March 14, 2013

Did God Really Command Israel to Sacrifice Their Children?


Considering how much the Savior loves little children, (Matthew 18:6) why would Jehovah make Israel sacrifice their firstborn children by fire (Ezekiel 20: 24-26) to punish the parents for disbelief?
This also seems contrary to the 2nd Article of Faith: "We believe men will be punished for their own sins...
Surely sacrificing their firstborn was a heartbreaking punishment to the parents, but what about the innocent children?


Yes, it doesn't sound right in the way it is written. But reading further verses in the chapter make his meaning more clear. Let's look at what it says in regard Israel in the verses you've quoted _

"Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers' idols. Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live; And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that opened the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the Lord." Ezekiel 20:24-26

This makes it sound like it is the Lord's idea. He is putting himself over as the harsh God of the Old Testament. Yet just on from here the facts come out.

"Wherefore say to the house of Israel, This says the Lord God; Are you polluted after the manner of your fathers? and you commit  whoredom after their abominations? For when you offer your gifts, when you make your sons to pass through the fire, you pollute yourselves with all your idols, even to this day: and shall I be enquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, says the Lord God, I will not be enquired of by you." Ezekiel 20:30-31

Note here he is saying they aren't listening to him. It is they that are causing their children to pass through the fires to Molech. Note what God says in regard this in Jeremiah _

"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 to Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin." Jeremiah 32:35

So God didn't command them to do this abomination, nor did it come into his mind to do so. This is something they chose to do. The reference you have quoted is a bit sloppy in its wording, as even the same chapter demonstrates.

I should also mention that Matthew 18:6 is not referring to children. It is referring to people who have chosen to follow him as little children inside. Note it states "which believe in me". This requires the person to be old enough to believe in Christ. In other words they have to be at least of baptismal age. He used the children in a symbolic way.


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