THE GREAT PROSTITUTE (17:1). One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls reveals to John the punishment of the Great Prostitute, who sits on many waters. She is identified as “the great city that rules over the kings of the earth” (verse 18) and the waters, where she sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages (verse 15). Cities are called prostitutes in the Scriptures, for instance Nineveh (Nahum 3:4), Tyre (Isaiah 23:16-17), Jerusalem (Ezekiel 16:15, 23) and Babylon (Jeremiah 51). Here the term “prostitute” signifies spiritual idolatry and adultery, not physical fornication or adultery. Earth’s kings and inhabitants committed spiritual fornication with the Great Prostitute, connoting the great system of religious error as seen by the title on her forehead in verse 5:
MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT
THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH
THE WINE OF HER ADULTERIES (17:2). History is marked with man’s failure to be the mediator of God’s Kingdom on earth. Following the flood, God makes the Noahic Covenant, authorizing the institution of human government. The tower of Babel on a plain of Shinar (that is Babylonia) was man’s first attempt to establish a central one-world government without God as its King. Having lost in the Fall that inward and spiritual unity of race which was centered in God, so men resorted to the establishment of an external unity. God confused the language of man and the plan failed. Behind the scenes of this plan is Satan.
From the plain of Babylon, rises the central-one-world kingdom that opposes God’s kingdom. This kingdom is the mystery of iniquity. From time to time in history, this kingdom raises its head, attempting to rule the world but fails. According to the Book of Revelation, it will appear a final time at the end of this age headed by the Antichrist. Revelation 14:8 announces its end:
A second angel followed and said, “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”
“The maddening wine of her adulteries” is a reference to counterfeit mysteries of Babylonian religion. The Chaldean Mysteries can be traced up to the days of Semiramis (also spelled Semerimus), the wife of Nimrod, who lived only a few centuries after the flood in the time of Shem. She is known to have impressed upon the people the image of her own depraved and polluted mind. That beautiful 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 worshiped as Rhea, the great “MOTHER” of the gods—“the Queen of Heaven.”
Semiramis claimed she was conceived by the great spirit above and bore a son, Tammuz (also called Bacchus, that is, “The Lamented One”), who was slain by a boar and rose from the dead after 40 days of weeping and sorrow. Worship of the Queen of Heaven and her child penetrated the nations of the Ancient Near East and Europe under a variety of names:
In 312 A.D., Constantine the Great had a vision of a flaming cross in the sky, with the words “in this sign conquer.” This vision and political expediency of unifying the empire led him to make Christianity the official religion of Rome. Church and State merged. At this point, Satan began to sow false doctrine into the Church. It was not difficult for the Roman priests of the cult of Mother-Child to adapt their system to the Madonna-Child system. With a slight adjustment, they could continue without interruption. All they had to do was add the holy water sacraments and other trappings of the satanic religion to the simple Gospel, and the priests had it made. The Church became worldly, paganized and lifeless.
For three hundred years, Satan had brought the full power of Rome against Jesus’ Church that began at Pentecost. The persecutions were fierce and awful. Yet, for every believer who died at the hand of Satan’s men, more believers arose to take his place. It was obviously the wrong tactic. The use of force was like kicking a bonfire to extinguish it. Persecution actually caused the Christian movement to spread. In time, Satan realized that approach was futile. Persecution separated the tares from the wheat. Therefore, he began to sow tares among the wheat in fulfillment of prophecy (The Parables of Matthew 13 and the Churches of Revelation 2-3 depict the course of history from Pentecost to the Second Coming of Christ on page 14).
In 800 A.D., Charlemagne was the first to be crowned as the “Holy Roman Emperor.” The Holy Roman Empire was founded in 962 A.D., when Otto I was crowned by Pope John XII. The Dark Ages under Roman Catholicism was broken by the Protestant Reformation led by Martin Luther in 1517 A.D. Suddenly, Satan suffered a set back. Large numbers of believers were free to read the Bible and worship God as they pleased. Yet, few bothered to do so. Millions remained with the Roman Catholic Church. The result was a large mass of idle believers, with a few professional clergymen trying to do all the work of the Lord. Instead of a single church, numerous denominations emerged bulging with wheat and tares mingled together.
In A.D. 1948, Israel was declared a nation and within Protestantism, the first assembly of the World Council of Churches met in Amsterdam, Holland. What was the assembly’s purpose? They wanted to bring together two separate streams with an ecumenical movement—Catholics and Protestants.
Catholicism and Protestantism have existed side by side for around 490 years. Will the unsaved of Catholicism and Protestantism combine to form the end time religion when the true Church is raptured? Will a mystical religion of the New Age movement arise to world prominence? At the end of the age, masses will “sign up” and flock to the ecumenical church of the False Prophet and the Beast.
Certainly, there will be a Pope like figure, who is the False Prophet (Roman Catholic or otherwise), of the last days and he will crown the Antichrist as the Holy Roman Emperor of the Revived Roman Empire, which will be glued together by religion and economics. The events of the past are a foreshadowing of the future. History is doomed to repeat itself!
Ecclesiastical Babylon is more than Roman Catholicism. It is an amalgamation of all religions. It is the residue of what is left after the true Church is raptured—a composite religion of error and idolatry brought together under the False Prophet. The key to Babylonian worship is the exaltation of the individual “to become like god” by means of initiation, secret rituals and Gnostic knowledge of God—like a new age cult.
Paul tells why the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godless and wickedness in Romans 1:8-32. Verse 25 literally reads:
They exchanged the truth of God for THE LIE, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen (Romans 1:25; capital letters added).