The Silence and the Smoke

  • April 13, 2013
First MOLOCH, horrid King besmear’d with blood
Of human sacrifice, and parents tears,
Though, for the noyse of Drums and Timbrels loud,
Their children’s cries unheard that passed through fire
To his grim Idol. Him the AMMONITE
Worshipt in RABBA and her watry Plain,
In ARGOB and in BASAN, to the stream
Of utmost ARNON. Nor content with such
Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart
Of SOLOMON he led by fraud to build
His Temple right against the Temple of God
On that opprobrious Hill, and made his Grove
The pleasant Vally of HINNOM, TOPHET thence
And black GEHENNA call’d, the Type of Hell.

– John Milton, Paradise Lost (1.392-405)

Thursday night I wrote a few initial thoughts on the horrors of the Gosnell baby murders and the hope of the gospel message (“God, Gosnell, and the Gospel”). I did so in an attempt to join with thousands of others around the United States who have been seeking to pull back the shades of secrecy and shed light on the horrors of what was happening in the Philadelphia murder trial, especially as it highlighted the general horrors of the abortion industry in our country.

Make no mistake, the ghastly horrors described in the reports and testimonies in this trial are not merely a shocking anomaly in an otherwise sanitary and sane realm of reproductive medicine. What happened in the Philadelphia clinic is certainly gut wrenching and sickening to an extreme, but it is little more than the natural consequences brought about by the practice and acceptance of abortion by society as a whole. Pro-Choice advocates, and the leading voices for legalized abortion (i.e. Planned Parenthood) will be publicly opposed to the nightmare in Philly. Yet their outrages will consistently be made with the qualification that this horror resulted from a failure of regulation, an absence of government oversight which is inexcusable. Such a failure of oversight is criminal, but the heart of the issue will be diverted away from the basic issue of abortion and will be deflected toward the issues of better standards and more intentional watch care over clinics like the one owned and operated by Kermit Gosnell. These deflections will be made in an attempt to feign shock while not admitting that this is exactly what should be expected where abortion is normalized.

Don’t buy the lie. The base philosophies that undergird the pro-abortion industries see little difference between the murder of a child in the womb (during any trimester) and the murder of a child on a clinical table after being born alive. The Gosnell massacres don’t simply reveal the consequences of abortion procedures gone wrong. They show the very face of an abortive-worldview unmistakably unmasked. We are called to know the difference, and we are commanded to speak the truth in the middle of a societal silence. We are to be a people with a voice.

In Thursday’s article I referenced the Canaanite god Molech (or Moloch), the dark demonic false-deity worshiped by Canaanite and Phoenician people for centuries. John Milton (quoted above) describes this false god as one of Satan’s chief demons, and in gripping poetic language describes the wreckage of his worship, even in the very midst of Israel alongside the temple to Yahweh himself. Molech’s worship was shown by the continual act of child sacrifice. Children, infants, babes were cast into the flames in the enraptured attempt to please the bloody appetite of this devil.

God made it clear to his people. They were to reject this false-god and were to take extreme stands against those who would practice such atrocities. Leviticus 20:1-5 says,

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “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 Molech shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones. 3 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 Molech, to make my sanctuary unclean and to profane my holy name. 4 And if the people of the land do at all close their eyes to that man when he gives one of his children to Molech, and do not put him to death, 5 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 Molech.

Notice what God says. One, God takes the murder of children so seriously that the people are to take extreme measures of retribution against those who practice such acts of worship. But he doesn’t stop there. He reveals an intense hatred not just with the practice of child-sacrifice but also with a people who claim to worship the true and living God and yet turn their faces and refuse to acknowledge and stand against what is really happening (vv.4-5). To refuse to speak and act against atrocity is to be complicit in that atrocity and to be found to be numbered with those against whom God has turned his face.

So what does this mean for us? No, we are not under the Mosaic Law. No, we are not to stone or bring about physical harm to those who argue for abortion, have had abortions, or who practice abortion. The gospel message that we proclaim showcases the very end of this type of retributive justice. It showcases the horror of God’s judgment alongside the height of God’s love for those who truly deserve wrath. Calvary is the epicenter of God’s mercy toward sinners and the place of God’s crushing wrath on sin. The Golgotha outcropping of rocks, among which the cross of Christ was anchored, removes any stones of judgment from the hands of you and me, because it is there that the world of abortion clinics and infanticide was confronted by the conquering Christ.

So how does this passage apply to believers in this radical gospel who live among a people who still gratify the lusts of Molech? It forces us to face two truths: God’s holiness is the real standard of all of life, and those of us who are his people are commanded to speak truth to a world who would much rather not be bothered with it. We cannot be silent. We dare not be a people who see the horrors of hell’s fog and yet pull down our blinds and pretend that we can simply eat pizza and watch reality television and make the world go away. The fires in which Molech’s baby victims were thrown outside Jerusalem’s walls became known as Gehenna in the Himmon Valley (pictured on the left), the very image and description of Hell. We see the smoke from that valley rising over our own landscape today. How could we stay silent? How can we not speak? Children are being thrown into the waiting flames. To do and say nothing is equal to casting a raging fuel onto the fire.


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