What is meant by the name, Babylon The Great?
“And upon her forehead was a name written MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” These words, written by John in Revelation 17:5, are given to describe the woman who is symbolic of the one world church system set up by the Antichrist. The fact that she is of the Antichrist is obvious. First, she is said to be the great whore in verse 1 of chapter 17. The true churches of God are known as the Bride of Christ. “Babylon is designated a harlot because of her unfaithfulness to Christ the bridegroom through her friendship and unholy alliance with the kings and inhabitants of the earth.”(1) Thus, because of the designation of “whore”, it is obvious that the woman is a false religious system. Secondly, it is obvious that the system is of Antichrist because of the description of the woman in verse six. She is said to be “drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs.” Thus, it is seen that the false religious system of Antichrist has been one that has persecuted the Christians down through the centuries. It is this type of religious system that is called Babylon The Great.
Some would say that this refers to the city in which this wicked ecclesiastical system shall be errected. However, it should be obvious from verse six that this is not the correct interpretation. The city of Babylon by the Euphrates river has never been drunk with the blood of the saints. In fact, quite contrary, Babylon is nothing more than stones and rubble piled up. It has been completely destroyed, and has not through history lived up to the definition of verse six. Also, it is interesting to note that the inscription on the forehead of the woman referred to MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT. This indicates that the name Babylon should not be taken literally, but rather that it is a secret name which stands for something else.(2) It is commonly believed that the name of Babylon thus refers to the ecclesiastical system of Babylonianism founded in Genesis chapter ten, which has existed in one form or another up until this present age and will continue until the return of Christ.
The religious system known as Babylonianism received its name from the city in which it was founded: Babylon on the plain of Shinar. The founder of this city was Nimrod. Nimrod appears for only a brief time in the Bible. His name is mentioned only in Genesis chapter ten, verses 8-10. Verse eight teaches that Nimrod was begotten “by Cush, and that he was a mighty one in the earth.” Verse nine expands to tell that he was a mighty hunter before the Lord. On first glance this description appears innocent enough, but a closer examination will show the true nature of this individual. First of all, the name Nimrod comes from the Hebrew verb”nimrode” which is translated, “let us revolt.” This in itself indicates the type of individual that Nimrod was. He is referred to as a “mighty one.” This phrase comes from the Hebrew word, “gilor” which means “tyrant.” So it becomes evident that Nimrod was not just a powerful man on the earth at that time. Rather he was a tyrannical leader of men. The phrase “a mighty hunter before the Lord” has interesting connotations as well. First of all, it is interesting to question why the hunting exploits of one individual would make the Lord take special notice of him. The Hebrew phrase “liphne yahweh”, which can be rendered “in the estimation of Jehovah”, carries with it the idea of a superlative, but “a superlative that bears the meaning that even Yahweh was impressed by this hunter’s prowess and achievements.”(4) There must have been more to Nimrod’s hunting than would be evidenced in the life of any other hunter. Secondly, the word translated “before” in Genesis 10:9 carries with it a hostile meaning, and could probably be translated “against”. Putting this all together, it becomes plain that it was not wild beasts that Nimrod was hunting, but men. Having hunted them he would enslave them and have a tyranical hold over them. And all this was done in direct opposition to the Lord. The Jewish Encyclopedia sums up the life of Nimrod by referring to him as “he who made all the people rebellious against God.”(5)
The Bible teaches that the beginning of the Kingdom of Nimrod was at Babel, or in other words, Babylon. The wickedness of Babylon is evidenced by the story of the tower of Babel, which is related in Genesis chapter eleven. The people of Babel determined that they would build a huge tower in their city in direct defiance to God. They were in defiance toward God because they did not want to be scattered across the face of the earth as God had commanded Noah and his descendants in Genesis 9:1. In order to avoid this, they wanted to build this tower that would make a name for them. They felt that this would help to bind them together and keep them from scattering. But all this was in disobedience to God. God forced them to do His will by confounding their language and forcing them to disperse and try to regroup according to a common tongue. But this small incident is very indicative of the people who followed after Nimrod in his rebellion against God.
