1. THE RELIGIOUS INFLUENCE OF BABYLON

The beast that rose up from the sea previously identified is called Babylon in the Book of Revelation. What does this name really mean? Today, Babylon is a pile of ruins just as God prophesied through Jeremiah (Jer 51:37). The remains of ancient Babylon are hardly a threat to anyone today. If we are to understand why God calls the beast Babylon several times in the Book of Revelation, you first have to understand biblical terminology. In Romans 9:6-7 we can read,

“Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children.”

What Paul explains here Christ also explained when He conversed with the Scribes and Pharisees,

I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Christ saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham” .

(John 8: 37-39)

It is not hard to understand what Paul and Christ are trying to say here. God looks on mans works, and from this He determines what family he belongs to. So when God calls the beast coming out of the sea Babylon, it is because this power is similar to Babylon in it’s spirit, works and structure. The beasts in the book of Daniel show us Babylon’s successors until the end of time. The last transference of Babylon’s spirit is to the Roman Empire, and then to the Little Horn which lasts until the end of time. How then does the papacy compare to Babylon? Let us first understand what the works of Babylon are.

God’s people and the falling away.

The Creator, the God of the Bible, inspires the foundation for the majority of religions today. There are many different types of Jewish communities, and several different Muslim communities, as well as hundreds of different Christian denominations. Despite the fact that they all share the God of Abraham as their God, they all disagree over what He stands for and who His spokesmen are and are not. So who is it that truly represents the Creator, and who are deceived? The dispute as to who is revealing the truth over God didn’t start with Christ or Mohammed, or by the different church denominations, nor did it start among the different Jewish communities. By tracing back to how and when it all started it is easy to discover who is representing the truth today. According to the Bible man was in close contact with a visible Lord. It is written that He came personally to converse with the first generation. There was harmony between God and man and therefore no reason to separate Himself from them. After sin entered the world and man became rebellious against God’s law, and against the law of nature, and grew evil toward one another, God sent a flood over the entire planet. Only one man and his family were saved by an ark that God commanded them to build. All mankind came from this one family. Ever since Adam and Eve had sinned, a promise for a Substitute was given to mankind. As a reminder of this, they were given the sacrificial system. So it was Noah who must have known God’s truth and been faithful and obedient to Him. The story of the world’s beginning, the flood and the Saviour to come, was therefore something Noah had taught his children and grandchildren. As God chose Noah, we can be sure that under him, the truth was pure and unadulterated at this early stage.

Noah’s Ark landed in the land RRT, which is the Urartu area in eastern Turkey, translated as Ararat in most Bibles. According to the Bible the population started here. Archaeology agrees with the Bible,

It is well known that some of the world’s oldest farming communities lie to the north of Babylonia, within the mountainous regions of Iran, Iraq, the Levant and Turkey”.

(Joan Oates, Babylon, Thames and Hudson, p.14)

Precisely in the area south of Urartu (or Ararat). All mankind came from Noah’s family and the early generations knew about the flood. If the Bible tells the truth, Noah’s experience should be widely acknowl-edged among communities around the world, and not just in the Middle East.

Knowledge of how the old world was destroyed in the flood with only a few people saved, is preserved in legends among various races in different parts of the world. In the Norwegian book, “De Flutsagen Ethnographisch Betrachtet” the author R. Andree mentions no less than 88 local versions of the story of the flood, from different races in different parts of the world, even the islands in the Pacific” (Alpha and Omega, vol. 1, p78).

Nimrod and his successors. According to the Bible Noah lived for 350 years after the flood. He lived to see his grandchildren, his great grandchildren and his great, great grandchildren. One of Noah’s grandchildren was called Nimrod who “began to be a mighty one in the earth”. According to the Bible he built the first cities after the flood; Babel, Erech, Accad, Calneh, Nineveh, Rehoboth, Calah, and Resen. Some of them have been identified by archaeologists today, while others have not been found. Therefore we know that the first city of Babel was in the same area as the latter Babylon – the area of Mesopotamia. Experts agree,

Mesopotamia, with its exceptional agricultural potential but its lack of natural resources, was a positive stimulus. Although certainly not the only one, towards the growth of the world’s first cities”

Joan Oates, Babylon, Thames and Hudson, p14.

