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How Today's Religious Customs Began - Installment 10
Plain Truth Magazine
August 1960
Volume: Vol XXV, No.8
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How Today's Religious Customs Began - Installment 10
C Paul Meredith   
Church of God

Born: 1905
Died: 1968
Member Since: 1951
Ordained: December 20, 1952
Office: Evangelist

Here is the tenth installment of the forthcoming surprising book "Satan's Great Deception."


   In the last nine astounding articles of this series we learned that the teachings of Christ's apostles were cleverly changed by the secret introduction of similar pagan customs. We traced these pagan customs back to their origin. We found they commenced at the tower of Babel, over 4,000 years ago.
   At Babel, Nimrod founded CIVILIZATION, based on a false way of life man's rule without God (Genesis 11). After his death, his mother-wife Semiramis, for purposes of prestige and power, developed a false RELIGIOUS system which has deceived the world to this day!
   After Nimrod's death, Semiramis, his wife, developed a religious system at BABYLON. IT DID NOT RECOGNIZE GOD AS CREATOR AND SUPREME RULER OF THIS EARTH. Knowing the Savior was to come, she formed a false religious system. She palmed herself off as the virgin mother and MADE HER DEAD HUSBAND THE RESURRECTED SAVIOR. She counterfeited Christ's teaching over 2000 years in advance.
   With these doctrines and customs she deceived the world. And Satan has continued to use these SAME TEACHINGS to deceive the earth down to this very day! God speaks of today's world as "Babylon the Great"; for in all points it still remains basically the same as ancient Babylon in spite of Christ's birth.
   Now let's trace the surprising story of these religious customs through Old and New Testaments. It is the story of our people for we, the English-speaking world are the descendants of the ancient "House of Israel"!

History's Secrets Unfold

   God had promised Israel the people He chose for a special mission that if they obey Him, the greatest earthly blessings any nation ever had, would be theirs. But He did not promise the nation, as a whole, eternal life. In Egypt, they had lost much of the knowledge of the True God their ancestors had possessed. In bringing them out of Egypt, God performed many miracles, showing them His power (Jer. 32:21).
   Were they going to obey the True God who could and would make His promise of material wealth and power come true if they obeyed Him? Or were they going to be misled by the Devil-inspired idols of Semiramis, which were, as we shall soon prove, all about them?
   Were they going to believe the Devil's lie that they could obtain eternal life by following the doctrines taught by the Mysteries of Semiramis, who falsely promised eternal life (a thing she could not bestow)? Or would Israel see through this deception and follow God's commands instead and obtain the material wealth of this earth, and ultimately, through God's promise to Abraham, eternal life? (Recall that Adam and Eve lost the material garden of Eden and eternal life at that time by following Satan's deception.)

Baal and Ashtoroth

   Scarcely over sixty years after God led Israel out of Egypt, God says: "They forsook the Eternal and served Baal and Ashtoroth" (Judges 2:13). We find these two names used in many places in connection with the Israelites.
   Who were they? Why are they so important in Scripture?
   The word "baal" means master or lord (New Standard Bible Dictionary, p. 820). As first and mightiest of the lords of the earth, Nimrod, became Baal or Bel (Peloubet, p. 80). He was recognized as the chief Babylonian deity (Halley's Pocket Bible Handbook, p. 95). Ashtaroth, as we have previously shown, was Semiramis. Israel was soon worshipping these two under these names.
   Israel also worshipped Baal-berith (Judges 8:33). Nimrod, as Mediator and head of the covenant of grace, took this name or the name of Mithras (Hislop's The Two Babylons, p. 70). "Solomon went after Ashtoreth" (I Kings 11:5, 33). For a short time Israel "did put away Baal-im and Ash-ta-roth and served the Eternal only" (I Sam. 7:4), but they returned to this pagan practice (I Sam. 12:10). Please recall that Ashtaroth is just another form for the word "Ishtar" or "Easter" which the Christ-professing world observes today!
   We, today, just as Israel was, are "in Babylon" or "in Egypt" which continued Babylon's pagan practices! "Jeroboam... served Baal, and worshipped him" (I Kings 16:31). You have heard of him. Is modern Israel the United States of America and the British Commonwealth not worshipping Baal (Nimrod) by observing his birthday, Christmas?
   The priests of Baal (remember, Nimrod was the first and mightiest of baals, or gods) were the official representatives of Israel's religion (I Kings 18:26), while Ahab and Jezebel were the rulers. These priests, in their rituals, "leaped" or, properly translated, "limped," or "went sideways" just as their god Baal (Nimrod) is said to have done when he, through Semiramis' Mysteries, was identified as Adam who "went sidewise" or turned aside when he disobeyed God.
   The official representatives of Israel's religion in the reign of Ahab and Jezebel were the Priests of Nimrod! Nimrod had become Israel's god!
   Do the representatives of modern Israel's religions not encourage us to keep Nimrod's Sun-days and birthday? Who is our national god today? Among all the millions in those days who followed Baal under Ahab and Jezebel, only seven thousand did not follow him (I Kings 19:18). How many are not keeping these days today in our nation?

