Mystery Babylon

nebuchadnezzar-2The Mystery Religions

Babylon’s Demise and Rebirth

Recently I have been taking a course on the internet to improve my writing skills. The first lesson was about making things personal and emotional, something we strive not to do. Theology is supposed to be cold and analytical. The emotional response is supposed to come from the leading of the Holy Spirit and not by any emotional manipulation from the writer.

Anyway the opening here is my attempt at such a style. I doubt I will repeat it, and I was unable to express how upset and distressed I was at the time.

When I was in high school. I became greatly interested in the Bible and what it meant. Prophecy was one of those areas that made no sense to me. So when one of the slightly older young persons came back from Bible College offered a course on prophecy using the Late Great Planet Earth as his teaching text, I was all in. Our pastor was in the room agreeing with everything that was taught. I found it all very exciting. We were learning secret knowledge that was hidden in the Bible. However my expectation were of a more complete understanding. What was taught was quit confusing as we kept hopping all over the Bible in a way that we had previously been taught was the way cults teach. They kept connecting passages that I could not understand how they were connected.

During one of these lessons the young man who was teaching the class said something I thought odd. He said, “If we only knew what the Babylonian Mystery Religion was, we would know what to look for.” I thought to myself, why don’t we know what the Babylonian Mystery is? When I got home that night I went to my parent’s Encyclopedia Brittanica pulled out the Index and looked it up. It said, “see Mystery Religions”. Now I was really curious. So I turned to Mystery Religions and found columns of articles. Obviously my pastor and the young man had not availed themselves of an Encyclopedia. I sat and read these articles one after another till bed time, after which I decided that the pastor and this young man were idiots. Anyone with an Encyclopedia knows exactly what the Babylonian Mystery Religion was and is.

The History

Many centuries have passed since Nebuchadnezzar ruled Babylon. Long ago the city became a desolation. During the reign of Antiochus I the city was officially depopulated when in 275BC the inhabitants were transported to Seleucia. So by the time of John’s writing the Revelation (ca. 96-98AD), Babylon itself had long been an abandoned waste.

19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the splendor and pride of the Chaldeans, will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them. 20 It will never be inhabited or dwelt in for all generations; no Arab will pitch his tent there, no shepherds will make their flocks lie down there. Is. 13:19-20

The Babylon in The Revelation is therefore symbolic for several reasons. First of all, ancient Babylon has laid in continuous ruin for approximately 2250+ years.  The Revelation makes references the outer purple and scarlet clothing of the priests serving in the Temple. This is a further indication of the woman’s or church’s symbolic religious wickedness. Her name and her action are described as the Babylonian mystery religion. In John’s day, this religious abomination was centered in Rome.

 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and bedecked with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication;  5 and on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of harlots and of earth’s abominations.”  6 And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. Rev. 17:4-6

After the death of Belshazzar the Chaldean priesthood was expelled from Babylon by the Mede-Persian kings. They traveled up the rivers valley and over the mountains finally settling on the Aegean coast in the town of Pergamos. There they established the College of the Pontiffs. The leader of this group was know as the Pontifex.

This title was handed down till at last it was held by Attalus III the last king of Pergamos.

“‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; Rev. 2:13 

Upon his death in 133 BC, he left in his will all his dominions to the Roman peoples. The College of Pontiffs was moved to Rome, and for a time the tile Pontifex was forgotten. However Julius Caesar arranged to be elected Pontifex Maximus, making himself the head of both the Roman State and the Roman Religion. He became the true legitimate Babylonian Pontiff, further taking the title Venus Genetrix meaning that Venus was the mother of the Julian family. He appeared before the Roman people in all the pomp of Babylon wearing the robes of scarlet, with the crosier of Nimrod, the mitre of Dagon, and the keys of Janus and Cybele. So too did all the Emperors after him, until the Christian Emperor Gratian denounced the title as pagan and refused to wear the idolatrous pontifical clothes, and again the title lay forgotten. Until 610 AD. when Boniface III usurped the title Pontifex or Pope.

crosierFYI: Pontifex means bridge builder. Maximus means the highest, greatest, supreme, or sovereign. A crosier is a ceremonial staff carried by a king or bishop or an abbot, hooked at one end like a shepherd’s crook. A mitre is a tall pointed cleft hat originally worn by the priest of Dagon. The keys of Janus and Cybele were changed out and styled as the keys of Peter.emblem_of_vatican_city-svg

The only early church father to use the term Pontifex was Tertullian (c. 160 – c. 225AD) iwho used the title as an insult to any bishop who claimed to supersede any others.

