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Are You Burning Your Children?

By Lori Johnson In Leviticus 18:21, in the midst of a long list of admonitions against all forms of sexual immorality, there is a somewhat curious insertion of an instruction on how to treat children:

And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD (KJV).
The Contemporary English Version makes the instruction more clear:

Don't sacrifice your children on the altar fires to the god Molech. I am the LORD your God, and that would disgrace me.
Over the years there has been much written about just what pass through the fire means, and well get to that. But it is very clear, from the very beginning of Gods instructions to us, that He means business on this one. Dont sacrifice your children. Period. Now some say Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. Remember him? He asked God to give him the wisdom required to properly rule over the people God had given him to govern. Solomons father David, while on his deathbed, spoke these words:

I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man. Keep the charge of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn, so that the LORD may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me, saying, If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel (1 Kings 2:1-4).
Be strong. Show yourself a man. Take care to safeguard all God has told us He wants us to do. If you do that, one of your own will always be on the throne, ruling over Gods people. It sounds pretty simple, given that God also granted Solomon the wisdom he asked for. Yet Solomon married women who were not Israelites. This was a foolish thing for him to do. Its hard enough being married to someone who follows the same God you do, let along being married to multiple wives who demanded altars to their own gods. How did the wise man, Solomon, think he could possibly follow the Living God while being a husband to so many wives who didnt worship his God? Unfortunately, he couldnt. After years under the influence of his idolatrous wives, Solomon allowed the building of high places for Chemosh, the god of the Moabites, and Moloch (Molech, Milcom), the god of the Ammonites. He let his heart be turned away from the Living God and was after other, false gods, like Ashtoreth, goddess of the Sidonians. Of course, this disobedience of Solomons angered the LORD, who said to him:

Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen (1 Kings 11:11-13).
What happened after this was the splitting of Gods people into fragments, with the majority making up their own days of worship, choosing their own times and locations, according to their own preferences and not Gods. Sound familiar? It might be the answer to the question most nonbelievers have on their

lips: If theres really only one God, why are there so many churches that believe so many different things? The answer, of course, is that there is only one God. However, there are many foolish people who consistently break commandments the third, by calling themselves Christians when they dont act like it, and the fourth, not properly keeping the Sabbath, quickly come to mind who willfully follow their own ways instead of His. In Deuteronomy, the Israelites are warned:

Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, so that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God. When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise? You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods (Deuteronomy 12:28-31).
Pretty plain and simple: go and take the land I am giving you, but do not get caught up in how your enemies worship false gods. They are very bad people, they burn their children in the fire to their gods, and this is disgusting to me. But did the Israelites obey God? Lets see what the psalmist says:

They did not destroy the peoples, as Jehovah said to them, but mingled with the nations, and learned their works, and they served their idols, and they became a snare to them, yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; and they shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with the blood. And they were unclean with their works, and went whoring in their acts, and the anger of Jehovah glowed against His people; and He detested His inheritance. And He gave them into the hand of the nations; and those who hated them ruled over them (Psalm 106:34-41).
Notice I said previously that the Israelites are warned, and not were warned. The message applies to us, Gods people, this day as well as back then. So what did worship on a high place dedicated to Chemosh look like? Why would God be so angry for His people to do that? Consider one such place, Topheth. Thought to once have been in the valley of the son of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, the word means place of burning. Some commentators think it was a place of cremation, but not in the sense you and I think of it today. Perhaps the thought of what really went on there is just too much for some to get their minds around. Some assert that the only thing that was passed through the fire there at Topheth was human semen, which was offered to the god (lets not go into the details on that one). Others think that children were passed through two columns of fire, as a sort of dedication ritual to the god Chemosh (Moloch, Baal), and that they were not actually burned. Others think that the children were indeed, burned, after many, many passings through the columns of fire, in a more intense dedication of firstborn to this false god. Finally, according to rabbinical tradition, there is this picture: On top of the hill was a huge altar-pyre for the god Molech. The idol there was made of brass, and was divided into seven compartments: one for the flour offering, one for the turtledove, one for the ewe, one for the ram, one for the calf, one for the ox, and the seventh, for a child. The idol was heated from the lower parts; from this, the idols hands, being stretched out, were made hot, and the child was put into his hands and was burned. When the child cried out, the pagan priests beat a drum loudly that the father might not hear the voice of his son, so that his heart might not be moved to intervene.

Can you imagine allowing your child to be burned in this way? Would the Living God ever command such a thing? What did we later hear from the Lord through the prophet Jeremiah?

