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 Vol. 6, No. 9 

December 2004

Since You Asked

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Image Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.

The Fires of Molech

By Louis Rushmore

Image Someone asks, "What king made his son walk through fire?" God, through Old Testament Scripture had commanded his people not to imitate the idolatry of the heathen, including not offering their children as sacrifices to the idol, Molech (Leviticus 18:21; 20:2-5). King Solomon, the third king of the united kingdom of Israel, introduced the idolatry of the Ammonite god, Molech, to satisfy one or more of his foreign wives. Solomon brought much idolatry into Israel to appease his 700 wives and 300 concubines or secondary wives (1 Kings 11:1-8).

The names Molech, Milcom and Moloch appear as variations of the same god of the children of Ammon. Molech appears in eight verses (Leviticus 18:21; 20:2-5; 1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 32:35). Moloch appears twice (Amos 5:26; Acts 7:43). Milcom appears three times (1 Kings 11:5, 33; 2 Kings 23:13). The phrase "through the fire" appears 13 times in the Old Testament where it refers to sacrificing children in worship of Molech.

Scripture reveals that kings from both Israel and Judah (as well as priests and prophets) made their children walk through the fires of Molech.

Because of all the evil of the children of Israel and of the children of Judah, which they have done to provoke me to anger, they, their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets, and the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And they have turned unto me the back, and not the face: though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction. But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it. And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. (Jeremiah 32:32-35)

Having one's children to pass through the fires of Molech was to sacrifice one's living children as burnt offerings to that idol god. "For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it. And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart" (Jeremiah 7:30-31). "That they have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands, and with their idols have they committed adultery, and have also caused their sons, whom they bare unto me, to pass for them through the fire, to devour them. ...For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it; and, lo, thus have they done in the midst of mine house" (Ezekiel 23:37, 39).

One king of Judah in particular who made his children pass through the fires of Molech was Ahaz.

Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, and did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD his God, like David his father. But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel. (2 Kings 16:2-3; see also 2 Chronicles28:1-3).

Though their names do not appear here, evidently two or more kings of the northern kingdom of Israel had before passed their children through the fires of Molech. Manasseh, another king of Judah also made his son pass through the fires of Molech (2 Kings 21:1, 6).Image

Did Jesus Christ Deny his Deity?

By Louis Rushmore

Image A brother arming himself to encounter denominational people in foreign missionary work asks a question about the Jehovah's Witnesses misuse of John 10:34, where that group claims Jesus denied his Deity. The verse and some of those around it read:

The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? (John 10:33-36)

The immediate context and the larger biblical context reveal the meaning and intent of what Jesus said, and he did not renounce his Deity. The James Burton Coffman Commentary records for John 10:34:

This is the passage to which Jesus referred: God standeth in the congregation of God; He judgeth among the gods. How long will ye judge unjustly, And respect the persons of the wicked? ...I said, Ye are gods, And all of you sons of the Most High (Psa. 82:1,2,6). The unjust judges of Israel were the subject of these verses, God calling them "gods" in order to stimulate and encourage them to render just judgments. Of course, those men were "sons of the Most High" in the sense ordinary; but the use of such words in the Holy Scriptures were proof absolute that it was not blasphemy for a man to call himself "son of God" in that same sense. Jesus did not imply by this appeal that he claimed to be "Son of God" in the ordinary sense; for both he and his enemies knew that it was in the unique sense of being "the only begotten Son of God" that Jesus used the title. Nevertheless, it was sinful and illegal for those Pharisees to make what Jesus meant the basis for a charge of blasphemy. He had not pinpointed the unique phase of his claim (at that point); and he cited the Psalm which he quoted as a complete and adequate defense of what he had actually said. In the divine plan, Jesus would eventually testify under oath to the uniqueness of his Sonship, but that would come before the historic court of the chosen people, and not in the presence of a vicious mob like that which confronted him.

Another commentator also observes:

In Psalms 82:6 God is speaking through the psalmist of impending judgment upon those whom He had appointed judges by Divine commission. These judges and magistrates God called "gods." They administered justice as direct representatives of God Himself and the Word of God had come to them--thus God called them "gods." Jesus reminds them that their highly cherished "torah" called men "gods" and they had never protested that! Furthermore, the Scripture cannot be broken! That which had been written must be accepted as authoritative--the Scriptures themselves had spoken of some men as gods, How then could the Jews have the right to accuse Jesus of blasphemy when He says, "I am the Son of God."... (Butler 127)

Jesus Christ did not deny his Deity. He simply used enough biblical evidence (which his accusers claimed to believe) to dispel the unfounded charge of blasphemy, for which those Jews proposed to stone him. Later in the ministry of Jesus Christ, he plainly declared his Deity as the Son of God rather than a son of God.

