Parenting in the Land of Moloch

'Offering to Molech' by Charles Foster, 1897. (Source Wikimedia Commons)

‘Offering to Molech’ by Charles Foster, 1897. (Source Wikimedia Commons)

By Doug Overmyer

I sat there, on my couch, late at night, watching a giant cockroach gorge on some “red shirt,” splattering the camera with poorly-rendered CGI blood, while the heroes of this B-movie ran for cover down some cavern.  I loved those kind of movies. The cheesier and bloodier the science fiction, the better.  In this case, the horror and blood was nothing but gratuitous, and I relished in it on that particular night.

My wife and I were going through a marital challenge, and I was unjustly angry at her. I knew putting something like this on television would make her leave the room.  It did, and she went to bed.

In the midst of the movie, I recognized I was “numbing out” the anger and pain I felt by watching these monsters feast bloodily on humans, or at least the image of humans, since it was just a movie.

“Why am I enjoying watching the image of humans getting ripped apart?” I suddenly asked myself.  “Isn’t this devaluing and degrading to the image of God?” The thoughts came unbidden to my mind.

And then suddenly, almost as clear as you reading this to yourself, came the question, “Why do you enjoy watching the destruction of people, when I love and died for them?”

I suddenly felt sick to my stomach.

I turned the television off. The thought came to me to give up those films for 21 days as a fast. I enjoyed them – especially zombie movies – but I began to consider that they were numbing something spiritual in me.

That night, our oldest daughter had a nightmare.  She often had nightmares in those days.  We’d pray, read scriptures, play worship music, monitor her diet and what she watched on television: nothing worked. She had nightmares all the time.

The next morning, I apologized to my wife for being a jerk and told her of my fast. She said she had recognized I was numbing out on this violent film, and while in bed, she prayed I’d see that too. And I did. The power of a praying spouse!

So 21 days passed. I had set the DVR to record several violent movies, and I eagerly anticipated watching one. At the appointed time, I selected a zombie movie.

I watched about a half hour of it before shutting it off. The violence was too graphic for my spirit. My mind felt like it was being battered, onslaught by an orgy of violence. Although for decades I had easily watched far worse, after my fast, I couldn’t handle it.

That night, our oldest daughter had another nightmare.

And I realized, she had been nightmare-free for 3 weeks.  She hadn’t gone that long without nightmares for as long as we could remember.

Now keep in mind, when I watched that kind of movie, I did so after she went to sleep and never at a volume where she could hear them. And yet, by watching those movies, I was inviting some dark spiritual influence to torment her with nightmares.  My very thinking created an invitation in my family to demonic attack. Even when I wasn’t directly parenting her, my action as her father involved parenting as spiritual warfare.

And doesn’t that kind of make sense? Our Father’s thoughts about us act as spiritual warfare as well.

Christian Thinking About Parenting

Fewer areas cause me greater trepidation than venturing into the land of offering parenting advice to other Christian parents.  If anyone should be writing parenting advice, it’s my wife, who is a highly specialized children’s therapist, and who teaches a parenting class for a state agency to parents whom the State deem need, um, extra training.

But I won’t be offering parenting advice.  It’s too easy to take the advice of an authority and turn it into law. As humans, we love laws: as Israel declared to God, “Tell us what to do, and we’ll do it.”[1] That didn’t work out great for Israel, and it doesn’t work out well for us Christians under the New Covenant. As Christians, God doesn’t want to tell us what to do. God wants us to remember who we really are and think for ourselves and make good choices. While we live out our lives in freedom with the Holy Spirit guiding and teaching us, the Father wants us to be able to think from a renewed mind.  Thus, I want to offer a place to think from when parenting because parenting from God’s perspective is spiritual warfare.

You Are God’s Temple

As Christians, we need to remember just who we are, and then learn to think from that position.  If God has transferred us from the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of Light; if he has made us new creations, sons and daughters of God; and if in Christ we move and live and have our being, then surely we should think about parenting differently than others.[2]

Under the Old Covenant, God made his home on earth in the tabernacle and then later in the Temple. In Solomon’s temple enthronement service, Solomon declared a hope that people of all the nations would come to the Temple to learn about God’s true nature and join Israel in worshiping God.[3] The Temple was the House of God and a house of prayer.[4]  God’s rule was manifest in the temple through the priestly actions to atone for sin and create a holy, sacred space for God on the earth.

Under the New Covenant, through faith in Jesus, God makes his home inside us, and we become the temple.[5] Thus, we should be a house of prayer, through which the rule and reign of God manifests in our lives to the world.  Our everyday actions are priestly actions.  We are God’s representatives, the ambassadors of Jesus, to this world, and when the world looks at us, they should see the nature and character of God.[6]

One day our daughter came home with an F on a math test, and she didn’t think it was a big deal. I wanted to hit the roof. She was good in reading, but bad in math, so she said. I kept calm and looked her straight in the eyes. I said, “Overmyers don’t get F’s in math. We get A’s or B’s.”

