By Brannon S. Howse
The compromises among evangelicals like the ones I shared in the last chapter set us up for a sad but inescapable observation: This one-world religion will not be just the product of the Roman Catholic Church; while the Church of Rome may be the major leader, it’s going to be Protestants; it’s going to be Hindus; it’s going to be Buddhists, New Agers—all the world’s false religions, including apostate Christianity, will unite and return to their source; the Mother of Harlots. The world’s religions with most of their origins in Babylon will create “the great harlot” described in Revelation 17:1 and 17:15-16 and will come home to Babylon, the Mother of Harlots.
But the “Mother of Harlots.” Why such a harsh word as harlots? Revelation 17 reveals why.
In ancient Rome, prostitutes commonly wore headbands on which their names were written, so the imagery would have been well known to John’s original audience. The woman is thoroughly given over to harlotry as indicated by the headband John describes. Revelation 17:5 says this is written on her headband:
MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS
OF THE EARTH.
At the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11), Babylon birthed the “mystery religions.” One in particular is known as the mother-son cult, and I believe that’s what’s being referred to as BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS. There were others, too, but suffice it to say that all of these mystery religions will unite under this Mother of Harlots, in the city of Babylon. The harlot symbolizes idolatry or spiritual fornication, and it could also refer to the sexual immorality or the female and male prostitutes in Roman temples. Temple prostitutes engaged in sexual immorality as part of their worship to the fertility god, Ashteroth, also known as Semiramis, the queen of Babylon.
In talking about these temple prostitutes, John MacArthur explains that “the Babylonian cultic mystery religions that filtered all the way down into the time of the Apostle Paul and were the mythological religions of that time advocated prostitution.” Why? Because they believed that if you have relationships with a temple prostitute or priestess, you’re communicating or communing with the deity she represents. The way to get in touch with the deity is by a sexual liaison with a priestess. The practice was so extreme, says Dr. MacArthur, that “the temple in Corinth, for example, had 3,000 temple prostitutes to get people in contact with the deity.” And that “most temples devoted to goddesses were served by sacred prostitutes or priestesses, who sold themselves for money, supposing they were performing a religious sacrament.”
But do you know the Bible says about this?
There shall be no ritual harlot of the daughters of Israel or a perverted one of the sons of Israel. You shall not bring the wages of a harlot or the price of a dog to the house of the Lord your God for any vowed offering, for both of these are an abomination to the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 23:17-18)
Israel is commanded not to have anything to do with practices like this, not to do what the temple prostitutes were doing as sacraments to their deity. Money from prostitution does not belong in the temple, neither does the price of a dog. But what is meant by dog? “Dog” in this passage refers to a male prostitute. It was a derogatory term for someone of low moral character, but it was also used specifically to describe male prostitutes. This passage is an example of how “harlot” is often used in Scripture as the symbol of idolatry because prostitution was so central to the pagan religions in the surrounding cultures.
The Cup Connection
There’s an unnerving connection between this prohibition against harlotry and the practice in the Babylonian false religion that involved a concoction that caused people to have an altered state of consciousness and thus to be seduced into this spiritual fornication. The late Donald Grey Barnhouse, a great Bible teacher, explains more about this connection:
[quote] It is highly significant that the abominations and filthiness should be spoken of as coming from a golden cup. Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord’s hand that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore, the nations are mad. [end quote]
As Dr. Barnhouse says, “the nations are mad,” they’ve gone crazy. He goes on to explain:
[quote] To those who are acquainted with the history of ancient religions, this significance is heightened by comparisons with the rites of the pagan religious mysteries.
A French scholar, writing the book The Occultic Sciences, tells of the drinking in connection with these demon ceremonies. To drink of mysterious beverages, he says, was indispensable on the part of all who sought initiation in these mysteries. These mysterious beverages were composed of wine, honey, water and flour, with various other ingredients used locally. From the nature of the ingredients avowedly used and from the nature of others not avowed but certainly used, there can be no doubt that they were of an intoxicating nature until the aspirants had come under their power, till their medicated draught, they were not duly prepared for what they were either to hear or see. [end quote]
What Barnhouse explains is that the occult leaders needed their followers to have an altered state of consciousness in order to accept the demonic rites or rituals they were initiated into. Likewise, Babylon needs the world to come under a strong spiritual delusion and intoxication in order to be led into the acceptance of the religious Reich.
The first religion of the Reich will be a worship of man as god, a belief that man is divine. The second world religion under this Reich will be the worship of Satan himself as he possesses the Antichrist.
To induce the world to worship man as divine, it will need to have an altered state of consciousness so people can “discover their own deity.” This tracks with some modern New Age practices.