Hundreds of prophecies and myriads of additional statements in both testaments avow that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God. The spotty misuse of Scripture such as with John 10:34 hardly proves the groundless assertion of the Jehovah's Witnesses.Image

Works Cited

Butler, Paul T. The Gospel of John, Vol. II. CD-ROM. Joplin: College Press, 1965.

Coffman, James Burton. James Burton Coffman Commentary. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1989.

Is the Name Church of Christ Biblical?

By Steve Smithbauer

Dear Norm, I am glad you have been reading from our site and hope you will continue to do so. The names for the church that you have listed are certainly appropriate. "Church of God," as you pointed out, is mentioned several times, and I have no problem with that name, except the connotation it has in association with the modern denomination bearing the same name. (Not that I speak disrespectfully of this group, as I am sure there are a number of sincere and morally upright people among them, but many of their practices from what I have observed are not in strict compliance and adherence with the old Jerusalem Gospel.) This name, used strictly as a specifying term, however, indicates that the church belongs to God. Also, the church at Corinth, or Thessalonica denotes the geographic position of a local congregation of the Lord's church.

As for the term "church of Christ," have you not read Romans 16:16? Yes, it is in the plural, referring to the many different local congregations of the church, but this term IS most definitely used in the New Testament. We choose to wear this name because it defines us as the property of one Jesus Christ, the church (ekklesia) being the "called out" group. "Of" means possession.

As for the church of Christ being in existence for only the last 150 years, there we must strongly disagree. If one chooses to follow the pattern of the New Testament that was written nearly 2000 years ago, and obey God's precepts just as they did back then, do you not think that this will produce Christians today in exactly the same way? This is known as the "seed principle" and is older than the Book of Genesis itself. There God said, "Let the earth bring forth...after his kind..." Each living thing, plant or animal reproduces true to the pattern God gave in the beginning. With this in mind, remember that Jesus instructed, "The seed is the Word of God" (Luke 8:11). So if I plant the proper seed, (i.e., read and study from the Word of God, "Rightly dividing the Word of truth,"  2 Timothy 2:15, apply it to my life and in faithful obedience to God, submit my life to him), I will then be "added," by the Lord himself to his church (Acts 2:47).

Please do not mistake this position as one of arrogance. It is actually far from that. What brother Rushmore and I are NOT saying is, "We are right and everyone else is wrong." More accurately we echo the words of the great apostle who said, "Let God be true, and every man a liar!" (Romans 3:4). The Bible is right! Do not trust any man, but "try the spirits whether they be of God" 1 John 4:1. Even men with the most sincere and honest of intentions can be mistaken, and some simply wish to deceive others for selfish motives. Everything MUST measure up with the divine standard--the Bible.

Do you wish to go to heaven, Norm? I am sure that you do! Believe it or not, I do not want to say, "I told you so!" in eternity, but as God himself "would have all men to be saved," so I preach and write. The church that Jesus built (Matthew 16:18, he only promised to build one!), and the "One Faith," (Ephesians 4:1ff), are not barring the entranceway into the church, but they ARE exclusive in the sense that only those who will humbly submit to God's will can receive salvation.

Narrow-minded? Perhaps, but then "strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:14). We must be willing to strip away the centuries of manmade creeds and simply follow the New Testament alone.

Exclusive? Only in the sense that we must go through Christ exclusively to receive salvation. "There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

Have you obeyed the Gospel, Norm? By that I mean, have you HEARD the Word of God (Romans 10:17)? Do you BELIEVE Jesus is God's Son, and our Savior (John 8:24)? Have you and are you willing to REPENT of your sins (Luke 13:3, 5)? Have you CONFESSED your faith in Jesus before men (Romans 10:10)? Have you BEEN BAPTIZED (immersed in water) in obedience to Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins (Mark 16:16; Colossians 2:12; Acts 2:38)? If you have, you are a Christian--a member of Jesus' church--your sins have been washed away (Acts 22:16). Thanks for your interest and for writing.

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