What Is Hell?

The Philadelphia Trumpet, in conjunction with the Herbert W. Armstrong College Bible Correspondence Course, presents this brief excursion into the fascinating study of the Bible. Simply turn to and read in your Bible each verse given in answer to the questions. You will be amazed at the new understanding gained from this short study!
From the April 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

Even if you are a Christian, you may go to hell. Some of your loved ones are already in hell. But don’t be alarmed. “Hell” is not what most people have imagined!

Most people assume one of two extremes concerning “hell.” One group totally denies that it exists. It is passed off as an ancient superstition with no bearing on modern life. The other group pictures hell as a terrible place of never-ending torment where the devil rules and his demons gleefully “roast” sinners like meat on a bonfire. There is bitter weeping and wailing, agonized cursing, shrieks and screams from those in eternal torment—according to this concept.

Before we examine the Bible to see whether the common ideas about hell could possibly be true, let us consider where this concept of hell, if true, would lead us.

On this Earth are nearly 7 billion people. The most populous lands are China, India and other parts of Asia. In spite of the efforts of Western missionaries, literally billions of people on the Earth have never so much as heard the only name by which, the Bible tells us, men may be saved: “Jesus Christ”! (Acts 4:12).

If all the “unsaved” go immediately to a fiery hell at death, then multiple billions of people who have ever lived have been consigned to this terrible punishment without ever having had a chance to escape it!

Can you really believe this is the method an all-wise, all-merciful, loving God is using to work out His purpose here below?

What is the truth?

Christ Spoke of “Hell Fire”

1. What punishment did Christ warn would ultimately befall those who refuse to quit sinning? Mark 9:43.

Comment: Hell is an English word. When Mark recorded Christ’s words, he wrote them in the Greek language. The Greek word translated “hell,” which Mark was inspired to write down, is gehenna. Since in this verse Christ says the sinner is “to go into hell, into the fire,” it follows that those who go to gehenna will receive punishment by fire.

Keep in mind, then, that Christ associated the Greek word gehenna with fire.

2. How did Christ reemphasize what He said about “hell fire”? Verse 47.

Comment: Again, the Greek word Mark used in this verse is gehenna. This word is derived from the name of the narrow, rocky Valley of Hinnom, which lies just outside Jerusalem. It was the place where refuse from the city was burned up. Trash, filth and the dead bodies of animals and despised criminals were thrown into the fires of gehenna, or the Valley of Hinnom. Ordinarily, everything thrown into this valley was destroyed by fire—burned up. Christ used gehenna to picture the fate of unrepentant sinners!

Two Different “Hells”

In many passages in the New Testament where we see the word hell, the original Greek word is gehenna—but not always. Often, the Greek word translated “hell” is hades, which does not refer to fire at all, but to a grave—a hole in the ground. Yet the translators have confused and obscured the two entirely separate meanings of these words by indiscriminately rendering them both as hell.

Let’s study the proof.

1. What one thing befalls both men and beasts? Ecclesiastes 3:19. Do they all go to one place—the same place—when they die? Verse 20 and Genesis 3:19.

2. What place does God say man goes to when he dies? Ecclesiastes 9:10. Did Job realize he would go to the grave after death? Job 17:13.

3. Was the God Being who became Jesus Christ “made flesh”? John 1:14. Did Christ take upon Himself the same mortal flesh of which we are composed? Hebrews 2:14. And didn’t He also have to go to the grave as other mortal men do? Acts 2:31.

Comment: The original Greek word translated into the English hell in this verse is hades. Hades simply means the grave, as its usage in this verse clearly shows! Jesus’s “flesh” (body) did not see corruption (in other words, it did not decompose in the grave) because He was resurrected after three days.

We can plainly see that the English word hell can have different meanings! Hades (which can also be translated as “grave,” as in 1 Corinthians 15:55) has a completely different meaning than gehenna. Whenever you’re in doubt about the intended meaning of the word hell in the New Testament, look it up in a concordance, such as Strong’s or Young’s, to see which Greek word it was translated from, and hence its true meaning.

4. When a person dies and is buried in his grave, does he know anything? Ecclesiastes 9:5.

Comment: When people die, they go to hades, or the grave, where they are aware of nothing!

But then, when do people go to gehenna fire for punishment? Let’s notice when and how the dead will be judged by God.

The Resurrection to Judgment

1. Is there to be a future resurrection to judgment of the unsaved dead? John 5:28-29. (The word damnation in the King James Version in verse 29 is correctly rendered as “judgment” in most modern translations.)

Comment: Here is further proof that the unsaved dead are not being tormented in a “fiery hell.” They are now dead! But there is coming a time (“the hour is coming,” said Jesus) when they will be resurrected for judgment.

2. Does the first sentence of Revelation 20:5 and verses 11-12 also prove there is to be a future resurrection to judgment? (Note that the first sentence in verse 5 is a parenthetical statement inserted within verses 4-6, which describe the first resurrection.)

Comment: Some of the dead—the “dead in Christ”—will be resurrected to eternal life in the first resurrection at Christ’s Second Coming (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). But the “rest of the dead” will not live again for a thousand years, at which point they will be resurrected to mortal life. These are the unsaved dead who will rise in the second resurrection to be “judged.”

The Great White Throne Judgment described in Revelation 20:11-12 is the period when the vast majority of mankind (the dead, and most who are now alive) will be resurrected and given their opportunity to learn about God’s plan of salvation. These billions are those who never heard or understood God’s truth. They will be judged daily by how well they live by the Word of God.

At the end of this period of judgment, God will render a sentence—a verdict—for each individual. The vast majority will inherit eternal life.

3. Will there then follow a resurrection of all the incorrigible dead—all those who refuse to repent? Revelation 20:13-15.

Comment: After the Great White Throne Judgment period, the incorrigible dead of past ages, who may have perished at sea, or on land (the Greek word for “hell” in verse 13 is hades), will be resurrected to physical life. They will then be formally judged by God and sentenced. But what will be their penalty? Is it eternal life in the torment of gehenna fire?

4. Will all who stubbornly refuse to repent be cast into a lake of “fire and brimstone”? Revelation 21:8.

Comment: We saw earlier that the fate of unrepentant sinners is gehenna fire. So gehenna and the lake of fire are the same. A very large fire would have the appearance of a fiery lake, hence its description.

5. Will the fire cause the death of the wicked? Notice Revelation 21:8 once again. Which death will it cause? Same verse.

Comment: Mortals naturally die once, because we just “wear out” (Hebrews 9:27). But if anyone dies the second death, that individual will have been judged by God to be guilty of persistent disobedience and incorrigible rebellion. The second death will be for all eternity!

