BABYLON MYSTERY RELIGION
A Message from Ralph Woodrow regarding the book:
BABYLON MYSTERY RELIGION – No Longer in Publication
For a number of years my book BABYLON MYSTERY RELIGION was very popular, enjoyed a wide circulation, and was translated into various languages. To this day, we do not cease to receive orders and inquiries about it. Despite its popularity, several years ago we pulled it out of print and now offer a replacement book because misinformation about this decision persists on the Internet, and in other ways, the aim of this article is to set the record straight.
According to one rumor, “the Catholics” put so much pressure on me; I had a heart attack and almost died! Consequently, I “recanted” and wrote the other book. There is no truth to this!
Another rumor is that my motives were financial—my desire was to be popular and make more money. To the contrary, BABYLON MYSTERY RELIGION was extremely popular and provided more income to our ministry than all other books and offerings put together! We have faced much financial loss because of the decision to pull the book out of print.
Some letters we have received have been very warm, commending me for honesty and integrity, expressing appreciation for the clarification provided by the replacement book THE BABYLON CONNECTION? But other letters have been mean-spirited—that I am “stupid,” “scum,” “scared of the truth,” a “low down coward,” “a traitor to Christ,” following “a false god,” and am an “undercover Jesuit”! One even said,”I hope you die soon, I want you dead!”
It puzzles me how some can be so fanatical against one set of errors—or what they perceive to be errors—only to develop greater errors: becoming judgmental, hateful, and dishonest.
My original book had some valuable information in it. But it also contained certain teachings that were made popular in a book many years ago, THE TWO BABYLONS, by Alexander Hislop. This book claims that the very religion of ancient Babylon, under the leadership of Nimrod and his wife, was later disguised with Christian-sounding names, becoming the Roman Catholic Church, one ancient and one modern. Proof for this is sought by citing numerous similarities in paganism. The problem with this method is this: in many cases there is no connection.
Let’s suppose that on May 10th a man was stabbed to death in Seattle. There were strong reasons for believing a certain person did it. He had motive. He was physically strong. He owned a large knife. He had a criminal record. He was known to have a violent temper and had threatened the victim in the past. All of these things would point to him as the murderer, except for one thing: on May 10th he was not in Seattle—he was in Florida!
So is it with the claims about pagan origins. What may seem to have a connection, upon further investigation, has no connection at all!
By this method, one could take virtually anything and do the same—even the “golden arches” at McDonald’s! The Encyclopedia Americana (article: “Arch”) says the use of arches was known in Babylon as early as 2020 B.C. Since Babylon was called “the golden city” (Isa. 14:4), can there be any doubt about the origin of the golden arches? As silly as this is, this is the type of proof that has been offered over and over about pagan origins.
By this method, atheists have long sought to discredit the Bible and Christianity altogether—not just the Roman Catholic Church.
By this method, one could condemn Protestant and evangelical denominations like the Assemblies of God, Baptist, Church of Christ, Lutheran, Methodist, Nazarene, etc. Basic things like prayer, and kneeling in prayer, would have to be rejected, because pagans knelt and prayed to their gods. Water baptism would have to be rejected, for pagans had numerous rites involving water, etc.
By this method, the BIBLE itself would need to be rejected as pagan. All of the following practices or beliefs mentioned in the Bible, were also known among pagans—raising hands in worship, taking off shoes on holy ground, a holy mountain, a holy place in a temple, offering sacrifices without blemish, a sacred ark, city of refuge, bringing forth water from a rock, laws written on stone, fire appearing on a person’s head, horses of fire, the offering of first fruits, tithes, etc.
By this method, the LORD himself would be pagan. The woman called Mystery Babylon had a cup in her hand; the Lord has a cup in his hand (Psa. 75:8). Pagan kings sat on thrones and wore crowns; the Lord sits on a throne and wears a crown (Rev. 1:4; 14:14). Pagans worshipped the sun; the Lord is the “Sun of righteousness” (Mal. 4:2). Pagan gods were likened to stars; the Lord is called “the bright and morning star” (Rev. 22:16). Pagan gods had temples dedicated to them; the Lord has a temple (Rev. 7:15). Pagan gods were pictured with wings; the Lord is pictured with wings (Psa. 91:4).
