In the Bible, there is a basic difference between ‘kill’ and ‘murder’ and God’s Sixth Commandment specifically mentions murder, which distinguishes it as different from death by accident, war, or justifiable homicide.
The Hebrew word that is sometimes translated as ‘kill’ is râtsach, but in reality it means especially to ‘murder’1 and, in fact, most modern Bible versions translate it as ‘murder’ instead of ‘kill’ — “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13, NRSV, EVS, NKJV, NIV, NET). God wanted to establish the fact that human life was sacred, so “to help preserve society, and because people are made in God’s image, the Israelites were commanded not to take another person’s life by murder.”2
Bearing this in mind, why would anyone be tempted to sacrifice their children to a pagan god, as was done in ancient times? Well, generally, people worshiped other gods because the idol was thought to have an ability to offer something of benefit in exchange for their devotion. In the case of Moloch, the people believed that they, and all their future children, would benefit from a better life in exchange for the life of their firstborn child. Let’s examine this child-demanding god and the culture in which it existed.
Moloch was a pagan fire god of the Ammonites. Since the Ammonites were an ancient Semitic people living in Canaan, some references state it was a god of the Canaanites, so that is technically accurate. Different academic and biblical references spell this pagan god’s name as Moloch, Molech, Moloc, Moleck, Melek, Milcom, etc. The various spellings are all derived from the Hebrew letters ךלמ (mlk), which means ‘the king’.3 To avoid confusion, I will only spell the name as Moloch for the sake of this article.
Although for thousands of years it was thought that Moloch was a proper name for the god, new research surfaced in 1935 that indicates that may not be the case. Archaeological excavations discovered evidence that Moloch may be a term used to refer to a particular kind of sacrifice. In other words, Moloch was not a name but rather the actual practice of sacrificing human children.4 Other insight is that ‘Moloch’ may have been applied to more than one god.5 These theories, however, are not well accepted by most scholars.
The first mention of Moloch in the Bible is in Leviticus 18:21, but the unnamed golden calf which Aaron (Moses’ brother) made (Exodus 32:4), while Moses was up on the mountain speaking with God, was probably a copy of the god Moloch.6 In Leviticus, chapter 20, God warns Moses about this false god, as follows.
“The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Say to the people of Israel, Any one of the people of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel who gives any of his children to [Moloch] shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones. I myself will set my face against that man and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given one of his children to [Moloch], to make my sanctuary unclean and to profane my holy name. And if the people of the land do at all close their eyes to that man when he gives one of his children to [Moloch], and do not put him to death, then I will set my face against that man and against his clan and will cut them off from among their people, him and all who follow him in whoring after [Moloch]’,” (Leviticus 20:2-5, ESV).7
One noted authority, in Manners & Customs of the Bible, gives this description to Moloch. “The usual description given of this god is that of a hollow image made of brass (bronze), and having a human body with the head of an ox. The idol sat on a brazen (bronze) throne with hands extended. To prepare for sacrifices to it, the image was heated to a red-hot condition by a fire built inside it. The parents then placed their children in the heated arms, while the noise of drums and cymbals drowned the cries of the little sufferers. It’s also said that there were seven chapels [small sections8] connected with the idol, which were to be entered according to the relative value of the offering presented. Only those who presented children were allowed to enter the seventh chapel.”9
Some few researchers suggest that this description is exaggerated and that the actual sacrifice was merely a ceremonial purification of carrying the children or leaping over fires with them in hand. However, in Ezekiel, God himself testifies, “Were your whorings so small a matter that you slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering by fire to them?” (Ezekiel 16:20-21). (See also: Jeremiah 7:31, Psalm 106:37-38).10
Even though God banned the practice of sacrificing children, some Israelites did so even though it was forbidden. Generally, the firstborn naturally belonged to a deity, but the Law forbid “passing the children through a fire” (Leviticus 18:21). Still, it is accepted by some Jewish scholars that some human sacrifices were offered, even if denounced by the Prophets.11
The motive for these sacrifices can be better understood when things were so bad that a request for priestly clarification was made in Micah 6:7, “Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” In the midst of the disasters which were befalling the nation, they felt that if the favor of any god, even Yahweh, could be regained it was worth any price they could pay.12