In researching one of my first booklets in 1989, I read of New Agers talking about drugs and hypnosis as the most popular way to meet a spirit or master guide (a demon!). Within the occult, drugs or hypnosis are often used to initiate people into demonic activity. Timothy Leary was a well-known leader among folks like this, and he provided his movement with an extremely popular and catchy slogan: “Tune in, turn on, drop out.” Subsequent research for my 2010 book Grave Influence turned up a fascinating conversation between Timothy Leary and Julian Huxley. Huxley observed:
[quote] These brain drugs, mass produced in the laboratories, will bring about vast changes in society. This will happen with or without you or me. All we can do is spread the word. The obstacle to this evolution, Timothy, is the Bible. [end quote]
To which Leary responded:
[quote] We had to run up against a Judeo-Christian commitment to one God, one religion, one reality that has cursed Europe for centuries, and America since our founding days. Drugs that open the mind to multiple realities inevitably led to a polytheistic view of the universe.
Drugs, according to Leary and Huxley, have led to people embracing a polytheistic (many gods) worldview. [end quote]
In her book The Aquarian Conspiracy, Marilyn Ferguson similarly declares that “LSD gave a whole generation a religious experience.” LSD, as you probably know, is a mind-altering drug, but it distorts the user’s perception of reality rather than enhancing it. This is shockingly similar to what the mystery Babylonian cults used thousands of years ago—some kind of concoction they would put in a chalice and have people drink so they enter an altered state of consciousness and be spiritually intoxicated within the false religious system.
A World Together
The concept of the Mother of Harlots was birthed at the Tower of Babel—Babylon—as described in Genesis 11. And now what kind of modern connections do we see? A recent poster promoting the European Union features a famous painting from 1563 of the Tower of Babel. The promotional theme inscribed on the poster says: EUROPE. MANY TONGUES, ONE VOICE. Here’s the scripture the theme plays off of:
"Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there."
Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:1-4)
Bible readers often think this passage means the people of Shinar (modern-day Iraq) were trying to build a tower that would reach into heaven, but that’s not what the scripture says. They are not building so as to reach into heaven, the “dwelling place” of God. Rather, they are building a tower with a top “in the heavens”—up high. The city is the center of a political and economic system, and the tower represents their religious system. Does that sound familiar? The intertwining of religious, economic and political systems? The three tracks to globalism. That’s why we should not be surprised when spiritual leaders talk political and political leaders talk spiritual.
The current pope, the previous one, and the popes before, as well as Rick Warren and many other “evangelical pastors,” are spiritual leaders who talk political. And people like former British prime minister Tony Blair (a convert to Roman Catholicism) are politicians who talk spiritual.
In June 2009, for instance, Pope Benedict XVI issued a 30,000-word encyclical calling for reform of the United Nations so there could be true world political authority. He also called for a global tax to provide redistribution of wealth from rich countries to poor countries, and a worldwide redistribution of energy resources so countries lacking those resources can have access to them. What he is promoting, of course, is “sustainable development.” Sustainable development is the focus of the June 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The conference’s follow-up document, Agenda 21, offers a framework for global governance.
Its initiatives include abortion on demand, population control, nationalized health care, public housing, welfare entitlements, elimination of what we would call Second Amendment rights, reduction of parental authority, hate crime laws, and the general redistribution of wealth and elimination of free speech.
In another spiritual-leader-talking-political incident, the Vatican issued an 18-page report in October 2011 calling for a world central bank. The words “common good” were used 22 times in the report. That, of course, is a euphemism for communitarianism, the mixture of socialism with capitalism. As you can see from continuing the Genesis story, God was not pleased with this idea:
[quote] But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they have all one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down there and confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth. [end quote] (Genesis 11:5-9)
Remarkably, this episode takes place within a hundred years after the worldwide flood which only Noah and his sons and their wives survived. You’d think these people would have remembered the message, but it appears they’re back to being as wicked as before the flood. They’re rebelling against God (again) and saying, “We don’t need God.”
These people come from a very identifiable lineage. According to Genesis 10:6, Noah’s son Ham had a son named Cush, and Genesis 10:8 explains that “Cush begot Nimrod” and that Nimrod “began to be a mighty one on the earth.” Then, Genesis 10:10 delivers the “punch line”: “And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel . . . in the land of Shinar.”
Fortunately, we can look at some sources outside of the Bible—other historical documents—that provide more information about this phase of history. The Jewish historian Josephus is especially helpful. Josephus wrote quite a bit about the Tower of Babel and Nimrod, and he explains that one of the reasons Nimrod’s people built the Tower of Babel was that they were rebelling against God.
