Do You Have an Immortal Soul?

Is man an immortal soul in a material body? Learn the surprising answer from your Bible!
From the July 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

For centuries, men have wondered what really happens at death.

The ancient philosophers taught that man is essentially an immortal spiritual “soul” housed in a temporary body of flesh—that the real man is not the body, but an invisible, immaterial “immortal soul” that thinks, hears, sees and will consciously live on forever.

At death, according to the speculation of the ancients, the soul leaves the body and journeys to a nebulous realm, possibly paradise or a place of punishment. The body, they observed, goes to the grave.

Sounds a lot like the teaching of many modern churches, doesn’t it?

You were probably taught that this doctrine was totally Christian. You undoubtedly assumed it came straight from the Bible. But as you will see in this eye-opening study, it did not!

Notice what the Jewish Encyclopedia explains: “The belief in the immortality of the soul came to the Jews from contact with Greek thought and chiefly through the philosophy of Plato, its principal exponent, who was led to it through Orphic and Eleusinian mysteries in which Babylonian and Egyptian views were strangely blended” (emphasis ours).

The doctrine of the immortality of the soul, according to this respected encyclopedia, came from pre-Christian Greek philosophers who acquired it from pagan Egypt and Babylon!

Surprising as it may seem, the Bible does not teach that men are immortal souls. Let’s look into the Bible and prove what it really says!

What Is Man?

1. Of what did Jesus Christ say man is composed? John 3:6, first part. And is that which is “born of spirit” of a totallydifferent composition? Same verse, last part.

Comment: Man is composed of flesh. Jesus plainly says that if one is born of (and therefore composed of) flesh, he cannot also at the same time be born of (composed of) spirit. He must be one or the other! So this verse alone is strong evidence that man is not an immortal spiritual “soul” that lives in a body of mortal flesh and blood. But let’s continue.

2. Was the Apostle Paul an immortal soul clothed with a body of flesh—or did he speak of himself and his flesh as being synonymous? Romans 7:18.

Comment: Paul did not distinguish between himself and his flesh in this verse. He indicated they were one and the same.

In order to understand whether man has an immortal soul, let’s go back to the creation of the first man to see exactly what happened.

The Creation of Man

God created the first man, and He tells us from what He made him so there would be no doubt as to what we really are. Here is that account as revealed in the Bible:

1. Out of what did God form man? Genesis 2:7. Notice that it was the man—not just the body—that was formed.

2. Was it the whole man—“thou”—that was composed of dust? Genesis 3:19.

Comment: Adam was made from, and therefore composed of, earth!

3. What would eventually happen to the conscious man? Same verse, last part.

4. After God had formed the man and made every cell in his body, what did He do to give him life? Genesis 2:7.

Comment: God blew air—“the breath of life” containing oxygen—into the man’s lungs through his nostrils, and the man began to live! The verse does not say God breathed an immortal soul into the man.

5. Does the same “breath of life” also pass through the nostrils of animals? Genesis 7:21-22. Is it the breath of life that is cut off when a human being or an animal drowns? Verse 22. Then the source of life in man and animals is the same, isn’t it?

Comment: If the “breath of life” even remotely referred to an immortal soul, then animals, birds and even insects—gnats, fleas, mosquitoes, etc.—would all have immortal souls!

What Kind of “Soul”?

1. When God had breathed the breath of life into Adam’s nostrils, what did the man become? Genesis 2:7, last part.

Comment: Man does not have a soul—man IS a “soul”! The original Hebrew word for “soul” is nephesh. Bagster’s Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon defines it as “breath,” and “anything that breathes, an animal.” It can also refer to a “person,” or even “one dead, a dead body.” In Genesis 1:21, 24; 2:19; 9:10, 12, 15-16 and Leviticus 11:46, the same word nephesh is translated “creature” when referring to animals.

And so man is a soul. Notice that the word nephesh is translated as “dead body” or “the dead” in Leviticus 19:28; 21:1; 22:4; Numbers 5:2; 6:11 and 9:6-7, 10. The “soul,” then, is merely an air-breathing entity that is subject to death and decay. It is not immortal!

The soul is composed of the “dust of the ground.” It is material, not spiritual; it is matter. When man breathes, he is a “living soul.” When man ceases to breathe, he becomes a nonliving or dead soul. That’s what the Bible reveals.

2. Can the “soul” die? Ezekiel 18:4, 20. If the soul were immortal—eternal—could it die? Is man plainly said to be “mortal”? Job 4:17.

Comment: Since man is a soul, and the soul is mortal—then man is mortal, subject to death. That is why the Scriptures refer to human beings as “mortal man.”

Is There Life After Death?

1. After a person dies—becomes lifeless—does he still have a conscious existence because of an immortal soul? Ecclesiastes 9:5; Psalm 146:4.

Comment: Since the Bible states plainly that the dead are not conscious of anything, we can logically conclude that man does not have an immortal soul that is conscious and aware of things happening around it after death!

2. Are the dead able to praise God? Psalm 115:17.

Comment: If dead Christians had immortal souls, wouldn’t they be praising God after they died, thankful to be with Him in paradise? Here, then, is more concrete evidence that human beings do not have immortal souls.

The Spirit in Man

What we have studied so far proves that man is a soul, and that at death, conscious existence ends. Nevertheless, the Bible speaks of a resurrection from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:21-23). If there is no immortal soul, what will God use, after the death and complete dissolution of the physical body and brain, to reproduce each individual at the resurrection?

1. Since man has no immortal soul in him that enables him to live on apart from his body after death (remember, man is a mortal soul), does the Bible speak of a “spirit in man”? Job 32:8; Zechariah 12:1; 1 Corinthians 2:9-14—notice especially verse 11. Is this spirit “in” man clearly distinguished from the Holy Spirit of God? Same verses in 1 Corinthians 2.

Comment: This spirit is not the man—it is spirit essence from God that is IN the man. Joined with the physical brain of the man, it forms the human mind. It imparts to man’s brain his unique powers of intellect and personality—the ability to think rationally and to make free-will decisions. It imparts the ability to learn mathematics, languages or other types of physical knowledge, but that is all! The spirit that is IN man has no consciousness of itself. It is not an “immortal soul.” This spirit is not “the man.”