6. What is the “wages of sin”? Romans 6:23.

Comment: Death is the opposite of life! The final wages the incorrigible will receive is the complete cessation of life!

7. What does Paul warn will be the judgment, or sentence, of those who, knowing God’s commands and having tasted of His way of life, sin willfully—that is, refuse to repent? Hebrews 10:26-27. Will they live on in fiery torment—or will they be “devoured” by it? Verse 27.

8. Does Psalm 37:20 also show that the ultimate fate of the wicked will be destruction by fire? Will this fire be so hot that it will burn upconsume—the wicked? Malachi 4:1.

Comment: The biblical “hell fire” will totally consume the disobedient! Never will they exist again.

The Bible plainly shows that those who have known God’s truth and willfully disobey and refuse to repent will reap the wages of sin—which is eternal death! This scripture means what it says. The attempts by many theologians to explain away death and to interpret it as mere “separation from God” cannot be reconciled with Scripture. Death clearly does not mean eternal life in the horrifying torments of an eternal “hell.”

God Is Love

Why do so many people have a false concept of “hell”? Because they have been deceived and do not understand God’s overall purpose for creating mankind.

God’s purpose for man is that he develop the holy, righteous character of God, which will make him fit to receive the precious gift of eternal life. But God created man of the dust of the ground, subject to death, so that if he failed to develop righteous character, he could—unlike Satan and the immortal angels who sinned and became demons—be released from his misery by death.

God has no desire to torment or to torture anyone. God is love (1 John 4:8). He created us mortal for our own good. He will condemn no one because of ignorance, and will see to it that every person ultimately learns the truth and has a real opportunity for salvation upon sincere repentance, no matter how terrible his or her sins have been.

Enemies and Allies

Enemies and Allies

AXEL SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images

The turmoil rippling across North Africa and the Middle East is cementing an anti-Iran strategic alliance between Arabian Peninsula nations and Germany.
From the May 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

Quietly, mostly behind the scenes, Germany is building an alliance with Arabian Peninsula nations that is destined to become very significant in Middle Eastern affairs.

Germany’s penetration into North Africa, especially in Egypt and Libya, was quite significant during the latter half of the 20th century. Now, Berlin is beginning to step up its activities in the Persian Gulf states.

The motives driving Germany’s Middle Eastern strategy amid that region’s present unrest are threefold: 1) to preserve its access to the region’s oil and gas resources; 2) to protect its investments there; and 3) to create a beachhead to stem the northward push of pan-Islamism.

Germany initially refused to support a no-fly zone over Libya in March in order to protect significant German business interests in that country from a backlash by Muammar Qadhafi. However, its subsequent withdrawal of support of nato initiatives in the Libyan campaign is another thing entirely. That has far greater consequences, as we will see.

Germany’s Interests in Libya

German elites realized that any involvement in direct aggression in Libya could destroy the partnership between Tripoli and Berlin, a partnership that has helped fulfill those three German goals. Over many years, in exchange for receiving favorable treatment from the Qadhafi regime, Germany had no qualms about supplying Libya with arms and with training in combat methods. Just in the past three years, Berlin has exported more than $114 million worth of license-required exports to Libya, mostly communications equipment and helicopters. Interestingly, Qadhafi put these tools to aggressive use in his brutal attempts to put down the uprising in his country.

Germany needed to protect its assets in Libya so much that it supported the repressive Qadhafi regime despite its proven terrorist connections. German companies significantly increased their exports to Libya in successful competition against business rivals. In fact, German exports to Libya increased by over 20 percent in 2009 alone. Among the most significant German interests in Libya are: basf subsidiary Wintershall has a reported investment of $2 billion there and is the largest foreign oil producer in Libya; dea uses over 40,000 square kilometers of Libya for oil and gas production; and Siemens, well connected with Germany’s secret service, has a major slice of the huge “Great Man-Made River” drinking water supply project, the largest of its kind in the world.

Germany’s support for Qadhafi’s repressive regime was strong right up to the eve of Tripoli’s brutal response to the insurrection. Then, public relations with the international community demanded that Berlin be somewhat vocal in condemning Qadhafi’s monstrous actions. Still, the German government dared not be seen to support any overt military action against the Qadhafi regime for fear of losing the favor it has enjoyed from this unstable dictator to its own substantial benefit. For this, Berlin earned accolades from Qadhafi and a hint that its oil supply from Libya would remain unaffected, whereas supplies to nations participating in the nato mission would be cut.

However, Libya is but one of a number of North African nations whose intense involvement with both Nazi and postwar Germany tracks back over many decades.

Dancing at Two Weddings

Postwar Germany’s involvement with Egypt hearkens back to when Cairo welcomed hundreds of Nazis who escaped Europe via the Vatican ratlines to seek safe haven from Allied pursuit. As they were in Argentina, ex-Nazis were instrumental in training Egyptian personnel in policing, intelligence gathering and military combat methods. In fact, they played a large part in the overthrow of King Farouk, enabling Gamal Abdel Nasser to come to power in Egypt in 1952.

Martin Lee, in The Beast Reawakens, his well-documented exposé of the postwar Nazi underground movement, points out that from the 1950s, German engineers and scientists employed by West German industries supplied Egypt, Libya and Iraq with anything from guided-missile technology to military jet engines and chemical warfare expertise. Also, numerous technicians who had worked on Hitler’s V-2 rocket program ended up working for the Egyptian government on aeronautical projects. One additional motive for German elites’ involvement in these projects was the prospect of future access to Middle Eastern weapons launching sites.

Documented history shows that the German arms industry has profited greatly from the trafficking of German-manufactured armaments from Casablanca to Cairo over an extended period of time.

But German postwar Mideast strategy now faces a challenge with the prospect of regime changes along the southern shores of the Mediterranean. All Germany’s efforts to build influence in that region threaten to unravel as the personalities it has shored up in office fall. This threatens to throw the German-made military hardware and infrastructure in these countries into hands that may prove quite unfriendly to Germany and to Europe as a whole.

Iran is the prime supporter of Islamist terror and the main influence behind Shiite revolutionary movements in Africa and the Middle East. The key strategic question is, amid these recent uprisings, how much will Iran be able to influence the takeover of governments in North Africa?

To some extent, Berlin’s Middle East foreign policy represents what the Nazi double agent Heinz Felfe called “dancing at two weddings.” For years, Germany has supplied technical expertise to both the Iranian Shiite regime—not the least for its developing nuclear capability—and opposition Sunni regimes in other Middle Eastern nations, many of which have even called on the United States to bomb Iran’s nuclear facility.

But German elites now see the prospect of regime changes in North Africa and the Middle East forcing them into some fast tap dancing to ensure that their interests in this region do not fall to any power they regard as unfriendly.