Here is a list of the some of the unsubstantiated claims that are made about the religion of ancient Babylon:
• The Babylonians went to a confessional and confessed sins to priests who wore black clergy garments.
• Their king, Nimrod, was born on December 25. Round decorations on Christmas trees and round communion wafers honored him as the Sun-god.
• Sun-worshippers went to their temples weekly, on Sunday, to worship the Sun-god.
• Nimrod’s wife was Semiramis, who claimed to be the Virgin Queen of Heaven, and was the mother of Tammuz.
• Tammuz was killed by a wild boar when he was age 40; so 40 days of Lent were set aside to honor his death.
• The Babylonians wept for him on “Good Friday.” They worshipped a cross-the initial letter of his name.
It is amazing how unsubstantiated teachings like these circulate—and are believed. One can go to any library, check any history book about ancient Babylon, none of these things will be found. They are not historically accurate, but are based on an arbitrary piecing together of bits and pieces of mythology.
Hislop, for example, taught that mythological persons like Adonis, Apollo, Bacchus, Cupid, Dagon, Hercules, Janus, Mars, Mithra, Moloch, Orion, Osiris, Pluto, Saturn, Vulcan, Zoraster, and many more, were all Nimrod! He then formed his own “history” of Nimrod! He did the same thing with Nimrod’s wife. So, according to his theory, Nimrod was a big, ugly, deformed black man. His wife, Semiramis—also known as Easter, he says—was a most beautiful white woman with blond hair and blue eyes, a backslider, inventor of soprano singing, the originator of priestly celibacy, and the first to whom the non bloody mass was offered! This is not factual history—it is more in the category of tabloid sensationalism.
Some claim that round objects, such as round communion wafers, are symbols of the Sun-god. But they fail to mention that the very manna given by God was round! (Exod. 16:14). Some are ready to condemn all pillars and historical monuments as pagan. But they fail to take into account that the Lord himself appeared as a pillar of fire; and, in front of his temple, there were two large pillars (Exod. 13:21,22; 2 Chron. 3:17).
Because Babylon had a tower (Gen. 11:4), some suppose this must be why there are church buildings with towers or steeples: they are copying Babylon! A newspaper reporter in Columbus, Ohio, wrote to me about this. In that city, and numerous other places, this claim has been made. Let me say it quite clearly: No church ever included a steeple or tower on their house of worship to copy the tower of Babel! Why discredit thousands of born-again Christians by promoting ideas that have no connection? If a tower in itself is pagan, God would be pagan, for David described him as “my high tower” (2 Sam. 22:3; cf. Prov. 18:10).
No Christian who puts a bumper sticker with a fish symbol on the back of his car has ever done so to honor the fish-god Dagon. No congregation has ever put a cross on a church building for the purpose of honoring Tammuz. No Christian has ever gone to an Easter sunrise service to worship Baal. No Christian has ever worshipped a Christmas tree as an idol. Claims that imply “all these things started in Babylon,” are not only divisive and fruitless, they are untrue.
The concern about not wanting anything pagan in our lives can be likened to a ship crossing a vast ocean. This concern has taken us in the right direction, but as we come to a better understanding as to what is actually pagan and what is not, a correction of the course is necessary in our journey. This is not a going back, but a correction of the course as we follow “the shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day” (Prov. 4:18).
According to the teaching made popular by Alexander Hislop, if we went back to the days of ancient Babylon, we would find people attending mass, partaking of a little round wafer, worshipping a cross, going to confession, being baptized with water for the remission of sins, burning wax candles, and bowing before a divine Mother and Child. We would notice that places of worship featured a tower. Priests, wearing a circular tonsure, dressed in black garments, would give those who died the last rites. With monks and nuns in abundance, the Babylonians would be practicing essentially all the rites that are known today in the Roman Catholic Church!
According to Hislop, it all started with Nimrod and his wife Semiramis, thus the subtitle of THE TWO BABYLONS: “The Papal Worship Proved to Be the Worship of Nimrod and His Wife.” But, any historical information about Nimrod and Semiramis is sketchy, at best. One can check the articles on “Nimrod” and “Semiramis” in recognized reference works. Not one says anything about Nimrod and Semiramis being husband and wife! They did not even live in the same century. The claims about Babylonian origins lack connection.