Because of this spiritual element, the Bible often uses spirit simply to mean man’s mind, intelligence, attitude. To distinguish this “spirit in man” from mere physical breath, the book of Job continues in context to use two separate Hebrew words—ruach for spirit, neshamah for breath (Job 33:4; 34:14).

2. When a person dies, does this totally nonconscious “spirit in man” return to God who gave it? Ecclesiastes 12:7.

Comment: This spirit in each individual, of necessity, does more than merely impart the power of intellect to the physical brain. It becomes a spiritual “recording” and “mold” of the entire person—even to preserving memory, knowledge, character and outward appearance. And so when a person dies, that spirit “recording” returns to God and is “filed away” until the time God will “replay” it to bring about the resurrection of the identical personality to life and consciousness. Yet while filed away, it has no consciousness of its own.

Why haven’t you heard this truth before? Simply because the whole world has been deceived!

The truth about the “spirit in man” is so important that Satan tried to twist, warp and pervert it long ago. He clouded the minds of men and deceived them into believing his “big lie” as far back as the time of Adam and Eve.

Notice what happened in the Garden of Eden:

3. What did Satan tell Eve? Genesis 3:4.

Comment: Here was the origin of the “immortality of the soul” doctrine believed by so many today! Satan told Eve she would “not surely die”—in other words, that she had an “immortal soul” that would live forever. Eve swallowed this lie completely!

The truth is, if man were an immortal soul in a material body—and if the death of the body released the soul—then there would be no need for a resurrection to immortal life. Man would merely continue living after death. The fact that the Bible teaches the resurrection from the dead is further proof that man does not have an immortal soul!

Man to Become Spirit

We have clearly seen that the Bible does not teach the immortality of the soul. What, then, does the Bible teach about immortality?

1. Job once asked the question, “If a man die, shall he live again?” What was Job’s answer to his own question? Job 14:14. What is the change Job spoke of, and when will it take place? 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.

2. Will Job, David and all those in the resurrection be like God? Psalm 17:15. Is God spirit? John 4:24. Are they, therefore, to be composed of spirit as well? 1 Corinthians 15:42-49. Compare this with 1 John 3:2.

Comment: How plain the Bible really is. Man is mortal, corruptible flesh—organic matter with a temporary life. He does not have eternal life inherent within himself. He does not have an “immortal soul”! He is a physical, fleshly creature destined to die, turn to dust and remain that way—except for the intervention of the Almighty—except for the resurrection from the dead!

Keep Your Word

Keep Your Word

©iStock.com/Halfpoint

From the August 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

“But Daddy, you said we would play soccer when you got home from work!”

Guilty.

Trouble is, when I said that, I didn’t know about the unplanned meeting that got me home 20 minutes later than usual. Plus I just didn’t feel like running around at the moment.

Ever happened to you? This is a crucial moment of decision for a dad. And the implications of our choice here might be bigger than we think.

How important is it for a child’s parents to be true to their word? Enormously important, when you consider that in the eyes of a small child, a parent stands in the place of God. We equip our children to understand how dependable, how trustworthy, how consistent God is by how well we exhibit those qualities.

Fathers in particular must give this serious thought as we lead our families.

Imagine the man who wants to take his family on a trip and announces it. The whole family is excited. But as the date of departure nears, obstacles arise—unexpected costs, unforeseen snags. Other things take precedence. The trip doesn’t seem as important. The father cancels the trip.

Commenting on this hypothetical situation in Man of Steel and Velvet, Aubrey Andelin writes, “The lack of follow-through on the part of the father can have a disheartening effect on the family. Not only is there a loss of enriching experiences that could just as well have been had, but the family suffers a certain lack of security, especially if it happens often. They will come to distrust their father’s word. When new plans are presented, there will be doubt concerning the outcome. The family willlack faith that the plans will materialize, and disillusionment will set in” (emphasis added).

The author concludes, “Considering these doubts, it appears it would be best to follow through even if it may not be quite as prudent as originally thought.”

Obviously, we are human, and unsurpassable obstructions can arise; it is certainly wise to state plans as probabilities rather than absolute promises (James 4:13-15). Nevertheless, the basic point stands. How much does our dependability as fathers and mothers influence our children’s faith? The correlation is probably stronger than we would like to admit.

Wouldn’t it be harder for a person to learn to trust God’s Word, if his or her dad never kept his word?

And wouldn’t it be easier to simply believe God, if Dad was always trustworthy?

In some vital ways, dependability is a defining characteristic of godly fatherhood.

The very foundation of our faith is God’s dependability. When our heavenly Father makes a promise, it’s as good as done. “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19). We can count on Him to fulfill His every word. We can depend on Him to follow through every time.

James 1:17 says that with our Father, “there is no variation or shadow due to change” (Revised Standard Version).

“I am God, and there is none like me,” He assures us: “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9-10).

“For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29; rsv).

We fathers, we parents, must strive to teach our children this quality of God by living it. When we say we’ll do something, they should be able to count on us to follow through.

It’s tough sometimes. It takes sacrifice (though not nearly as much as God has made for us). But remember the goal: Matthew 5:48. I call it the father’s motto: “[Become] ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

Not only does our success here build a foundation for our children’s faith in God, it gives them a model to emulate. I’ve talked with my children about the importance of keeping your word. If I expect them to follow through with the things they say they will do, I have to make sure I’m setting the example.

One last thought about my promise to play soccer after getting home from work.

I recently attended the wedding of the daughter of one of my good friends. When he spoke at the reception, he brought me to tears as he reminisced about how, just yesterday, this radiant woman in white was his sweet little “pumpkin,” running to greet him when he got home from work.

I still have three of those pumpkins in my house. But, as my friend told me when we spoke afterward, just blink and they’re grown and gone.