The Vital Arabian Peninsula

Vital as the North Africa rim is to Germany, another piece of territory is even more crucial to its Middle East strategy, particularly if it loses influence in North Africa to Iran: the Arabian Peninsula.

In recent years, the German Navy has deployed heavily in the Mediterranean to protect its own and Europe’s interests across what Winston Churchill called “the soft underbelly of Europe.” Its deployments off the coast of Lebanon and off the Horn of Africa, by virtue of UN mandates, have provided particularly crucial toeholds to building a future German presence from the Levant to the Gulf of Oman.

It is in this region that Germany’s most crucial alliance in the Mideast will evolve in response to the rising influence of Iran.

Germany’s withdrawal from nato activities in the Mediterranean in March should not be misread as a diminution of German interest in the region. To the contrary, it denotes a willingness by Germany to now concentrate on solely German interests in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, quite apart from those of its EU and nato partners. In fact, it is a historic move. As the Bundeswehr’s ex-Inspector General Klaus Naumann declared, “Germany has dared to go it alone for the first time since 1949.”

Any continuing presence of German naval vessels in the Mediterranean is, at the time of writing, under specific German sovereignty and not subject to direction by any international body. This fact could prove most significant. We need to watch future German Mediterranean strategy: It remains crucial for the security of German interests.

It is also significant that Germany has cleverly used the nato campaign in Libya to extend, rather than diminish, its role in Afghanistan. The German parliament approved the Luftwaffe and other Bundeswehr personnel adding an awac surveillance component to its force in Afghanistan. This action is consistent with our view that German elites do not seek to withdraw from Afghanistan; rather, in response to Iran’s increasingly pushy anti-European foreign policy, they will look to consolidate and strengthen Bundeswehr presence in that country.

Look at a map of the Middle East. Iran is the main destabilizing force, and the greatest threat to German and European interests, in this region. Germany’s foreign-policy advisers see the danger of Iran filling the vacuum created by inevitable withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. They want to counter Iran’s influence in the region and limit the risk that Iran will restrict access to the area’s energy resources by the West.

This is the prime reason Germany is increasing its involvement, rather than reducing it, in Afghanistan. The way it can counter Iran’s increasing influence in North Africa and along the west bank of the Red Sea is to surround it in a pincer movement. By retaining its current foothold in Afghanistan, the Bundeswehr is in a position in the future to upgrade its presence and resist any eastward movement of Iran into the crossroads of Eurasia. That done, it becomes obvious that the way to contain Iran is by shoring up the Arabian Peninsula, thereby creating a beachhead on the east bank of the Red Sea.

It is to this end that Germany has recently stepped up its investment in the Arabian Peninsula. German advisers are counseling a closer relationship with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s “most important regional political objective,” the German Institute for International and Security Affairs has observed, is to contain Iran’s ambitions to dominate, not just “the Gulf region, but also in Palestinian areas, in Lebanon and in Syria” (December 2008).

This is a sensitive issue for Germany: It does not wish to fully alienate Iran for fear of being cut off from that nation’s rich pool of resources. That is why it has simultaneously maintained trade relations with Iran, especially in engineering products, some of which can be used in Iran’s nuclear program. This is also a guaranteed way of keeping an eye on the nuclear program’s progress, and of ensuring inside knowledge of plant layout and componentry for future strategic use.

Thus the German Institute for International and Security Affairs calls for a “clever linkage of a course of containment with repeated offers of cooperation” with Iran—and suggests that this “could be the basis of a common Iran strategy for Americans, Europeans and pro-Western Arab states” (ibid.).

This strategic thinking explains the flurry of activity in Washington and Berlin surrounding the Saudi raids into Bahrain during March.

Battleground in Bahrain

The tiny Gulf state of Bahrain has been of strategic interest to the West since Great Britain established a naval base there in 1935. Following Bahrain’s independence in 1971, the British presence was replaced by that of the U.S. Navy. Bahrain became the base for the U.S. Fifth Fleet, charged with securing American interests in the Mideast. It is from this base that the allied war in Afghanistan is being resourced and Western efforts around the Horn of Africa coordinated.

This made the eruption of protests there in February deeply concerning. The fact that the demonstrators are mostly Shiite, protesting a minority Sunni government, makes this volatile situation ripe with opportunity for Iran to take advantage. According to EU Observer, one EU source stated, “What is happening in Bahrain is Sunni versus Shia, Saudi Arabia versus Iran. It’s big powers facing off against each other in a small place. It’s really explosive.” Another EU contact noted, “If Saudi Arabia and Iran become openly involved, it could become much more dangerous than Libya” (March 17).

The unrest in Bahrain is catalyzing an alliance of Sunni powers. Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all decided to send security forces to Bahrain to assist in quelling the protests. The Saudi government declared it would apply all necessary force against the rebel Shiites to ensure that the Sunnis remain secure in their reign over the Shiite majority population in Bahrain.

Similar to its deals with Libya and other Mideast nations, Germany has contributed to the buildup of arms—especially submachine guns and ammunition—in support of Bahrain’s ruling Sunni al-Khalifa clan. It has supplied naval patrol boats dating back to when the Mideast was destabilized by the deposing of the shah of Iran. In more recent years, it has stepped up arms exports to Bahrain, arms the government has deployed against the Shiite rebels. German-Foreign-Policy.com reported that German armaments giant Rheinmetall is rumored to be bidding on a contract to provide Bahrain more “combat material specifically deemed for the suppression of rebellions” (February 22).

This merging of interests between Gulf states and Germany is deeply significant. Believe it or not, there are indications within biblical prophecy that we would witness just such an alliance.

Charting Its Own Path

Just as Germany is pouring resources into Arab states, some Arabian Peninsula nations are investing heavily in German industry.

Berlin’s cooperation with the United Arab Emirates began not long after the Berlin Wall fell and Germany reunited. The emirate of Qatar has since bought into Volkswagen, while the Aabar Investment Society of Abu Dhabi bought into Daimler, Germany’s largest automobile producer. ThyssenKrupp’s uae partner, the Abu Dhabi Mar Consortium, now owns majority shares in the Nobiskrug Shipyard, which has, till recently, specialized in producing luxury ships in Rendsburg, Germany.

More significantly, five years ago Germany signed an agreement of cooperation in the military field with the uae. This agreement led ThyssenKrupp to renounce “civilian ship production to concentrate its dockyards solely on arms production. It is entering a ‘strategic partnership’ with the Abu Dhabi Mar Co. from the United Arab Emirates (uae). Their deal seals the military alliance between Germany and the Emirates, possibly creating the opportunity for circumventing German arms exports regulations and ending efforts aimed at forging a German/French ship production …” (German-Foreign-Policy.com, Oct. 26, 2009; emphasis mine throughout).