Several discoveries indicate that civilisation started in the same area as the Bible records. Archaeologists agree that the area between the two rivers (which the word Mesopotamia actually means) south of eastern Turkey is where writing was first created and put into use.

“Writing was invented in Mesopotamia as a
method of book-keeping. The earliest texts known are lists of livestock and agri-cultural equipment. These come from the city of Uruk (Biblical Erech), from an archaeological stratum designated by the excavators as Uruk IV (c.3100 BC)”

Joan Oates, Babylon, Thames and Hudson, p.15

Ancient Mesopotamia was the home of some of the world’s earliest cities, and the place where writing was invented. For these two major developments alone – urban society and literate society – it might justly be titled the ‘cradle of civilisation’, but in its literature, its religious philosophies and no less in its art it can also be placed firmly as the direct ancestor of the Western world”


(Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia, An Illustrated Dictionary, Jeremy Black and Anthony Green, The British Museum Press, 1992, p.7).

Nimrod, Noah’s grandchild, whom the Bible says built many of these cities, is described as “the mighty hunter before the Lord”. The original Hebrew text here uses a word which literally means “in opposition to”.

“Arabic texts tell us that he claimed to have seen a golden crown in the sky and that he took it and put it on his head and then demanded to control this world in the name of the sun.”

(Babylon the Great Whore, by Torkild Terkelsen).

With Nimrod came the first great falling away from God’s truth, even though he claimed to have been chosen by the gods. When the Tower of Babel was built, “…they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach to heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad on the face of the whole earth.” (Gen 11:4). The God of the Bible claims He did not approve of this movement, and to avoid the world’s first centralisation of power, He confused their languages so that they could no longer work together and they dispersed around the world. God had not crowned Nimrod and He never chose anyone to have soul dominion upon earth. It had not been given to any man to control the world as if he was God, or God’s representative. God’s plan was of a different nature, His work was not to be left to human hands. Even so, the people of Mesopotamia and the surrounding nations, followed in the same footsteps as Nimrod, and copied his pattern of rule, by claiming that the gods had granted each king his kingship.


“Later written sources tell us that all authority derived from the gods, and all individuals whom we would classify by their functions as “religious” or “secular” officials acted alike as the servants of their divine overlord.”

(Joan Oates, Babylon, Thames and Hudson, p.25)

Mesopotamia had the first state religion as there was no separation between religion and state. This method of rule was subsequently adopted by Babylon. Religion was completely merged with the instruments of power, law, and daily life. The record of the flood and the man who survived it with his family was a famous historical document in Babylon. Several details from the biblical record of Noah’s experience are also mentioned on these tablets found in northern Mesopotamia. One of these tablets can be seen in the British Museum in London today.
Even though archaeologists have not found Nimrod’s true name in Mesopotamia, according to the Bible he was a leader at the birth of civilisation in Mesopotamia. Early sources reveal a little about how kingship was declared,

“According to Mesopotamian tradition, embodied in the Sumerian King-List, kingship descended from heavan after the legendary flood and was then held by a number of cities, each taking its turn as the seat of royal authority and, by implication, exercising hegemony over the whole country.”

(Joan Oates, Babylon, Thames and Hudson, p.27)

In other words, Nimrod and his successors claimed that the supreme God had entrusted them to reveal His will and to reveal the truth after the flood – that they were chosen of God and represented His will. Archaeological discoveries to date, reveal that the Babylonian king Sargon had a grandchild called Naram-Sin who was one of the first who gave himself honour as if he was divine himself.

“Naram-Sin adobted a style previously the exclusive prerogative of the gods. On his own inscriptions his name appears preceded by the determinative for “divinity”, that is, the cuniform sign “god” normally written before the name of a god”. The language in texts dedicated to him is even less reserved, and in these his “servants” address him not merely as divine but literally as ‘god of Agade‘.”

