Know Your Bible: The Mystery of Civilization
Mankind’s 6,000-year course of disaster

Does the world seem sane to you? As nuclear weapons proliferate worldwide, the number one problem facing mankind today is the question of human survival. For 6,000 years, humans have proved incapable of producing peace, prosperity and joy for all. With the advancement of technology has come the unwanted side effect of incomprehensible danger—the ability to annihilate all life on the planet!

But world problems don’t stop there. Something is dreadfully wrong with the human mind—and human civilization is proof. Sound reasoning based on God’s inspired Word, the Holy Bible, is practically nonexistent in the world around us! Political conservatives, who believe in strongly upholding the national rule of law, also believe the spiritual law of God was abolished by Jesus Christ. Political liberals hardly believe in the existence of God at all, blame weather disasters on the nation-destroying myth of climate change instead of our sins, somehow justify the murder of the unborn up to nine months and beyond, and push the deadly system of communism as the “solution” to inequality.

To witness the insanity of man’s systems of government, look no further than the worldwide coronavirus panic. National and local governments dramatically overreacted to the fear of this disease, shutting down businesses and taking away citizens’ right to work for a living. Meanwhile, the supposed experts were proven drastically wrong in their doom-and-gloom predictions of millions of deaths per nation. This stunning corruption and incompetence has been exposed in-depth on the Trumpet Daily Radio Show (listen at since March.

How did we get here? Herbert W. Armstrong clearly explained the confounding paradox of human civilization for over 50 years, particularly in Chapter 4 of his magnum opus, Mystery of the Ages, titled “Mystery of Civilization.”

You are welcome to grab a pencil and paper to write out the following scriptures. You will learn how human civilization has regressed nearly to the point of extinction, and how God plans to resolve this problem.

Charting a Disastrous Course

What is the origin of the current godless civilization? Genesis 3:22-24.

God drove out the first couple, Adam and Eve, from the Garden of Eden after they chose Satan’s way over God’s way (verses 1-6). From that point, God must have told them, as Mr. Armstrong paraphrased in Chapter 3 of Mystery of the Ages, “Mystery of Man”:

“You have made the decision for yourself and the world that shall spring from you. You have rejected me as the basic source of knowledge—you have rejected power from me through my Spirit to live the righteous way—you have rebelled against my command and my government—you have chosen the ‘getting,’ ‘taking’ way of Satan. Therefore I sentence you and the world you shall beget to 6,000 years of being cut off from access to me and my Spirit—except for the exceedingly few I shall specially call. And that few shall be called for special service preparatory for the Kingdom of God. They shall be required to do what you have failed to do—reject, resist and overcome Satan and his ways, and follow the ways of my spiritual law.

“Go, therefore, Adam, and all your progeny that shall form the world, produce your own fund of knowledge. Decide for yourself what is good and what is evil. Produce your own educational systems and means of disseminating knowledge, as your god Satan shall mislead you. Form your own concepts of what is god, your own religions, your own governments, your own lifestyles and forms of society and civilization. In all this Satan will deceive your world with his attitude of self-centeredness—with vanity, lust and greed, jealousy and envy, competition and strife and violence and wars, rebellion against me and my law of love.

“After the world of your descendants has written the lesson in 6,000 years of human suffering, anguish, frustration, defeat and death—after the world that shall spring from you shall have been brought to confess the utter hopelessness of the way of life you have chosen—I will supernaturally intervene. By supernatural divine power I shall then take over the government of the whole world. With reeducation, I will produce a happy world of peace. And on repentance, I shall then offer eternal salvation to all. After a thousand years of that happy world to come, I will resurrect from death to mortal life all who have died uncalled during this present 6,000 years. Their judgment shall then come. And on repentance and faith, eternal life shall be offered them.

“During this 6,000 years, when I myself shall cut them off from me, they shall not be eternally judged. Only, as they sow during their lifetimes, they shall reap. But when I open eternal salvation to them, there shall be no Satan to hinder or deceive them—no Satan for them to overcome. Those few called during this first 6,000 years shall have to reject and resist Satan’s pulls and overcome. But those who overcome shall sit with me in my throne, and have power under me to rule all nations under my Supreme Rule.”

