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How Did This World's RELIGIONS Begin? - Installment 2
Plain Truth Magazine
December 1959
Volume: Vol XXIV, No.12
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How Did This World's RELIGIONS Begin? - Installment 2
C Paul Meredith   
Church of God

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

The Gospel was diabolically counterfeited centuries before Jesus was born. A civilization began which was founded on a false way of life. This is the second installment of Dr. Meredith's forthcoming book, "Satan's Great Deception."


   DID YOU know that at Christ's time pagan practices bore an amazing similarity to Jesus' teachings?
   Did you know that those pagan customs crept into the professing Christian world? The churches of today ignore this fact!
   Here is how it happened.
   In the previous article we discovered that Nimrod, the world's first despot, founded civilization at ancient Babylon. That civilization has engulfed the whole world. Nimrod also established apostate Sun-Serpent worship - the worship of the devil and evil spirits. Then God scattered the people (Genesis 11:8).
   We now learn in this installment that righteous Shem later slew Nimrod to prevent him from reorganizing society in another universal apostasy. But Nimrod's system lives on!

Shem Slays Nimrod

   But what of Noah, the preacher of righteousness? Did everyone join Cush and Nimrod in their apostasy against God, or did Noah stand firm and gather some followers on his side?
   Yes, Noah, the preacher of righteousness (II Pet. 2:5) did stand fast and gained a staunch supporter in his son, Shem. While Nimrod was expanding his kingdom so rapidly there was opposition from Shem, the representative of Noah, the great enlightener of the world (Hislop's The Two Babylons p. 316-317). Nimrod became the representative for the forces of evil in opposing Shem who took over the position of Noah, the preacher of righteousness.
   With the aggressive Nimrod expanding his government and religion to include all people in the small world of that time, the two groups were bound to come into conflict. How did the conflict resolve itself?
   "Ancient traditions relate that the apostates who joined in the rebellion of Nimrod made war upon the faithful among the sons of Noah [Shem and his followers]. Power and numbers were on the side of the fire-worshippers. But on the side of the faithful was the power of God's spirit. Therefore many were convicted in their sin, and arrested in their evil career; and victory declared for the saints. The power of Nimrod came to an end, and with it, for a time, the worship of the sun, and the fiery serpent associated with it" (Hislop, p. 232).
   Shem, a very eloquent person, is said to have obtained the aid of a group of Egyptians to overcome Nimrod. Nimrod fled to Rome where he was slain. Then Nimrod's dead body was cut into pieces, burnt, and the pieces sent as a warning to various areas against such evil apostatizing (Hislop, p. 63).
   Was this terrible apostasy against God stopped for all time with Nimrod's death? Who was there as capable as he to carry it on? The carnal nature of mankind was willing to continue the apostasy but they needed a leader! Certainly if a worldwide flood that drowned all but eight people would not stop them, Shem and a few other men could not!
   Would Satan allow this worldwide system, which he built up so he could secretly receive the worship of the earth, to crumble? We shall now find the answer!

Semiramis Expands Apostasy

   The death of Nimrod seemingly halted the counterfeit pagan worship which he started. The Egyptians hold that Nimrod's dead body was cut into pieces. It was sent to many cities throughout the country as a stern warning as what would happen to others who might desire to apostatize (Wilkinson's Egyptians, Vol. V, p. 17).
   A similar example of this practice is even recorded in the Bible. The dead body of the Levite's concubine was cut into pieces and a part was sent to each of the twelve tribes of Israel (Judges 19:29). Another example is recorded in I Samuel 11:7. It was not an unusual practice.
   This warning against paganism had a marked effect on would-be apostates. If one as powerful as Nimrod could be slain and disposed of in such a terrible manner, the people rightly reasoned that the same fate would happen to them if it were known that they were adoring and serving forbidden objects — idols. THE PEOPLE WERE AFRAID TO WORSHIP THESE OBJECTS ALTHOUGH THEY DESIRED TO DO SO! If they were to continue to worship these same forbidden pagan idols, there was only one way which it could be done. And that was for someone to initiate a system whereby the forbidden things of worship were represented by something else.
   This system became known as the ancient "Mysteries."
   Thus the ones initiated into the "Mysteries" would know that they in reality were worshipping the forbidden SUN or SERPENT when they worshipped these new symbols, but the outsider would not know. IT WOULD BE A "MYSTERY" TO HIM!
   Hislop's The Two Babylons, p. 66, declares: "In these circumstances, then, began... that system of "Mystery" which, having Babylon for its centre, has spread over the world."
   Let us now see how this MYSTERY system actually did come into being and who created it and for what purpose! THE WORLD'S RELIGIONS TODAY— INCLUDING CHRISTIANITY — ARE DECEIVED BY THIS VERY SAME SYSTEM! How did this come about?
   HERE IS THE ANSWER. At first it was explained to the worshipper what he was actually worshipping when he worshipped various symbols, many of which are widely adored in the professing "Christian" world today! But as time went by this practice was dropped. The people continued to worship the same symbols because of custom. But they didn't know then, nor do people know now, just WHAT is actually being worshipped!