(Joan Oates, Babylon, From Sargon to Hammurapi, Thames and Hudson, p.41)

Ancient illustrations of Naran-Sin, show him wearing a two horned helmet which subsequently became a symbol of lower ranking gods, for example, “God’s companion” (Ibid p41). Even though the different emperors throughout time did not always exalt themselves in the same manner, they all claimed to be God’s representative. But according to the Bible, God had not chosen these people, but choose a simple man who lived in Mesopotamia (Acts 7:2) as he had remained faithful to God’s truth despite being surrounded by apostasy. God did not chose him as His substitute or as a world ruler. The man God chose was called Abram, who was later renamed Abraham. God asked Abraham to leave the area of Mesopotamia and travel to a country God would give to him and his ancestors. The whole world adopted the Babylonian view of God and their mythological version of the fall of man and the war in heaven. So God wanted to choose a people to preserve His truth. But God would still allow the lies to spread among those who did not love the truth. Abraham was to inherit a country where his future generations could be a light in the dark. God renewed His promise of a Saviour to come from the seed of Abraham, the same promise that was given to Adam. Having faith in God’s promises, Abraham left his friends and family and jour-neyed from his home town Ur, in Mesopotamia, towards Canaan (which is now Israel). There were now two great contrasts; Abraham and the exalted kings of Mesopo-tamia, both who claimed to represent the same God; He who created the Earth and later allowed a world wide flood. Who was telling the truth? Even though the easiest choice in the time of Abraham would be to believe and follow the grand kings of Mesopotamia rather than a simple nomad, today it is commonly understood who God really chose. The Bible prophesied of Babylon, “And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwelling place for dragons, an astonish-ment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant” (Jer 51:37). The passing of time determined that the God of Noah was now with Abraham, and not with Nimrod and his successors. Therefore we can see that the God of Abraham and His holy Bible is a guide-line as to who God is with and what is His will. It is important to remember that when the languages were confused, the name of God also took on many different pronounciations. The same happened to the name of Noah and his family. The promise given to Noah of a Saviour was well known. Time after time various men claimed to be that Saviour who was to be born of a virgin. A star sign has been named after the virgin which was originally a woman with a branch in her hand. It was common then to sculpture statues of a woman with a child. The woman was worshipped as divine and usually called the “Queen of Heaven” (Jer 44:17). In addition to worshipping the Queen of Heaven the characters of good and evil angels from the war in heaven were made mytholigical and were spoken of as gods. As God had not revealed every detail of the war in heaven (which later spread to earth), speculation and myth crept in due to man’s constant desire to explain everything at all times.

Myths were also fabricated to strengthen the position and power of kings. Fanciful stories inspired a new direction in worship. Some of these myths are found in tablets from Mesopotamia and contain a mixture of elements found in the Bible, with elements that contradict the Bible. For example, the Babylonian ruler Gilgamesh records how he travelled to see the man who had survived the flood, while he adds to the story that Ishtaar (the Babylonian goddess) made advances towards him, and other stories of his dangerous journey to visit the man we know as Noah (Mesopotamian Myths, the British Museum Press). One of the reasons that you can safely assert that the Babylonian myths cannot be true is that they often contradict each other.

“As might be expected from such a broad field, they display very considerable variety, and in many cases there are several different versions of a narrative, originating from different localities or in different periods, some of which directly contradict other versions.”

(Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia, Jeremy Black and Anthony Green, The British Museum Press, 1992, p.14)

