Phoenicians, Ammonites, and Canaanites, A Warning For Today

The Phoenicians were a loosely connected people that existed in Old Testament times, they inhabited the land of Canaan from about 1550 BC to 300 BC. They worshipped a god called Moloch (also called Molech, Milcom, Milkim, Molek, and Malik). Other peoples that worshipped Moloch were the Ammonites and Canaanites, who also lived in the land of Canaan. There is something about how they worshipped that causes me to think about a major modern day issue. A prominent form of sacrificial offering to Moloch was “passing children through the fire.”

You may have guessed it, but I will explain anyway. The Phoenicians, Ammonites, and Canaanites sacrificed their children to Moloch by burning them alive. At times this included passing the child through the flames as a form of baptism prior to burning him/her alive. The idol/altar of Moloch was in the form of a man with the head of a bull. Sometimes the belly of the idol was an oven where the sacrifices were burned. Other times the burning was done in a basin located in front of the sitting idol, underneath the hands. Worshippers would place the child they had selected for sacrifice in the hand of Moloch so that the child would tumble or slide from the hand and into the fire. Plutarch, a priest of the order of Delphi, claimed that “The whole area before the statue was filled with a loud noise of flutes and drums so that the cries of wailing should not reach the ears of the people.” Quite a horrible scene. It was believed that sacrificing your firstborn child would bring financial stability to the family’s home. Upon discovering that belief is when I made a strong connection between ancient child sacrifice and a practice that has gained popularity in recent decades…abortion.

Many women and families who have elected to get an abortion have done so because they didn’t feel financially ready for the responsibility. I have had dozens of women tell me how aborting who would have been their firstborn gave them the opportunity to get their life “in order” and better enabled them to care for their next child or children. In other words, they sacrificed their first child in order to receive financial stability. It may not be set up as a form of worship of Moloch, but abortion itself is a form of sacrificing children in the interest of other things, whether it is money, time, college, work, convenience, or health doesn’t matter. In the end it is still a child being killed in order to preserve something else.

God was so against the practice of child sacrifice that He warned the Israelites before they entered Canaan, “You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 18:21). The Israelites didn’t heed this command, however, and soon began adopting the gods and idols of the Phoenicians, Ammonites, and Canaanites. Despite his great wisdom, even Solomon sacrificed to these false gods in his old age. When God wanted to put Abraham to the test He commanded him to sacrifice his son, Isaac. God used this as his test because he knew such a horrible thing would not be expected by Abraham. The pagans Abraham lived among in Canaan did such things, but a man who followed the Lord did not. Then when God saw that Abraham had the faith to follow through on the command, He stopped Abraham and sent a ram to take Isaac’s place. This helps to illustrate how different from the pagan gods God really is. He clearly does not smile upon child sacrifice.

Throughout their time in the Promised Land, God told His people to wipe out the Phoenicians, Ammonites, and Canaanites, even the women and children. He did this because they were a people steeped in sin who posed a constant physical and spiritual threat to the Israelites. Yet, the men God appointed to the task, such as Saul, repeatedly failed to follow through on His instructions. Some kings, such as Asa, sought to purge the worship of Moloch from the Israelite populace, but they were never completely successful. The Israelites had a nasty habit of falling back into sinful ways and forsaking the ways of the Lord. After many years of this God allowed His people to fall into Babylonian captivity because of their idolatry and rebellion. He punished them for behaving like the Phoenicians, Ammonites, and Canaanites and practicing their forms of worship, which included child sacrifice. If this doesn’t serve as a warning to all cultures that support abortion, then I don’t know what does. If you doubt that child sacrifice was part of the reason the Israelites were punished with Babylonian captivity, take the following quote from the book of Jeremiah into consideration.

Therefore this is what the Lord says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the Babylonians and to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who will capture it. 29 The Babylonians who are attacking this city will come in and set it on fire; they will burn it down, along with the houses where the people aroused my anger by burning incense on the roofs to Baal and by pouring out drink offerings to other gods.30 “The people of Israel and Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth; indeed, the people of Israel have done nothing but arouse my anger with what their hands have made, declares the Lord. 31 From the day it was built until now, this city has so aroused my anger and wrath that I must remove it from my sight. 32 The people of Israel and Judah have provoked me by all the evil they have done—they, their kings and officials, their priests and prophets, the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem. 33 They turned their backs to me and not their faces; though I taught them again and again, they would not listen or respond to discipline. 34 They set up their vile images in the house that bears my Name and defiled it. 35 They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molek, though I never commanded—nor did it enter my mind—that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin.” (Jeremiah, 32:28-35)

Verse 35, the underlined one in the quote above, is important to understand. God describes what the Israelites did that displeased Him so, they had built alters to Moloch and then sacrificed their own children on them as an offering to the false god. Then God makes it a point to mention that the thought of them sacrificing their own children on alters to Moloch never even crossed His mind. He didn’t think they would do “such a detestable thing” as kill their children for their own gain. How is abortion different from this? Some women kill their unborn child so that their college classes aren’t compromised, putting their education on a pedestal above human life. Human life is God’s creation, ergo they are placing their education above God’s creation. The same rule applies to any reason a woman has for getting an abortion, even if her reason is the preservation of her own health. If she were to get an abortion for the sake of her physical health then she is placing herself on a pedestal above God’s creation, another human life. I know this can be a tough one to swallow, and my heart goes out to anyone stuck in that situation, but being difficult doesn’t make it untrue. Remember, God hates, haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, (Proverbs 6:17).

If we continue to allow abortion to be legal in our country, if we allow it’s deeply penetrating tendrils to weave through the fabric of our culture and society then we could very well find ourselves paying a steep price. The Israelites that didn’t sacrifice to, or worship, Moloch were still punished because the society as a whole was riddled with sinful ways. How far will we let things go before we as a nation realize we have gone too far? Abortion is the sacrificing of children at the alters of convenience, selfishness, greed, slothfulness, and all other things sinful and ugly. How can it not be when the result is the killing of a helpless human being that God saw fit to create?

What are your thoughts? Feel free to share them in the comment section below. I read and respond to every comment, I wish you the best.


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