Noting the signing of this agreement and the ThyssenKrupp deal, German-Foreign-Policy.com reported that “Abu Dhabi’s joining the German maritime shipbuilding industry signals Berlin’s fundamental change of strategy in its long-term efforts to help bring the German arms industry to a position of predominance in Europe” (ibid.).

There is a much more significant strategy in play here than first glance would suggest. It has to do with Germany asserting its national sovereign will over and above that of the EU—particularly France—and of the nato alliance. In relation to the ThyssenKrupp deal, German-Foreign-Policy.com observed that such action serves to demonstrate that “If a German-dominated ‘European solution’ cannot be accomplished, Berlin will do without ‘Europe’ and go it alone.”

Having snubbed the French in these Gulf state deals, Germany has now done the same not only to France, but also to the EU, natoand the U.S. by withdrawing from its nato mandates in the Mediterranean.

A Dramatic Change of Course

German elites are watching unfolding events across the North African rim. The significance of France leading the air strikes on Libya was historic. It is significant in that for the first time since World War ii, a European power has been first to strike in a Western coalition war. It is doubly significant in that the United States, which has led all allied strikes in combat since World War ii, was third in line in entering the action. Second was Britain, giving some credence to the newly formed Anglo-French defense alliance. But of even greater significance than Germany’s absence from the initial battle scene was its complete withdrawal from its nato mandates.

Perceiving the U.S. administration had no heart for the battle, Germany seized the opportunity to make a historic move. For the first time since World War ii, Germany took a stand by publicly withdrawing from a Western alliance defense initiative and placing its own actively deployed military assets under its own sovereign command! Again, as Klaus Naumann declared, “Germany has dared to go it alone for the first time since 1949.”

The Libyan affair has catalyzed a new era in German foreign policy. Germany has clearly demonstrated that it will now bow to no one, not to France or Britain, not to any EU or nato authority, not even to the once mighty United States. Germany has signaled that from now on, it will serve its own sovereign national interests at all costs!

As German-Foreign-Policy.com rightly pointed out, the German abstention in the UN Security Council vote on Libya shows two things: “On the one hand, it shows that Berlin is no longer prepared to make foreign-policy concessions to European rivals such as France. … On the other hand, it has become clear that Berlin is not only prepared to go it alone at the ‘European’ level—as in the case of the invasion of Iraq in 2003—but also to go it alone at the national level. This fact takes on more significance when it is taken into account that, in Berlin, it is being repeatedly discussed whether Germany would not ‘advance faster, further and better, alone’ than in the European Union. Berlin’s Libya policy could provide the first clues” (March 22).

Either way, the things to really watch for in Germany’s future Middle East strategy will be initiatives designed to shore up security in the Levant—Syria, Lebanon and Israel—and the consolidation of an alliance with the Arabian Peninsula nations.

As you watch, remember the unbreakable prophecy for our day contained in Psalm 83, a prophecy that foresees the cementing of an alliance between Germany and the Arab states of the Levant and Arabian Peninsula and Turkey.

That alliance was prophesied by God 3,000 years ago. Inspired to look three millennia ahead, the psalmist was given a vision of the alliance that would form between the modern-day descendants of Assyria—Germany—and certain of the descendants of Ishmael, son of Abraham. These would unite against the descendants of Abraham’s grandson Jacob—people who became the nations of Israel, called in that psalm “thy people.”

And it’s that alliance that has just been accelerated by events rippling across North Africa from Tunisia to Bahrain.

There’s something unique about that prophecy. Our editor in chief was the first to expose its application to current world events of today. That was well over a decade before these recent events. Only in our publications will you find that remarkable prophecy expounded. Request our booklet The King of the South and prove that to yourself.

The Real Reason Germany Wants to Buy the NYSE

The biggest symbol of America’s economic might is on the auction block. Guess why the likely buyer wants it.
From the April 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

It will be a day that will go down in infamy. The biggest symbol of America’s economic might—the preeminent institution of Anglo-Saxon financial domination—is about to be sold.

And to a German rival.

No institution represents America like the New York Stock Exchange. It is the home of capitalism. And through the years, by and large it has served America well. No other country in the world has generated so much wealth so quickly. Sure, the super-rich have a disproportionate share of it, but—knock capitalism as you might—it has also generated the largest middle class in history.

Throughout most of its 219 years, the New York Stock Exchange has also powered the growth of exceptional American corporations, connecting them with deep pools of financing to power rapid expansion—and just as importantly, punishing those companies that refused or were unable to adapt and innovate. For better or worse, it is the tool that has helped keep American companies sharp, competitive and accountable.

And now, the nyse is dying a very capitalistic death.

When the bell chimes for the last time at American-owned 11 Wall Street, it will be an ominous, portent-filled day. But probably not for the reason you think.

Where U.S. and German Media Disagree

American media are selling the story as a merger of equals. The new combined company will be the world’s largest exchange group by revenues—valued at over $25 billion. The chief executive officer will come from the nyse group, while the chairman will come from Deutsche Börse.

But that is where the equality ends.

In Germany, it is being reported as a takeover through and through. The “merger of equals” talk is window dressing to keep Americans happy. Sixty percent of the new merged company will be composed of shareholders of Deutsche Börse—giving them the voting power. The current plans may call for New York to remain a head office to supplement Deutsche Börse’s regional hubs in Frankfurt and Paris. But the reality is that both Paris and New York will become little more than token headquarters for the new company.

“There is going to be no ‘triangle concept’ here,” one source told the Financial Times (February 11).

The only triangle concept will be that of a pyramid—with Frankfurt on top. “New York is going to be important, but it’s not the financial center,” says Michael La Branche, a member of a family-run firm that has traded on the floor of the nyse for 87 years.

But even before the merger, about half of the nyse group’s shareholders were already European. In 2006, nyse merged with Euronext, consolidating New York with exchanges in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Lisbon, along with a futures exchange in London. Now if the Deutsche Börse deal goes through, U.S. shareholders may own even less. Plus, more than half of the board of directors will come from Deutsche Börse.

The baton of economic leadership is being passed again: From London to New York in 1919, and now from New York to Frankfurt in 2011.

According to some experts, U.S. regulators most likely won’t be able to block the nyse sellout either. Just a few years ago they approved the nyse merger with Euronext. Plus, as the Financial Times brought out, there is “‘good support’ at the highest political level in Germany” for the deal. So U.S. regulators would risk offending an important trade partner and ally if they blocked the deal.

What is happening to America? Has it really lost so much economic strength that a company from a nation once bombed to rubble is now purchasing the institution that helped raise the funds to make America’s war effort possible?