At Topheth in Hinnom Valley you have built altars where you kill your children and burn them as sacrifices to other gods. I would never think of telling you to do this (7:31, CEV).
Our God would never even think of telling us to do such a thing. So we understand now why He was so angry at Solomon. He was going sideways from the truth. Indeed, as Solomon continued under the influence of domineering wives and old age, he let the kingdom slip right from his hands. And Gods people have never been right since. Today the god many children are sacrificed to, at least in this country, is Mammon. Who is that, you say? Well, Mammon is just another word for money. Both parents work and work and work, allegedly to give their children things they never had, getting deeper into debt and further away from each other and any sense of a truly godly home life. This supposedly is the way a modern family lives, with a liberated (read, disrespectful) female at the helm, and a male who has abdicated the responsibility to have rule over his home. This thought sends the hackles up so many womens necks, which I think is evidence of what God calls a stiff neck. But that is another subject for another day. Children dont need more and more stuff. I speak from experience, having grown up never lacking any good thing, getting lots and lots of stuff but precious little of what I really needed: a relationship with my parents. It took me many years to find the Living God, and while I know my parents did the best they could, they have yet to understand that what I really needed was to know God. Isnt that truly what we all need? And how do children get that? Hopefully, through a real relationship with their parents that is godly in character. I know this is a tall order, especially that last part. Many in the church would like to think that they have good relationships with their children because theyve been able to provide well for them and do a lot of activities with them. But is this what God is after? Doesnt He desire that we all come to the knowledge of Him and walk as He has called us? Tell me, are we seeing young people be baptized? Not many. Some go off to college, and while they might associate with others who claim to be Christian, they often see worldly Christianity and either get drawn into all its error or reject God outright. Others continue to linger for a while in the church out of habit, waiting around for something to happen, all the while not realizing that they have not yet been introduced to the Living God. Is this because what they saw growing up, at home and in the church, was simply religion and not a real, vital relationship between their parents and the Living God? Is such a thing more like a fairy tale than actual reality? But being out in the world without the protection and power of Gods Holy Spirit and the dangers that surround that kind of life that is not a fairy tale. That is a living nightmare. Unfortunately, it is all too often reality for too many children, as we can see from the statistics in the sidebar. I could go into the facts on the relationship between children who live without a father (as when he abandons his responsibilities and lets his wife rule the home, or worse, when he leaves it altogether) and the kinds of trouble those children get into with alcohol, drugs, sex, and all other forms of crime and violence. That would be such an obvious example of how we, in this day and age, pass our children through the fire and sacrifice them to a false god. But what does passing your children through the fire look like when its being done by Gods people, this day in age? Maybe it looks like this: You let them have their own way instead of sticking to what you know, by scripture, is right. You let them wear you down instead of putting them in their place. You decide its easier to be their friend than their parent, and buckle under the pressure discipline demands.

You let them break Gods rules by regularly skipping Sabbath services, instead taking them to participate in supposed good works done by allegedly innocuous civic organizations which are demonic in practice. You work too many hours to make more and more money so you can buy more and more stuff instead of being satisfied with what you have and teaching your children how to make do with less. You buy them everything they want instead of making them earn a fair allowance and teaching them to control themselves until they have saved enough money to buy what they want, so long as it is something that would be pleasing to God. You allow them access to all sorts of technological gadgetry so they can stick it in their ears and not listen to you, or to God. You dont make prayer and fasting and daily family devotions and pleasant, cordial conversation with your spouse be the reality in your home, so they dont get to see what Gods people look like. You act one way at home and another way at church, thus raising their double-standard radar. You do not let your husband be the leader of your home, you insist it is your right to assert yourself, or you do not care about what your wife is learning from the Lord, and insist she obey your every command instead, thus letting your children know how to act when they grow up. You let them become initiated into organizations that are pagan in origin, which leads them away from the Living God to follow some foreign god that goes by the same name. You run them all over town for any number of sports or other after-school activities, keeping them distracted and overwhelmed, causing you do the devils work for him, neglecting important and meaningful conversation with them about the dark days we have entered.

Our God would never think of telling us to do such things. In fact, there are many, many places where He tells us to do the exact opposite! How many of Gods people have fallen into the trap of calling good evil and evil good? I could list many more, but because Im not a parent, I dont want to be accused of not understanding because I dont have kids, an accusation Ive heard from too many parents who dont like to hear the truth. But I feel in good company, as Jeremiah went through it too:

The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will be defiled like the place Topheth, because of all the houses on whose rooftops they burned sacrifices to all the heavenly host and poured out drink offerings to other gods. Then Jeremiah came from Topheth, where the LORD had sent him to prophesy; and he stood in the court of the LORD'S house and said to all the people: Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, 'Behold, I am about to bring on this city and all its towns the entire calamity that I have declared against it, because they have stiffened their necks so as not to heed My words'" (Jeremiah 19:13-15).\
Sidebar: In this country, in a given 24-hour period, heres what teenagers are doing: 4800 9506 1439 2795 3561 will will will will will have have have have have attempted to smoke (Of that 4800, 3000 will become regular smokers) tried drugs or alcohol attempted suicide become pregnant run away from home

Fatherless children comprise: 63% of youth suicides 90% of homeless and runaways 85% that exhibit behavior disorders

80% of rapists come from fatherless homes 52% of children ages 5-17 have a TV in their bedroom 38.5 minutes per week: Number of minutes that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children 10 percent of 9- to 10-year-olds have already started drinking nearly a third of youth begin drinking before age 13 more than one-fourth of 14-year-olds report drinking within the past year Teens 16 to 19 were three and one-half times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault According to the Justice Department, one in two rape victims is under age 18; one in six is under age 12