The Bible develops a very prominent and notorious character named Nimrod. He was the sixth son born of Cush. His name in Hebrew means to rebel. He was the founder of Babylon and Assyria. He is mentioned in I Chronicles 1: 10, Micah 5: 6 and in Genesis 10: 8b-9. The Hebrew text states that he was a mighty hunter before the Lord. This is indicative of his antagonism and opposition to God. He was wicked and made the whole world rebel through the building of the Tower of Babel. He was the first to establish kingdoms. This happened in two stages. The first is in Shinar, which included Babel, Erech, Accad and Calneh. The second kingdom is Assyria called the land of Nimrod in Micah 5: 6. After the language was separated and confused by God it drove him to Assyria from Babylon. The two have been intertwined since then.
“Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham the son of Noah. He was a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it was through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage, which procured that happiness. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence on his power…(Josephus, Flavius Translated by William Whiston, The Works of Josephus, Hendrickson PublishersPeabody, MA 01916-3473, 1987, Pg. 35 Antiquities of the Jews Chapter 4:2)”
The Tower of Babel was in essence an attempt to have their own way apart from God. Humans were commanded to “Be fruitful and fill the earth.” Instead they attempted to settle down in one location and establish a world state to offset the divine rule. The tower was meant to be a rebellious attempt to break from divine rule. They did not wish to obey God.
The Cultic Background
According to ancient Egyptian and Babylonian traditions, his mother was Semiramis; sometimes Semiramis is referred to as the mother of Nimrod, and sometimes as his wife, leading to the belief that Nimrod married his mother. Also according to these traditions, Semiramis, who rose to greatness because of her son, was presented with a difficulty when her son died, so instead she pronounced him to be a god, so that she herself would become a goddess.
One story says that after Nimrod was killed, Semiramis claimed that an evergreen tree sprouted from a tree stump, which she said indicated the entry of new life into the deceased Nimrod; every year on the anniversary of Nimrod’s birth (December 25) they would leave gifts at this evergreen tree.
Even though Semiramis claimed to be a virgin she had another son, named Tammuz, who she said was the reincarnation of Nimrod. She became known as the “Virgin Mother”, “Holy Mother” and the “Queen of Heaven” and was symbolized by the Moon. So began the worship of Semiramis and the child-god, and the whole paraphernalia of the Babylonian religious system.
From various ancient sources, it seems that Nimrod’s wife/mother; Semiramis was high priestess of the Babel religion and the founder of all mystery religions as well as goddess. After the tower was destroyed and the multiplicity of languages developed, she was worshiped as a goddess under many different names. She became Ishtar of Syria, Astarte of Phoenicia, Isis of Egypt, Aphrodite of Greece, and Venus of Rome—in each case the deity of sexual love and fertility. Her son Tammuz also came to be deified under various names and was the consort of Ishtar and god of the underworld.
According to the cult of Ishtar, Tammuz was conceived by a sunbeam, a counterfeit version of Jesus’ virgin birth. Tammuz corresponded to Baal in Phoenicia, Osiris in Egypt, Eros in Greece, and Cupid in Rome. In every case, the worship of those gods and goddesses was associated with sexual immorality. The celebration of Lent which has no basis in Scripture, but rather developed from the pagan celebration of Semiramis’ mourning for forty days over the death of Tammuz (Ezekiel 8:14) before his alleged resurrection. This is another of Satan’s mythical counterfeits. Whether these traditions have any basis in fact or not is irrelevant. This is because they embody the occult and were followed in ancient Israel and still today
12Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in his chambers of imagery? for they say, Jehovah seeth us not; Jehovah hath forsaken the land. 13He said also unto me, Thou shalt again see yet other great abominations which they do. 14Then he brought me to the door of the gate of Jehovah’s house which was toward the north; and behold, there sat the women weeping for Tammuz. 15Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? thou shalt again see yet greater abominations than these (ASV, 1901).
Ezekiel is communing with The Lord in a vision and the Lord shows him these things. The Babylonians took Ezekiel to Babylon in the second invasion of Nebuchadnezzar in 597 B.C. Subsequent to that there was an additional invasion in 586 B.C. Sometime after the 2nd invasion and before the 3rd invasion the Lord showed Ezekiel the extent of the apostasy the Jews back in Jerusalem had fallen into.
After the decline of Babylon, their priests fled to Egypt and transported their religion with them. There the people worshipped Isis and her son Osiris (otherwise known as Horus). The same mother and child deities appeared in Greece as Ceres, the Great Mother, with the babe at her breast, or as Irene, the goddess of Peace, with the boy Plutus in her arms and in Pagan Rome as Fortuna and Jupiter. Other cultures embraced this concept such as Cyprian and Indian.
In its organized form false religion began with the tower of Babel and Nimrod, from which Babylon derives its name. Cain was the first false worshiper, and many individuals after him followed his example. But organized pagan religion began with the descendants of Ham, one of Noah’s three sons, who decided to erect a great monument that would “reach into heaven” and make themselves a great name (Genesis10: 9-10; 11:4) Under the leadership of the proud and apostate Nimrod they planned to storm heaven and unify their power and prestige in a great worldwide system of worship. That was man’s first counterfeit religion, from which every other false religion in one way or another has sprung.
God’s judgment frustrated their primary purpose of making a grand demonstration of humanistic unity. By confusing “their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech,” and scattering “them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:7–8) the Lord halted the building of the tower and fractured their solidarity. But those people took with them the seeds of that false, idolatrous religion, seeds that they and their descendants have been planting throughout the world ever since. The ideas and forms were altered, adapted, and sometimes made more sophisticated, but the basic system remained, and remains, unchanged. That is why Babel, or Babylon, is called “the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth” (Revelation 17:5). She was the progenitor of all false religions.
Daniel E. Woodhead Ph.D.