Originally, such gifts were sacrificed by killing, but later morphed into a ransom system established by priests. The people were required to consecrate “everything that opened the womb among humans and animals, therefore the firstborn became the property of the Temple.” It was assumed that firstborn children would be redeemed by payment of fees; income from the redemption was a major source of funds for the Temple.13
The God Moloch and Abortion
One author wrote, “I don’t know a single person who hears about the horrors of Moloch and doesn’t cringe at the gruesomeness. Brutally murdering babies in the name of Moloch for future benefits is evil in the truest sense of the word. Yet, at the same time, a large number of people today believe this ancient practice is fine, so long as the baby was still in the womb.”14
That author continues by saying that many today, “aren’t any better than the ancient Canaanites. Instead of sacrificing our children to the god Moloch in exchange for future prosperity, we sacrifice [abort] our children in exchange for better career paths, financial security, and convenience.” There is no way to make abortion less offensive when we brutally murder them by the millions.15
Basically, modern women (and men) favorably accept the murder of their child in exchange for an easier, freer, and financially better future life of their own. They are trying to avoid an intrusion upon their self-absorbed lifestyle by removing an unwanted obstacle that would interfere with their success in life. Maybe that is why rich women have more abortions than poor ones; at least that is what a study by the Brookings Institution found.16
But some say, “an unborn fetus still in the womb is not a living child.” I could give lots of scientific proof that an unborn baby is, in fact, a living child, but anyone can find that information on the internet, if they were really interested. I will, however, give solid biblical proof. Remember the story of when Jesus’ mother (while still pregnant) visited her relative, Elizabeth (also pregnant)?
“And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy’,” (Luke 1:41-44).
Notice that the Bible states, “the baby in my womb.” It doesn’t say “fetal tissue” or some other less human description, it says baby. Just to make my point more knowledgeable, let me quote this definition from other sources. The Greek word translated as ‘baby’ is brĕphŏs meaning a babe, infant, or child.17 And the dictionary indicates babe as ‘baby’ or ‘infant’.18 This Greek word is the same used to describe children outside the womb (Luke 18:15). We can ascertain this same baby was already able to recognize Jesus’ presence, therefore, he was not just an indiscriminate lump of tissue.19
What if you have already had an abortion, but now regret it?
If you have already had an abortion in the past, you probably wonder if you will ever be able to cope with that decision — maybe even more so, after reading this article. Abortion is a difficult emotional experience for any woman to go through. It’s not just the trauma of the procedure, but also the additional hurt that comes later. You may be dealing with remorse and guilt that drain all the joy out of your life and you feel like you need to be punished for your sin. You can’t imagine how you will ever get past this dilemma.
How can you ever expect to be forgiven? First you need to know that you are not an evil person. You are not a baby hater. You have not lost the ability to be a great mother. You are human and you made a mistake. You are just like everyone else in this world — we are all human and we all make mistakes. We all have weaknesses and we all have failures. We are all sinners.20
So, if you are dealing with the guilt of having had an abortion, then you need to know that you can be forgiven. Christ has paved the way for you to receive forgiveness and healing. You can be freed from your depression, and you can have an individual relationship with your creator, too. All this just by sincerely confessing your error to God and repenting; pour your heart out to God in prayer and ask for his forgiveness. Even though knowing precisely what you did, God will forgive you, because he still loves you.
But what do you do if you are pregnant now, but believe you can’t handle raising a baby alone or just wish not to do so? Whether a pregnancy results by rape, incest, or being a willing participant in any form of sin, abortion is an ungodly solution. God deals with sin through righteousness. For a couple or an individual unable to cope with the role of parenting, the child may still be God’s gift to a barren couple. “Whether God’s blessing is received and lovingly nurtured by the biologic parents or given to adoptive parents, the birth of a child is a blessing to the family and community.”21
God will forgive us, but sometimes we are not willing to accept forgiveness because we feel it isn’t deserved. But the forgiveness he offers is a free gift — just open your heart to God and ask for help and he will bring a real joy and peace back into your life. There is no better time to mend that relationship than right now. (For more on this subject of abortion, see “Exodus 21:22-25, Pro-choice or Pro-life – Is a Fetus Valued Less Than a Person?” Click on the link listed in References & Notes.)22
Why is there such a push on society for abortions?
