Now that we have finished mapping out the first two tiers of Satan’s earthly kingdom…
…it is time for us to move on to a survey of its third tier, which is the Religious Landscape over which he rules. As we do, we need to keep in mind that the Structures in these Landscapes have been especially designed to maximize Satan’s control, conditioning, and corruption of Corporate Humanity’s Body, Soul, and Spirit. As we have learned previously, it is through the manipulation of the…
Physical and Financial Structures that he Controls what people
can do and where they can go;
Educational and Media Structures that he Conditions the way people think and feel;
…and, as we shall learn in this session, it is through the…
Religious Structures that he Corrupts the worship of God and
redirects that worship to himself.
As we have been reminded of so often over the course of these exercises, Satan’s motivation for this Corruption is his obsessive and self-destructive quest to usurp God’s throne and grab the glory that goes along with it. Since most people consider Religion to be the means by which we are drawn closer to God, to say that Satan uses it to do just the opposite, might seem somewhat incongruous at first; however, once we have examined the matter more closely, I think we will come to see that the difference between Religion and the Righteousness required by God is as vast as the distance between the Heaven and Hades we learned about in Spiritual Warfare: Getting the Lay of the Land. So, to clarify what we mean when referring to Religion, we must pause for a DOT—or, a Definition of Terms for this particular structure.
- Religion—What Is It?
As defined by Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Religion is…
…a system of thought, feeling, and action that is shared by a group and that gives the members an object of devotion; a code of behavior by which individuals may judge the personal and social consequences of their actions; and a frame of reference by which individuals may relate to their group and their universe.
Breaking this definition down, we find that…
- Because it is a system of thought, feeling, and action, Religion is something that appeals to, encompasses, and makes use of every aspect of the Human Soul—both the individual and the corporate one;
- Because it is shared by a group, Religion provides its adherents with a community that they can be a part of and relate to; and,
- Because it provides its followers with an object of devotion, a code of behavior, and a frame of reference…
- Religion satisfies their inherent need for something to worship or revere;
- Religion provides them with guidelines on how to behave or act by defining morality and establishing boundaries for them; and,
- Religion helps them make sense of the world around them and explain its origins.
Religion, then, is the belief system expressly designed to meet the needs of the Human Soul which, as we know from our previous exercises, has been a part of Man’s Carnal or Fleshly Nature ever since it became separated from his Spirit (and God’s Spirit, as well) as a result of Sin. Given this, and the fact that…
…God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24); and,
…all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment (Isaiah 64:6)…
…the Soulish Worship produced by Religion—no matter how pious it may appear to be on the surface—is something which is reprehensible to God.
- Religion—When and Where Did It Originate?
When trying to determine just when and where Religion originated, we must first decide which approach to the subject we are going to take—the Secular Approach or the Biblical Approach. In choosing the secular one, we would find ourselves in the company of Anthropologists, Sociologists, and Historians who approach the subject from an Evolutionary Perspective; one which…
…starts with the view that man evolved from a pre-simian ancestor. Since animals have no religion, there must have been, it is said, a long ascent through apish chatter and fear of the dark unknown to…a ‘belief in a vague, potent, terrifying inscrutable force.’
Animatism developed into ‘animism,’ the spirit-fearing religion of most isolated tribal people. Then came the polytheism immortalized in the Greek mythologies. Israel’s glory, so this summary of the development of religion suggests, was that she was able to narrow down the many gods of the surrounding nations to one tribal god. And eventually the one Creator-God of the Hebrew prophets, together with the philosophical monotheism of Plato, paved the way for higher religion.
The Biblical Approach, on the other hand, gives us a completely different and, to my way of thinking, a far more reasonable explanation; for…
According to the Bible, the first true man was a monotheist, and when he falls into sin, he seeks restoration through animal sacrifice. The theory of the evolution of religion suggests that man is an animal taking a long time to become divine. The Bible describes a human couple made in the image of God, who degenerated into what we are now.
According to this approach, instead of it being the unexpected byproduct of, or the evidentiary support for, Man’s upwardly mobile evolutionary journey, Religion is actually the degenerative process that was set in motion by Man’s Original Sin back in the Garden of Eden. Although we have made quite a few trips to the Garden already, it will be necessary for us to visit there once again, if we are to expose the roots and the true nature of Religion’s False Faith.