Is This a Strategic Risk?

Questions regarding national security arise in light of an international deal such as this. For its part, the German government has said that since the two companies involved in the sellout are private, it will only have a “limited” role in the new entity.

But as our August 2006 article “Will the U.S. Lose the NYSE?” asked, “What if relations between America and Europe were to become strained? Is it unrealistic to be worried that foreign interests, in a position to sabotage America’s largest stock exchange, would be tempted to do so?”

Even beyond just sabotaging markets, think of all the data on U.S. companies that foreign interests would be able to mine. Already the nyse sells high-speed access to its computers to hedge funds so they can trade a fraction of a second ahead of regular customers, according to the Daily Finance.

Yet here is perhaps the most ominous part about the deal.

The Germans probably don’t even want the New York Stock Exchange!

For all the patriotic flag-waving that has ensued over the impending loss of the nyse, the truth is that it has been in dramatic decline for decades. Scandals have shattered its reputation, and its profitability is shrinking. The last few years were especially devastating. Since the Wall Street meltdown in 2008, even Americans disparage it. In 2005, it handled 80 percent of all trading in stocks it listed; now it handles less than a quarter. As a public company, its stock has plummeted 64 percent since it was listed.

Its business model is broken too. With the march of technology, there is nothing New York does that cannot be done elsewhere for less: less cost, less regulation, and less taxation.

The sad, simple truth is that New York is no longer the coveted economic crown jewel it once was. It is more like tarnished costume jewelry—pretty to wear, but not worth much.

German companies don’t even bother listing in New York anymore. Deutsche Telekom was the latest to pull out on June 18 of last year. Daimler called it quits a couple of weeks before that. Of the 11 firms on Germany’s dax index (its biggest blue-chip companies) once listed in New York, only four still think it is worth the effort.

The Real Prize for Germany

For Deutsche Börse, the real prize is in what nyse Euronext owns—with the emphasis on Euronext.

In 2006, the nyse and Deutsche Börse fought over control of Euronext, which owned the Paris, Amsterdam, Lisbon and Brussels stock exchanges as well as a derivatives exchange in London. Deutsche Börse officials touted the potential Euronext tie-up as the creation of a “truly pan-European exchange organization” and “significant step forward in the integration of European financial markets” (Agence France-Presse, May 22, 2006; emphasis mine).

New York won the battle when it thwarted Deutsche Börse and merged with Euronext.

Five years later, Deutsche Börse looks like it is about to win the war. Deutsche Börse is about to get Euronext after all—and the nyse, for whatever that is worth.

And from Germany’s perspective, it couldn’t have come at a better time. With much of the periphery of Europe in economic crisis, Germany is pushing for greater economic union—on its terms. In return for bailout money, Germany is forcing indebted countries to turn over national sovereignty. Gaining ownership over the largest stock exchanges in Europe will just add additional firepower to Germany’s already impressive financial weaponry. In the years ahead, the European Union is set to become a much more German-looking institution.

If this merger goes through, the stock exchanges in Amsterdam, Paris, Lisbon, Brussels, Frankfurt and nine other European countries will all fall under control of Germany’s Deutsche Börse. And that is not all.

The Deutsche Börse will also gain control of the former Euronext derivatives unit Liffe. Once combined with Deutsche Börse’s derivatives units, the new company will dominate the global derivatives market, which the Bank of International Settlements estimated at an astounding $1.28 quadrillion notional value in 2008.

A Glimpse of America’s Real Value

But if Germany isn’t really even interested in the New York Stock Exchange (except for maybe its little remaining prestige), what does that say about America? It means America is no longer the preeminent economic superpower it thinks it is.

“This will further confirm in the minds of the world political and financial leaders that gaping U.S. budget and trade deficits, and all the foreign borrowing and high unemployment that results, are significant attributes of an economic superpower in decline,” says Peter Morici, a University of Maryland professor of business.

Morici is right. Americans sit and talk about patriotism and about how bad it is that one of their icons should be sold, but that is missing the bigger point. America is falling so fast that its most famed financial institution is at best a side asset to Germany.

America is rapidly following Britain’s footsteps to becoming a second-rate power in a third-rate financial position bordering on untenable. Stock exchange or no stock exchange, Americans should be scared silly of ending up like the Brits. And both should fear the fate of a much earlier power: the doomed kingdom of Belshazzar.

You can read about it in Daniel 5. It read something like this: MeneMene Tekel Upharsin: “You are weighed in the balances, and are found wanting.”

Americans need to read the writing on the Wall Street. You know what happens next.

A Mysterious Prophecy

A Mysterious Prophecy

Are the Psalms only a book of charming poetry? Psalm 83 of the Bible is an end-time prophecy of Germany allying with several moderate Arab nations. It shows that these nations are about to get control of the Middle East! What they do after that is going to be the ultimate shock to America, Britain and the Jewish nation.
From the May 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

Psalm 83 is fulfilled almost immediately after a Germany-led Europe conquers Iran and radical Islam (Daniel 11:40-43).

“Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people [Israel], and consulted against thy hidden [or sheltered] ones” (Psalm 83:1-3).

These enemies are conspiring against biblical Israel. (Our book The United States and Britain in Prophecy explains who Israel is. All of our literature is free.)

These enemies are also against God’s hidden (or treasured) ones. This is God’s very elect, who are always in the midst of the storm explaining what it all means. This little flock explains the significance of deadly world events. However, most people pay little attention until they become victims!

The world could understand all of these terrible end-time events if they would find this very elect and heed their Bible-based warning! That is not hard to do, since it is the only real Bible-based warning going to this world!

We see terrifying events all around the world, and they are intensifying. But all that bad news is a sign of the best news mankind could possibly hear: The Messiah is about to come and save us! (Matthew 24:3, 21-22).

“They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance” (Psalm 83:4).

Israel today is comprised of 12 nations. But this end-time prophecy is directed to only three of them. The little nation called Israel is only one of those three nations; America and Britain are the other two (The United States and Britain in Prophecy explains).

These peoples’ enemies want to cut them off from being a nation (they are the descendants of the ancient nation of Israel). Their enemies don’t even want the world to remember the name of Israel!

The leader of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has vowed to wipe the Jewish nation off the map. The enemies of Psalm 83 have what appears to be an even deeper hatred. They even want to obliterate the biblical name of Israel forever!

This prophecy gives us an insight into what is coming in the very near future: the Great Tribulation and the times of the Gentiles (Matthew 24:21; Luke 21:24). God is going to punish these three nations of Israel more severely than at any time in their history, because of all their “abominations.”