“When my kids were growing up,” he said, “I always made sure I made time for them right when I came home from work. Every day, my son would greet me with a ball in his hand. ‘Dad—can we play?’ A lot of times I wouldn’t feel like it. But my wife reminded me, ‘You’d better take the opportunity while you’ve got it.’ So I always did. Even if it was for five minutes, I never told him no.”

Great advice. I know at least three children who deserve to be able to count on their dad like that.

And Then There Were Ten

And Then There Were Ten

GENT SHKULLAKU/AFP/Getty Images

As tensions within Europe give rise to regional blocs, an age-old prophecy springs to life!
From the August 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

Read verses 12, 13 and 18 of Revelation chapter 17. This seemingly mysterious prophecy is speaking of a political power to rise in the end time: in Europe, 10 national groupings, under one overarching political leader, inspired by a single spiritual power.

Believe it or not, the euro crisis is stimulating the formation of this very scenario.

As Marko Papic of Stratfor observed, “It is important to understand that the crisis is not fundamentally about Greece or even about the indebtedness of the entire currency bloc. … [T]he real crisis is the more fundamental question of how the European continent is to be ruled in the 21st century” (June 28; emphasis added throughout).

The answer to that question has been embedded in the book of Revelation for almost two millennia.

It is now coming to fruition.

Since the great prophecies of Daniel and the Apostle John were revealed to Herbert Armstrong in the early phase of his ministry, we have understood that a postwar united Germany would emerge over time to lead a federation of European nations, comprising 10 regional national groupings under 10 individual leaders, under the dominating religious hegemony of Rome. That’s how the European Union will be ruled in the 21st century. The question that remains is, just how will that come about?

The Answer May Be Coming Clear

The Trumpet has carefully watched and regularly reported on developments in Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Our online archive at theTrumpet.com is filled with articles giving a blow-by-blow description of this emerging geopolitical phenomenon.

Now, the reality of the changing nature of the European Union is starting to be understood by the better observers of the European scene. One of the best, and one we often quote, is Stratfor. Marko Papic’s incisive analysis considers an extremely interesting prospect: that of European nations dividing into separate regional groupings.

European nations face intense economic pressure from the current euro crisis. At the same time, in today’s volatile world they see mounting threats to their own national security. The combination of their perceived need to elevate their defense capacity, along with their constricting capital and resources, is leading these nations to consider more seriously a novel solution: The EU could break up into regional battle groups centered around EU member nations having particular security interests in common.

Like many of the initiatives that EU elites have developed to further their imperialist dream, the battle groups concept has developed over time. Initially put forward at the December 1999 European Council summit in Helsinki and then launched in 2003, the concept entailed setting up rapid response regional battle groups of 1,500 personnel, deployable within 5 to 10 days. Fifteen such groups, both national and multinational, exist today.

The driving force behind the development of these battle groups is the Lisbon Treaty/European constitution. As a January 2010 European Union Security and Defense White Paper makes clear, the Lisbon Treaty demands that all EU countries improve their “military capabilities and put them at the service of the esdp/csdp”—that is, the European Security and Defense Policy (esdp), also known as the Common Security and Defense Policy (cdsp). Though seeds were sown for the creation of regional European battle groups a decade earlier, that treaty provided the impetus for them to evolve into “the creation of sub-regional armed forces” (ibid).

Political tensions within Europe are now accelerating this process. The combined forces of economic and financial crises, progressive invasion by immigrants, the creeping Islamization of European society, perceived security threats to its south resulting from this year’s “Arab Spring”—plus increasing disinterest in European affairs by its traditional military savior, the United States—have all combined to hasten the division of Europe into regional battle groups, enabling better field command and control among nations with common interests to protect.

But this process should not be viewed as the disintegration of the EU. Rather, it is but part of a continuing effort by European military elites who have one goal in mind: “The final goal is to put European armies within a harmonized framework” (ibid). Such a framework will involve what has become known as “networked security.” As the quoted white paper indicates, “EU armed forces in the 21st century should be able to defend EU member states’ interests. They have to be expeditionary and be sustainable, joint and interlocked with civilian crisis management.”

The paper’s authors comment that “To achieve this does not necessarily require significantly more financial resources, but political will.”

Does Europe have that “political will”?

Even a cursory glance at Europe today gives the impression that here is a continent of tremendous potential, of significant economic clout, being the single greatest trading entity in the world. Yet, as the dithering over the euro crisis demonstrates, the EU lacks that strong collective political will to realize the destiny its postwar founding fathers envisaged.

And Yet …

As Marko Papic rightly observed, “This is ultimately the source of the current sovereign debt crisis, the lack of political oversight over economic integration gone wrong. The eurozone’s economic crisis brought this question of Europe’s political fate into focus” (op. cit.).

This is why we at the Trumpet see the eurozone crisis as more of a catalyst to the fulfillment of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation than the opposite.

Papic correctly asserts, “On the security front, we already have our answer: the regionalization of European security organizations. nato has ceased to effectively respond to the national security interests of European states. Germany and France have pursued an accommodationist attitude toward Russia, to the chagrin of the Baltic States and Central Europe. As a response, these Central European states have begun to arrange alternatives.” Note this! “The four Central European states that make up the regional Visegrad Group—Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary—have used the forum as the mold in which to create a Central European battle group. Baltic States, threatened by Russia’s general resurgence, have looked to expand military and security cooperation with the Nordic countries, with Lithuania set to join the Nordic Battlegroup, of which Estonia is already a member. France and the United Kingdom have decided to enhance cooperation with an expansive military agreement at the end of 2010, and London has also expressed an interest in becoming close to the developing Baltic-Nordic cooperative military ventures.

Regionalization is currently most evident in security matters, but it is only a matter of time before it begins to manifest itself in political and economic matters as well.”

Europe is on course to divide into 10 distinct regional groupings, each under a dominant political leader, yielding their combined economic and military strength to one predominant imperial leader.

This is precisely what biblical prophecy directs us to be watching for within Europe today.