To do this, though, we must first have an understanding of the significance of the Garden to the relationship between God and Man. Because God is Spirit and Man is Flesh, for the two of them to enjoy fellowship together, it was necessary that a special meeting place be created for them. In much the same way that man’s spirit and his body of flesh needed his soul to be a place of mediation between two such disparate entities, God and Man needed a place—something like a Sanctuary, a Tabernacle, or a Temple—where they, too, could come together. This, then, is what the Garden represented to them.
Although the world that God created was beautiful enough in itself, when it came to creating the Sanctuary of the Garden, He pulled out all of the stops. He filled this Sanctuary with everything that was beautiful to behold and to enjoy. It was well-watered by a river flowing up from underground springs and filled with every tree that was good for food. In addition, the areas surrounding it were also well-watered and filled with gold and precious stones! When this special Sanctuary was completed, God took the Man He had created and placed him in it, and charged him with the responsibility of caring for it. God made it clear to Man at the time that if he wanted to maintain their fellowship and continue living there, he would have to obey the Word God had given him, even when tempted to do otherwise.
In addition to all the other trees in the Garden, God placed two very special ones at its center—the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. His purpose for doing so was to test Man—giving him the opportunity to choose for himself whether to obey God and be blessed, or to go his own way and reap the consequences. In reality, what He was setting before the first Man and Woman was the choice between the only two Systems of Faith that would ever be available to mankind—the choice to either put their Faith in the Works of the Flesh and try to achieve Salvation on their own terms, or to do things God’s way and put their Faith in His Word as the only means of securing their Salvation and Eternal life. Since these trees were representative of those two systems, an examination of their roots and fruit will aid in our understanding of the systems themselves.
Such an examination reveals that…
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil…
…was rooted in the same desires that motivated Satan to rebel against God. As listed in Isaiah 14:13-14, these were…
I will ascend into Heaven;
I will be like the Most High;
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; and,
I will also sit on the Mount of the Congregation.
The SAP produced by it was Selfishness and Pride, and its Fruit was all about Me and My Glory.
On the other hand…
The Tree of Life…
…was rooted in the same desires that characterized Jesus, as described for us in Psalm 40:6-10…
I delight to do Your will;
Your law is within my heart;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; and,
I have proclaimed the good news of [Your] righteousness in the great assembly.
Its SAP was Submission and Praise, while its Fruit was all about God and His Glory.
In comparison, then, the Two Systems of Faith line up something like this…
Of course, hindsight being what it is, it’s easy for us to see that the reason the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was so attractive to Adam and Eve was because of its overpowering appeal to their flesh—to their selfishness and pride, as well as to their desire for self-determination and glorification. Unfortunately, when they chose to eat of this tree, there was no way for them to know the kind of fruit it would bear in the lives of their children, grandchildren, and in the generations to come. They had no idea that in choosing the Way of Works over the Way of God, they were dooming every one of their descendants (with the exception of Jesus Christ) to enter this world already bound to the same system–the system of Satan’s Soul-Centered False Faith of Religion, which actually leads it followers away from the Truth of God and on to their Spiritual Deaths.
- Religion—How Did It Develop?
Starting out as just a small seed of unbelief in the hearts of our first parents—but, nurtured as it was in the fertile soil of Satan’s prideful ambition—it didn’t take long for this False Faith of Religion to grow into an enormous tree with a very sturdy trunk. That’s because it was founded upon Cain and his self-styled Worship of Works, it was fed and grew stronger on Man’s Worship of Nature, and its reach was eventually extended to cover the whole world through the many branches it developed following God’s confounding of the languages at the Tower of Babel.
Cain’s Worship of Works
That Cain and his offering would serve as the base upon which the Tree of Religion was founded should come as no surprise to us; for his—and his brother Abel’s—offerings were the first ones to be recorded after their parents’ expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Given their proximity to that event, in both time and location, it seems reasonable to expect that Adam and Eve had instructed their sons concerning the type of offering that would be required of them by God. The fact that Cain brought an offering of produce from his field, which was rejected, and Abel brought a lamb to be sacrificed and it was accepted, would tend to lend support to this theory. But, was the difference in their offerings the only reason to look upon Cain as Religion’s Founding Father, or was it something that went much deeper than that?
