Alexander Hislop arrives at his conclusions after carefully comparing and examining the background and teachings of the two systems, that is of ancient Babylon and the religion of the Roman Catholic Church. He actually follows three lines of investigation which includes that stated above alongside the prophesies contained in the book of Revelation.
When the comparison is made the author shows the remarkable fact that Roman Catholicism, far from being founded upon Biblical truth, is deeply rooted in and derived from pagan practices in line with Babylonian religion. Almost every part of Roman Catholic practice, worship (of Mary, saints), ritual, teachings and leadership finds its counterpart in the mystery religions of Babylon or paganism.
The influence of Babylon is traced until it reaches its climax in the Roman Empire (which adopted many of the pagan gods and worship of the nations it conquered). Roman mythology is proven to be exactly the same as that seen with Babylonian mythology (though with names and titles changed). The Holy Roman Empire under the power of the papacy continued the same mythology but disguised it with Christian terminology and symbolism. This brought into being a paganised mythical Christianity that had little semblance to Biblical Christianity.
The pope of Rome, as leader of the Roman Catholic Church, can be traced back via Roman paganism to Babylon rather than to some supposed apostolic succession. Therefore revealing that right across the board Roman Catholicism cannot be considered as a Christian Church.
He also proves beyond doubt, through the evidence presented point by point, in The Two Babylons that the Roman Catholic Church is as pagan as all the pagan religions of the past and present. Not only, on comparison, does the papacy practice almost the same things as non-Christian religions, but it fulfils exactly the prophecies relating to the Great Whore and Mother of Harlots in the book of Revelation.
As Babylon was the chief seat of idolatry and paganism in the ancient world, Imperial Rome in the New Testament world, so too is the Roman Catholic religion in the modern world before the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Alexander Hislop further shows that this false church is the religion of Satan.
Infant Baptism (commonly called christening) is taught in the Roman Catholic Church as the sacrament that brings a child into church and so receives salvation. The Catholic system sees infant baptism as the point where a person is regenerated – born again, thus becoming a child of God. Without this the unbaptised infant would never be able to go to Heaven if it died.
Alexander Hislop attacks both infant baptism and baptismal regeneration since in reality they are linked together within Catholic theology. Yet his main aim is to prove that baptismal regeneration, even the version practised by some Protestant denominations, cannot be substantiated by the Word of God. He states on page 131, “The word of God knows nothing of it”. He reveals that baptism does not communicate salvation (to either infant or adult) but is a sealing of what already exists in the believer’s heart. It is by saving faith in Christ that a person is redeemed which cuts right across both infant baptism and baptismal regeneration. He is correct when he shows that the Bible only presents believers (adult) baptism.
From pages 132 onward the author proves that neither infant baptism or regenerational baptism originates with Scripture but is a product of pagan religion. The rite of baptism with its “salt, spittle, anointing oil, and sign of the cross “are all equally pagan” (page 138). Both doctrines can be found with Babylonian mythology and relate with child sacrifice to the various gods, infant baptism being simply a bloodless re-enactment of this. Rev. Hislop makes it very clear that both these teachings are absolutely pagan in nature and have no bearing on the Bible or true Christian practice. He see them as an offence to Christ and a corruption of Biblical water baptism.
In the final chapter of The Two Babylons Alexander Hislop describes both the ancient Babylonian system and the religion of the Roman Catholic Church as being one and the same, that is, the papacy is in essence the continuation of the mystery religion started by Nimrod. Added to this, he shows that both systems are seen as one in the book of Revelation. He portrays the Catholic Church as Modern Babylon under five headings:
The Great Red Dragon (page 225-242)
The author reveals that this symbolic creature represents the enemy of truth, of God’s word, and of God’s people, that first made its appearance at the beginning and which would continue until the end of time.
The dragon (or serpent) was used in ancient Babylon as an object of worship known as The Serpent of the Fire. It is said that Nimrod introduced serpent worship and that the god it represented was Baal (the god of light – the sun god). In the mysteries the serpent is a symbol of the sun. Greek mythology the serpent god was named Basilisk – The Royal Serpent, while in Babylonian religion he became known as Molech, the god to which child sacrifices were made. Representations of this creature, in relation to the sun and fire, can be seen in various pagan religions both past and present.
In Revelation we find the Great Red Dragon determined to destroy the people of God. Alexander Hislop sees this as the Satan seeking to destroy the Church through Babylonian religion, but it makes much more sense to see it as Satan’s attempt to destroy Israel (represented as the child) as she becomes a nation again. Nevertheless, it is possible, because of Satan’s attack on the things of God, for the dragon’s work to include the atrocities carried out against Bible believing Christian by Imperial Rome and Papal Rome.