Semiramis Initiates the System

   Nimrod had been a man of unbounded ambition, but the ambition of his wife, Semiramis — the future "Queen of Heaven" (Jer. 7:18) — exceeded even his. Nimrod, her husband, had become the greatest and most powerful figure in the world. He was dead. She clearly saw that if she were to continue to have the great position and power which she had exercised by being the ambitious wife of the most powerful man on the earth, something must be done to assure continuance of her power.
   Nimrod's kingdom, which consisted of most of the populated world of that time, had fallen to her. Much of Nimrod's power had come from his having set himself up as the human representation of the Sun-God. She must retain this world rule by any and all means. The religious control which had given so much power to her husband must be used by her also if she were to retain the maximum hold on her subjects. She, by way of Noah, the preacher of righteousness, had heard of the woman's prophesied seed who was to come and through whom mankind might obtain eternal life. This gave her a daring idea.
   "Though the death of her husband has given a rude shock to her power, yet her resolution and unbounded ambition were in no wise checked. On the contrary, her ambition took a higher flight. In life her husband had been honored as a hero; in death she will have him worshipped as a god, yea, as the woman's promised Seed... who was destined to bruise the serpent's head and who, in doing so, was to have His own heel bruised. The patriarchs, and ancient world in general, were perfectly acquainted with the grand primeval promise of Eden. They knew right well that the bruising of the heel of the promised seed implied His death and that the curse could be removed from the world only by the death of the grand Deliverer" (Hislop's The Two Babylons, pp. 58-60).

Nimrod and Semiramis Become Gods

   Here, then, was a perfect circumstance which Semiramis could use to perpetuate and even greatly augment her power!
   The world had been told of the coming of a Deliverer whose death would redeem them from eternal death. The world was awaiting such an event. They also believed that this deliverer would go about doing good deeds before His death. Nimrod, her husband, the most powerful man on the earth in his day, had been considered a benefactor, as we have seen.
   She would combine or fuse the Sun-Serpent worship which her dead husband had furthered, with the teachings of the Eternal God concerning a coming Savior of mankind. She planned to make her dead husband, Nimrod, this Savior, and thus procure for herself power over her subjects by posing as the mother of a supernaturally conceived and reborn Nimrod (recall Christ's supernatural conception). A factor of great aid to Semiramis was the popularity of Nimrod and the desire of the people to keep him in their memory.
   When the news first spread abroad concerning the violent death of this mighty man, cut off in the midst of his career, it was a great shock and loud were the wails everywhere. Nimrod at the time of his death was well and favorably known by the little groups which had been formed after God confused their various languages at the Tower of Babel. They later formed the large nations of the earth as we know them today by gradually migrating outward to far distant areas after Semiramis' time. Nimrod's popularity is shown by the fact that hundreds of years later these nations still lamented the violent death of their hero — Nimrod or Tammuz.
   Japan, China, India, Scandinavia, and Iceland each have their own gods in whose life this event occurred, and each weeps for these at the proper time. In ancient Iceland and throughout Scandinavia, the idea of the weeping was that if everyone on earth would weep for their dead god Balder [Nimrod] he would be restored to life. This practice is still found today in the Lent season.
   The central theme of the whole idolatry in Egypt was the violent death of Nimrod or Osiris (the Egyptian god representing Nimrod). As the women of Egypt wept for Osiris and the Phoenicians and Assyrians for Tammuz — their name for Nimrod — so in Greece and Rome the women wept for Bacchus, whose name means "The Bewailed," or "Lamented one." Japan, China, India, Scandinavia, and Ireland each had their "Lamented One," for which they bewailed annually (Hislop, pp. 55-57).
   In these Bacchanal lamentations, a spotted fawn was used to represent Bacchus (the Grecian name for Nimrod). At certain stages in the mystical celebrations, the fawn was torn in pieces, thus expressing what happened to Bacchus (Nimrod or Tammuz). Remember Nimrod was cut in pieces. THE WAY of disobedience to God is very popular with mankind! Even the Israelites in their time wept for the death of Tammuz: "There sat women weeping for Tammuz" (Ezekiel 8:14). So we see that in life the people of the early earth had looked upon Nimrod almost as though he were a god. In death Semiramis would make him the savior of mankind!

