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Nimrod, Semiramus, and the Mystery Religion of Babylon

Nimrod – Part 3

The first book of the Bible introduces this wicked man and his kingdom – centered in Babel.  The last book of the Bible, chapters 17 and 18, describes God’s utter destruction of Babylon in the last days.  The prophetic destruction includes the wicked city itself, as well as the rebellious religion it generated.  This article will focus initially on the Nimrod’s wife, Semiramis, as she was instrumental in the formation of the wicked “mystery religion of Babylon.”  It will then explain how Nimrod’s father, Cush and ultimately Nimrod, himself, were incorporated into this system of worship. Euhemerus was an ancient Greek mythographer who lived around 300 BC.  He wrote that gods and their associated legends arose from the deification of dead human heroes.[i]

One legend of ancient history regarding Semiramis describes Nimrod meeting Semiramis while she was a brother owner in Uruk.[ii]  This probably occurred when Nimrod was consolidating control over that city.  The history of queen/goddess as prostitute/brothel owner is not the material of good legends.  Therefore, subsequent legends arose which portrayed her as a mythic fertility goddess and mother of the gods.  All attempts to trace the origin of goddess worship lead ultimately to one single woman of ancient history – Semiramis.[iii]   She promoted deification of Nimrod and herself after his death.  God’s judgment and Nimrod’s execution forced the ‘mystery religion’ underground for a while.  Its adherents realized the danger of practicing their religion in the public domain.  Hence, the name “mystery religion of Babylon” refers to its secretive nature.  However, Semiramis commanded total authority over her subjects and clandestinely indoctrinated the priesthood with this mystery religion.  Priests and astrologers obeyed her commands and aggressively marketed the mystery religion.  Ancient Sumerians knew Semiramis as the goddess Inanna.  People adored her, especially in her home city of Uruk.  They erected many temples to commemorate her as the goddess of sexual love and fertility.  This description of her mythical duties was likely an exaggeration of her true life as a prostitute.  Historical truth often grows to superhuman feats in mythology. Ancient mythology depicts Semiramis as ascending to heaven as a dove, where she became the fertility and queen goddess, Inanna.

Inanna’s son and husband was Tammuz, the sun god.  Sumerians worshipped the mother/son duo.  After human dispersion at the Tower of Babel, worship of the fertility goddess and mother/son duo continued across the ancient world, but the names changed in different locations – due, of course to the different languages.  Inanna (Semiramis) was known as Ishtar in Babylon, Isis in Egypt and the son/husband was Osiris – the sun god.  There is an inscription engraved in an Egyptian temple of Isis that reads: “I am all that has been, or that is, or that shall be.  No mortal has removed my veil.  The fruit which I have brought forth is the sun.”[iv]  The sun was Osiris – deified Nimrod.

She was worshipped as Venus in Rome (counterpart Cupid), and Aphrodite in Greece.  She was also called Diana/Artemis – great fertility goddess of the Ephesians.  Worship of this goddess became a roadblock in the apostle Paul’s early mission to the city of Ephesus, as mentioned in the book of Acts 19:23-41.  The Old Testament records the name of this fertility goddess of the Canaanites as Ashteroth (Baal’s counterpart – Jdg. 2:12; 3:7, 1 Kings 18:19; 2 Kings 21:7).  She became a stumbling block for the Jews and their leaders who first settled this area for many generations.  The prophet, Jeremiah, prophesied about the worship of this goddess:

The women added, ‘When we burned incense to the Queen of Heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did not our husbands know that we were making cakes like her image and pouring out drink offerings to her?’  Then Jeremiah said to all the people, both men and women, who were answering him, ‘Did not the Lord remember and think about the incense burned in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem by you and your fathers, your kings and your officials and the people of the land? When the Lord could no longer endure your wicked actions and the detestable things you did your land became an object of cursing and a desolate was without inhabitants, as it is today.  Because you have burned incense and have sinned against the Lord and have not obeyed Him or followed His law or His decrees or His stipulations, this disaster has come upon you, as you now see.’  – Jeremiah 44:19-23