Not surprisingly, the same concept is used today. A true story is only based on the actual event. Artistic license allows ample room to add or take away finer details from the actual event. Hollywood has produced movies about a historic event, but have added themes, characters, dialogue etc. that they never claim to be historically accurate. It is simply understood by the audience that the movie is based on a true story. To create stories has always been man’s passion. We have fictitious novels and movies, and people act out stories based around history with authentic place names and historical events. Many authors thoroughly study the time period to authenticate the setting of their fiction. Details of the food they ate, the clothes they wore, how they laboured and the political climate is incorporated into the fictitious story. The more realistic the story is and the more facts used, the more praise and recognition the movie or novel gets. This happens today and has happened in times past. Not only in Mesopotamia, but the Greeks loved theatre and mythology based on their gods. The Egyptian empire and the Roman empire, in South America and in Asia, the same is found throughout the ancient world. When man was separated after the Tower of Babel, most people had an understanding of the war in heaven, the fall of man and the flood, but when writing about these events, they added to their stories according to their own traditions. This also happened after the time of Christ. For many years the Bible was known as the book which testified to the life of Christ, but today certain denominations have added to the story, based on their own understanding. Some claim that Christ went to America to minister to the native Americans after He died on the cross, others have created myths about Christ going to hell, where as well as dying for man, He also suffered in hell for us. Few have acknowledged what the Bible actually says Christ really did after His resurrection; He became our High Priest in the sanctuary in heaven.When we dig for truth amongst an array of claims and counter-claims, we need to understand that some writers have added fiction to fact. The kings of Babylon who claimed they were God’s chosen ones, continued to create myths that exalted their kingdom. They created temples, and images and statues of mythological and divine figures. They fabricated religious ceremonies and rituals. When the God of the Bible is angered at Babylon, He is also angered at the tremendous corruption that has infiltrated God’s truth. They also initiated “the way of the heathen”, which in many ways was the total opposite of what God stood for and wanted for His people. Babylon was not a lawless society. The discovery of the law of Hammurabi reveals to us the laws of Babylon. The law proclaims punishment for various social crimes. One of the first laws found by archaeologists is from Ur-Nammu, also in Mesopotamia. The forerunner to money also originated in Mesopotamia,

“silver served too as a medium of account, thus already fulfilling all the classical functions of money. Long lists of commodities valued in silver provide the earliest ‘price index’ for the staples of Mesopotamian life”

(Joan Oates, Babylon, From Sargon to Hammurapi, Thames and Hudson, p.44-45)

Babylon also had public schools, restaurants, and controlled trade. They had laws for equality between men and women, and they imposed fines for petty crimes and several other concepts that we practice today (Ibid p45).

The Centre of the Old World

Although it enjoyed rich farmland, the land between “the two rivers” or Mesopotamia, was a country with few resources. This is why Babylon was so dependent on trading with other countries.

Babylonia, though potentially rich in agricultural products, lacked such essential commodities as stone, timber and metal ores… For this reason trade was of crucial importance, and at an early period an extensive network of routes grew up linking Babylonia with the rest of the Near East.”

(Joan Oates, Babylon, Thames and Hudson, Introduction p.11)

Not only due to their dependence on trade, but also because their land was in the middle from where man spread eastward and westward,

“Not only did Babylon lie within that small area of Mesopotamia where its two great rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, approach most closely to each other, but its situation at the notheren end of the alluvial plain gave it potential control of two of the most famous roads in the ancient world… The advantages of this situation, both commercial and military, were fully appreciated and exploited by a succession of Mesopotamian dynasties and undoubtedly dictated the establishment, within 80 km of one another, of ‘the most remarkable sequence of historic capitals in the world’.”

(Ibid, p.10)

Controlling the most strategic areas in ancient times and due to their trade with other countries, Mesopotamia ended up having strong influences upon all of civilisation at that time. It was for this reason, as well as the dispersion from the Tower of Babel, that Babylonian mythology spread far and wide and was adopted throughout the entire Middle East, and from there to European countries.

Later and almost certainly apocryphal tradition attributes to Babylon an early importance as a religious centre.”

(Joan Oates, The Old Babylonian Period, Thames and Hudson, p.60)

Perhaps the most important role of the Hurrians in the story of Babylon lies in the part they played as intermediaries in the transmission of Babylonian culture to the Hittites, to the Palestinians and Phoenicians, and indirectly, to Greece and the western world.” (Ibid, p.87)

Yet the Kassites ruled a unified Babylonia far longer than any other Mesopotamian dynasty, and the emergence of Babylon as the political and cultural centre of the ancient world took place under their aegis” (Ibid, p.101).