Following the death of Nimrod, his heathen form of worship was continued by his wife, Queen Semiramis. She claimed that her husband had become the Sun god, and was to be worshipped. Some time after this, Queen Semiramis conceived through adultery and gave birth to an illegitimate son whom she named Tammuz. It is interesting to note here that Ezekial 8:14 records the incident of women weeping in lamentation for Tammuz. The prophet is told that he will someday see greater abominations than this one, which indicates that even sorrow for Tammuz was wicked and idolatry. Upon the birth of Tammuz, Semiramis declared that he was actually Nimrod reborn. In addition to this, she also claimed that her son was supernaturally conceived. Now Semiramis undoubtedly knew of God’s promise of a Redeemer. Satan used her knowledge of this to enduce her to set up a counterfeit plan of God’s redemption by having her claim that Tammuz was to be the saviour of the world.(6) However, even though Semiramis claimed to have given birth to a saviour, it was she that was worshipped, not the son. She was worshipped as the mother of the gods.(7) So from this point on the principle role of the woman as opposed to the Son is seen.
Many different ideas from the Babylonian religion have come down through the generations. Probably the key doctrine is that of the mother-son relationship. As the Babylonian people were scattered throughout the world, they took with them the idea that Semiramis had miraculously conceived and given birth to Nimrod reincarnated. Thus, all through the world, men began to worship a divine mother and god-child, long before the birth of Christ. The woman appears in different ways, and is called by different names, but she is always the same person. The Chinese called her Shingmoo. The Germans worshipped Hertha. The Scandanavians worshipped Sisa. In India, she was known as Indrani.(8) But the woman was really Semiramis, the queen of Babylon. Even Israel, when it fell into apostasy, worshipped Ashteroth, who was known to the Jews as the “queen of Heaven” as told in Jeremiah 44:17-19. The spread of this doctrine was great at the time of Christ.
The worship of the Great Mother,.. was very popular under the Roman Empire. Inscriptions prove that the two (the mother and the child) received divine honors… not only in Italy and especially in Rome, but also in the providences, particularly in Africa, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany and Bulgaria.(9)
So it is apparent that the whole world was aware of, and probably worshipped the Mother-Son relationship.
It was into this time period that Christ was born. As He accomplished His ministry, and as the apostles went out and started churches, the Word of God spread throughout the world. However, as the centuries passed, many of these churches fell into apostasy. Paganism began mingling with “Christianity”. Constantine professed to become a Christian and began to push Christianity on the pagans; not by conversion, but simply by letting them join. Many of these pagans who joined the “church” brought with them their beliefs about the Great Mother. They had grown up with this belief so long that they did not want to give it up. So the “church” compromised. Rather than force the pagans to give up the Babylonian idea of the Great Mother, they decided (in order to increase their numbers) to adopt this belief into the church. Mary, the mother of Jesus, became the Great Mother to the pagans. This satisfied both sides. The “Christians” were happy because the pagans were “worshipping” the Christian God. The pagans were happy because they had their Great Mother to worship. Thus, little by little, the worship of Mary worked its way into the “church” which is known today as the Catholic Church.
There are other similarities which show that the Catholic doctrine of Maryolotry is an offshoot of Babylonianism. In his deified form, Ninrod the Sun god is known as Baal. Semiramis, as the female divinity, would be called Baalti. This word translated into English means “My Lady.” In Latin it would be translated “Mea Domina”. This name becomes the name “Madonna” which is the name by which Mary is often referred. The same reasoning can be applied to the name of “Mediatrix”, which Mary is also called. Since the Bible teaches that there is only one mediator between God and man, and that One being Jesus Christ (I Timothy 2:5), it is obvious that Mary did not receive that title in a Biblical way. She instead acquired it from “Mylitta” (mediatrix) which was one of the names of the Mother Goddess of Babylon.(10) “The Queen of Heaven” is another name for Mary that has been adopted from the pagan Babylonian religions. Thus it is obvious that the Catholic doctrine of Maryolotry is nothing more than the ancient Babylonianism dressed up in Christian terminology.
Babylonianism has been passed down through the ages in the form of symbolism also. The Babylonians were very symbolic in everything they did, and these symbols of worship can still be seen today. One of these religious symbols is the rosary. This article is not an invention of the papacy, but has been around since the earliest times and is almost universally found in the pagan nations.(11) It was used as a sacred instrument by the Mexicans and it is repeatedly referred to in the Hindu holy books. In fact, images of the goddess Diana show her to be wearing rosary beads. So this Catholic ritual holds its origin in the pagan religions which stemmed from Babylon.
A second symbol of importance within Babylonian religion is the obelisk or tower. The obelisks were found all throughout the areas of Babylon and Egypt. Often these obelisks have been transported to places of high esteem, such as the entry to Saint Peter’s Cathedral in Rome. In Babylonian religion, these obelisks served two purposes in worship. First of all, they were associated with Sun worship. They pointed to the sun in a form of homage to it as the great life giver. Yet these monuments also stood as sexual symbols. They were representative of the phallus which, along with the sun, was considered to be a symbol of life. So these obelisks were really a combination of sex and sun worship.(l2) When Israel backslid, they errected these at the entry to the temple in defiance against God (Ezekiel 8:5). This makes it very interesting when it is shown that such an abolisk does sit at the entrance to Saint Peter’s. It is also interesting to note that when the obelisk was to be errected at Saint Peter’s, the Pope attached the Death Penalty to the workers should the monument be broken.(l3) Obviously, much importance must be placed on this pagan monument by the Catholics. This is another example of how Babylonian paganism has continued down until this time.