She looked back, surprised. She said. “Oh! I didn’t know that.”

I said, “You didn’t know that because I didn’t tell you. I’m telling you now.”

On her next report card, she brought home an A in math and has maintained an A or B ever since.  I had reminded my daughter of her identity as an Overmyer and explained what fruit being an Overmyer produced.  Remembering her identity, she produced that fruit.

God does the same for us and we respond similarly.

Genesis describes that God made humans “in the image of God.”[7] This means we are God’s representatives on earth, to live as God would live in all we do.  God desired to have the earth filled with his image. From God’s perspective, humans have inestimable value.  Adam and Eve forgot that right away, either having their identity stolen by the enemy (Eve) or simply by choosing to live in rebellion (Adam): something far less than God intended.  Eventually, God formed a nation to represent him to the other nations as priests.  He ended up with a tribe, but even this tribe ended up failing. Then God finally took on flesh and demonstrated what his nature looked like in human form.  After dealing with the sin issue, God sent the Holy Spirit, transforming his followers into new creations and said (again) to go and fill the earth with his image: make the cosmos the temple of God.  This is who we believers are after we come to Christ, although we tend to forget it or choose to live in rebellion.

Paul recognized many Christians didn’t realize or weren’t living as who God made them to be, and he encouraged his readers to consider with their minds their new position as kings and priests, as new creations, as sitting with Christ in heavenly places, and to live from that position.  Personally, I have to set my mind on heavenly things, on things above, and not things below.[8] I have to remember to put off the old dead carcass and put on the new me.  We live in a world under the sway of the evil one, who would steal your true identity or cause you to live in rebellion. But the fact remains, God dwells in us and in Christ, we live and move and have our being.

From this understanding of who we are, let’s consider God’s first instruction to Israel regarding parenting and see if we can glean principles to apply to our parenting today.

Parents and Moloch Worship

The first parenting advice that God offers Israel comes in an interesting context and isn’t actually advice, but a command. Israel had been set apart by God to be his holy nation, but God assigned the surrounding nations to other spiritual powers or “gods.” Moses described these spiritual entities as demons.[9]  These powers were real and bent on the corruption and destruction of that which was supposed to image God on the earth, Israel.  Much of the historical books of the Old Testament deal with the conflict between the Israelites and the followers of these other demons.

One of these powerful entities was Molech, the god of the Amorites and Rephaim: giant clans who were the archenemies of the Israelites. His other biblical and ancient names and spellings include Moloch, Milkom, Adrammelech, Anammelech, Milku, Malik, Sukkoth, the Lord of the Dead, God of the Underworld.[10]  Molech’s consort was Ashtoreth, the “Queen of Heaven.” The worship of Molech involved child sacrifice; the worship of his consort cultic prostitution.  Parents would offer one of their young children to Molech to be burned alive. Molech was bad news and very seductive.

In Leviticus, God’s laws for his covenant nation emphasized holiness: he wanted his nation to be set apart from the other nations, especially contrasted to the wicked clans nearby who sacrificed their children so horrifically that one region famous for cultic activity to Moloch was called “Valley of Wailing”, or Ge-hinnom in Hebrew, and Gehenna in the New Testament.  In Chapter 18, God lists several sexual purity commands and in the midst of the commands, he says, “Do not give any of your children to offer them to Molech and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD.”[11] In Chapter 20, he repeats the command and adding the punishment for lawbreakers and continues contrasting his expectations with the followers of Molech:

“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. 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.”[12]

We should note that, while bound to Israel through a covenant of works, God always desired for his people to live by faith while loving him. For most of its ancient existence, Israelites did not follow their end of the covenant of works, but when they turned to God in faith, he responded.

After the days of the judge Jair the Gileadite, a particular Israelite impregnated a prostitute, who birthed a son.[13]  When the Israelite’s wife gave birth to other sons, they banished their illegitimate brother out of God’s territory and into a region spiritually governed by Molech. This son, Jephthah the Gileadite, grew up to become a mighty warrior, but his thinking about God was shaped by the culture that worshiped Molech. He believed that God was moved by works and not faith, and he believed child sacrifice was an acceptable form of worship. His culture shaped his theology.

During this time, the Ammonites invaded Israel at Gilead, whose leaders looked for a great warrior to lead them in battle and drive the Ammonites out of God’s territory. They found this warrior in Jephthah, asking him to return home to lead them in battle. He agreed, and the Holy Spirit came on him.  Before leaving for battle, he uttered a prayer that reflected his errant works-based understanding of God: “If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, then whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.”[14]

In a time when a family’s most valuable animals dwelled in the first story of the house, this was a bold offer, but one that lacked faith. Jephthah, being full of the Holy Spirit, already had what he needed to win the battle. And yet, he lacked faith and tried bargaining with God, promising works if God would grant victory.