Positioned to Gain Control

The concept of Europe’s security and defense evolving into a strategy entailing a number of regional battle groups under a central command structure is not new. It is embraced and endorsed by the esdp, and enabled by the Lisbon Treaty/EU constitution; it came into being on Jan. 1, 2010. Although it cooperates with nato, the esdp falls under the jurisdiction of the EU. Under the Lisbon Treaty, the EU is empowered to develop a united military force supported by a consolidated European armaments industry.

An interesting development, however, occurred about the time the Lisbon Treaty was ready to pass—one that points to the future of how this military force will be directed.

Before the Lisbon Treaty was ratified, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court determined that, unless a contrary law was enacted first, that treaty would strip the German parliament of its sovereign right to govern the deployment of German military forces. The court quickly acted to ensure that German law would override EU law. It determined that the Bundestag must have ultimate say as to whether the German Army participates in any EU military operation.

Germany is the only EU member nation to act to preserve this right.

The remarkable upshot of this trick is that Germany, alone of all EU member nations, can decide whether or not to support any military initiative put forward by other EU member nations. Since the EU member nations are bound by treaty to come to each other’s defense when faced with a security risk, no EU military action can proceed without the specific consent of the German parliament!

So, the effective deployment of any EU battle group must be ultimately at the behest of Germany!

What to Watch

What should we now watch for as German imperialist elites contemplate their next move?

Marko Papic observed that “Taxation is one of the most basic forms of state sovereignty, and one does not share it with countries that do not share one’s political, economic and security fate. … [T]he interests of the integrating states have to be closely aligned on more than just economic matters” (ibid).

There is an interesting phrase in the prophecy of Daniel that may indicate the prospect of fiscal union of the prophesied northern power (Daniel 11:20). That is certainly something to be watching for in the continuing wake of euro crisis contagion. Greece is the front-runner and test case for EU-German elites in their efforts to enact centralized control over budgetary and taxation matters in EU member states seeking bailouts.

But as Papic mused, “Control over budgets goes to the very heart of sovereignty, and European nations will not give up that control unless they know their security and political interests will be taken seriously by their neighbors. We therefore see Europe evolving into a set of regionalized groupings. … [R]egional organizations of like-minded blocs is the path that seems to be evolving in Europe, especially if Germany decides that its relationship with core eurozone countries and Central Europe is more important than its relationship with the periphery” (ibid).

It’s a feasible argument based on current observations, and certainly something to watch closely. Whether the regionalization of the European Union takes place according to such a pattern and under such conditions is uncertain.

However, one overarching fact remains clear. Bible prophecy foretells that this great northern power will be administered by 10 leaders led in turn by one outstandingly dominant leader, who will bring the combined economic, military and political power of that 10-group combine to the point that it will have devastating effect for a short time on the whole globe. This scenario certainly suggests regional groupings.

The dividing of EU military power into specific regional battle groups to more efficiently and rapidly project EU power beyond the Continent appears to align directly with the prophecies of Revelation 13, 17 and 18, especially when compared with the geopolitical considerations involving the great prophesied northern power in the book of Daniel. This then is also worth watching closely.

Yet, ultimately, current tensions in Europe will soon reach the point that will force the invitation of a prophesied charismatic political and military leader to come to the fore, no doubt with the backing of Europe’s most prominent and traditional spiritual guide, Rome (Daniel 11:21-34).

Until this happens, the degree of union within Europe required to bring this prophesied power to daily headline status will not occur. But it will happen, for the Scriptures cannot be broken! (John 10:35).

How an English King Changed the World by Publishing Israel’s Holy Book

From the July 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

For centuries, intellectual elites, including scientists, have worked feverishly to show the Bible to be a flawed book in order to shore up their own authority. But the Holy Bible is not a problem and does not have problems. Mankind, however, has serious problems—human-extinction-scale problems that the intellectuals and science cannot solve.

No other book preserved within Western civilization has been so minutely scrutinized and ripped apart by modern minds. The proud malign and dismiss this God-breathed book with the wave of a hand, claiming it is useless because of its ancientness. An honest look at our dangerous world, however, tells us we need some sagacious ancientness—and fast.

Within the pages of this one book is bound a unified collection of ancient Israel’s national history, civil constitution, religious doctrine, prophetic poetry, worship hymns and wisdom writings. It was written down by kings, princes, presidents, prime ministers, governors, lawyers, farmers, cattlemen, fishermen; even a medical doctor, a tax collector and a tent maker—all fiercely dedicated, educated, thinking men.

Like impudent children, we have come to believe that we know better than the fathers that came before us. We mock our own history. Yet that does not make that history into lies.

We must recapture, study and learn from our past—even the very ancient one. Ancient Israel’s Holy Book is the only window into the primal world of our beginnings.

Biblical history and prophecy proves that the colonizing, white, English-speaking people of northwestern Europe and North America are the descendants of the Assyrian-captured, enslaved 10 tribes of Israel. In fact, the Bible records that the people of Britain and the United States are the modern-day descendants of the patriarch Jacob and are nationally named Israel, which is the key to understanding and making biblical prophecy clear (Genesis 35:11). The Bible also shows that a descendent of King David sits on the throne in England. At His return, Jesus Christ is destined to sit on that throne at a pulsating world-government center in a soon-to-be rebuilt Jerusalem (Luke 1:33). Request your free copy of The United States and Britain in Prophecy for a full explanation of this astounding history and prophecy.

These facts offer the only reasonable explanation as to why an English king preserved Israel’s Holy Book. No one can deny that the world has been a far better place because of what the British and American people have done with this book. At this time of celebration of the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, it is fitting to reflect on what one book has done for our world now caught in chaotic crises.

King James VI and I

King James could not have had more troubled beginnings. His father, Lord Darnley, was a violent drunk. His mother, Mary Queen of Scots, carried the reputation of being a loose woman. Lord Darnley, covetous of his right to the throne of England and jealous of Mary’s closeness to David Rizzio, her secretary (and suspected father of the child), plotted to execute Rizzio in her sight believing the bloody violence would cause her to miscarry the unborn child. It did not—but clearly, James’s life was threatened before he even had a chance to breathe. Most likely the result of divine protection, James was orphaned when his father was murdered by an explosion that his mother may have planned. Mary was imprisoned and finally executed for plotting with Catholics to kill Queen Elizabeth i of England. It is interesting to note that Shakespeare wrote Macbeth based on James’s horrific family history.