Another doctrine of Babylonianism which has been carried on till today is that of the celibacy of the priesthood. This practice started with Queen Semiramis. This practice quickly spread throughout the pagan world. It finally arrived in Rome through the worship of the Babylonian goddess Cybele.(l4) This practice has been continued down through the years in the Catholic church. Going along with the oath of celibacy was the priestly tonsure. A tonsure is the shaving or clipping of a round spot on the head of priests at their ordination. This practice was a carry over from the ordination of the priests of Bacclus, which is another name for the illegitimate son of Queen Semiramis. So even this mark which priests receive as an initiatory rite has its origins in the pagan religions of Babylon.
One final area which will be discussed is the Catholic doctrine of purgatory. The first real evidence of this doctrine in Catholocism occurred when Pope Gregory the Great claimed the existence of a third state, one different than Heaven and Hell. The idea was not officially adopted into Catholic dogma until the Council of Florence in 1459. From that point on, the Catholic church has freely taught the concept of purgatory as a purification place for souls. However, this doctrine was in effect long before the time of Gregory the Great. In the 4th Century B.C., Plato spoke of certain teachers of his day who believed in purgatory. Buddhism, Stoicism, and the Moslim fathers also believed in a place of purification where souls must go before they can attain Heaven. These beliefs have their root in Babylon. The most probable source is that of the worship of Molech. Many pagan nations felt that fire was necessary to cleanse from sin. This is probably because they were worshippers of the sun god, and his power on earth was represented by fire. This was evidenced in the worship of Molech, as young infants were made human sacrifices and burned in the arms of the idol. God made special mention of Molech and forbid his worship in II Kings 23:10 and Leviticus 18:21. In fact, Molech is simply another name for Nimrod. The name Tammuz sheds light on this as well. ”Tam” means “perfect”; “Muz” means “by burning”. (15) This shows that the idea of purification by fire has its roots in the Babylonian worship of Nimrod.
From the time of Nimrod until the present there has always been a false religious system in operation. This system has its life in Babylonian religion. This religion is evidenced today in the Catholic church. The Catholic doctrine of Maryolotry has its roots in the divine mother-child relationship of Queen Semiramis and her illegitimate son Tammuz. The symbol of the rosary has its beginnings in Babylon. The obelisk as a monument is a symbol of Babylonian sun and sex worship. The initiation rites of priests are the same as those for the priests of Babylon. Even the doctrine of purgatory directly coincides with the Babylonian practice. Many other examples could be cited. But even these few are more than sufficient to show that the Catholic church is not a “Christian” religion. It is nothing more than a copy of the pagan religions of Babylon. It is the religious system symbolized as MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT in Revelation 17:5, and it will someday be destroyed as Christ in His glory returns to earth to set up His kingdom.
(1)J. B. Smith, A Revelation of Jesus Christ (Scottdale: Herald Press, 1961), p. 240.
(2) Ibid., p. 242.
(3)H. C . LeuPold, Exposition of Genesis (Grand Rapids: Baker Book Ilouse, 1965), p. 366.
(4) Ibid., pp. 366-367.
(5) Ralph Woodrow. Babylon Mystery Religion (Riverside: Ralph Woodrow Evangelistic Associaton, Inc., 1966), p. 9.
(6) Ibid., p. 10.
(7) Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons (Neptune: Loizeaux Brothers, 1916), p. 5.
(8) Woodrow, op. cit., p. 14.
(9) Ibid., p. 15.
(10) Ibid., p. 18.
(11) Hislop, op. cit., p. 187.
(12) Woodrow, op. cit., p. 39.
(13) Ibid., p. 42.
(14) Hislop, p. 220.
(15) Woodrow. P. 73.
Hislop, Alexander. The Two Babylons. Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1916
Leupold, H. E. Exposition of Genesis. Grand Rapids: Baker Book Houes, 1965.
Smith, J. B. A Revelation of Jesus Christ. Scottdale: Herald Press, 1961.
Woodrow, Ralph. Babylon Mystery Religion. Riverside Ralph Woodrow Evangelistic Association, Inc., 1966.