After crushing the Ammonites, Jephthah returned home. His daughter was excited to hear her dad had survived the battle and had prepared a dance for him. This reminds me of when I would return home from business trips, and my own daughter, who has taken dance lessons since she was three, would be excited to see me, and sometimes prepared a dance for me. As I pulled in the driveway, she’d run out of the house yelling, “Daddy, daddy! I have a dance for you!”

Similarly, Jephthah’s excited daughter exited the house before any of the animals, and Jephthah believed that God wanted him to sacrifice his only daughter, as he had seen other families sacrifice their own children through fire to Molech.  After a tragic few weeks, he did so, pointlessly giving through fire his daughter to the god of the dead.  Jephthah’s vow and actions demonstrate what happens when one of God’s people absorb how they think about God from Molech worshipers.

Hundreds of years later, Jesus came to this same region, and another Israelite leader in Gilead, Jairus, came to him with the prayer for mercy from faith: “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.”[15] Jairus was a leader in the local Jewish assembly: he studied the word of God and understood a thing or two about faith and how God wants to be worshiped. Although he lived in a region inundated with paganism, his faith in God was sound.

When Jesus was delayed and messengers came with the news that his only daughter had passed away, Jesus said to him, “Do not fear, only believe.”[16] And Jesus brought her back to life, stealing this daughter from the god of the dead.

Centuries before, an Israelite living in a pagan land had his thinking shaped by demon worshipers into making promises of works to God, resulting in the death of a his daughter. But Jairus, a leader in the synagogue, understood his identity and he trusted that God was moved by faith, resulting in new life of a dead daughter.  In both cases, the prayer of a father acted as spiritual warfare, with opposite results: Moloch for death, Jesus for life. In other words, Jesus is more powerful than Moloch.

Moloch Worship Today

As promised in the Leviticus passage, if Israel allowed sacrifice of their children to Moloch, the land would vomit them out. Amos reiterates this promise, and in Acts 7, young Stephen actually blamed the Israelite worship of Moloch for Babylon exiling the Jews from their homeland in 487 B.C.

Amazingly, Moloch’s influence not only continues today in our modern society, but the theology developed around Moloch influences our children. If we as parents do not recognize the theology of Moloch worship in Western society, we risk following in Jephthah’s theological footsteps and turning our children over to the worship of Moloch, an actual demon at work today. This bold statement requires some explanation.

In the late 19th Century, Helen Blavatsky recast the ancient heresy of Gnosticism in theosophical terms, channeled to her by spirit beings, she claimed. In the most general terms, Gnosticism holds that the physical reality is evil, and the spiritual reality is good, and the religious and evolutionary goals of humanity should be to transcend the constrains of the physical and become solely spiritual. In addition to this construct, Gnostics view the God of the Bible as homicidal and possibly insane, and they see Jesus as a transcendent spirit being.

Blavatsky offered an alternative ancient history of humanity aided by advanced alien creatures from other worlds. She explained that humanity does not have a sin problem, but an evolutionary problem and that advanced aliens guide humanity from one stage of evolution to the next, even from one planet to the next, over billions of years.  And, according to Blavatsky, Moloch is one of these space brothers, a light being who sought to free humanity from the evil of Yahweh, but who was temporarily overthrown in biblical times, but an active force in her day.[17]

Gnosticism in general and theosophy in particular undergird the philosophy behind America’s culture industry, fantasy evolution, science fiction, ancient astronaut theory, and transhumanism. It guides the notion that humans are a threat to themselves, which can be alleviated by technology, evolution (specifically mutated or enhanced humans), or alien saviors.  To feed the scientific machine of research that may guide humanity, or at least the very elite, to transcend humanity requires human material to experiment on. As Canaanites sacrificed their children to their god Moloch, thus empowering Moloch’s war against the God of Israel, so do modern Americans sacrifice their children to researchers through government-funded institutions like Planned Parenthood. These researchers are in fact Moloch worshipers in thought and deed, whether or not they believe in the spirit entity guiding them, as they live out the Gnostic worldview given to Blavatsky by demonic entities just like Moloch.  The vast cultural “shrug” of so many in the West to the revelations of child sacrifice to Gnostic science reveals how deeply engrained Gnostic worship of Moloch has become in Western thinking.

Yet, not everyone whose thinking is shaped by Gnosticism is convinced that Moloch is a light being. Many Gnostic thinkers, like David Icke, couch alien and transformational evolution in demonic terms borrowed from Christianity.[18] For Icke, Moloch is probably a reptilian alien looking to enslave humanity through his puppets, not liberate it.[19] Icke is closer to the truth than Blavatsky. Please recognize that one doesn’t have to believe in a spiritual being called Moloch to in fact serve and feed him, empowering his cultural influence over and war against the Image of God (humans) in general and Jesus’ ambassadors to earth in particular.