At its greatest extent, the influence of Mesopotamian civilisation could be felt as far away as modern Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, Turkey, Cyprus and Greece; there were also commercial connections with the Indus Valley (Pakistan).”

(Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia, Jeremy Black and Anthony Green, The British Museum Press, 1992 p.11).

Israel

Abraham had received God’s promises and moved from Mesopotamia, where according to the Bible, his entire family had been influenced by pagan worship. The land that God had promised him was not actually claimed until several generations later. The delay occurred because God wanted to grant the native population as much time as possible to turn back from their apostasy and their wicked way of life. Eventually though, Abraham and his sons Isaac and Jacob, lived with their families in the land they had been promised as witnesses to the inhabitants. But the people continued to practice their idolatrous worship, inspired by Mesopotamia, which included violent, sexual rituals and child sacrifices to the gods. Due to famine in the land, Abraham’s descendants moved to Egypt where they ended up as slaves under Pharaoh. God finally led them from Egypt back to Canaan (the land Abraham had been promised) because the time of probation for the inhabitants of Canaan was over. Israel conquered the country after receiving God’s moral, ceremonial and judicial laws. God chose Abraham and not the king of Babylon to preserve the truth and reveal His character. The Ten Commandments were the moral law given to Israel at Mount Sinai, and were to separate God’s truth from all the pagan religions. They were asked not to have other gods; there was only one God and He was the only One they were to worship. No queen of heaven, no prayers, and no sacrificing or worshipping the dead the way the pagans did. They were only to sacrifice, pray to and worship the true God. The law was not new, God just confirmed it in writing. Abraham had kept God’s commandments and had not prayed to any other gods; only the one true God. Another commandment God asked of them was to not make any graven images of anything in heaven, on earth or in the sea. Nor were they to even worship in front of images,

“Take you therefore good heed to yourselves; for you saw no
manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spoke to you in Horeb out of the middle of the fire: Lest you corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female”

(Deut 4:15-16).

This was difficult for Israel to understand and adjust to, as all people from all nations worshipped their gods before statues or images of their gods. But God had asked them not to make an image of Him or of anyone else, and not to worship in front of it. But Israel went through a falling away. The Bible tells us that they adopted Babylonian gods in the same way as the surrounding nations. Even the famous king Solomon built altars for the goddess of Astarte. Israel did not reject their belief in their God, but they rejected His commandments and added pagan practices to their worship. The first time they made an idolatrous image was the golden calf at Mount Sinai. They claimed that they had made an image of the true God, but God did not want them to do this as it would lead to mythology. The God of the Bible says,

To whom will you liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like? They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he makes it a god: they fall down, yes, they worship. They bear him on the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he stands; from his place shall he not remove: yes, one shall cry to him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble. Remember this, and show yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O you transgressors” .

(Isaiah 46:5-8)

He also said to them,

“Hear you this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the LORD, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness”

(Isaiah 48:1).