Crowned King James vi at 13 months old, he was provided an incredible education. He could speak Latin and Greek by age 5. His Presbyterian mentors educated him in Israel’s Scriptures. Because of the rampant regicide in Scotland, he learned how to be politically cunning and control tough situations.

Yet the most important of all his education was his knowledge of the history of his royal lineage. King James knew and maintained the faith that he was a descendant of King David traceable back to Fergus i and from there through the kings of Ireland (King James vi and i Political Writings). He firmly believed that God put him on the throne of England. In a speech to Parliament on March 21, 1610, he said, “The state of the monarchy is the supremest thing upon the Earth, for kings are not only God’s lieutenants upon Earth, and sit upon God’s throne, but even by God Himself they are called gods …” (David Teems, Majestie). It is obvious James’s views on the “divine right of kings” was based on the Bible—specifically on passages such as 2 Samuel 7:4-16 and 1 Chronicles 29:23. When he was crowned king of England, thereby becoming King James i, he was sitting on the stone of Scone, knowing it was Jacob’s pillar stone (Genesis 28:10-22). James i considered himself to be the New Solomon.

James brought to England an exceptional genius grounded in Scripture. He knew the Bible well and used it often to illustrate his views on law and government. A prolific writer, James is known for his commentary on Matthew’s Gospel. The king was fully aware of the infighting among Protestants, Catholics and Puritans within the Church of England and their differing views on governmental authority. He seized upon the suggestion of John Reynolds (a Puritan) for a new Bible translation to heal the disunity within the church as the means to secure his own position as absolute ruler of both church and state. And the rest, as they say, is history.

God-Blessed Nations

The impact of the King James Version of the Bible on our world has been huge. Although James i did not live to see this phenomenon, the Bible translation carrying his name became a global book. Although many people can see this fact, few understand how or why that happened.

To fully grasp why the kjv went global, we need to know about a ceremony that took place anciently. The Apostle Paul shows its vital importance in Hebrews 11:21. The significance of this ceremony is fully explained in The United States and Britain in Prophecy.

Jacob’s son Joseph had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Just before his death, Jacob adopted these two boys as his own and gave them his name (Genesis 48:16). He also bestowed upon them inherited blessings that grew to become incredible national physical wealth. Jacob gave Joseph’s youngest son the greater blessing, making his descendants into a multitude, or commonwealth, of nations. The oldest son, Manasseh, was to become one single great nation (verse 19).

In Genesis 49, Jacob states that these two great nations—referred to as Joseph—“in the last days,” our time now, would be a colonizing people (verses 1, 22-26). This prophecy is an accurate description of the astounding history of Britain and the United States of America. As these two nations—the true modern Israel—grew to national greatness and moved into world prominence, they carried their holy book (renamed the King James Bible) with them and used it to establish an empire and a nation founded on biblical principles of government, law and justice as revealed to Moses by God.

Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “In a.d. 1800 the United Kingdom and the United States were small and insignificant among the Earth’s nations. … But beginning in 1800 these two little nations began to sprout and to grow into vast national riches and power such as no people ever possessed. Soon Britain’s empire spread around the world, until the sun never set upon her possessions” (The United States and Britain in Prophecy). The incredible blessings God bestowed on these two nations soon spilled out over the Earth.

Government, Law and Justice

As the British Empire covered the globe, it generated a culture based on the rule of law. The English Magna Carta was the earliest example of such a constitutional law within Anglo-Saxon culture. It established the rights and liberties of the individual and worked to ensure that kings and other rulers were subject to that same law. In addition to guaranteeing personal freedom, this code of law emphasized social responsibility—respect for the rights, privileges, possessions and peace of others. Such law is a gift bestowed on us by the Bible.

When English citizens colonized America, the first settlers came seeking freedom of religion. They faced incredible personal hardships. What got them through such a difficult undertaking was their faith and religious fervor. Of course, they had brought the Bible with them. It was that book which inspired them to sacrifice to build a great nation out of the weakness of disease and deprivation. Many considered the North American continent to be the land of the New Israel.

Eventually separating from England, the government that was established with the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights followed British example. The legal rights and freedoms guaranteed to Americans have been the envy of multitudes of oppressed people throughout the world. America’s population grew in large part because of the freedom-yearning masses teeming to its shores. Yet few today recognize that the British and American legal systems are based on Mosaic law found in the first five books of the Bible.

Even a century ago, people better understood the Bible’s impact in the development of our Western nations. On the 300th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, President Theodore Roosevelt called it “the Magna Carta of the poor and the oppressed … the most democratic book in the world.” One of our strongest and most important presidents, he understood that the Bible was the foundation of personal freedoms established by law. As Moses taught our forefathers, “One law and one rule shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you” (Numbers 15:16). The rule of law brought greatness to Britain and America. Yet we have forgotten that the concept came from the mind of our God, who even subjects Himself to His own law.

Bedrock for Education

One of the greater achievements of the British Empire was its commitment to educate the people it governed. The kjv was the bedrock of that educational system. Theodore Roosevelt said, “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is better than a college education.”

In a practical and elemental way, the kjv and its associated root translations helped standardize the English language. When William Tyndale set out to translate the Bible into the language of the common people of England, he created a firestorm for two reasons. First, it was a step to establish that the Bible—not the pope—was the only true religious authority on Earth. That required people be able to read the Book. The Latin Vulgate was the only Bible available to most Englishmen, and few could read Latin.

Second, the English language was considered to be a disgustingly gross language, far inferior to Latin. Latin was the language of scholars and the legal system. English was eclectic, difficult to understand because of its many dialects, and did not even have a standardized spelling or written form. Tyndale’s translation helped to change that. Derek Wilson states, “It was not enough for Tyndale simply to convey the words of Scripture from Greek into English; they had to be conveyed into living English, such as ‘a boy that driveth the plough’ could understand. In this he was completely successful; his New Testament had a colloquial vigor, which rendered it immediately comprehensible and popular. Later translators found it impossible to improve on many of his renderings, which appeared in version after version down to the time of the King James Bible” (The People’s Bible).