Other Names of Nimrod

   Israel worshipped Milcom "the god of the children of Ammon." Who was this? None other than Molech whom we have identified as Nimrod (New Standard Bible Dictionary, p. 824). Judah was worshipping this god just before her captivity (II Kings 23:13). Jeremiah 7:17-20 warned Judah against her practice of worshipping the Queen of Heaven, who was Semiramis.
   Now please notice II Kings 17:17, Jeremiah 8:18-22, and Deut. 4:16-19. Alexander Hislop, in his book, page 309 says: "As Baal (Nimrod) the Lord of Heaven had his visible emblem the sun, so she (Semiramis) as Beltes, Queen of Heaven, must have hers also the moon." Josiah (II Kings 23:11) "burned the chariots of the sun with fire."
   With regard to Israel's and Judah's gods being represented by stars, the New Standard Bible Dictionary, p. 827, says "The stars formed a class... corresponding to the Igigi or 'heaven gods' of the Babylonians."
   High places, elevations used in the main for idolatry, were all over Israel and Judah (II Kings 23:13, Micah 1:3). Bel (Isa. 46:1) was Baal or Nimrod, as we have seen, and Nebo (same ref.) was Nimrod as the prophetic god (Hislop, p. 34). Dagon (I Sam. 5:2-5) was the fish god of Babylon, whom Semiramis created in order to associate the dead Nimrod with Noah (Hislop, p. 264). Recall that Semiramis associated her dead deified husband with great personalities for prestige.
   As we saw (earlier), Israel continued to worship the golden calf. God said He would cut off the horns of the altars at Bethel (Amos 3:14). Israel had a golden calf there (Peloubet's Bible Dictionary, p. 87). God warned Israel just before her captivity which He brought upon her for such practices, "Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves. Therefore they shall be as... the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind" (Hosea 13:2-3). God warns Israel today the U.S. and Britain, "Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off... they shall return to Egypt" (Hosea 8:5, 13).
   Samaria was the capital of the ten northern tribes of Israel. They never returned to the land of Egypt after Moses' time but we, their descendants, will do so, as this prophecy shows and soon!
   We have seen that Molech was a title applied to Nimrod in one of his god forms and that in order to "purify" themselves, people, usually children, were made to "pass through the fire to Molech." In Leviticus 18:21, God warned Israel: "Thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech." Again, "whosoever... giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death" (Lev. 20:2).
   But they went right ahead and disobeyed God, for "Ahaz... the king of Judah... walked in the way of the kings of Israel... and made his son pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen" (II Kings 16:1-3). That this practice was picked up from pagan nations is evident. "Thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations... that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire" (Deut. 12:30-31 and 18:9-10).
   Note carefully that the heathen the gentiles were doing these practices of Nimrod and Semiramis as the Bible affirms.
   Solomon built a high place for Molech (I Kings 11:7). Israel and Judah were both being deceived by the Babylonian worship. They, like the other nations, were infected with it! More evidence: Josiah, one of Judah's good kings, "defiled Tolpheth (a place where Molech was worshipped)... that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech" (II Kings 23:10).
   This destruction of a worshipping place of Molech had no lasting influence, for Judah continued in idolatry. This was happening eight hundred years after God led Judah and Israel out of their Egyptian captivity.
   What does God say of this practice? "Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter, that thou hast slain My children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire?" (Ezek. 16:20-21). God says this worship of Nimrod was a great sin. "They sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils" (Psalm 106:37). It is Devil worship.
   We have now seen Bible proof that Israel worshipped the pagan gods of this "Mystery" system. What about the customs used in the observance of these pagan gods? Does the Bible speak of these? Let us examine.