The False Messiah

   Her plan was aided by her own great beauty. Her beauty is said to have once quelled a rising rebellion among her subjects on her sudden appearance among them (Valerius Maximus, lib. ix, chap. 3, p. 2). "The scheme, thus skillfully formed, took effect. Semiramis gained glory from her dead and deified husband; and in the course of time, both of them under the names of Rhea and Nin, or 'Goddess-mother and Son', were worshipped with an enthusiasm that was incredible and their images were everywhere set and adored. Whenever the negro aspect of Nimrod was... an obstacle... all that was needful was to teach that Ninus [Nimrod] had reappeared in the person of a posthumous son, of a fair complexion, supernaturally borne by a widowed wife" — herself (Hislop, p. 69). For this purpose she used one of many illegitimate children. She was fair complexioned and had many of these.
   Nimrod was said to have been the first that invented magic arts. He used tricks of magic to impress his converts (Justinius Historia, lib. i, Vol. ii, p. 615). After Nimrod's death, tricks of magic and deceptions were used by Semiramis to impress the converts to her system of Mystery with the power of these imaginary gods which she had concocted.
   She first deified Nimrod, then herself, and their son and, due to opposition, gave them secret forms known only to the initiated, and these were worshipped. These, then, were the Mysteries. Those on the outside of these new religious practices could not see that these new practices of worshipping these symbols such as a calf or a tree, were actually the same as the worship of Nimrod or Semiramis who represented the Sun and Serpent (Satan) and were actually the worship of the same things which Shem had suppressed — Sun-Serpent worship!
   Those who wished to be initiated into these Mysteries in Semiramis' time had to have the meaning explained to them before they could understand them. The title of the priest who explained these Mysteries to the initiated was called "Peter" in primitive Chaldee, the real language of the Mysteries. This means "Interpreter" (Parkhurst's Hebrew Lexicon, p. 602). It was one of these interpreters or "Peters," who was in Pagan Rome long before Christ. He was confused with Peter the apostle of Christ in his time.

Kings of the Earth Spread Mystery System

   Using every means within her power, ambitious Semiramis left no stone unturned to advance this Pagan religious system of mystery which she had formulated. By doing so, she, as the head of this system, strengthened her hold over her subjects. Petty kings had arisen over small groups of people having different languages — the beginnings of the nations of the earth. These groups had resulted by God's giving to them different languages in order to confuse them and thereby stop their building of the city and tower of Babylon (Gen. 11:7-9).
   When as one group with one language, they had established at Babel, or Babylon, a central place of authority of their own, so they could rule in God's stead. Then God divided them "after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations" (Gen. 10:20). Never could they establish their own authority over the peoples of the earth so easily if they spoke different languages.
   For many of these kings, Nimrod, when he had been alive, built cities or towns as we have seen (both he and Semiramis were given titles as builders after they were deified). These kings he controlled. The other kings of the earth were subservient to him because of his great conquests. How did Semiramis use these kings to further her own ambition when this great empire fell to her because of her husband's death?
   The Bible tells us! Semiramis or Isis was the original fallen woman that the Bible describes in Rev. 17:1-2: "I will show thee... the great whore that sitteth upon many waters (nations): 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" (her character in regard to fornication was well known). In return, the kings in Nimrod's days furthered her self-conceived system of religion — the religious Mystery system spoken of in Rev. 17:5 — the system formed by the fusion of the true teachings of the Eternal God with the teachings of Semiramis concerning her self-conceived religion. She, the head of this counterfeit of the true Church of God, gave herself sexually to these kings or civil rulers of the earth of her time in order to saddle her own counterfeit system of Satan-inspired religion onto the nations of the earth.
   No wonder Revelation 17 uses the symbol of that fallen woman to represent today's great unholy church! Revelation 17 is prophetic — it is dual — these same words tell of the arising in strength of this same system of Semiramis in our day, furthered by another woman (symbol of a church) which will unite with the civil kings or rulers of the earth to force her religion (including the "mark of the beast") upon the earth of our time!
   No wonder this counterfeit religion of Semiramis, impressed upon the nations of the earth in their beginnings, was carried by them to the farthest places of this globe as they migrated outward from this central point!
   So here we have a religion set up over 2000 years before Christ which was calculatedly patterned on the future coming of Christ! No wonder there were so many similarities to the real Christ and His teachings when He came 2000 years later!
   We read in Acts 4:11-12 that the only way to salvation is by the Messiah — Christ, yet here we will find one who has recommended similar — though counterfeit — ways — one who originally claimed falsely to be the Messiah — whose teachings have deceived the whole world.
   Here was a man who was killed for the supposed good he had accomplished, just as Christ would be later; this man was also declared to be "resurrected"; he was born "supernaturally"; and he became a god. Did he also offer claim to eternal life to his followers?
   We will see in the coming installment that he did!

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Plain Truth MagazineDecember 1959Vol XXIV, No.12
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