Who Is In the Alliance

“For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre [Lebanon]; Assur [Assyria or Germany] also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah” (Psalm 83:5-8). Here are the modern names of these nations, as taught at Ambassador College under Herbert W. Armstrong: Edom—Turkey; Ishmaelites—Saudi Arabia; Moab—Jordan; Hagarenesanciently dwelt in the land known as Syria today; GebalLebanon; Ammon—also Jordan. (We cannot be extremely precise in this understanding, but it gives a good general idea of where these nations are today.)

Remember this: God inspired these names to be included in the Bible so we could know who they are and how this prophecy would unfold today! We are commanded to live by “every word” of God. If we can’t understand who these nations are, we can’t understand the 83rd Psalm. God expects us to understand!

Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia are missing from this list. They will be allied with Iran when they are conquered by a German-led Europe (Daniel 11:42-43).

It appears Iraq, with its massive oil reserves, will be solidly in the Iranian camp. I have predicted this would happen since the early 1990s!

Assur was the father of Assyria, which is the ancient name of Germany. (We prove the identity of these nations in our booklets The King of the South and Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.)

Psalm 83 tells us the nations that will not be allied with Iran when Germany and Europe conquer that nation and radical Islam.

There has never been such an alliance to attack or totally destroy Israel in history. Concerning this Psalm, the Anchor Bible reads, “History transmits no record of the national crisis when the nations enumerated in this Psalm formed a league to wipe out Israel ….” Lange’s Commentary points out, “The 10 nations who are here enumerated as being combined against Israel, are never mentioned elsewhere as enemies allied at the same time and for the purpose of annihilating Israel.” Other commentaries make the same point.

This must be an end-time prophecy!

Most of the Muslims were allied with Germany in World War ii. They knew what Hitler was doing to the Jews, and we know the way many Muslims feel toward the Jews today. Since America and Britain support the Jews, it is not difficult to envision the Muslims and Germans allying against these two nations.

This means that the Germans have already turned politically toward their Nazi past (proved in our booklet The Rising Beast). But they are going to swing even further to the right than they did during World War ii!

This world needs to watch Germany.

The moderate Arabs today are going to share that hate-filled philosophy with Germany.

Still, God is using these nations to accomplish His plan—a big part of it being the correction of three nations of Israel.

We must not forget that Germany started World Wars i and ii. It also has a history of starting many other wars. History keeps repeating itself because we never learn its lessons!

Alliance Prepared Now

Back in our July 2010 issue, we wrote this: “The Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah toured Europe in late April and early May, concentrating on developing closer relations with Berlin and the Roman Catholic Church.

“During his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German businessmen on April 28, he is reported to have discussed ‘a host of bilateral relations that would cement partnership between Kuwait and Berlin’ (Kuwait Times, April 28). A Catholic official said his trip to the Vatican would enable the emir and the pope to ‘express their appreciation and friendship’ and to strengthen the ‘good relations that exist between the Holy See and Kuwait.’”

This is a powerful example of how Psalm 83 is being fulfilled even now! Such meetings are preparing the two sides to form the Psalm 83 alliance.

The April 2010 Trumpet magazine said this: “For some time, France had limited Germany’s effort in producing warships by stifling plans for a joint Franco-German effort to create a common European shipbuilding enterprise. The typical (and no doubt strategically motivated) French defiance over this deal led to a crisis. This spurred one of the German companies involved, ThyssenKrupp, to ‘renounce civilian ship production to concentrate its dockyards solely on arms production. It is entering a “strategic partnership” with the Abu Dhabi Mar Co. from the United Arab Emirates (uae). Their deal seals the military alliance between Germany and the Emirates, possibly creating the opportunity for circumventing German arms exports regulations and ending efforts aimed at forging a German/French ship production …’ (German-Foreign-Policy.com, Oct. 26, 2009). As German-Foreign-Policy.com observed, this just goes to show that ‘If a German-dominated “European solution” cannot be accomplished, Berlin will do without “Europe” and go it alone.’”

Not many people notice how powerfully aggressive Germany is becoming. This example helps illustrate how Germany dominates Europe today!

Here is an even more recent statement about Germany’s close relationship with another moderate Arab state: “Germany has supplied Bahrain with naval patrol boats dating back to the time the Middle East was destabilized by the deposing of the shah of Iran. In more recent years, German arms exports to Bahrain have been stepped up, especially arms of a type traditionally used to put down insurrection. It is from this stock of armaments that Bahrain has drawn for deployment against the Shiite rebels in recent days” (theTrumpet.com, March 21).

On February 22, German-Foreign-Policy.com reported on rumors that Rheinmetall, the German armaments giant, is bidding on a contract for the further provision to Bahrain of “combat material specifically deemed for the suppression of rebellions.”

These tiny oil-rich nations discussed above are geographically attached to the southeast part of the huge land area of Saudi Arabia. We believe they are also Ishmaelites and from a biblical perspective would be considered a part of Saudi Arabia—regardless of their modern boundaries. The main issue is that Germany is building an alliance now with the moderate Arabs that is paving the way for the Psalm 83 prophecy to be fulfilled.

Saudi Arabia is also drawing closer to Germany to enhance its own security against Iran as America gets weaker and continues to withdraw from the Middle East.

The mystery of the Psalm 83 prophecy is being removed.

‘This Circle of Horror and River of Tears’

‘This Circle of Horror and River of Tears’

MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images

An escalation in violence sends a chilling message to Israel.
From the May 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

What kind of sick mind would brutally murder women, children and infants in their own home with a knife? And what kind of sick people would celebrate it?

These are questions Israel and the world need to be asking after the March 11 murder of five members of a Jewish family living in the Israeli town of Itamar.

Against the backdrop of a region in turmoil, with protests and revolutions toppling one government after another, in March Israel was thrust into the middle of the maelstrom. The Itamar massacre, bad as it was, actually served as an ominous warning of more to come. Soon after, Hamas resumed launching rockets at southern Israel. Then, on March 23, a bomb exploded at a Jerusalem bus stop, killing a British woman and injuring more than 30 others—the first time in nearly seven years that the city was hit by a bomb.

Added together, these attacks represent a deliberate escalation of violence against Israel.

And looming larger than ever before, behind the scenes, is the Islamic Republic of Iran. From the very beginning of the region-wide turmoil that started in December, Iran has been covertly working to first destabilize, and then dominate, the entire Middle East.

With this in mind, what a perfect time this is for it to provoke another conflict with the Jewish state.

Nightmare in Itamar

The facts of the Itamar murders are appalling and nauseating. That Friday evening, just after the Sabbath began, terrorists jumped an Israeli security fence to enter the West Bank town. They broke into a home there, apparently chosen at random, and found Udi Fogel, age 36, sleeping in bed holding his 3-month-old daughter, Hadas.

