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Investigate with me the answers to these questions and more!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Two Babylons

Friends and fellows still in a Church of God, I would like to ask you to think through something with me. This is something that has troubled me for many years. I don't mean to trouble you, but to maybe show you something you may or may not have otherwise been aware of before now.

Have you heard of or read the book "The Two Babylons"? If you've heard of it, you know that it formed the base of Herbert Armstrong's interpretation of prophecy. If there is a foundation, in my opinion, that foundation is British-Israelism. The first layer built upon that foundation, as I see it, is The Two Babylons. 

If you are unfamiliar with the book (I don't see how that could be possible, but in the off chance) that is where the idea of the Catholic Church being 'Babylon the Great' came from. Other terms you may be familiar with came from there, such as "Babylonian Mystery Religion" and "Daughter Churches". See, the idea, in summation, is that the Catholic Church is not a Christian church at all, but is an ancient Babylonian pagan religion, started by Nimrod himself, filled with mystery rites and such which eventually incorporated some Christian ideas, and was the 'mother' of the Protestant churches. God supposedly calls it "the Great Harlot", and is supremely angry with the Pope and all of his followers direct and indirect. The Pope is the Little Horn of Daniel and is destined to become the False Prophet of Revelation. Hence the main reason why the COGs are so very much opposed to the Catholic Church and the Protestant Churches.

Enough overview... you get the idea. Those are very much core teachings in the xCOGs. I am personally only aware of one minister in all of the various splinters who does not base his prophetic interpretations on it.

Long story short(er), I wanted to ask if you personally believe this book to be inspired? If so, do you know why you believe so? 

Until a few years ago I believed the teachings to be inspired - but, then again, I hadn't read the book until a few years ago. When I read the book I noticed some strange things. 
Primarily, I noticed it made the entirety of prophecy about the Catholic Church (the negative stuff, anyway). How can the only "bad guy" in all of prophecy be the Catholic Church? It didn't add up. Here we are supposed to have a Beast power and a False Prophet, but the Pope is the 11th and most powerful horn of the Beast and the False Prophet at the same time? 
How can the Beast, owing its power to the Pope, hate the Catholic Church and burn it with fire (REV. 17: 16), yet the Beast and the Pope are both together at the end and thrown into the Lake of Fire together (REV. 19: 20)? How can Revelation 18: 23 be about the Catholic Church when it has no 'merchants'? Why does REV. 18: 11-19 say the merchants and shipmen weep over the Catholic Church; are the Catholics the only ones who buy the goods listed in verses 12 & 13?

These are just some of the questions I have asked. But more importantly, do you know who wrote "The Two Babylons"? His name was Alexander Hyslop. He first published a pamphlet in 1853, which he greatly expanded upon in 1858. Did you know that he was a Presbyterian minister? Now, I ask you to think about that with me for a minute here. If the Catholic Church is "the Great Harlot" and "Mother of Harlots", then all Protestant Churches are harlots, right? Doesn't that mean the Presbyterian church is a 'harlot' as well? Why is a Presbyterian minister, self-proclaimed minister of harlotry, writing an inspired work? Do you, as a practicing member of the Church of God, believe any work by Protestants to be inspired? Then how do you explain this? Please think that through in your mind for a bit.

I would have you know more about Alexander Hyslop. If he wrote his pamphlet in 1853, then he certainly did his research in the 1840's. Did you know that the city of Babylon lay buried in sand until 1899 when archaeologist Robert Koldewey began unearthing it? That was a half-century later! Did you know that according to the best information we have available today, Nimrod and Semiramis (his supposed mother and wife) didn't even live in the same century? Where, then did Hyslop get his information? Most of what he needed to make such in-depth analysis and far-reaching conclusions about ancient history was completely unavailable to him. How did he get anything he concluded then? By human reasoning within his own mind. Basically, he took numerology and ancient mythology and arrived at his own conclusions. 

One Mr. Ralph Woodrow, once a firm believer in and promoter of Hyslop, was challenged to prove what he held to. The result was a book entitled "The Babylon Connection". In it he shows how Hyslop was more than just mistaken - in some places he was fraudulently incorrect. That means he purposefully falsified information. Mr. Woodrow went back and read the books Hyslop supposedly based his theories on and concluded they most certainly do not support Hyslop. I suggest you read "The Babylon Connection".