Twenty-nine percent of all pregnancies end in induced abortion and the global World Health Organization (WHO) says they want to help humanity by providing safe abortions. But it is unbelievable to me that WHO calls easy-to-obtain abortion service as “essential health care.”23 That seems like an oxymoron to me, since I don’t think killing humans is health care of any kind. Mincing their words, they state abortion is only a managed health care intervention using an approved medical procedure.
My country, the United States of America, is divided over this abortion issue. Here, the main organization supporting infanticide is Planned Parenthood. They, along with the women’s liberation movement, began a crusade to deregulate abortion laws in the 1960s. Their battle paid off in 1973, when the ‘Roe v. Wade’ Supreme Court decision was the causation for abortion to become legal in all fifty individual states.24
This landmark legal case reshaped American politics concerning pregnancy rights and split the country into pro-life (a right to life) and pro-choice (a right to abort) groups, which are still debating and fighting the issue well into this 21st century. While I write this article, our U. S. Supreme Court, after nearly 50 years, has just reversed this decision (24 June 2022).
People should understand that reversal of ‘Roe v. Wade’ does not now make abortion illegal, but only removes the federal government’s ability to force states to provide this life-ending procedure. Now individual states can decide for themselves if murdering babies will be legal or illegal. Even though this is a victory for God-loving and moral-thinking Christians, it will be interesting to see how this new ruling affects society as a whole.
But there is another tragic truth about murdering babies — a lot of money is made in the abortion business. Isn’t it curious that many people are getting richer by killing human babies? The principal controlling people that are linked to the abortion business are millionaires and billionaires, mostly in the medical and pharmaceutical industries.
Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion business in America, although not the only one. This single organization performs about 320,000 abortions every year and produces an income of US $1.46 billion. Just in the state of California, Planned Parenthood received nearly US $110 million in 2017. A large chunk of that comes from taxpayers, but a substantial amount comes from the sale of tiny baby parts, such as hearts, lungs, brains and other organs. One tissue procurement company actually stations procurement technicians inside clinics. Not only are these techs paid on an hourly basis, but they receive a ‘per tissue bonus’ for each item they procure for their employer.25
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:13-14).
David wrote that Psalm because he knew how completely God knew him. It was as if God had sifted through his very soul in painstaking detail, to know him in every part.26 God’s message is clear, God created each of us and ordained a life for us before we were even born. In the womb, we were not just some blob of tissue, but a created, growing, and living human being.27
There is only one God Almighty, so all other gods vying for humankind’s attention are creations of Satan, and his deception about Moloch is nothing less. Human sacrifice, in one form or another, has continued until today, and now Satan’s current method of infanticide is mainly through abortion. In the United States, as early as the 1890s, can be found published thoughts connecting Moloch to abortion.
One book, Searchlights on Health (1894), stated, “The abiding interest we feel in the preservation of the morals in our country, constrains us to raise our voice against the daily increasing practice of infanticide, especially before birth. The notoriety this monstrous crime has obtained of late, and the hecatombs [ritual killing] of infants that are annually sacrificed to Moloch to gratify an unlawful passion, are a sufficient justification for our alluding to a painful and delicate subject, which should ‘not even be named’, only to correct and admonish the wrong-doers.”28
In Europe, even the early Church Father Tertullian (160-220 AD) recognized the parallel between child sacrifice and abortion. He wrote: “There is no difference as to baby killing whether you do it as a sacred rite or just because you choose to do it.”