Since the sun, light beams, and halos play an important part in Roman Catholic mythology, added to the fact that she is guilty of great wickedness against the Church of Christ (and the Jews), the Dragon no doubt represents the last day Babylonian religion – the enemy of God. Therefore, the true God of Roman Catholicism is Lucifer – the Light Bringer.
The Beast from the Sea (page 242-256)
This beast has seven heads and ten horns. Rev. Hislop proves that the ancient pagans not only worshipped the god of fire but also the god of water. The worship of gods from the seas originate in Babylon. In such mythology (mystery religions) the fire breathing dragon god is reborn as a dragon from the deep. As the religion of this god developed and was transformed as it reached other cultures, the rivers with which various water gods inhabited became holy themselves and were said to purify the soul. This is plainly evident in Hinduism with the Ganges River, and in Catholicism with holy water, fonts, and rivers. The Roman Catholic Church has water to bless with, baptism water to regenerate, and rivers and fountains to make pilgrimage to. There is very little difference here between paganism and Catholicism.
Rev. Hislop sees The Great Red Dragon as representing Imperial Rome, yet being destroyed. It was able to resurrect (via the waters) with its deadly wound healed, thus becoming The Holy Roman Empire under the papacy. All the mysticism being left in tact the pagans were able to continue under a new title. Therefore the Roman Church is the Beast system that began with Nimrod. The author sees the Catholic Church as the pagan wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The Beast from the Earth (page 256-263)
In ancient Babylon there was a type of the Second Beast mentioned in Revelation. He was known as the god Nebo. The priest-king of ancient Rome in a sense represented this Babylonian god since he had the title Numa. The Etrurians, from whom the Romans adopted much of their paganism, worshipped a god called Tages who was born adorned with ram’s horns from a hole in the ground. The name Nebo translates as The Prophet and was considered to be a miracle worker. This exactly fits with Revelation 13:13. The Roman Numa and Etrurian Tages were also workers of magic.
In Roman Catholic circles it is evident that miracles happen. From weeping Madonnas, bleeding statues, and the Host turning into the physical body and blood of Christ. Throughout the Catholic world supposed miracles are said to be taking place. Unsurprisingly history reveals that the same kind of false miracles were taking place within pagan cultures. The Babylonian / Chaldean / Egyptian religious leaders were professional magicians. They too could call for the presence of their gods to inhabit earthly things such as statues.
The Nebo (Numa) directed worshippers to the adoration of the various images. This is exactly what the false prophet described in Revelation will do. He too will call upon the god to animate the image of the Beast, and that all the world should worship him.
The Image of the Beast (page 267-269)
In this final chapter of The Two Babylons Alexander Hislop sees the Image of the Beast as being the Virgin Mary of the Papacy. He admits that this may appear to be an unlikely interpretation to readers, but goes on to present reasons why he has adopted this theory. At this point I cannot agree with the author’s reasoning on this issue. Scripture speaks of the Beast in the masculine rather than the feminine, therefore there is no reason to suppose that the Image of the Beast is just that, a statue of the beast rather than of the Virgin Mary.
The Madonna of the Catholic Church does have the same attributes and titles of the various other Queens of Heaven of paganism. The author presses on with his point since the Queen of Heaven is probably the most important person within Catholic mythology, plus the fact that there are many more images made of her than Christ or saints. I believe that Hislop is stretching the interpretation here instead of allowing the text to speak for itself. Since The Beast will destroy Rome with its religion it seems unlikely that the Mary of Catholicism could or would accomplish this. Scripture is clear enough on this issue; the Image is that of the Beast – the Antichrist.
The Name of the Beast, the Number of His Name – the invisible Head of the Papacy (pages 269-281)
The name of one god of Babylon was known as Saturn (otherwise known as Nimrod and Osiris). The author sees this as the hidden name of the Beast since in Chaldean Saturn is Stur (which apparently adds up to 666 – the number given to the Beast in Revelation 13). The original name for Rome was Saturnia – therefore the pope is the representative head of that city. Saturn was known as the god of mysteries, Catholic doctrine is built upon mysteries, therefore the Roman Catholic Church is Mystery Babylon the Great.
The pope is the visible head of the Roman Catholic Church, but Satan is the invisible head, represented by the dragon / serpent. It is Satan who gives his power to the pope to rule over the hearts and minds of billions of souls. There is little doubt, especially after reading a book like The Two Babylons, that the Roman Catholic System is actually christianised devil worship at its highest but secretive level. The author sees the pope as the devil incarnate.
There is no argument about the conclusions arrived at in this book, but I feel that the author has at times made a tangled mess of interpreting the book of Revelation. If the final sections had been left alone the evidence presented in the book would clearly reveal the true nature of the Roman Catholic Church. Maybe the main fault of Rev. Hislop here is that he has tried too hard to pin every aspect of paganism on the Catholic Church. To some degree the last two sections of The Two Babylons spoil an otherwise excellent and well researched work.