Semiramis became a powerful ruler in Mesopotamia following the death of Nimrod.  The Sumerian name Sammur-amat was the original name of this woman.[v]  This suggests the ancient civilization of Sumeria may have taken their name from her.  The name Sammur-amat is translated ‘Gift of the Sea.’  The first part of this name, Sammur, becomes Shinar when translated into Hebrew.  The land of Shinar is the Biblical name for the region of southern Mesopotamia.  Both the Sumerians and their land of Shinar (Sumer) were likely named after this notorious woman!  Most anthropologists credit the Sumerians with the beginning of human civilization.

Semiramis ruled for more than forty years after Nimrod’s death.  Her son was likely Gilgamesh, and he ruled after her.  The famous Gilgamesh epic is quite similar to the Biblical flood story, except he is the central figure.

The ‘mystery religion of Babylon’ probably originated in the evil mind of Semiramis.  Nimrod and Cush also contributed significantly to its development. Many learned individuals have taught polytheism was the evolutionary forerunner of monotheism.   However, polytheism began in the minds of Cush, Nimrod and Semiramis, who heavily suffused the mystery religion of Babylon with human deification.

Deified Cush was revered as several gods of ancient mythology.  Canaanites worshipped him as Bel or Baal, and he was their most important God.  Baal worship was an abomination to God and a major factor provoking His judgment on the Canaanites and Israelites.  The prophet, Jeremiah, spoke the Word of God to the Israelites who had participated in Baal worship.

Listen! I am going to bring a disaster on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.  For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned sacrifices in it to gods that neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent.  They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.

God executed that judgment shortly thereafter, when King Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian army destroyed Jerusalem.  Many Jews who survived the onslaught were taken to Babylon to live the rest of their lives in slavery.

Babel means ‘the gate of god,’ but it can also mean “son of Bel.”  Perhaps Nimrod named the city of Babel after himself, as the son of Bel (Cush).

The Egyptians commemorated Cush as the god Hermes, which means ‘son of Ham.’  Hermes was recognized as the author of religious rites and the interpreter of the gods.  Ancient mythology describes Hermes as the interpreter of languages.  Mercury was another name for the god Hermes.  Mercury purportedly divided the speech of men.  The name, Bel, also means “the Confounder.”[vi]  Cush likely assisted in the planning and building of the Tower of Babel.  He initiated the rebellion against God. Indeed, he named his son Nimrod, which means, ‘to rebel.’  The mythological names of Cush suggest his sin was an inciting cause for God’s worldwide judgment – the confusion of languages.  Cush was known as the ancient god Janus, and all gods supposedly originated from him.  People of antiquity recorded a statement Janus reportedly made about himself: “The ancients…. called me Chaos.”[vii]  Chaos is the “god of confusion” and is derived from the name Cush.  The symbol connected with Janus is a club, and its Babylonian name means ‘to break in pieces,’ or ‘to scatter abroad.’  The sin of Cush broke the one language of mankind and caused the chaos of languages that scattered men abroad.  Janus and Vulcan are names for the same god.  Vulcan broke and divided the world with a stroke of his well-known hammer.[viii]

Nimrod forced his subjects to worship him as a military and political hero.  He proclaimed himself high priest of the ‘mystery religion of Babylon.[ix]   Semiramis deified Nimrod after his death.[x]

Nimrod’s Babylonian followers worshipped him as Marduk – the god of war and fortresses.  The Sumerians built the gigantic ziggurat of Etemenanki to honor their supreme god, Marduk.  Many believe this ziggurat was the Tower of Babel.  The name, Marduk, was altered by various civilizations of the ancient world due to the languages given at the Tower of Babel.  His Akkadian name was Amarutuk.  The Egyptians named him Osiris, the Phoenicians referred to him as Tammuz, and in Canaan he became the sun god of fire – Molech.  Canaanite parents often sacrificed their first born to this god by placing the child in the outstretched hands of a large statue of Molech, while a blazing fire raged beneath.  This horrible form of idol worship incited God’s judgment upon the Canaanite people and also upon the Israelites, as they participated in this worship.