The video selected for this article is titled ‘America’s Moloch’. The author and producer are unknown; if anyone knows about its production, let me know and I will add that information. It is an emotional approach to the problem of abortion and you may find it a bit too graphic in places, so give a second thought before viewing it. See References & Notes for the internet link.29
Copyright © 2022, Dr. Ray Hermann
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References & Notes
- Strong, James, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, (Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers, Inc., 1980), Hebrew word #7523.
- Hannah, John D., The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), vol. 1, p. 140.
- “Moloc”, (New World Encyclopedia, 13 October 2018), https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/p/index.php?title=Moloch&oldid=1015323
- “Molech”, Insight on the Scriptures, (New York: IBSA/Watchtower, 1988), vol. 2, p. 424.
- Easton, M. G., Illustrated Bible Dictionary and Treasury of Biblical History, Biography, Geography, Doctrine, and Literature, (New York: Thomas Nelson, 1893), p. 117.
- Unless otherwise stated, all biblical quotes are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016). Used with permission.
- American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015).
- Freeman, James M. and Chadwick, Harold J., Manners & Customs of the Bible, (North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1998), pp. 155-156.
- Singer, Isidore, (Ed.), The Jewish Encyclopedia: A Descriptive Record of the History, Religion, Literature, and Customs of the Jewish People from the Earliest Times to the Present Day, (New York and London: Funk & Wagnalls, 1901–1906 [now reprinted by KTAV Publishing House]), vol. 8, p. 563.
- Ibid., vol 8, p. 653.
- Mays, James Luther, (Ed.), Harper’s Bible Commentary, (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988), pp. 174-175.
- Leasure, Ryan, “Abortion and The God Molech”, (Cross Examined, 3 February 2019), https://crossexamined.org/abortion-and-the-god-molech/
- Zagorski, Sarah, “Study Claims Rich Women Have More Abortions Than Poor Women, But is That True?” (Life News, 5 March 2015), https://www.lifenews.com/2015/03/05/study-claims-rich-women-have-more-abortions-than-poor-women-but-is-that-true/
- Strong, James, The New Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996). Strong’s Greek: #1025.
- Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed., (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).
- Leasure, Ryan, “Abortion and The God Molech”, (see above).
- Slick, Matt, “Are you a Christian woman who has had an abortion?” (Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry, (CARM), 12/9/2008), https://carm.org/are-you-christian-woman-who-has-had-abortion
- White, Andrew, “Ancient Child Sacrifice and Abortion”, (The Shiloh Excavations, Associates for Biblical Research, 10 January 2020), https://biblearchaeology.org/research/contemporary-issues/4623-ancient-child-sacrifice-and-abortion
- Hermann, Ray, “Exodus 21:22-25, Pro-choice or Pro-life – Is a Fetus Valued Less Than a Person?” (The Outlaw Bible Student, OBS, 1 April 2018), https://outlawbiblestudent.org/exodus-2122-25-pro-choice-or-pro-life-is-a-fetus-valued-less-than-a-person/
- “Abortion”, (World Health Organization, WHO, 25 November 2021), https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/abortion
- “Roe v. Wade,” (Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 24 March 2018), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roe_v._Wade
- Bilger, Micaiah, “Planned Parenthood Caught Selling Aborted Baby Parts Makes Over $100 Million Doing Abortions”, (Life News, 4 December 2018), https://www.lifenews.com/2018/12/04/planned-parenthood-caught-selling-aborted-baby-parts-makes-over-100-million-doing-abortions/
- Knowles, Andrew, The Bible Guide: An all-in-one Introduction to the Book of Books, (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2001), p. 245.
- Sheane, Stephen, “What About Abortion”, (Sermon Central, 9 November 2018), https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/what-about-abortion-stephen-sheane-sermon-on-abortion-235666
- Jefferis, Benjamin G, and Nichols, James L., Searchlights on Health: Light on Dark Corners, (Chicago: J. L. Nichols & Company, 1894), p. 139.
- “America’s Moloch”, (author/producer unknown; posted to YouTube by ‘SignofFire1′ on 4 August 2015). Used under ‘fair use copyright’ for teaching under Section 107 of United States Copyright Act of 1976 – VIDEO: https://youtu.be/F7R43rLRcaE