As I read through Leviticus my attention was continually grabbed by the name Molech. This name was constantly being mentioned throughout Leviticus although it is never specified who Molech was. So, that had me asking: who is Molech?
The name Molech appears three times in Leviticus, with God mentioning that anyone who worships Molech shall be cut off from the congregation. (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/10937-moloch-molech) It is also worth mentioning that God gives out punishments for worshiping other Pagan gods, but the punishments are nowhere near as severe as they are for Molech. Also, Molech is the only other deity that God mentions by name. But why?
As I dug deeper in my research I finally found just exactly who Molech was. Molech is the fire-god of the Ammonites. His face was (that) of a calf, and his hands stretched forth like a man who opens his hands to receive (something) of his neighbor. (http://biblehub.com/topical/m/molech.htm)
So that answers the who, but we have yet to answer the question of what makes him so significant? Just why is it the punishments for worshiping him could result in death or exile? The reason for this is not so much of who he is, but how he is worshiped. The way the Ammonites worshiped Molech was absolutely disturbing and horrific.
The Ammonites would offer children as human sacrifices. The first mention of Molech is in Leviticus 18:21 in which the Lord commanded, “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.” (http://www.compellingtruth.org/molech.html) This is a cruel and inhumane act in and of itself, but the way it was done was trully appalling. The Ammonites would put the children in the outstretched hands of a Molech statue, which were on fire, and would burn the children alive. During this, the they would beat on drums during the sacrifices so that the screams of the children would not be heard. (http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/moloch.html) This is such an inhumane and frightening mode of worship.
It’s no wonder worship of Molech was punishable by death. Actually, there were several reasons for this punishment. The act of human sacrifice, especially child sacrifice, is an abomination to the Lord. Furthermore, sacrificing their children to Molech, besides breaking the first and second commandments, is firstly a violation of the sixth commandment against murder. (http://www.angelfire.com/falcon/ddd_chc82/abortion1.html)
Couple this with the fact that you’re taking gifts from God (children) and offering them to a worthless, lifeless idols, and it’s no wonder God would make this punishable by death. (http://www.angelfire.com/falcon/ddd_chc82/abortion1.html) Committing acts like this should call for God throwing the book at someone.
When I went to research this topic I figured I would find some interesting things about this topic. However, I never expected it to be as dark and sinister as it turned out to be. Thank goodness that worship of this deity died out a long time ago. Such a barbaric religion should never see the light of day again.