They slit both of their throats.

When Udi’s wife, Ruth, emerged from the bathroom, they stabbed her to death.

They then moved through the house and found a bedroom with two of the Fogels’ sons: Yoav, age 11, was reading in bed and Elad, age 3, was sleeping. They slashed Yoav’s throat and stabbed Elad twice through the heart.

Apparently the terrorists didn’t see two more Fogel boys—Roi, 6 years old, sleeping on the living room couch, and Yishai, just 2 years old, asleep in another bedroom. They fled the house without harming them.

The Fogels’ 12-year-old daughter, Tamar, was at a youth event with some friends. When she came home two hours later, she found the door locked. She woke up Roi by calling through the living room window. When he let her in and she went to the bedrooms, she saw the blood-soaked horror and ran from the house screaming.

The incident stunned the entire nation. At the Fogels’ funeral just two days later, the cemetery in Jerusalem was filled with thousands of Jewish mourners.

In his heartfelt address, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau spoke to Tamar directly: “In one cruel hour, you have become a little mother. You are now the mother of little Roi and Yishai, and you are only 12 years old.”

He also addressed a nation stricken with grief. “We’ve made it 63 years, we’ve declared a state and won independence and founded a glorious army,” Lau said, “and still this circle of horror and river of tears is flowing, and we stand helpless with a feeling that is impossible to put into words.”

This tragedy received scant attention amid coverage of the tsunami that hit Japan the very same day, along with a dizzying torrent of other earthshaking news. But it uniquely highlighted the savagery of the Middle East conflict and the insurmountable odds stacked against the Jewish state.

More disturbingly, when one looks at the biblical prophecies of what awaits Israel in the time ahead, the Itamar murders are, sadly, only a foretaste of what is coming upon the whole nation.

“We stand helpless” is about to prove to be a sickening understatement.

Celebrating and Seeking Death

Who would commit such an incomprehensibly barbaric act?

The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility. This is the terrorist wing of Fatah. (Some members of the group later retracted this claim.)

Fatah is the political party of Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas is chairman of the Palestinian Authority and supposed partner in the “peace process” with Israel.

Abbas responded to the butchery by denying that the PA incites violence against Israel.

This claim is ridiculous, undermined by mounds of proof. The very day of the Fogels’ funeral, Fatah officials named a town square in Ramallah after a woman terrorist who led a 1978 attack that killed 37 Israelis. Just two months before, Abbas himself awarded $2,000 to the family of a terrorist who tried to kill Israeli soldiers. He said in December, “We have frankly said, and always will say, if there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli in it.”

Meanwhile, the other major force in Palestinian politics, Hamas, celebrated the Fogels’ murders by handing out candy and sweets on the streets of Gaza. One resident described the slayings as “a natural response to the harm settlers inflict on the Palestinian residents in the West Bank.” Murdering children and infants—to these Palestinians, this is a “natural response” to housing construction.

Hamas spoke on its website about the homicides—but what it posted in English differed markedly from what it posted in Arabic. Its terse English statement denied any connection to the attack, and even suggested that Palestinians may not have carried it out. In Arabic, however, the message was more eloquent, openly praising the “Palestinian mujahid” (“holy” warrior) for being “able to break into the usurper (settlement) of ‘Itamar’ south of Nablus in the occupied (West) Bank” and stab “five Zionist usurpers.” Zionist usurpers, that is, like 3-year-old Elad and 3-month-old Hadas.

Al Mutarjim, who translated this Arabic-language statement into English, noted that the post received dozens of comments, all of which applauded the murders. A sample: “Allah is great, to Allah be the praise. The separate factions of the resistance should change their tactics, and rely more heavily on individual operations, which cannot be detected and thwarted by the lackeys of the authorities, rather than forming cells. They should devise new methods for combat by knife, strangulation, breaking necks, poison, and every method which is not known by your enemy.”

Another read: “Allah is great, and to Allah be the praise. May you prosper, o mujahid. May Allah preserve you, and remove the eyes of the Jews and their agents far from you.”

These are the people that Israel is apparently meant to appease by engaging them in the “peace process” and offering concessions to their leaders. People who glory in the massacre of Jewish babies.

Circle of horror, indeed.

Israel’s Wound

These events are only the latest bits on a mountain of macabre evidence showing the utter folly of the Jews ever trying to negotiate their way to a peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians—a people saturated in hatred and hostility toward their very being. The idea that peace will come if only Israel stops building, or retreats from more land, or allows more Arabs to move into the country, has no grounds. The overwhelming evidence shows that the Palestinians simply do not want and will not accept a peace deal with the Jews.

The Jews’ realization of the impossibility of negotiating a two-state solution with the Arabs has been washing over them in stages in recent years. While caving in to pressure yet again and again, the recognition that the peace process has in fact wounded the nation—sapped Israel’s strength, depleted Israel’s land, and exhausted Israel’s will to fight and survive—is dawning.

This realization was specifically prophesied in your Bible. The prophecy is recorded in Hosea 5:13: “When … Judah [the biblical name for today’s Jewish State of Israel] saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and [Judah] sent to [Assyrian] king Jareb ….” Longtime Trumpet readers know that Gerald Flurry has pointed to Judah’s “wound” being the peace process ever since the Oslo talks in 1993.

Hosea’s prophecy reveals a moment when Israel sees its deadly wound—it recognizes the folly of the paradoxical “peace” process—and acts in desperation. That moment is getting closer. As we explain in our free booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy, this will result in a devastating outcome for the Jewish state.

The Jews would do well to heed. In the prophetic picture, the Itamar massacre once again serves as an ominous warning of worse to come.

On to Jerusalem

The escalating tensions between the Palestinians and Jews have already been compared to the run-up to Operation Cast Lead two years ago. Israel responded to the rocket attacks in March by firing missiles at launching pads in Gaza.

“No country would be prepared to absorb protracted missile fire on its cities and civilians, and of course the State of Israel is not prepared to,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained. “It could be that this matter will entail exchanges of blows, and it may take a certain period of time, but we are very determined to strike at the terrorist elements and deny them the means of attacking our citizens.”

Outside of the commonly known support Iran provides Hamas and several other terrorist groups, including some in the West Bank, no publicly available evidence directly links Tehran to the Itamar murders, the Gaza rocket assault, or the Jerusalem bus bombing. Nevertheless, if these provocations had been specifically calculated to bait Israel into retaliating against the Palestinians, they couldn’t have been any more effective in doing so. And the fact is, no one stands to benefit more from Israel’s response than Iran.