Israel's Pagan Customs

   God says of the days set aside by Israel on which to worship days which had not been commanded by Him: "Your new moons and your appointed feasts My soul hateth... I am weary to bear them" (Isaiah 1:14). God had not appointed these days and customs Israel had been observing.
   But God did give Israel His days and His feasts times which keep God's people in remembrance of His GREAT PLAN OF SALVATION. And the keeping of these times instills the habit of obedience to the True God!
   What about today? Has God, through His Bible, appointed the days which churches now observe? God, we have seen, specifically condemns the observance of Christmas (Jer. chapter 10), which actually commemorates Nimrod's rebirth as Horus but what we say is Christ's birthday a day which was observed by Israel, our forefathers, as the birthday of Nimrod long before Christ was born.
   Israel had their picture of the image of jealousy Tammuz, the counterfeit of Christ hung upon their walls (Ezek. 8:5, 10, 14). Who knows what the actual Christ looked like, who men say was born on Christmas Day? We hang his supposed picture on our walls today.
   Israel, our forefathers, worshipped the sun, as the United States and the United Kingdom, modern Israel, do today when they observe Easter sunrise service: "Their faces toward the east... they worshipped the sun" (Ezek. 8:16, Jer. chap. 8). God says, "I gave them My statutes and... My judgments... also My sabbaths... but the House of Israel rebelled against Me" (Ezek. 20:11-13). God said, "I will turn your (not God's) feasts into mourning" (Amos 8:10).
   "I hate, I despise your feast days, and... your solemn assemblies... ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity " (Amos 5:21-27).
   What a duality! Moloch we have identified as Nimrod, the fire god of Babylon, and Chiun was Nimrod in his hidden form as Saturn (New Standard Bible Dictionary, p. 823). They were setting aside days for the worship of Nimrod, and God said He would scatter them into captivity.
   Today, modern Israel, the United States and the democracies of northwestern Europe, are doing the same thing in our Sunday, Christmas, and Easter observances, and our captivity is foretold!
   Read Ezekiel, chapter 5. Note that verse 4 says the prophesy is to the house of Israel and remember that this prophesy was given about 600 B.C. This was long after ancient Israel was scattered. This prophesy is for us! It is the same old story Israel today is deceived by the same old means the Devil used to deceive ancient Israel!
   It is evident by now that the pagan gods that the ten and two tribes of Israel and Judah worshipped, were none other than those that the Devil inspired Semiramis to concoct for the deception of the world. They were believing the lie of the Devil that they could obtain eternal life and material benefits through the worship of these gods. All through the history of Israel, while she was worshipping these gods which we have identified as those composing the Mysteries, God was warning her not to follow the way of the heathen. The heathen were following these same gods (see II Chron. 28:3, 33:2, 36:14; II Kings 17:15, 21:2). Here is Bible proof that the Gentiles were being deceived by this same system. The whole earth, at the time that Israel existed under the rule of God as a nation, was deceived by these mysteries. Israel itself finally refused to be under God's direct rule and became deceived!
   Why is it that God calls attention to only this system of deception the Mysteries of Semiramis and never mentions the many demon gods of Asia? Because Semiramis' counterfeit way is patterned after the true way of salvation so closely that God knows that, if it were possible, it would even "deceive the very elect" (Matt. 24:24). God has warned the few that follow Him about these "Mysteries." Other pagan practices they are able to recognize without Divine revelation. He knows this one will deceive the earth!