Leviticus 20:2 Say to the Israelites: Any Israelite or any alien living in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech must be put to death. – Also refer to Jer 49:1 and Jer 32:33-35.

Should people of this present age be concerned God might judge a world of people who have murdered millions of their children on the altar of abortion?  Indeed, clear scriptural references suggest the detestable practice of child sacrifice incited God’s terrible wrath on multiple occasions.  God often judged His own people, the Israelites, more severely than the pagans adhering to these practices.

Nimrod became the Roman god Bacchus, which means, ‘the son of Cush.’  Bacchus was god of wine and revelry.  Marduk was also the Roman god Kronos, whose name means, ‘the horned one.’  Ancient artists often depicted Nimrod wearing a crown of bullhorns.  Kronos was also the Roman god Saturn, who devoured his own sons as soon as they were born.[xi]  “The Phoenicians every year sacrificed their beloved and only begotten children to Kronos, or Saturn; and the Rhodesians often did the same.” [xii]

Nimrod’s followers assigned him many mythical names that implicate works achieved only by the true Son of God, Jesus Christ.  These counterfeit names deceptively attracted multitudes to worship Nimrod.  People north of Mesopotamia commonly knew him as Ninus, “the son.”[xiii]  Nimrod was called Zoraster, which means “the seed of Aster” (Ishtar-Semiramis).  People revered Zoraster through the generations as the promised seed of the woman, destined to bruise the head of the serpent in Genesis 3:15.[xiv]  Zoroastrianism rests on this foundational doctrine.  Greeks deified Nimrod as the god, Adonis.[xv] Adonai means “The Lord.” Greeks also knew Nimrod as Dionysus, “the sin bearer,”[xvi] and gave homage to him as Zeus, ‘the savior,[xvii] and Mithras, “the mediator.”[xviii]  The Babylonians worshipped Nimrod as El-Bar, or “god, the son.”  Archeologists in the ancient city of Nineveh have unearthed sculptures inscribed with this name.

People of ancient civilizations worshipped deified Nimrod in conjunction with snakes, serpents, and dragons.  Nimrod appropriated the dragon and the snake as his personal emblems, and from this association various myths about gods and serpents originated in antiquity. (Http/; author Bryce Self).  These likely symbolized his satanic connection.  Many Scriptures in the Bible identify Satan as the great serpent.  Greek and Roman mythology abound with serpent lore, and their artisans frequently sculpted popular gods with serpent representations.  Many Hamitic civilizations (Ethiopians, Hittites, Chinese, Japanese, and American Indians) have favorably portrayed dragons and serpents.  The Egyptians depicted their sun god, Osiris, as the sun surrounded by a serpent.[xix]  Artists generally painted dragons and serpents a fiery red color to suggest their association with the sun.  Sun and serpent worship began simultaneously in antiquity.[xx] The Canaanites clearly understood the connection between sun god, Molech, and serpent worship.[xxi]  Even Roman mythology repeatedly illustrates an affiliation between a serpent and the fire god and they were worshipped together.

The Apostle Paul wrote in the Epistle of the Romans 1:21-23:

For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God, nor gave thanks to Him; but their thinking became futile, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man, and birds, and animals, and creeping things.

Perhaps the last word in this verse refers to the worship of serpents – even Satan, himself.

A very interesting Biblical reference describing a dragon is located in the prophetic New Testament Book of Revelation (Rev. 12:1-5):

A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.  She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.  Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads.  His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth.  The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.  And her child was snatched up to God and to His throne.