We get an indication of the real issue in Hebrews 11:4, where we learn that the truly distinguishing feature between these two men and their offerings was faith, for…
By faith, Abel offered up a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts.
Why, then, was faith the deciding factor here? Because…
…without faith it is impossible to please him [God], for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11:6); and,
…the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, the Lord looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
If it was a heart of faith that was required to please God, how did Abel’s offering reveal that? The most logical conclusion is that, since…
…faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17)…
…Abel must have taken to heart the Word that he had received—most likely from his parents and something to the effect of “…without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins (Heb. 9:22)”—then, acting upon that Word, he offered up to God his best lamb as the substitutionary payment for his sins.
Cain, on the other hand, having rejected the same Word, and determined to do things in his own way, foolishly attempted to come to God on his own terms, rather than approaching Him in the manner previously ordained. Such an arrogant action on his part revealed that his heart was far from God, he was in denial concerning his sinfulness and need of sacrificial atonement, and his faith was in his own worthiness and works. So great was Cain’s sense of self-righteousness that even when he was corrected by God and given an opportunity to repent, he refused—choosing instead to try to vindicate himself through the murder of his brother. The true nature of Cain’s heart and actions were described centuries later by the Apostle John, when he warned his readers…
We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous (1 John 3:12).
So, it was these characteristics of Cain…
- An unbelief in and a rejection of the Word of God;
- A life built upon deception;
- A faith based on self-worth and the works of the flesh;
- An inexplicable resentment and envy of the truly righteous; and,
- An unjustifiable need to suppress and eliminate those who are walking with God…
…that have, ever since the time of Cain, become the hallmarks of the structure we know of as Religion—hallmarks which were clearly demonstrated by the Religious Leaders of Jesus’ day who, in their resentment and envy of Him, felt completely justified in their persecution and crucifixion of the very Son of God.
Man’s Worship of Nature
I must admit that when considering the transition from Cain’s Worship of Works to Mankind’s Worship of Nature, I was at a loss to explain how it could have happened. I mean, why would any reasonably intelligent person choose to worship a being or a material entity lower in rank in the created order than himself? It just didn’t make any sense, for the leap from the one to the other seemed far too great. Thankfully, in Romans 1:21-25, the Apostle Paul provided us with some insight into this highly illogical progression (regression, actually) as he explains that it was really just a short hop because…
…although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!
It would seem, then, that if we—like Cain—don’t believe God and we reject His Word as the only source of Truth in the world, not only will we fall for any and every lie that comes down the pike, but we will also have to invent a few of our own if we’re going to ever make sense of our existence and the world in which we live. After all, how else can we explain why…
- The sun rises in the east and sets in the west on a daily basis;
- The moon and the stars come out at night and move from place to place in the sky;
- The wind is so powerful and yet invisible;
- The thunder thunders and the lightning flashes randomly across the sky;
- The land is separate from the seas and the earth, at times, rumbles mysteriously under foot;
- The rivers race downhill from the mountains to the sea;
- People are people and animals are animals—why we eat one but not the other; and,
- People die and what happens to them after they do?
Well, those in ancient times chose to explain these things through the use of Myths…
Myths explained how Earth was created, where life came from, why the stars shine at night and the seasons change. Why there was sex. Why there was evil. Why people died and where they went when they did. In short, myths were a very human way to explain everything.
…in its most basic sense, a myth is defined as ‘A traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the world view of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the psychology, customs, or ideals of society (American Heritage).’ ‘Explaining aspects of the world’—that’s another way to say ‘science’ or ‘religion,’ the two principal ways people have used to explain the world.
Creation myths set out to explain the origin of the world, the birth of gods and goddesses, and eventually the creation of human beings. Explanatory, or causal, myths try to give a mythic reason for natural events, such as the Norse belief that Thor made thunder and lightning by throwing his hammer…another fundamental type of myth is the ‘foundation’ story, which explains the beginnings of a society—often with the distinct sense of superiority that direct descent from the gods clearly implies.