New Testament Mentions Mystery System

   Paul warned the Churches of his time against these same practices when he said, "Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you" (Gal. 4:10-11).
   When Paul visited Athens in his day, "he saw the city wholly given to idolatry" (Acts 17:16). The Greeks did not know the true God (verses 23-28). Paul stood on Mar's Hill to talk (verse 22). Mars was Nimrod as the Roman god of war (Hislop, p. 153). He was a well-known god. Diana, who was Semiramis as the "Bruiser of the Serpent's Head" (Hislop, p. 76) was worshipped by "all Asia and the world" in Paul's time (Acts 19:27). The Devil, the hidden head of this Mystery system, is not an evil-looking person with a pitchfork and a tail, as we have been led to believe. The New Testament shows us he "is transformed into an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14).

Why Israel was Deceived

   Why did God allow Israel, which He Himself had called out of "Babylon" (Egypt), to be deceived? In Leviticus chapter 26, God said He would bless Israel above all nations if they would obey Him five would chase a hundred of their enemies and one hundred would put ten thousand to flight (verse eight); they would dwell safely (verse 5) and have much material wealth (verse 10). He reminded them that He had brought them out of Egypt, the land where they had learned the Devil-inspired worship of old Babylon, and had been in captivity both to this pagan religion and to the Egyptians.
   God, bringing them out, warned them that if they would not obey Him, He would punish them more than other nations of the earth; they would be slain before their enemies (verse 17), suffer famine (verse 25), and be scattered among the heathen (verse 33). He would punish them "seven times" (verse 18) each "time" a year of 360 days, and each day a year a total of 2520 years.
   We have seen that they were deceived by the Devil into worshipping his idols. God says, "They rebelled against Me... neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt... they walked not in My statutes... My sabbaths were greatly polluted... I lifted up Mine hand... that I would scatter them among the heathen" (Ezek. 20:8, 13, 23).
   God did "scatter them among the heathen." The ten tribes, Israel, "worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal... therefore the Eternal was angry with Israel, and removed them" (II Kings 17:16-18). Israel was taken captive by the Assyrians, the ancestors of modern Austria and Germany. And as the Assyrian king was ruler of Babylon and other areas, he repopulated Israel's country with people from these countries (II Kings 17:24). Israel later migrated from Assyria. She was scattered into the "Babylonish" world the pagan world that was saturated with the customs of old Babylon and the Mysteries of Semiramis they were scattered in the world of Babylon the Great (Rev. 18:2). The two tribes (Judah) were taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon about a hundred and thirty-five years later because of the same sins.
   Why did God allow all of this? We need not guess the Bible, as usual, tells us. It is explained hundreds of years later in the New Testament times. Stephen, speaking to the Jews, the present-day descendants of Judah, said: "Our fathers would not obey, but thrust Him (God) from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt... then God... gave them up to worship the host of heaven" (Acts 7:39, 42). Continuing with verse 43 in the Moffatt translation, "So now I will transport you beyond Babylon." God was doing this. God says He has fixed the nations allotted periods, and boundaries of the nations (Acts 17:26).
   Why then did He remove Israel? Paul says of Israel, "with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters... and they are written for our admonition" (I Cor. 10:5-7, 11). Idolatry is defined as worship of anything that is not God (Webster's Columbia Reference Dictionary ). God is building historical examples of the great penalty of worshipping anything other than Him, and of the great reward for worshipping Him only!
   Remember, Abraham worshipped God only after God called him. Through these many historical examples, God was building for the time when He will really start to save the people of this earth. He was then using Israel as this example to the world, just as He had used the people existing at the time of the Flood!

Next Installment 11: Why RELIGIOUS DECEPTION Rages Today

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Plain Truth MagazineAugust 1960Vol XXV, No.8
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