Nimrod’s war against God is a reminder of a more recent against-God warrior named Karl Marx. Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto in 1848. It was Marx that declared, “My object in life is to dethrone God and destroy capitalism.” Lots of people, it seems, have been waging war against God, albeit unsuccessfully, for a long time. Josephus adds a fascinating detail to his recounting of the Babel story. He explains that one reason the people of Shinar built the tower was to make it so high that flood waters would not be able to reach them. That way, if God were to change His mind and destroy the earth using a flood again, these folks could pat themselves on the back and say, “We’ve outsmarted you this time, God. We’ve got a tower so high that the flood waters won’t reach up here.”
A Strange Mix
To give you “the rest of the story,” the mythology that developed around Nimrod reveals much of the heart of this religious system. According to the story concocted by his wife Semiramis, Nimrod dies and travels to the sun to become the sun god. Her goal in “deifying” her husband was that she, the queen of Babylon, wanted to retain her power. So, she tells the people Nimrod has become the sun god and has impregnated her via a sunbeam. It’s a virgin birth of sorts, but she is not a virgin. In fact, Semiramis was a seriously immoral person. Tammuz, the child born to Semiramis, is said to be the reincarnation of Nimrod.
At this point in the Babylonian myth, Tammuz is considered to be god incarnate and becomes the object of great worship. Later, he is killed, according to mythology, by a wild boar, and Semiramis weeps for her son for 40 days. Then he is resurrected. This takes place in the early spring, right around “Easter.” The timing, unfortunately, provides the source of our word Easter. The term comes from the name Ishtar, the Babylonian god of fertility.
Much of what we use to celebrate Christmas and Easter stems from paganism—mistletoe, for instance—and even Valentine’s Day and Cupid. Such facts bring up another question, often debated these days: Should we not celebrate Christmas or the resurrection of our Lord because of the pagan roots of many aspects of the festivities? And this is how I respond to the many people who call my radio program with that question: I’m not about to let the pagan world stop me from celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Absolutely not. If you want to celebrate on December 25, that’s up to you; that’s when most people do. But if you understand that to be related to a pagan date connected with the Babylonian cult and don’t want to celebrate on December 25, you don’t have to. The point is: if I choose to observe the Lord’s birth on December 25 for godly reasons, I’m not going to let the culture stop me from acknowledging, celebrating, and rejoicing in the birth of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The same goes for Resurrection Sunday. I don’t call it Easter; I call it Resurrection Sunday because I don’t want to acknowledge the god Ishtar, the fertility god. And by the way, the reason there is an Easter Bunny and Easter eggs is to symbolize fertility. But I am certainly going to celebrate Resurrection Sunday. Similar to the Christmas issues, if you don’t want to do this when it fits in with the pagan calendar and the pagan rituals and the timing of the changing of the seasons, I believe that’s fine. With that being said, we have to understand that much of what we see today comes from the pagan religions going all the way back to the Tower of Babel.
The history of the name Semiramis also adds a twist to our strange intermingling of pagan practices. In the Bible, she was also referred to as Ashteroth. Other names include:
The Queen of Babylon
Queen of Heaven.
About that last phrase, “Queen of Heaven”: The Roman Catholic Church uses it in reference to Mary the Mother of Jesus, even though the Bible uses it only in reference to Ishtar (see Jeremiah 7:18; 44:17-19, 25).
But why these different names? Again we look at the Tower of Babel for the answer. When God confused the language of the people, they took this mother-son cult of Semiramis and Tammuz and spread it throughout the world, but in different languages. One version of the names is Isis and Horus. The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore houses a statue of the two of them, dated from 680 to 640 B.C. This means the Egyptians developed a mother-son image nearly seven centuries before Jesus was born.
Satan took a counterfeit story and made it line up with the story of what was to come—he knew Christ would eventually come because Genesis foretells the Messiah who will crush the head of Satan. Sadly, many people have turned away from Christianity because of these mythologies, thinking the truth of Christ is just one more version of these demonic narratives, and that’s exactly what Satan wants. The internet is full of stories of people who have rejected Christianity for this very reason. They say, “Hey, Christianity is nothing more than paganism, but they have Christianized it.” But I say: “No, no, no! Satan has taken Christianity and connected it to paganism to try to undermine it.” Satan always twists the truth to try to destroy it in the minds of people.
Next, we need to see exactly how he’s managed this sleight of hand with Mary and Jesus in Christianity. The mother-son cult birthed at the Tower of Babel goes by many names, but the original mother, Semiramis, is not the only one whose names have many variations, thanks to the multiplicity of languages.
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