Christendom—Fighter Against God
DOES Christendom, that is, the domain of the nations calling themselves Christian, actually fight against God? It sounds paradoxical—the very organizations that bear the name of Christ and that claim to be in a covenant with God are teaching and leading their adherents in disobedience to God!
It is not so strange, however, when you consider that the Christian apostle Paul spoke of some men in the Christian congregation in his day who, he said, were “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder,” Paul continued, “for Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light.”—2 Cor. 11:13, 14.
Furthermore, both Paul and the apostle Peter warned of a great apostasy that would take place after the apostles’ death. As a result, many professed Christians, they said, would follow “teachings of demons” and hypocritically speak lies. They would have “a form of godly devotion” but would prove “false to its power.” They would “speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.” They would “exploit [Christian disciples] with counterfeit words,” disowning “even the owner that bought them.”—1 Tim. 4:1, 2; 2 Tim. 3:5; Acts 20:30; 2 Pet. 2:1-3;, 2 Thess. 2:3-12.
Also, by looking at what happened to Israel, a nation that was in a covenant with God, we can see a striking parallel, yes, a pattern of Christendom’s condition today. Among the things that constitute “a warning to us upon whom the ends of the systems of things have arrived” was what God caused his prophet Ezekiel to see.—1 Cor. 10:11.
Ezekiel, though bodily in Babylon 500 miles away, was transported in vision, to be taken on an inspection tour of Jehovah’s temple in Jerusalem. First, he beheld an idolatrous “symbol of jealousy” in an inner gateway. Then came the exposé of seventy of Israel’s leaders, in secret chambers, offering incense to carvings of loathsome beasts and creeping things. This was detestable enough, but Jehovah spoke further to Ezekiel, saying: “You will yet see again great detestable things that they are doing.”—Ezek. 8:13.
WORSHIP OF A REBEL AGAINST GOD
Then, in an inner courtyard, Ezekiel reports, “Look! there the women were sitting, weeping over the god Tammuz.”—Ezek. 8:14.
Who was this Tammuz? According to the Babylonians and the Syrians, he was the god of vegetation. In southwest Asia, the vegetation grows during the rainy season with its kindly floods and dies during the dry season. Death of the vegetation was viewed as picturing the death of Tammuz, and it was his death that was bewailed annually at the time of the greatest heat, by the idolatrous worshipers of Tammuz. At the return of the rainy season Tammuz was supposed to return from the underworld, as symbolized by the growth again of the vegetation.
How would the Israelites ever be induced to worship an idol? Why would they follow the practices of such a cult? When we consider the history and background of Tammuz worship it becomes more apparent. In his book The Two Babylons Dr. Alexander Hislop identifies Tammuz with Nimrod, the founder of the city of Babylon, about 180 years after the flood of Noah’s day.
Nimrod was the great-grandson of Noah. According to Genesis 10:1, 6, 8-12, Nimrod became known as “a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah.”* He was the leader in building the religious Tower of Babel to counteract God’s command that the people spread out and fill the earth. Obedience to this command would have established strongholds of true worship throughout the earth. (Gen. 9:1) But Nimrod appeared as a hero to his followers. According to the Jewish historian Josephus: “[Nimrod] 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 upon his power. He also said he would be revenged on God, if he should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to be able to reach! . . . Now the multitude were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God; and they built a tower.”—Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, chap. IV, pars. 2, 3.
Religious tradition recounts that Nimrod was executed for his rebelliousness against Jehovah, the God of Noah. Nimrod’s followers considered his violent death a tragedy or calamity, and deified him. Annually they memorialized his death on the first or second day of the lunar month named Tammuz, when the idolatrous women wept over his idol. Thus the reason for this weeping over him by the Babylonian cultists is understood. Also, the fact that Nimrod is recognized by scholars as identified with Marduk, the chief god of the Babylonians, enables us to see why the Jews, then tributary to Babylon, and in danger of being swallowed up by this World Power of the day, might be induced to take up Tammuz worship.
Tammuz was represented by the first letter of his name, which is an ancient tau, a cross. The “sign of the cross” was the religious symbol of Tammuz. So there was an attempt to introduce the worship of the idolatrous pagan cross into the temple of Jehovah at Jerusalem.
But what does this have to do with Christendom? Is Tammuz worship going on there, in opposition to God? Well, first of all, what about the “sign of the cross” in Christendom? The cross, on which Christendom’s religions claim Christ was put to death (though it was actually a stake), is considered the foremost symbol of Christianity. It is even bowed to and kissed by some religionists. Among the Jews after their restoration from Babylon, the stake on which a man had been put to death was considered a detestable thing, something to be buried out of sight. Says the Jewish authority, Moses Maimonides, of the twelfth century: “A timber upon which anyone has been hanged is buried; that the evil name may not remain with it and people should say, ‘This is the timber on which so-and-so was hanged.”’ But Christendom actually honors the very thing that, according to them, was the instrument on which Jesus was tortured to death.