Many phrases that we use today come right out of the King James Bible—for example, give up the ghost, my brother’s keeper, the powers that be, the salt of the earth, and arise, shine. Though most of these expressions were coined by Tyndale, all come out of the kjv.

Art, Music, Culture

Many children around the world were taught to read English using the kjv. The dramatic histories of the Old and New Testaments have held captive countless imaginations from the very young to the very old. The kjv’s power to inspire has caused artists to be born and musicians made.

We have a culture filled with high-quality, precious art because of the Bible. Larry Stone, in his beautiful book The Story of the Bible, provides examples of the incredible handcrafted artistic decoration on handwritten copies of the Bible from the Dark and Middle Ages. Although these illustrations are technically not the kjv, it was the high respect for the Word of God that inspired such beauty. Two such works, The Lindisfarne Gospels and The Book of Kells, have such intricate artwork that experts today still cannot fully understand how it was done. Concerning The Book of Kells, Stone reports: “The decorations are highly complex and so intricate that they can be best seen with a magnifying glass, which was not available when the book was created.” Pages of The Lindisfarne Gospels can be seen today in the British Museum.

Consider the classic paintings inspired by Bible history. Caravaggio painted The Conversion of Paul; Rembrandt painted Belshazzar’s Feast; Nicolas Poussin painted The Adoration of the Golden Calf. Some even suggest that Guttenberg invented printing so he could print the Bible. The use of two-color printing was developed to imitate the page decoration of the former hand-painted, hand-written Bibles.

We must not fail to mention the Bible’s impact on some of the most incredible and unforgettable classical music. There is Handel’s Messiah, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah. There is the innumerable list of spiritual songs taken from the Psalms of King David and other biblical texts.

Honestly, we could fill an entire magazine speaking of the impact the kjv has made in our modern world. King James vi and i oversaw the production of a spiritual and cultural phenomenon. His effort inspired the establishment of effective and just government, education and a healthy society. Today at least one book of the Bible is translated into more than 2,400 of the world’s 6,900 living languages. More people can read at least a part of the Bible in their own native tongue than ever before in history.

Yet reading the Bible is not enough. We must learn to understand it, live by it, and be ruled by it. Being ruled by it is the difficult part. Even though our Western world has been built up by the Bible, it is unlikely we will turn to it to save our society.

But there is still great hope for us. The Bible that King James vi and i honored so much states without doubt that a new society—in fact, a new world—is going to be built by a descendant of David. This King of kings, Jesus Christ, will use His father David’s throne and Israel’s book to revolutionize and revitalize all humanity (Luke 1:32-33). How blessed we will be to see and experience that wonderful time just ahead of us.

A Superpower Under Siege

The United States has long been the world’s most powerful fighting force, but that trend is now changing. What is the biggest threat facing America’s national security today?

What Really Happened in Bosnia

What Really Happened in Bosnia

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

One massacre was exaggerated. Another went unreported. The reason for the double standard is shameful.
From the August 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

It was genocide. Charles Krauthammer called it “the largest ethnic cleansing of the entire Balkan wars.” A March 1999 New York Times article agreed with him.

“Investigators with the war-crimes tribunal in the Hague have concluded that this campaign was carried out with brutality, wanton murder and indiscriminate shelling of civilians,” Krauthammer wrote (Time, April 5, 1999).

Is this the dreaded Srebrenica “massacre,” commonly referred to in the media as the “worst atrocity in Europe since the Second World War,” perpetrated by the “evil” Serbs led by Ratko Mladic, who has now been arrested to be brought to justice?

No. This genocide was carried out by the Croats—the “good guys”—and thus, it was encouraged and praised by the West.

The Krajina Massacre

The massacre Krauthammer was describing occurred in the region of Krajina in Croatia. Croatian troops forced an estimated 200,000 Serbs to flee (National Post, March 13, 2004).

“A war that begins with civilian areas being shelled at 5 a.m. when women and children are asleep in their beds and ends with a massive exodus of more than 100,000 people is surely tantamount to ethnic cleansing,” said UN spokesman Chris Gunness.

According to Robert Fisk, writing in the Independent, the European Union’s confidential assessment from Krajina in 1995 stated the following: “Evidence of atrocities; an average of six corpses per day, continues to emerge … the corpses; some fresh, some decomposed, are mainly of old men. Many have been shot in the back of the head or had throats slit, others have been mutilated. Isolated pockets of elderly civilians report people recently gone missing or detained …. Endless Croat invitations for Serbs to return, guarantees of citizens’ rights and property rights, etc., have gushed forth from all levels …. However, Serbian homes and lands … continue to be torched and looted.

“Contrary to official statements blaming it on fleeing Serbs and uncontrollable elements, the crimes have been perpetrated by the HV Croatian Army, the CR Croatian police and CR civilians. There have been no observed attempts to stop it, and the indications point to a scorched-earth policy.”

Two senior Canadian military officers present in Croatia at the time testified that the Croatians attacked indiscriminately and targeted civilians.

One of these officers, Maj. Gen. Andrew Leslie, estimated that around 500 civilians had been murdered. “In the hospital itself, there were bodies stacked in the corridors,” he said. “There were bodies in almost every hospital bed. And there were bodies lying in the foyer, the reception area and some of the corridors” (National Post, Dec. 9, 2005).

Yugoslav envoy Vladimir Pavicevic claimed that 15,000 Serbs were dead in Krajina, and that this total included slain refugees and soldiers who had already surrendered (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Aug. 14, 1995). The International Committee of the Red Cross reported that 10,000 to 15,000 refugees were still missing over three weeks after the initial attack (Sun Herald, Aug. 27, 1995).

Why is Srebrenica everywhere, yet Krajina barely gets a mention? On April 15, Croatian Gen. Ante Gotovina was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (icty) for what he did in Krajina. It was hardly mentioned in the press. When Ratko Mladic was captured on May 26, it was all over the papers.