This eventually gave rise to the rule and domination of men over men because…
Once local rulers understood that connecting themselves to the gods would cement their hold over people, myth was elevated to an institution that could prove more powerful than an army. Most of the great ancient civilizations…were theocracies, in which there was no difference between religion and state. With connections to the gods and usually the cooperation of a potent priesthood, divinely anointed rulers held the power of life and death over their subjects…
…a development which eventually led to the founding of the world’s first empire in the land of Shinar—as well as the world’s first Religious System at the Tower of Babel.
A System of Worship for the World
In Genesis 11:1-2, we are told that following the flood of Noah’s day…
…the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.
Then, in Genesis 10:8-12, we learn that Shinar is where Nimrod, Noah’s great-grandson, came to power—and, where it was said of him…
…he was the first on earth to be a mighty man. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD. Therefore it is said, ‘Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before [against] the LORD.’ The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went into Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city.
Although the Bible doesn’t tell us much about Nimrod, there are a number of references to him in ancient extra-biblical literature. One such reference is in Antiquities of the Jews, compiled by the Jewish historian, Josephus…
Now it was Nimrod who excited them [the people] to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it were 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…
From what we read here, Nimrod sounds very much like the man of lawlessness the Apostle Paul warned his readers about later in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10—and described there as…
…the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God…The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan, with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing because they refused to love the truth and be saved.
And, from Josephus’ description of them, it would seem that those who were following Nimrod were very much like those just described by Paul…
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, neither sparing any pains, nor being in any degree negligent about the work: and, by reason of the multitude of hands employed in it, it grew very high, sooner than anyone could expect; but the thickness of it was so great, and it was so strongly built, that thereby its great height seemed, upon the view, to be less than it really was. It was built of burnt brick, cemented together with mortar, made of bitumen, that it might not be liable to admit water.
It should be noted here that the building of this tower…
…was not an innocent, scientifically naive, primitive effort to reach the highest heavens! It was, instead, a brilliant but blasphemous effort to dismiss forever the God who had commanded Noah and his three sons after the Flood to ‘be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth’ (Genesis 9:1). Instead of honouring His name [i.e. God’s character and attributes], they said, ‘Let us build for ourselves a city … and let us make for ourselves a name; lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth’ (Genesis 11:4).
In reality, this tower was created to be a religious center; one designed in the shape of a mountain which, when ‘scaled’ through the accomplishment of varying degrees of religious ritual, would elevate men to the status of deity and to the pinnacle of human power. The ziggurat—or stepped tower–is probably what this “mountain” would have looked like; a place where…
The top compartment represented heaven. The inner walls, in all probability, were decorated with blue glazed tile, with the sun, the moon, and the five known planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) lined up along the plane of the zodiac. In the centre of the room would be their “god” seated upon a throne! Nebuchadnezzar later rebuilt such a tower in Babylon, which the Sumerians had called E-TEMEN-AN-KI (‘the building of the foundation-platform of heaven and earth’). The pyramids of Egypt and, much later, the great Mayan temples of Central America, reflected the design of the original Tower of Babel.
So, in addition to establishing himself as the first tyrannical emperor in human history, Nimrod also made a name for himself as the instigator of the first organized false religious system in the world—one …
…based primarily upon a corruption of the primeval astronomy formulated by Noah’s righteous ancestors before the flood. In the original this system, depicted by means of constellations, [was] the story of Satan’s rebellion and the war in the heavens, his subversion of mankind, the fall of Adam and Eve, the promise of One to come who would suffer and die to relieve man from the curse of sin [and] then be installed as Lord of Creation, and the final re-subjugation of the cosmos to God through Him.
[However] These eternal truths were corrupted…into a mythic cycle wherein the great dragon is depicted as the rightful lord of the universe whose throne has been temporarily usurped by One whom we can recognize as the God of the Bible.
According to this corrupted version…
…the serpent creates man in his present miserable state, but promises that a child would one day be born of a divine mother—which child would supplant God, become a god himself, and return rulership of the Earth to the serpent…
…and, it was this woman and child who would later become known everywhere as the Madonna with Child.
These fables…were introduced under the guise of revealing hidden esoteric knowledge [but]…this esotericism…only masked the actual goal, which was the worship of the ‘heavenly host,’ which the Bible equates with Satan’s army of fallen angels.