As Stratfor reported on March 23, Israeli retaliation could endanger the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, especially if Israel lashes out at Hamas in Gaza. “When looking at the unrest overall in the region, the one key ingredient that was missing was Israel. Israel is often the single unifying call for many on the Arab streets, and that is certainly something that a lot of Palestinian factions will be paying attention to right now,” Stratfor wrote. “Watch for groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and others in the region to escalate attacks in an effort to provoke a military confrontation with Israeli forces, create a crisis for Egypt through the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and threaten Israel on multiple fronts. This is something that could well play to the Iranian agenda and escalate the regional unrest overall.”

For over a decade and a half, the Trumpet’s editor in chief has warned us to watch for signs of Iran trying to seize Jerusalem. “The most precious jewel of Iran’s plan is to conquer Jerusalem,” he wrote in February 1995. “This would then galvanize the Islamic world behind Iran!”

Zechariah 14:2 prophesies that half of Jerusalem is going to fall. As our booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy explains, Zechariah is speaking of an impending, partial conquest of the Holy City by Islamic warriors—one that will precede a total conquest of the city by a European force.

As Iran works behind the scenes today to destabilize and dominate Middle Eastern nations in turmoil, realize this is all part of its plan to dismantle the obstacles to its taking Jerusalem.

However, remember also that in the final analysis, after the biblical nation of Judah has been punished, there will come a time when, as Isaiah prophesies, “the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off” (Isaiah 11:13). The Jews’ circle of horror will be broken. Their river of tears will at last run dry—when Jerusalem truly becomes a city of peace upon Christ’s return.

Glamorizing Gomorrah

Glamorizing Gomorrah

Ian Gavan/Getty Images

MTV’s Skins and our corrosive youth culture
From the May 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

Mtv says its new teen drama Skins “addresses real-world issues confronting teens in a frank way.” The “real-world issue” addressed in its pilot episode? A group of teenagers aiding their quirky, 16-year-old friend in his quest to lose his virginity with the assistance of prescription virility drugs.

The series chronicles a group of nine teenagers and their escapades with wild parties, drug use, underage sex, masturbation, homosexuality, voyeurism, grand theft auto, borderline date rape, etc. The fact that many of the Skins actors who are taking their clothes off are under 18 years old—which has media watchdogs decrying the exploitation of these underage actors—is only one of many reasons this show is such a corrosive, destructive force. Yet sadly, there is an audience for it.

mtv assigned Skins a tv-ma rating, and says “the show is specifically designed to be viewed by adults.” If that is true, then its depictions of underage actors engaging in sexual behavior is, by definition, encouraging pedophilia. In truth, though, the show is for teenagers. Among the impressive 3.3 million viewers its first episode drew, 1.2 million were younger than 18.

Bryan Elsley, creator of the show’s original British version, came up with the idea in 2005 when his 19-year-old son Jamie complained that nothing on tv was worth watching. Jamie dismissed all his father’s ideas for tv shows as “middle-class [expletive],” and suggested that his father create a show about teenagers as they really are. Elsley took his son’s advice, and the father-son duo went to work, relying largely on teenagers and those barely out of their teenage years to write the scripts.

For the U.S. version, Elsley employs 30 teenagers as consultants, and frequently solicits feedback from the Skins cult following. Even the show’s musical selections are made by a teenager. “We don’t make this up,” says Eleanor Zichy, a 15-year-old member of the Skins cast. “Sure, some of the experiences are exaggerated—it’s television. But all the material comes from real teenagers.” Does that sound like a series “designed to be viewed by adults”?

One especially destructive aspect of Skins is that, in this surreal teenage dream world, there are no consequences for bad decisions. Skins omits the hangovers, the pregnancies, the arrests and the venereal disease. Teenagers teach younger children to roll blunts. Adolescents are molested by a drug dealer but shrug it off cavalierly. A character almost lethally overdoses and, as she is being rushed to the hospital in a stolen suv, wakes up laughing, in perfect health, ready to return to her drug abuse. When the stolen vehicle careens into a river and sinks, the teenagers all float to the surface smiling. This consequence-free, adolescent fantasy life is a dangerous lie, certain to encourage more teens to try to make it their own reality.

Even worse, it idealizes dangerously twisted concepts of marriage and family, warping viewers’ ability to even properly understand and appreciate these glorious, God-given institutions!

Skins’ British version is far bolder than its U.S. counterpart in depictions of sex, abortion, self-mutilation and drug use, and has aired there for five seasons with virtually no controversy. Fans of the British show have been astonished at the protest in the U.S., and seem proud the uk didn’t get into such an uproar; many lambasted Americans for their prudery. Meanwhile, the uk has the fourth-highest teenage pregnancy rate in the world; one third of British girls have inflicted harm on themselves; one quarter of teenagers describe themselves as depressed, and three of four adults in the uk are afraid of British teenagers.

This show is perhaps the clearest example ever of a trend that educator Herbert W. Armstrong highlighted as far back as 1964: “Who determines what is ‘popular music’ today? The ‘teens.’ … Adolescents determine dancing trends, motion-picture themes, radio formats, and even advertisements and most fields of entertainment!” He spoke strongly against the abdication of responsible adult leadership, and the resultant destructive, sexually charged infusion of immature influence into mainstream culture. As true as Mr. Armstrong’s words rang back in 1964, they have become strikingly more accurate since.

Isaiah 3:12 prophesies that the children of the modern nations of Israel (especially the United States and Britain) would become “oppressors.” In verse 4, Isaiah warns that God will “give children to be their princes,” and that “babes shall rule over them.” The pervasive attitude young people have toward their elders in Western society is one of flagrant disrespect. Skins started with a seed of disrespect by Jamie Elsley toward his father, and the show has blossomed to become a wellspring of parent-resentment and disregard for adult authority.

When Isaiah prophesied that “babes shall rule over them,” he was also condemning the childish manner in which adults are ruling. Think of the immaturity that would lead 45-year-old Bryan Elsley to create Skins, and the myopic mentality of the executives, producers, editors, advertisers and others who brought it to life. Let’s create a show for our teenagers that glamorizes Gomorrah, these leaders have said. Rather than preparing adolescents to become adults, adults are behaving like adolescents.

American and British family life has been devastated by a radical revolution. Skins—and its audience of adults eager to watch raunchy teenagers misbehaving, and teens whose parents are too negligent to protect them from such poisonous material—proves that. But your home and family do not have to be counted among its victims. Moses recorded, in Deuteronomy 11:18-19, that parents must diligently teach children the biblical truths that lead to happy lives. This passage emphasizes that such instruction must be the foundation of a happy home, and that the teaching must be ongoing. This requires self-discipline on parents’ part—increasingly a rarity in modern society. Responsible, concerned parents must make a concerted effort to combat the corrosive influences of a toxic world in the lives of our families.