Adam and Eve’s one wrong decision charted a disastrous course for all mankind. They cut themselves off from God by sinning (Isaiah 59:2), so God cut them off from access to the power of His Holy Spirit, thus making a close relationship with Him impossible.

Every problem on Earth today—pollution, crime, violence, broken families, poverty, sickness and disease, squalid cities and more—stems from Adam and Eve’s selection of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil instead of the tree of life. As Mr. Armstrong explained, the “good” knowledge gained from this tree was only good on the human, carnal level—not on the spiritual plane. To this day, humanity as a whole is still ignorant of the spiritual solutions to our problems—which are also spiritual. Meant to beautify and “replenish” the Earth (Genesis 1:28), humans have actually made things worse! All human problems are a tragic result of rejecting God!

Does the entire world now unwittingly serve Satan? Revelation 12:9; Ephesians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 4:4.

Adam and Eve chose to be taken captive by Satan. He now owns mankind. He broadcasts evil thoughts, moods and attitudes into human minds while deceiving most into believing this is really God’s world.

At the “foundation of the world,” what did Adam and Eve’s fateful decision guarantee? Revelation 13:8.

The moment Adam and Eve sinned, God knew He would have to sacrifice the Word, who later became Jesus Christ. Christ died to pay the penalty for our sins (Romans 6:23; John 3:16), but the vast majority of humanity won’t be rescued from Satan’s clutches until a later time. Until then, they will continue to serve their 6,000-year prison sentence to Satan.

The Flood and Babel

It took no time at all for the rotten fruits of living Satan’s way (Galatians 5:19-21) to become obvious. Adam and Eve’s firstborn son, Cain, murdered his brother, Abel (Genesis 4:8). God then banished Cain (verses 14-16) and later instituted the death penalty for all future murderers (Exodus 21:12).

How did God view the civilization that grew from the children of Adam and Eve? Genesis 6:5-7, 11-13.

Apart from God, human civilization has always been wretched. God was so disgusted by the ways of mankind, He flooded the Earth and started over with righteous Noah (verse 8).

How is this modern age similar to “the days that were before the flood”? Matthew 24:38.

Mr. Armstrong clarified the meaning of this verse in Mystery of the Ages: “Eating food and drinking is not evil. Marrying is not evil in itself. There had to be wrong use and excess in eating, drinking and marrying—the evil was in the manner, and in the extent of eating, drinking and marrying.”

Not long after the Flood, a strong black man named Nimrod took charge of the reborn, growing populace.

What was Nimrod known for? Genesis 10:8-9.

Nimrod, the new world’s first despot or tyrant, was a “mighty hunter before the Lord.” The word before in this passage should be against. Nimrod aimed to exalt himself above his own Creator! To him, proving his worth as a protector of mankind was a competition against God.

What project did mankind, under Nimrod’s direction, decide to undertake after the Flood? Genesis 11:1-4.

Nimrod and his followers foolishly believed they could prevent another worldwide destruction by simply building a structure, the tower of Babel, as high as the sky! They thought God’s only way of thwarting rebellion was by flooding the Earth. In a December 1981 sermon titled “Getting Back on Track,” Mr. Armstrong said of Nimrod: “You know the animals were more populous, more than the people at that time. He huddled the people together into cities to escape the animals; and he was the one who started the idea of walled cities, putting a wall around cities. Originally, it was to keep the wild animals out. Later on, it was to keep armies from other cities out. So we had walled cities way back in those days. Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the Lord.”

To delay mankind from rapidly developing civilization to the point of self-annihilation (Matthew 24:21-22), God confounded the language at Babel (Genesis 11:5-9). Whereas they once could communicate plainly with each other, they now spoke in many languages. Desperately confused, the builders babbled at Babel!

As verse 4 shows, the purpose of the Babel project was to “make us a name”—to establish themselves instead of God as the primary authority in their lives!

Who else thought ascending to the heavens—the intention of the Babel builders—would make him immune from God’s punishment for rebellion? Isaiah 14:12-14.