Satan was quite willing to receive worship ‘by proxy,’ hence the third major element of the mystery religion was emperor-worship. This religion was propagated by a hierarchy of priests and priestesses, to whom were assigned the task of initiating the populace at large into its ascending degrees of revelation, culminating at the highest level in both direct worship of Satan and demon-possession.
Given the true nature of this rebellious and blasphemous endeavor—and the fact that it was God’s declared will from the beginning that human beings scatter abroad over the earth so that the earth would…
…be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14)…
…it was no wonder that…
…the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the LORD said, ‘Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.’
So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth (Genesis 11:5-9).
As a result of this scattering, when the people made their way into strange new lands, one of the things they all carried along with them was the false religion they had known at Babel in the land of Shinar—the place later called Babylon…
…from Babylon this mystery-religion spread to all the surrounding nations…Everywhere the symbols were the same, and everywhere the cult of the mother and child became the popular system…The image of the [Madonna] queen of heaven with the babe in her arms was seen everywhere, though the names might differ as languages differed. It became the mystery-religion of Phoenicia, and by the Phoenicians was carried to the ends of the earth. Ashtoreth and Tammuz, the mother and child of these hardy adventurers, became Isis and Horus in Egypt, Aphrodite and Eros in Greece, Venus and Cupid in Italy, and bore many other names in more distant places. Within 1,000 years, Babylonianism had become the religion of the world, which had rejected the Divine revelation.
And, it was for this reason that Babylon came to be known as the “mother” of every pagan religious system in the world— the system referred to in the Bible as Mystery Babylon, and the one described in Revelation 17:1ff as…
…a woman arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality;
…the great prostitute…with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk; and,
…having written on her forehead a name of mystery: ‘Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.
This is the same Religious System used by Satan throughout history to deceive and seduce those following in the Way of Cain, and to oppress and destroy those choosing to follow in the Way of Abel. The one…
- Out of which God called Abram, in order to create Israel as the nation through which His Son would come into the world;
- That enslaved the Israelites in Egypt—and, the one that God crushed when He delivered His people from bondage there;
- That God commanded His people to destroy when they went into the Promised Land—but whose failure to do so led to their eventual corruption;
- That killed the prophets God sent to call His people to repentance;
- That eventually carried God’s people into captivity, destroying their temple and leaving their land barren and in the hands of their enemies;
- That crucified Christ;
- That has persecuted the Church throughout its history and been responsible for the death of its martyrs;
- That was responsible for the Inquisition, the Holocaust, and all the religious wars throughout history;
- That led to the formation of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Rationalism, Atheism, and every cult the world has known; and,
- Whose syncretism is now manifesting itself in the New Age Religion that will soon serve as the State Religion during the reign of the Antichrist.
4. Religion–How Will It End?
Most importantly, it is the one that God will one day judge and destroy…
…and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. Rev. 16:19
…for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Rev. 18:5
‘Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.’ …her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her. 18:6,8
Alas, alas, for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls! For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste. 18:16-17
Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!” Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, ‘So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more;’ 18:20-21
…[for] all nations were deceived by your sorcery…and in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth.” 18:23-24
In that day, like her Master and Manipulator, Satan’s Soul-Centered False Faith of Religion will meet her well-deserved doom—and, she will be seen no more!
Phillips, Craig, and Dean remind us that our salvation is all about God’s amazing grace–not our works…
 “religion.” The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. © 1994, 2000-2006 on Infoplease.
© 2000-2017 Sandbox Networks, Inc., publishing as Infoplease.
14 May. 2018 <https://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/philosophy-and-religion/other-religious-beliefs-and-general-terms/religion-general/religion/>.
 Robert Brow, “Origins of Religion,” in Eerdmans’ Handbook to The World’s Religions (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982), 30.
 Brow, Eerdmans’ Handbook, 31.
 Kenneth C. Davis, Don’t Know Much About Mythology (New York, NY; HarperCollins Publishers, 20060, 23-24.
 Davis, Mythology, 12.
 Davis, Mythology, 12.
 Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews: Book 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 1960), 79-80.
 Josephus, Antiquities, 79-80.
 Harry A. Ironside, Babylonian Religion (http://www.biblelineministries.org/articles/).