Have we all been worshipping the Beast?
Genesis 10 tells us about Nimrod, great grandson of Noah, who becomes a mighty hunter and king of Babel. This is the time and location of the infamous Tower of Babel; Babylon. In this story, Nimrod builds a tower to reach God. This angers God, and causes him to scatter the nations of people and confound their languages. [It is interesting to note that almost all ancient civilizations, all across the globe, all share a similar story.]
Nimrod is eventually killed, and his body is cut into pieces. His wife, Semiramis, goes out to collect these pieces in an attempt to reassemble her husband. She gathers all of her husband's body parts, except his reproductive organ cannot be found! Semiramis claims her husband's spirit was manifested as the sun (Ba'al) when he died; and using sorcery (and fertility rituals) Semiramis is miraculously impregnated by the spirit of Nimrod (the sun) using a phallic statue she makes. Now, as the Queen of Babylon, Semiramis gives birth to her divine son/husband Tammuz, and the two share a very weird relationship.
Tammuz is also a great hunter, much like his father, and while out hunting for rabbits he is killed by a wild bore. When he dies, Tammuz's body falls on the stump of an old tree. This is followed by 40 days of weeping (Queen Semiramis ordered everyone to abstain from meats and drinks and work) and after the 40 days they feasted on the bore.
It's important to understand that the Babylonians were a wicked fertility cult; and they worshipped the lunar and solar cycles. To them, the moon represented Semiramis' womb, and it's waxing and waning was her ovulation cycle. And the sun was Ba'al, the literal embodiment of their god Nimrod. The Babylonians observed both religiously.
Under Semiramis command, they celebrated with sexual orgies, fertility rituals, and infant sacrifice. Using the blood of these sacrifices, on the spring equinox, they would paint eggs and hide them under trees to memorialize Tammuz.
In the fall harvest, the priests would go door to door, collecting more sacrifices to make to his spirit in the underworld. If you didn't have anything to offer, you were cursed (or worse)
At the end of the year, they would go back to their Tammuz trees, cut them down, and bring them into their homes. They would decorate them, and adorn their homes, and count down 12 days to celebrate the winter solstice. On this day, they would feast and give gifts and commemorate the rebirth of their sun god.