For more information, see the Wikipedia article on The Two Babylons.

Will you, dearly loved by God, spend some serious meditation time on this? Will you consider that the truth cannot come from fraud? No fountain can give pure water and filth. And then will you humbly and soberly consider the nature of Mr. Herbert Armstrong who promoted Hyslop's


Anonymous said...

To any Presbyterians (or others) who may be offended thinking I have called you harlots, please understand that I no longer put any stock in Hyslop; thank God. I merely spoke to the members of the COGs from the well-known position of the xCOGs.

Thank you for your patience.

Anonymous said...

I should also clarify. I don't believe Simon Magus was the founder of the Catholic Church. That's simply not possible (for a small insight, see my post on the name of the Worldwide Church of God) Armstrong promoted that idea heavily. Gnostics were almost never mentioned by him directly. And I do not draw the line between Roman Catholicism and Gnosticism; the Council of Nicea that set the orthodoxy for Catholicism was specifically counter to gnostic thinking.

'The History of God's Church' is, sad to say, bogus.

Anonymous said...

I never cease to be amazed at how many people somehow seem to be the self-appointed gatekeepers of who is and who isn't a false prophet these days.

With regard to the WCG or Mr. Armstrong--I was never a part of that group.

What I will say is that i continually observe just how little history people really know or understand about Judaism and the forces of Christianity/Catholicism and how in the Middle Ages it was the forces of Christianity/Catholicism that unrentlentsly persecuted the Jewish and Israelite peoples throughout the Earth.

A poor understanding of the history of the Jewish peoples at the hands of Catholicism is no reason for people to go out on a limb and profess to know so much.

All would do well and be wise unto wisdom to search out the truth before making such bold statements.

May the name of Yahweh and His Son Yeshua Messiah be exalted throughout the Earth forever.

Anonymous said...

"I never cease to be amazed at how many people somehow seem to be the self-appointed gatekeepers of who is and who isn't a false prophet these days."

Not sure if I quite catch your meaning there, Leonard, but thanks for contributing.
I try to let HWA put his foot into his own mouth. He speaks for himself.

I agree that more people should learn the real history of the Jewish people. I am just starting out on the journey myself. Perhaps it would save us all much headache.


technosensei said...

I think I finally understand Leonard's comments. He meant to put this comment in my "Genesis Prophecies" post. That's why it made no sense to me!

OK. Now, that wrinkle finally having been worked out--

Leonard, you obviously have a bone to pick with Catholicism for their treatment of Judaism in the past several centuries. And I think rightly so! Ergo, I suggest you bring your complaint to God's Son Yeshua and practice forgiveness.

That does not excuse the Jews for their treatment of Christians in the first centuries of the common era, however. These prophecies I mention were fulfilled regardless of the treatment the Jews received at the hands of people who call themselves Christian (but who were clearly not following Christ, and thus NOT Christian) later on.
You also fail to mention that the Catholics persecuted other Christians as well. They seem to have persecuted just about everybody, including themselves. The Protestants turned and did the same.

I wonder - will Martin Luther be in God's Kingdom? Did the founder of the Protestant Revolution disqualify himself by his many murders and support for murder? Calvin too! He had a man burned at the stake. To do such a wonderful job of pointing out the errors of the Catholic teachings of that time, only to mimic the worst possible habits, is deeply disappointing to put it mildly! But it's not my call. Just wondering.

Do not confuse what I'm saying in that "Genesis Prophecies" post as a justification for treating the Jews poorly. This blog is specifically about Armstrongism, of which you admittedly were never part. As such I mentioned a legitimate Bible verse and coupled it with an admittedly speculative interpretation that happened to be historically accurate for the specific purpose of answering Herbert W. Armstrong et al.
I did not attempt to cover Christian persecution of the Jews, so there is no burial or denial or misunderstanding or misrepresentation of any history, Jewish history or otherwise, going on here at this blog.
If my post gave you that impression - my apologies! That was not my intention, however.

I agree about your own good advice, "All would do well and be wise unto wisdom to search out the truth before making such bold statements." I would say that applies in what I feel was an unfair accusation that you made about me. But let's just leave it at this and call it a day:

You obviously believe in Christ, we have not persecuted each other, go in peace.