MEDDLING IN POLITICS
But, as Jehovah said would be Ezekiel’s experience, we also shall see even more detestable things than these in connection with Tammuz or Nimrod worship in Christendom. The Bible says of Nimrod that “the beginning of his kingdom came to be Babel [or Babylon] and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land he went forth into Assyria and set himself to building Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah and Resen between Nineveh and Calah: this is the great city.” (Gen. 10:10-12) Thus Nimrod was the founder of cities and of political systems of rule, contrary to the will of Jehovah God. All false religion stemmed from Babylon after the flood of the days of Noah. Genesis 10:8, 9 says that “he [Nimrod] displayed himself a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah.”
The term “hunting,” according to the ancient Babylonian and Assyrian custom, was applied not only to hunting for wild animals but also to military campaigns against human creatures as the prey. So Nimrod made himself a shedder of human blood in warfare.
How well these details about Nimrod also fit Christendom! Like Nimrod, she also has established her own religious systems. These are generally thought of as being in harmony with the Holy Bible but, in actuality, are in harmony with religious teachings of ancient Babylon. Emperor Constantine was the ruler who made Christianity the State Religion of the Roman Empire. According to the ecclesiastical historian Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, Constantine said that “at mid-day when the sun was beginning to decline he saw with his own eyes the trophy of a cross of light in the heavens, above the Sun, bearing the inscription [in Greek] BY THIS CONQUER.” This, of course, would tend to give “holy” sanction to his political aims. This sign, the cross, was then used on the shields of his soldiers, an army of sun-god worshipers, who went forth to kill and to conquer.
Like Nimrod, Christendom has not confined herself to religion purely; she has mixed herself in worldly politics, setting up, wherever possible, a union of Church and State, with the Church trying to tell the State what to do. She has claimed that her political emperors and kings have ruled “By the grace of God.” Historian H. G. Wells writes of the crowning of Charlemagne as emperor of the “Holy Roman Empire” by Pope Leo: “Leo III (795-816), who invited Charlemagne to be Caesar and crowned him in spite of himself.” (Pocket History of the World, edition of March, 1944, p. 233)
Not only has Christendom enthroned and dethroned rulers, but even her bishops, archbishops and popes have been honored with material “thrones” and are still said to “reign” over their bishoprics and papal sees. Compare this course with the Christian apostle’s words at 1 Corinthians 4:8.
The politicians of this world are given prominent positions and considerations in the church systems. What a contrast, this, to the example of Jesus Christ, who refused to be made a king on earth by men! To the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, he said: “My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.” (John 18:36) To the contrary of this, Christendom insists that it is the duty of her church members to engage in politics. At times, and in some places, she endeavors to dictate to them as to the political candidates for whom they shall cast their election ballots. Members of her clergy have even acted as political rulers, as president, or as prime minister, and so on.
And what about wanton bloodshed as committed by “Nimrod a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah”? What Nimrod did was merely a small-scale prototype for Christendom! On a vastly enlarged scale, she too has engaged as a “hunter” in military campaigns with carnal weapons. The most sanguinary wars of all human history have been waged by the members of Christendom, between themselves and with the so-called infidels and pagans. All of this is not Christlike. It is Babylonish and smacks of Nimrod.
The loss of human lives in these wars has caused untold weeping by the womenfolk of Christendom. Memorial days are held annually when the ones bereaved by war go to the graveyards to decorate the burial plots of their slain warriors. The deaths of the mighty war generals and other high-ranking warlords are mourned by the patriotic, nationalistic members of Christendom, these being eulogized in the churches in which the funeral services are held. All of this in full agreement with the notorious fact that churches have been used as recruiting stations and propaganda centers in times of war. Such connecting up of all these political and military doings with the “house of God” (the church) in Christendom well reminds us of those Israelite women sitting and weeping over Tammuz inside the inner court of the temple of the Sovereign Lord God in Ezekiel’s day.
Has Christendom’s action exalted the name of Jehovah, the God of the Bible? No, rather it has brought reproach, and has caused hatred and enmity toward Christianity on the part of people of non-Christian lands. Christendom’s misrepresentation of the God of the Bible, along with her unchristian actions, has prepared a fertile breeding ground for Communism.
Moreover, it is right in the midst of Christendom where evolution has had some of its strongest supporters. Why? Because she has made the Bible seem to be contradictory, ridiculous and inaccurate because of her own ridiculous, false and unreasonable doctrines such as the Trinity, hellfire, predestination and her teachings regarding war, her meddling in politics and, not least, her turning to higher criticism. Many of her prominent clergymen have gone so far as actually to give support to the evolution theory.
The religious organizations of Christendom, in all her nations, have opposed the proclamation of the good news of God’s Messianic kingdom. The religious clergy have conspired to get political rulers to ban the work and have incited arrests and mob action against Jehovah’s witnesses, who are calling upon all to study the Bible to find out what it really teaches. Christendom, engaging in Nimrod worship, is actually a part of Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, and to all those connected with her, God’s command is: “Get out of her, . . . if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.”—Rev. 18:4.
Christendom’s long history of fighting against God is near its end. She has mocked God by taking his name and the name of his Son upon her and then bringing upon them the greatest defamation. But “God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap.” (Gal. 6:7) Christendom will pay with loss of her existence for her fight against God.
Are you a member of one of Christendom’s churches? Then search the Scriptures for yourself with the help of true Christians, and forsake bloodguilty Christendom. Turn to the true God and his Messianic kingdom for life.
See The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, 1953 edition, footnote on Genesis 10:9.