In opposition to this [modesty], could I not have acted the dissembler? I hear that there has even been an edict sent forth, and a peremptory one too. The “Pontifex Maximus,” that is the “bishop of bishops,” issues an edict: “I remit, to such as have discharged [the requirements of] repentance, the sins both of adultery and of fornication.” O edict, on which cannot be inscribed, “Good deed!” … Far, far from Christ’s betrothed be such a proclamation!

Tertullian, On Modesty ch. 1

The Mystery Religions

The Pontifex Maximus was in theory the head of all the mysteries. There were many varied mystery religions, the Eleusinian Mysteries, the Mysteries of Cybele, Mythic Mysteries etc. however they all have a few things in common in the basic structure of their rituals. Once initiated into the mystery a person was given secret knowledge that would guarantee that a person would end up in a good place or reward in the afterlife. To be initiated there was always a blood oath, that insured that the initiate would keep the secrets of the mystery. Then there was a confession in which all crimes were confessed to a priest of the Mystery, whether they be against the gods or men. A communion of sorts was taken in which the drink and/or the cake or bread may have contained opiates or hallucinogens, so that one might better commune with the god. Then there was some kind of ordeal, a maze, or tunnel from which the initiate was born again. The secret information was then imparted and a large party was held. Some of these parties became so notorious that they were banned by the Roman government as they thought them too wild. (It must have been some orgy for the Roman’s to have been offended.)

Although many secret societies have adopted the ritual nature of these mysteries only one stands out as having adopted the full religious meaning of all that was in Babylon, that is the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Rome is many things, but Christian is not one of them, it is Babylonian to its very core. The Pontifex Maximus is openly proclaimed, the College of Pontiffs is now the College of Cardinals, and the rituals of the mysteries have become the sacraments.

The Last Days

shottingstarFor all of church history everyone has thought they lived in the “last days.” However when one actually looks at this phrase in the Text, it really doesn’t mean what we think it means.

The “last days” verse are used over and over without their context to fortify the idea that we are in the “last days” of our time. However if one carefully examines them in their context, they are not speaking to”our times” at all.

‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; Acts 2:17

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. 2 Tim. 3:1  

. . . but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. Heb. 1:2

Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. James 5:3

First of all you must understand this, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own passions 2Pet. 3:3

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How does the Resurrection Work?

The simple case on not understanding God’s Omnipresence.

veterans_cemeteryFrom a small child who has lost his pet to anyone who has lost a loved one the age old question is voiced, “What happens when we die?”

In the case of small children and the bereaved often a simple short answer is all that is needed; many will never ask again.  They are content to live out their lives believing in some very simple, and for some unsatisfactory, even ludicrous conceptions.

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Dispensations, what are they?

mosesThere is a school of hermeneutics called Dispensationalism that teaches there are different times periods in which God works differently with different peoples. Most of these teachers have 7 dispensations, but I have seen as many as 21. However, not all people who teach dispensations are dispensationalist.

We Historicists count 3 dispensations so far.

Please note: We do not believe that God changes the way He is working. We do not believe that His laws have passed away. God does not change but rather His plan is progressively being revealed.

These three dispensations are marked by the fact that they begin with large amounts of information about God’s plans and purposes being revealed along with many miracles. Over time less and less information is given until only a few people are hearing. The period ends with approximately 400 years of silence.

The first one started with Creation to Moses. Pre-Mosaic time with Adam, Noah, and Abraham, and Joseph being the central characters of this dispensation; from Joseph to Moses there was 400 years of silence.

The second dispensation started with Moses and the Law given and ended with the Messiah and the final destruction of The Temple. From Malachi to John the Baptist there was approximately 400 years of silence. Interesting note; Moses was in the wilderness teaching the Law for 40 years and it took 40 years from the time of the Crucifixion to the final destruction of The Temple and with it the Sacrificial Code. Note also the disciples were teaching the Gospel and establishing “The Way”  [Acts 24:14]. By the end of this period all of the disciples were gone,with the exception of John who was still alive.

group-of-pilgrims-jpgThe Third dispensation began with Messiah and continues till this time. This dispensation usually called the Church Age or Kingdom Age.   At the beginning there was a lot of teaching and excitement during the first 400 years, then tapering off, as you can imagine, during the Dark Ages. Occasionally you will note some little guy or group popping up to keep it alive, such as Peter Waldo, John Huss, John Wycliffe, and the Reformers ending approximately with The Pilgrims. Since then we have experienced “the silence”.

We expect that a new dispensation is about to start. So following the format it should be heralded by copious amounts of information and performances of miracles.

It will probably take 40 years to assimilate the new information or teaching and we could really use those miracles as this world is a mess. Whether or not Messiah himself will return to give us this new revelation in God’s plan in the physical or spiritual way we do not know; only time will do the telling.

Speculation is fun but it is all vapor.

PS.  We are pre-millennialist.  However we are aware that there are some of the problems with this view.