In the book of Revelation, chapter 17, we find yet more clues as to who the "great whore" of Bible prophecy is. But in addition to that, there is in this chapter a great parallel involving the word "mystery" that must be considered, because it will explain the origin of Mariology (the body of belief, doctrine, and opinion concerning the Virgin Mary), and how it crept into the Christian church. The first six verses of the chapter read: "And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wildemess: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration." (Rev. 17:1-6).
One historian, Alexander Hislop, the author of The Two Babylons, spent years researching the connection between ancient Babylon and the papal system of worship. He wrote: "The gigantic system of moral corruption and idolatry described in this passage under the emblem of a woman with a 'golden cup in her hand' (Rev. 17:4) 'making all nations drunk with the wine of her fornication' (Rev. 17:2; 18:3), is divinely called 'MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT' (Rev. 17:5). That Paul's 'Mystery of Iniquity, as described in II Thess. 2:7, has its counterpart in the Church of Rome, no man of candid mind, who has carefully examined the subject, can easily doubt....Now, as the system here described is equally characterized by the name of 'Mystery,' it may be presumed that both passages refer to the same system. But the language applied to the New Testament Babylon, as the reader cannot fail to see, naturally leads us back to the Babylon of the Ancient world. As the Apocalyptic woman has in her hand a cup, wherewith she intoxicates the nations, so was it with the Babylon of old. Of that Babylon, while in all its glory, the Lord thus spake, in denouncing its doom by the prophet Jeremiah: '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.' (Jer. 51:7). Why this exact similarity of language in regard to the two systems? The natural inference surely is, that the one stands to the other in the relation of type and antitype. Now, as the Babylon of the Apocalypse [Revelation 17:5] is characterized by the name of 'Mystery,' so the grand distinguishing feature of the ancient Babylonian system was the Chaldean 'Mysteries,' that formed so essential a part of that [ancient, secret religious] system [that included ceremonies and the worship of certain gods and goddesses]. And to these mysteries, the very language of the Hebrew prophet, symbolical though of course it is, distinctly alludes, when he speaks of Babylon as a 'golden cup.' To drink of 'mysterious beverages,'...was indispensable on the part of all who sought initiation in these Mysteries. These 'mysterious beverages' were composed of 'wine, honey, water, and flour."' (The Two Babylons, pp. 4, 5). Just as this "mysterious beverage" had an intoxicating nature, so it is with the "Mystery of iniquity," who spiritually is "making all nations drunk with the wine [her intoxicating and mysterious doctrines] of her fornication."
"The Chaldean Mysteries can be traced up to the days of Semiramis...that beautiful but abandoned queen of Babylon...the great 'Mother' of the gods...the Mother of all impurity,...[the one who] raised the very city where she had reigned...as the grand seat...of idolatry and consecrated prostitution. Thus was this Chaldean queen a fit and remarkable prototype of the "Woman" in the Apocalypse, with the golden cup in her hand, and the name on her forehead, 'Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.' The apocalyptic emblem of the Harlot woman with the cup in her hand was even embodied in the symbols of idolatry derived from ancient Babylon, as they were exhibited in Greece...and it is singular that in our own day, and so far as appears for the first time, the Roman Church has actually taken this very symbol as her own chosen emblem. In 1825...Pope Leo XII, struck a medal, bearing on the one side his own image, and on the other, that of the Church of Rome symbolized as a 'Woman,' holding in her left hand a cross, and in her right hand a cup, with the legend around her, 'Sedet super universum,' 'The whole world is her seat.'
"....It was a matter, therefore, of necessity, if idolatry were to be brought in, and especially such foul idolatry as the Babylonian system...that it should be done stealthily and in secret....The priests were the only depositories of religious knowledge; they only had the true tradition, by which the writs and symbols of the public religion could be interpreted; and without blind and implicit submission to them, what was necessary for salvation could not be known. Now compare this to the history of the Papacy, and with its spirit and modus operandi throughout, and how exact was the coincidence! Was it in a period of patriarchal light that the corrupt system of the Babylonian 'Mysteries' began? It was in a period of still greater light that that unholy and unscriptural system commenced, that has found such rank development in the Church of Rome. It began in the very age of the apostles, when the primitive Church was in its flower, when the glorious fruits of Pentecost were everywhere to be seen, when martyrs were sealing their testimony for the truth with their blood. Even then, when the Gospel shone so brightly, the Spirit of God bore this clear and distinct testimony by Paul: 'The mystery of iniquity doth already work.' (2.Thess. 2:7). That system of iniquity...in due time would be awfully 'revealed,' and would continue until it should be destroyed 'by the breath of the Lord's mouth, and consumed by the brightness of his coming.' (Ibid., v. 8). But at its first introduction into the Church, it came in secretly and by stealth, with 'all deceivableness of unrighteousness.' It wrought 'mysteriously' under fair but false pretenses, leading men away from the simplicity of the truth as it is in Jesus. And it did so secretly, for the very same reason that idolatry was secretly introduced in the ancient Mysteries of Babylon; it was not safe, it was not prudent to do otherwise. The zeal of the true Church, though destitute of civil power, would have aroused itself, to put the false system and all its abettors beyond the pale of Christianity, if it had appeared openly and all at once in all its grossness; and this would have arrested its progress. Therefore it was brought in secretly, and by little and Little, one corruption being introduced after another, as apostasy proceeded, and the backsliding Church became prepared to tolerate it, till it has reached the gigantic height we now see.,.the system of the Papacy.
"....Craftily and gradually did Rome lay the foundation of its system of priestcraft, on which it was afterwards to rear so vast a superstructure. At its commencement, 'MysteIy' was stamped upon its system....The clerical power of the Roman priesthood culminated in the erection of the confessional. That confessional was itself borrowed from Babylon....The dictate of Scripture in regard to confession is, 'Confess your faults one to another' (James 5:16), which implies that the priest should confess to the people, as well as the people to the priest, if either should sin against the other...Rome, leaving the Word of God, has had recourse to the Babylonian system. In that system, secret confession to the priest, according to a prescribed form, was required of all who were admitted to the 'Mysteries'....Now, this confession is made by every individual, in secrecy and in solitude, to the priest [on pain of perdition] sitting in the name and clothed with the authority of God, invested with the power to examine the conscience, to judge the life, to absolve or condemn according to his mere arbitrary will and pleasure....Without such confession, in the Church of Rome, there can be no admission to the Sacraments, any more than in the days of Paganism there could be admission without confession to the benefit of the Mysteries....This is the grand pivot on which the whole 'Mystery of Iniquity,' as embodied in the Papacy, is made to turn; and wherever it is submitted to, admirably does it serve the design of binding men in abject submission to the priesthood:' (The Two Babylons, pp. 5-11). [No wonder the counterfeit Virgin Mary told the visionaries who saw her in Medjugorje the following: "One must invite people to go to Confession each month....Monthly Confession will be a remedy for the Church in the West. One must convey this message to the West!" (The Thunder of Justice, p. 198)].
"In conformity with the principle out of which the confessional grew, the Church, that is, the clergy, claimed to be the sole depositories of the true faith of Christianity. As the Chaldean priests were believed alone to possess the key to the understanding of the Mythology of Babylon, a key handed down to them from primeval antiquity, so the priests of Rome set [themselves] up to be the sole interpreters of Scripture...They, therefore, require implicit faith in their dogmas; all men were bound to believe as the Church believed, while the Church in this way could shape its faith as it pleased.... In every respect, then, we see how justly Rome bears on its forehead the name, 'Mystery, Babylon the Great.'" (The Two Babylons, p. 11).
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