The double standard on display here is a monumental story—when you understand who, ultimately, was really behind it.

Manipulating the Media

Serbia’s earliest defeat came in the PR war. Early on, Serbia’s enemies engaged Ruder Finn, an American public relations firm, to get their message out. James Harff, director of Ruder Finn’s Global Public Affairs section, boasted about his success against Serbia.

“Nobody understood what was going on in (former) Yugoslavia,” he said in an October 1993 interview with French journalist Jacques Merlino. “The great majority of Americans were probably asking themselves in which African country Bosnia was situated.”

Ruder Finn took advantage of this ignorance. Its first goal was to persuade the Jews to oppose the Serbs—not an easy task. “The Croatian and Bosnian past was marked by a real and cruel anti-Semitism,” said Harff. “Tens of thousands of Jews perished in Croatian camps. So there was every reason for intellectuals and Jewish organizations to be hostile towards the Croats and Bosnians.”

Harff used a couple of reports in the New York Newsday about Serbian concentration camps to persuade Jewish groups to demonstrate against the Serbs. “This was a tremendous coup,” said Harff. “When the Jewish organizations entered the game on the side of the Bosnians, we could promptly equate the Serbs with the Nazis in the public mind.”

He continued: “By a single move, we were able to present a simple story of good guys and bad guys which would hereafter play itself. We won by targeting Jewish audience, the right target. Almost immediately there was a clear change of language in the press, with the use of words with high emotional content, such as ‘ethnic cleansing,’ ‘concentration camps,’ etc., which evoked inmates of Nazi Germany and the gas chambers of Auschwitz. The emotional change was so powerful that nobody could go against it.”

Western reporting of the Balkan wars became spectacularly biased. Consider the statements at the bottom of the page, most of which are from people who were actually in the Balkans during the wars.

Foreign Policy magazine reported, “Despite steady reports of atrocities committed there by Croatian soldiers and paramilitary units against Serbs, which some Belgrade correspondents were later able to confirm, the stories that reached the world talked only of Serb abuses …. In a three-month study of news reports, Howard University Professor of International Relations Nikolaos Stavrou detected ‘a disturbing pattern in news coverage.’ He claimed most of the stories were based on ‘hearsay evidence,’ with few attempts to show the ‘other side’s perspectives.’ Ninety percent of the stories originated in Sarajevo, but only 5 percent in Belgrade. Stavrou’s analysis cited ethnic stereotyping, with Serbs referred to as primitive ‘remnants of the Ottoman Empire’ and Yugoslav Army officers described as ‘orthodox communist generals’ … while newspaper photographs neglected to show suffering or dead Serbs or destroyed Serb churches and villages” (emphasis added throughout).

Foreign Policy pointed out that news outlets published many photos they said showed victims of Serbian persecution. But the captions were wrong. In many cases, the victims themselves were Serbs.

It is little wonder, then, that the events that took place in Srebrenica have been horribly twisted by the media. Yes, the Serbs killed Bosnian Muslims whom they had taken prisoner. But the context in which this occurred is vital to understanding this event.

The Truth About Srebrenica

The story portrayed in the media is that Bosnian Serbian forces under Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic invaded the UN “safe haven” of Sarajevo. Here they let the women, children and elderly escape before massacring all the men.

What is mentioned less often is that the Bosnian Muslims were using the UN “safe haven” as a base for attacks on Serbian civilians.

The UN admitted that Bosnian forces were violating the no-fly zone around Srebrenica and were smuggling weapons into the area (icty testimony by David Harland, civil affairs officer and political adviser to the unprofor commander in Bosnia and Herzegovina).

In charge of the Muslim forces in Srebrenica was Naser Oric. Here is how French Gen. Philippe Morillon, commander of the UN troops in Bosnia from 1992 to 1993, described him in his icty testimony: “Naser Oric engaged in attacks during Orthodox holidays and destroyed villages, massacring all the inhabitants. This created a degree of hatred that was quite extraordinary in the region ….”

In another part of his testimony, Morillon stated, “There were terrible massacres committed by the forces of Naser Oric in all the surrounding villages.”

He also stated: “I think you will find this in other testimony, not just mine. Naser Oric was a warlord who reigned by terror in his area and over the population itself. I think that he realized that those were the rules of this horrific war, that he could not allow himself to take prisoners. According to my recollection, he didn’t even look for an excuse. It was simply a statement: One can’t be bothered with prisoners.”

Naturally, Oric’s actions infuriated the Serbs. “They were in this hellish circle of revenge,” said Morillon. “It was more than revenge that animated them all. Not only the men. The women, the entire population was imbued with this. It wasn’t the sickness of fear that had infected the entire population of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the fear of being dominated, of being eliminated, it was pure hatred.”

It was this hatred and hunger for revenge that led to the Srebrenica massacre.

Continuing with his testimony, General Morillon stated that Oric pulled out of Srebrenica a week before it fell. “I said that Mladic had entered an ambush in Srebrenica, a trap, in fact. He expected to find resistance, but there was none. He didn’t expect the massacre to occur but he completely underestimated the amount of hatred that accrued. I don’t believe that he ordered the massacres, but I don’t know. That is my personal opinion.”

The Serbs finally reacted to Oric’s provocations: When they took Srebrenica far more easily than they thought they would, they took their revenge on the men they found there. But, unlike Oric, they let the women and children go.

When asked by the judge if what the Serbs did in Srebrenica was a natural reaction to what happened under Oric, Morillon answered: “Yes. Yes, Your Honor. I am convinced of that. This doesn’t mean to pardon or diminish the responsibility of the people who committed that crime, but I am convinced of that, yes.”

The full context presents a very different picture of Srebrenica. It was not a cold-hearted, Nazi-style final solution for Bosnian Muslims. Instead it was a crime of passion—still a crime, but one provoked by crimes on the other side.