Just as Babylon had claimed to serve the God who created Earth, fabricating their own version of truth and their own method of worship, so too did Israel when they claimed to serve God, but rejected His commandments and His will. God did not want to be worshipped falsely or be intermingled with mythological fables about a so-called queen of heaven, or any other god. It was for this purpose that God had chosen Israel, so they could represent Him correctly and so He could give them a blessed, rich and full life.
Instead the idolatrous worship made them monstrous where they even sacrificed their infants, in the fire of Molech (a Babylonian god), as a pagan ritual. Because Israel flirted with the religious mentality of Babylon, God allowed their temple to be destroyed, Jerusalem to be conquered, and the people to be taken away captive to the very place they idolised – Babylon. God gave them over to their seducers because of their unfaithfulness, yet He was still hoping to reach them while they were in exile. God wanted them to understand that He could not bless the path they had taken but He wanted to help them, and wanted to choose them again if they would only turn from their ways and seek Him. For seventy years they were in captivity in Babylon before they returned and started rebuilding the Temple and the city. Even though Israel continued some of the pagan practices, their loss of freedom aroused an interest in their national identity. They remembered their days of freedom prior to when they copied the surrounding nations. They had preserved the books of the Bible that are now the Old Testament, and again sought to follow it as their guideline. All the in-fighting and their grievances with God were recorded. All the words God had spoken to guide them and show them the truth were opened before them, and the God of the Bible was in such contrast to the gods the pagans claimed were the creators. The first four commandments revealed the God of Israel, how He did and did not want to be worshipped. These commandments would expose who was truly serving Him and who corrupted His name with lies. But the story does not end there. The Saviour, or Messiah that they had been promised was still to come from Abraham’s lineage, in the days when Israel would be subject to the Roman Empire. As prophesied, the Saviour was also to be a blessing to the gentiles, hence the gospel was to be spread to the entire world – a world already deeply rooted in generations of Babylonian paganism. Just as when Noah revealed truth to his descendants and subsequently falsehood emerged, the same would happen when Christ came to reveal truth concerning God. As the Son of God He was to represent God and portray Him to the world. However, as always, truth was threatened with lies, myths and fables. Christ warned against this and He and His disciples announced that there would be a falling away amongst the Christians, that there would be a false gospel, that false leaders would claim authority in His name, and even among themselves men would rise up with false teaching and try and deceive them. Even though Christ had chosen the Jews for generations with the true word of God and His law, there were no guarantees that they would not contaminate the truth of the gospel. So Christ appointed the Jews to spread the gospel to the gen-tiles, and while they were to tell people of the Saviour they were also to teach the heathen who God really is and how to worship Him correctly. 2000 years have passed and everything Christ and the disciples prophesied would happen amongst the faithful, has now happened. Today we have many different faiths, different teachings and we have to dig deep to find the truth. The Bible warns us again against Babylon and asks those who want to serve Him to “come out of her”. The Bible has already prophesied that Babylon would never be inhabited again. Indeed there is no one in literal Babylon today, so it must be referring to Babylon’s religion, mentality and false teaching that has survived and deceived people for thousands of years. Now Babylon has again led the people of God (those that accepted the Messiah) into falsehood and deceit, which is why God pleaded for them to “come out of her”. At one time God called Abraham to come out from the false teaching that had spread amongst Noah’s descendants, later He called an entire people to leave, and now there is that calling to the Christians. To understand what the false teaching of Babylon is, we need to go back to Babylon and take a closer look at it’s religion and the nature of it’s kingdom. Then we can discover if we have mixed Babylonian teaching with the truth and thereby misrepresented God to others – as well as ourselves.

The Religion of Babylon

Although not every detail has been discovered regarding Babylon, and there remain many anomalies in our understanding, several things have been made known. We also know the Greeks passed on, and even added to the myths of the Babylonian kings and gods. Much of the Babylonian religion is familiar to us today, because Babylon has had an immense influence on many religious traditions to this very day. Sur-prisingly, it is neither atheism nor humanism that have absorbed the spirit of Babylon; it is in fact Christianity! Throughout the years the spirit of Babylon has infiltrated generation after generation with its false understanding of God. Those who bore the torch of Babylon were the Greeks, and from them to the Romans, and from the Roman emperors to their successors, the papacy. The Roman Catholic Church carries the torch to this very day and is the world’s largest congregation.

