Revelation Chapter 17: Babylonian Religion
The Whore of Babylon's False Teaching
False religion led the Israelites from the true God to its teachings. Babylon's religious symbols and doctrines bore many similarities to those taught in the Scriptures, in part because the Jews lived within Babylonia and Jewish doctrine influenced their myths. Ancient Jews embraced the Babylonian religion, and God rebuked the Jews for following its practices.
During Ahab's reign in Israel's northern kingdom, Jezebel, the Phoenician princess, instituted Baal worship and murdered the prophets of God. Baal was the Sun-god, the Life-Giving One, equivalent to Tammuz. Baal worship was part of Babylonian society, and caused the Babylonian invasion of Israel. In Jeremiah 44:17-20, the Jews acknowledged to Jeremiah that they burned incense, and gave drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven. This passage mentions the "Queen of Heaven" four times. Four in the Bible represents the number of man, and man invented religion. From Babylon this mystery-religion spread to all the surrounding nations, and the symbols remained similar, including the image of the Queen of Heaven with a baby in her arms. Astoreth and Tammuz became Isis and Horus in Egypt, Aphrodite and Eros in Greece, Venus and Cupid in Italy, and bore many other names.
The Babylonian religion merged with Christianity during the reign of the Roman emperor Constantine. These combined beliefs became part of the Catholic Church. Historians Will and Ariel Durant recorded that, "Babylonian altars frequently sacrificed a lamb, as the substitute for man who gave it in exchange for his life… priests carried from sanctuary to sanctuary the image of Mardak, and performed the sacred drama of his death and resurrection. They anointed the idols with sweet-scented oils, burned incense before them, and clothed them with rich vestments."
The woman in Revelation 17 sits dressed as a harlot leading to herself the hearts of men. Revelation 17:2 tells us that the world's kings commit fornication with the Great Whore. The fornication committed is not merely physical, but spiritual adultery. As men deny the true Church of Jesus Christ by embracing the harlot's false teaching, they become corrupt in unholy union.