Morillon still held Mladic responsible for what happened in Srebrenica because he didn’t follow through on international agreements made two years earlier. But there is a big difference between a military leader who doesn’t trust the other side enough to make peace and, say, an Adolf Eichmann.

“All the horrors of all the ages were brought together, and not only armies but whole populations were thrust into the midst of them,” wrote Winston Churchill after World War i. “The mighty educated states involved conceived—not without reason—that their very existence was at stake. Neither peoples nor rulers drew the line at any deed which they thought could help them to win. Germany, having let hell loose, kept well in the van of terror; but she was followed step by step by the desperate and ultimately avenging nations she had assailed. Every outrage against humanity or international law was repaid by reprisals—often of a greater scale and of longer duration.”

“When all was over, torture and cannibalism were the only two expedients that the civilized, scientific, Christian states had been able to deny themselves: and they were of doubtful utility,” concluded Churchill.

Does his description of World War i sound any different from what happened in Srebrenica? That doesn’t make it right, of course. But the real blame for Srebrenica lies with those who started the war.

Who Started the War?

Western media blame the “evil” Serbs for causing war by trying to grab as much territory as they could while Yugoslavia fell apart. The facts show a different picture.

Lord Peter Carrington, former chairman of the peace conference on Yugoslavia, stated that the actions of the U.S., Germany and certain other European governments “made it sure there was going to be a conflict” in the region.

The European Community (precursor to the EU) was almost unanimous in agreeing that the best way to avoid a war in Yugoslavia was for it to remain one nation. Member states voted 11 to 1 in 1991 to support a resolution stating that “the best way of achieving stability in the Balkans was for Yugoslavia to remain united, albeit in a revised, looser federal form.”

The one ended up overruling the 11.

Here’s how T.W. “Bill” Carr, associate publisher of Defense and Foreign Affairs’ Strategic Policy, described what happened: “Germany, despite its current problems, remains the strongest economy in Europe. During the Maastricht negotiations, a reunited Germany used that power to further what appeared to be its historical strategic objective to control the territories of Croatia, Slovenia and Dalmatia, with their access to the Adriatic and Mediterranean.

“During protracted negotiations, Germany wore down the other EC members and eventually, at 0400 hours on the morning of the debate, the 11:1 vote to hold Yugoslavia united turned into a unanimous vote to recognize Croatia as an independent state on the grounds that the right to self-determination overruled all other criteria.”

“In order to maintain its own unity, the EC sacrificed the unity of Yugoslavia, and with it, the stability of the Balkans,” Carr wrote.

This was more than merely the EC trying to preserve unity. In reality, it was a stunning example of Germany bullying its own way and forcing the rest of Europe to fall in step.

“Germany had won round one,” Carr continued. “Shortly after, Germany won round two when Bosnia-Herzegovina was also recognized, despite EC negotiator Lord Carrington’s advice that such a step would result in a civil war.”

America, too, allowed itself to be led by Germany into pushing Yugoslavia into civil war.

But Germany wasn’t alone. Carr wrote, “The German/Croatian axis and expansionist Islam are the key players in the region, along with the very real interest and role played by the Vatican and the Croatian Catholic Church.”

These forces conspired to cause a war in Yugoslavia so Germany could regain its influence in the Balkans.

Here’s how Karadzic made his case in a recent interview for Politics First: “The Germans wanted to take revenge on Yugoslavia for its involvement in World Wars i and ii on the side of the anti-German coalition; to support their allies in Slovenia and Croatia as well as the Bosnian Muslims; and to secure strategic access for themselves through Slovenia and Croatia to the Adriatic Sea, as it had a preference for a group of small countries in the European Union instead of a big one” (May 2011).

That is the reality behind the wildly uneven treatment the Croats and Serbs received from the rest of the world. It had its genesis in the German-Vatican plot to smash Yugoslavia to pieces, particularly to eliminate the Serbian threat that created problems in the previous world wars!

The Germans aggressively backed Serbia’s enemies. In 1996, the German tv program Monitor unearthed evidence of German intelligence agents smuggling weapons to the Bosnian Muslims. Operating under the guise of neutral EU monitors, Germany smuggled arms to Serbia’s enemies. Other monitors confirmed that German EU monitors made these shipments through Croatia and Bosnia.

On Feb. 27, 1997, Monitor reported that the mig-21 airplanes used by the Croatian Air Force “demonstrably came from Germany, were given a complete overhaul in the former Soviet Union and delivered to Croatia via Hungary.” The program also stated, “Combat helicopters, tanks, artillery—many of the weapons that decided the outcome of the war—had been delivered with the help of the bnd [Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service], according to information of the American Defense Intelligence Service (dia). This is also confirmed by the internationally acknowledged military expert Paul Beaver.”

The Aug. 11-25, 1995, issue of Intelligence Digest stated that German pilots trained the Croatian Air Force.

The February 1997 Monitor program also stated, “Without the German intelligence service, the smuggling could not have been accomplished.” The allegations caused an uproar in the German parliament, but as Britain’s Telegraph reported, “For many German politicians, however, the nub of the problem may not be the bnd’s operations at all—rather that it appears to have been caught out” (April 20, 1997).

Crucially, German and U.S. help won the Croats the media war. Little Croatia and Bosnia could not have won over the entire Western media without help. Sanctions placed on Yugoslavia meant it was unable to hire Western PR firms. Serbia’s enemies were able to get their message out unopposed.

“The media,” Karadzic stated, “did more damage to us than nato bombs.”

Just the Beginning

As horrific as the events in the Balkans were, they are just the start of an even bigger, far worse conflict. As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in his booklet The Rising Beast—Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans, “Yugoslavia is in fact the first victim of World War iii.”

“The first blow of World War iii has already been struck,” he writes. “That is because this same nation—Germany—will continue this aggressive war spirit until the whole world is dragged into a nuclear World War iii! So says history and Bible prophecy.”

War means events like the Krajina ethnic cleansing, and Srebrenica. As Churchill described, war means man unleashes all the destructive forces he has available. Today, man has more destructive power at his fingertips than ever before.

The truth is that Bosnia is already a victim of World War iii.