The Rulers of the Heathen

As we already mentioned, according to the Sumerian line of kings (one of the first dynasties in Babylon), the kings were considered specially chosen by the gods to be rulers on the earth after the flood. The kings were exalted, often as divine, and at other times as the earthly representative of the gods. The people knew that sin had entered the world and there had been a flood but they were then diverted away from the God of Noah. They added their own myths and fables, exalted man and claimed it was permitted to pray to other exalted characters.The Mesopotamian kings did not just claim to be rulers over the people, but the entire world. Several of them titled themselves “king of the four quarters of the world”. Among those who adopted such titles were Naram-Sin and Hummurapi. (Joan Oates, Babylon, Thames and Hudson, p35). State and religion, priests and state representatives were merged together, where the divinely ordained king was also the high priest. This pagan structure was not only used in Mesopotamia, but in all countries that Babylon had inspired. This method of rule prevailed from the Egyptian Pharaohs to the nations of South America; in the Middle East and subsequently in the Roman empire. By calling themselves god’s representatives on earth, they could authorise laws and dictate mans religious development, and all this while dominating the people with the strong arm of the law. As with Babylon, the Roman empire was the epicenter of empirical power during its prime. The emperor was entitled “Supreme High Priest, PONTIFEX MAXIMUS, and The Spiritual Father of the People”. As the emperor and supposedly God’s chosen representative, it was he who decided what was holy or unholy, what was of God and what was not.

It must be understood that a public place can only become sacred if the emperor has dedicated it or has granted the power of dedicating it.”

(Roman Religion, Clifford Ando, 2003, p.247)

The central question before us might seem to be one of power… who was a god, and who was not? Thus stated, the question seems to lead inexorably to an old-fashioned view of Roman religion as legalistic, as granting power to mortals to dictate to their gods”

(Ibid p.8)

Religion was so inextricably linked to the emperor’s power over people and the kingdom, that in Babylon the new kings (who conquered the land) converted to the Babylonian religion in order to be seen as God’s representative and gain the loyalty of the people. Other kings in Babylon fabricated myths or took the name of former heroes, so they could be acknowledged as their successors. They became dependent upon convincing the people that they were ordained of God, as the means of retaining their throne (Joan Oates, Babylon, Thames and Hudson, p.86 & 103). Equally, the Roman empire’s political power was dependent upon her subjects religious convictions. When people became less religious, the situation became critical for the emperors.

Roman religion was in good health and held in high esteem to the extent that it was linked to politics and the political.”

(Roman Religion, Clifford Ando, 2003, p.118)

“There is certainly no question that myth was used for political ends, and that new myths were written in a political climate.”

(Ibid)

This is why it is often tempting to treat the myth as a work of art sufficient in itself, a literary or figurative work… which refers to other myths, but not to the cult in anything more than an artificial manner”

(Ibid, p.119, 120).

The Messiah whom God sent to teach the truth, made a comment regarding this heathen style of leadership. It was the Roman empire which ruled the Middle East where Christ was when He said to His disciples,

The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority on them are called benefactors. But you shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that does serve. For whether is greater, he that sits at meat, or he that serves? is not he that sits at meat? but I am among you as he that serves” .

(Luke 22:25-27)

Christ did not come to win man by glamour or by force. He came to tell the truth. In contrast to the heathen version of God, Christ came to show a completely different spirit, and He clearly showed His disciples that He expected them to continue to spread the gospel in the same manner. The Book of Matthew records Christ as saying,

“You know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority on them. But it shall not be so among you: but whoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” .

(Matt 20:25-28)

Christ’s words were an indi-rect rebuke to the Roman structure, and all other nations who followed in the footsteps of Babylon.Israel also had kings as did the heathen, but it was never God’s plan for earthly kings to rule in God’s stead. It was Israel themselves who asked to have a king. To Samuel, the last judge of Israel, they said, “Behold, you are old, and your sons walk not in your ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations”. When Samuel heard this, he petitioned God as to what he should do, and he received this answer, “And the LORD said to Samuel, Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you: for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, with which they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also to you. Now therefore listen to their voice: however, yet protest solemnly to them, and show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them”. Samuel then warns them against their decision to request a king like the heathen nations, “Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, No; but we will have a king over us” (1 Samuel 8:5, 7-9, 19). Most of the kings of Israel led Israel into apostasy with only a few kings seeking to do God’s will. Christ prophesied of Jerusalem,

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is left to you desolate. For I say to you, You shall not see me from now on, till you shall say, Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord”

(Matt 23:37-39).

Jerusalem was indeed subsequently conquered and left in ruins in 70AD by the Roman empire, and the Jewish nation lost their royal seat for ever.

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