, the goddess of Easter.” The word “Easter” is used one time in the Bible (Acts 12:4) and should be translated “passover” instead, as elsewhere in Scripture.
D. Lent which is observed for forty days, ending with Easter, is derived from the Babylonian system of mysteries. It is also observed today by devil worshippers of Kurdistan, who obtained it from the same source as did Rome. Humboldt found it practiced among the pagan Mexicans and Wilkinson informs us that it was a custom in ancient Egypt. Both Easter and Lent were introduced into the church in 519 A.D. A writer of this time says, “The observance of Lent had no existence so long as the Church remained inviolate.”—Cassianus. At the same time of the year that Romanism observes it the heathen observe it for a different purpose—as a celebration of the “rape of Proserpine” in which is culminated a period of unbridled lust after forty days of enforced abstinence in preparation therefor. How well does God liken Romanism to a whore, who professes to be the sole spotless bride of Christ, but in reality is the final great apostate religious system linked with the world and exercising power over the nations of the world under the ten kings until Antichrist comes to full power and destroys her in the middle of the Week.