The magnificent archangel Lucifer became infected with vanity and jealousy toward God. This selfish way of thinking perverted him into Satan the devil!

It is astounding to think about how every biblical subject—and every subject you can think of in the entire world, really—traces straight back to the two trees. The Babel builders followed the exact pattern of ruin established by Satan.

Just like Adam and Eve, and Satan before them, Nimrod and his followers chose to rely on observation, experimentation and human reason to discern between right and wrong, good and evil. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil symbolizes a satanic mixture of good and evil physical knowledge—totally devoid of the spiritual light of God’s revelation. Essentially, Adam and Eve, and all of human civilization, decided that they were smarter than God!

What was a big reason for humanity coming together to build the tower of Babel? Genesis 11:4, last part.

“These people were not only of one language, they were of three races or families—white, yellow and black. Just as God created varieties in many species of flowers and of animals—for example, many varieties and colors of roses—for greater beauty, so God created the three races and colors of human skin. God intended to prevent racial intermarriages. But man has always wanted to violate God’s laws, intentions and ways. They wanted to become one race or family through intermarriage of races. … God had set the bounds of the races, providing for geographical segregation, in peace and harmony but without discrimination. But the people wanted to be of one amalgamated people. One purpose for the tower of Babel was to unite them, and to prevent them from being scattered in racial geographical segregation” (ibid).

The people didn’t want to live where God told them to live, organized by race into separate regions of the world. Through and through, human civilization as we know it today was founded upon rebellion against God.

Pagan Religion

As humans throughout history have naturally done, Nimrod and his followers sought to establish a form of worship within their cities.

What was wrong with the religious system devised by Nimrod? Romans 1:23; Exodus 20:4-5.

They worshiped the creation rather than the Creator. Human civilization, cut off from God (Genesis 3:22-24), exalts the sun, moon, stars, plants, animals, sticks, rocks and metal above the Creator of all these things! In 6,000 years, not much has changed. To this day, humans make gods of their appearance, career, friends, family and possessions, instead of obeying the one true God!

“It seems as though Noah’s son, Shem, received help from a group of Egyptians to put Nimrod to death. But his mother/wife, Semiramis, had ambitions of taking Nimrod’s place as the human representative of the sun-god. While Nimrod was still alive, he was practically worshiped as a protector and a hero. When he died, Semiramis ensured he would be literally worshiped as a god” (Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons).

Every religion on the planet, outside of the true religion practiced only by the Philadelphia Church of God, is rooted in Semiramis’s brand of paganism and idolatry. “Christian” holidays like Christmas and Easter originated from her false religious system. Many religions, past and present, have featured a dominant male and a dominant female character that traces back to Nimrod and Semiramis, respectively. Egypt had Osiris and Isis. Some so-called Christians have an improper reverence for the virgin Mary because of the mother-child counterfeit originated by Nimrod and Semiramis; the Greeks derived Bacchus from Nimrod. Even the Santa Claus myth traces back to Nimrod. The examples go on and on.

Civilization on the Brink

As the population grew, Nimrod’s cities eventually morphed into city-states and nations. Mr. Armstrong beautifully summarized the progression of civilization ever since: “As the generations of humanity continued, this world’s civilization developed. It started with a government system started by Nimrod, through a religious system that stemmed from Nimrod and Semiramis. The modern system of academic educations was started by Plato, taught by Socrates. Systems of commerce, industry, finance and banking developed—but none of these Satan-influenced and humanly devised systems originated with God. All laws were made by humans—either decrees by kings and despots, or human lawmaking groups, such as city councils, state legislatures, national congresses, parliaments, diets, or whatever. Social customs developed and all facets of civilization up to the chaotic present” (Mystery of the Ages).

God’s 7,000-year plan for mankind, pictured by the seven-day week, includes 6,000 years for humans to learn from hard experience that their way of life (inspired by Satan) does not work. Civilization will come to the brink of cosmocide—and then God will intervene to save us from ourselves (Matthew 24:21-22). From this painful failure, all humanity will finally get to know God. That’s the good news!