The pregnant woman described in this passage is God’s chosen nation, Israel.  The infant represents the Seed of the woman, prophesied thousands of years earlier in Genesis 3:15.  The child awaits delivery by the laboring woman (Israel).  She is God’s chosen nation through which His Seed – the Son of God – would come.  The fearsome red dragon depicted here is the same fiery red dragon portrayed with the sun god in the mystery religion of Babylon.  The dragon is none other that Satan, himself.  He is portrayed here, eagerly awaiting the birth of the prophesied Seed so he can devour Him.  Satan has feared the prophesied Seed since God pronounced the curse in the Garden of Eden.  God has provided clues throughout Biblical history suggesting the lineage of His Seed.  From the beginning of time, Satan has done everything in his power to destroy that lineage.  Old Testament Scriptures record the history of this momentous conflict over the millennia preceding the incarnation of Jesus Christ.  Satan’s multiple attempts to destroy the Seed are chronicled in the pages of God’s Word.  A thorough discussion of these attempts is not within the scope of this article.  Nevertheless, the dragon did await the birth of that infant (Jesus).  When the woman (Israel – Mary) bore the child, the fiery serpent finally had an opportunity to devour her Seed.  Herod’s massacre of infants in the city of Bethlehem was a horrific attempt to accomplish that goal.  Satan ultimately attempted to destroy God’s promised Seed by crucifying the Christ.  The crucifixion initially appeared to accomplish his goal, but Satan failed that attempt also – fortunately for mankind.  He had not anticipated the resurrection of God’s Son.  Thereafter, Satan realized his time was short, for the son’s destiny is to terminate Satan’s reign over the world of mankind.

The previous verse from the Book of Revelation explains the Child was taken up to God’s throne.  The resurrected Seed ascended to sit at God’s right hand.  The Seed of God lives today, and one day He will deliver the mortal blow to the dragon.  That Seed is the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who will rule the nations with an iron scepter, as illustrated in this same verse.

[i] Diodorus of Sicily: The Library of History – book VI.

[ii] http:www.onesimus @ix.netcom; author Bryce Self

[iii] Alexander Hislop: The Two Babylons; pp 5, 20-21, 30-31, 74-75, 141)

[iv] Alexander Hislop: The Two Babylons; p. 77).

[v]; http:www.onesimus @ix.netcom; author Bryce Self

[vi] Alexander Hislop: The Two Babylons; p. 26.

[vii] Alexander Hislop: The Two Babylons; p. 26

[viii] Alexander Hislop: The Two Babylons; p. 26-28.

[ix] Henry Morris; The Genesis Record; p. 265.

[x] Alexander Hislop; The Two Babylons; pp. 5, 69-70.

[xi] (ibid.  p. 231).

[xii] Eusebius; “De Laud, Constantini;” chapter 13; p. 267.

[xiii] Alexander Hislop: The Two Babylons; p. 23-25.

[xiv] ibid, pp. 59, 61-67, 71, 120-121, 170, 180, et al).

[xv] ibid, P. 70

[xvi] ibid; pp 71-72.

[xvii] ibid; p. 72

[xviii] ibid; p. 70

[xix] ibid, pp. 227-228.

[xx] ibid, p. 227).

[xxi] ibid, pp. 228-232.


  1. The Bible
  2. ‘Nimrod – Darkness in the Cradle of Civilization’ by Steven Merrill
  3. The Book of Josher
  4. The Jerusalem Tar gum
  5. ‘The Two Babylons’ by Alexander Hislop
  6. ‘Antiquities of the Jews’ by Flavius Josephus
  7. ‘The History of Herodotus.’ Groelier Classics
  8. ‘The Genesis Record’ by Henry Morris
  9. ‘De Laud, Constantini’ by Eusebius
  10. ‘Library of History – Books I-IV,’ by Diodorus Siculus
  11. 11.‘Collected Works of Hugh Nibley,’ Volume 5, Part 2

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