So what does this mean for us as Christian parents? Our culture is similar to the Canaanite lands lived in by Jephthah and Jairus when it comes to a philosophical outlook on life. By examining Leviticus and looking at the placement of God’s warning to not send children to Moloch, we can discern the praxis of the Moloch worshipers, including (but not limited to)

  • Rampant illicit sex
  • Disrespect of parents
  • Approval of consuming blood
  • Genetic interbreeding of species
  • Turning to psychics and mediums for help
  • Disrespect of immigrants
  • Corruption in administering legal justice
  • Selfish and generally rude behavior
  • Treating our daughters as prostitutes

Space prevents a full consideration of these cultural characteristics from a parental standpoint, but I was struck how just yesterday, I received a letter inviting me and my wife to enter our 11-year-old daughter in a beauty pageant. The invitation noted that this year, there would be no swimsuit competition, as if to suggest 11-year-old girls in a beauty pageant would normally parade in front of men in swimsuits.  I also recalled our daughter coming home this week from a sleepover with other young girls whom we did not know well, her face painted in makeup, her eyes lined in black. She looked ridiculous.  My wife and I were not happy.

Later, I read to my wife the passage in Enoch of the fallen Watchers who trained women to apply makeup with the goal of seducing angels and men.[20] Then, I recalled our local county fair’s beauty pageant, which included teenagers parading in swimsuits before hundreds of onlookers.  I feel embarrassed for both the students and the adults leering, er, judging.  This also brought to mind that the first year women in the United States were granted the right to vote in federal elections was also the first year of the Miss America Beauty Pageant, as if to convey that while society finally accepted women’s voice was equal to men’s, their true place was in a bathing suit parading in front of those men.

This idea of parading women in front of judges is an echo of the sex kitten programming awash in Western culture today. This morning, I asked my wife if she saved that invitation, and she motioned to the trash already taken outside.  Good riddance.

Parents, don’t prostitute your daughters, and that includes allowing them to be programmed and trained as prostituting sex kittens. Sometimes called Monarch Programming, “sex kitten programming” is a complicated idea, which I cannot delve too deeply in here.  Basically, it’s the concept of sending sexual content through mass media in movies, music, and television shows targeting children, with a consistent underlying theme that females are to serve men sexually, in whatever degrading way the men want.  By mindlessly watching Katie Perry crawl around in a purple cat suit complete with tail, Lady Gaga in a leopard skin leering at the camera, Beyonce with cat ears sexually assaulting a male, Miley Cyrus twerking in front of a married man or sexually assaulting herself with several men, or even Britney Spears making out with Madonna on stage, young girls and boys have their minds shaped in ways described by media watchers as sex kitten programming.  But it’s more subtle than that in most media, from seemingly innocent Disney Channel shows to video games where players must assault women to continue and of course YouTube videos teaching kids everything from how to twerk to how to give oral sex. Boys are trained to view girls as sexualized meat, and girls are trained to perform. You can see the results of this programming in beauty pageants, some dance competitions, and even cheerleading squads.

Sometime, ask some teenagers if they think girls are sexually objectified in their schools by boys and expected to perform certain ways, and then ask them why. They’ll say yes to the first question, and “I don’t know” to the second. To them, it’s normal and expected, because they’ve been programmed to think this way from very young by popular culture images designed to satiate Moloch. The next time you go to a shopping center, peruse for a few minutes clothing designed for teenaged and pre-teen girls and see if you notice sex-kitten or Monarch (symbolized by butterflies) programming there as well.

Parents: train your daughters to view themselves not as sex kittens, but as God intended: daughters of the Father, the image of Jesus on the earth, priests of the Most High God, full of the Holy Spirit.

For the Christian, these admonitions in Leviticus should not be construed as law, but should inform our thinking about living holy lives in a land awash in Moloch worship. My wife and I do not have a law against makeup, or public use of bathing suits, or dancing.  For instance, our daughter is an accomplished dancer. However, we chose a dance studio which demonstrated respect of the female form in its training, as opposed to its other popular competitors, who demonstrate respect for the sexual form. Do you see the difference? Dancers that emphasize the pelvic thrusts are implicitly demonstrating an idea of something that gives them power over men and society even as it enslaves them: their sex organs.  Dancers that emphasize the female form in expression and motion, however, demonstrate the emotions and body God designed for them. One is perverse. The other beautiful. One prostitutes the creature. The other glorifies the Creator.

Yes, all this thinking went into how my wife and I chose a dance studio to train our then 3- year-old daughter. Did we think too hard?  The thinking came naturally and the selection easy when we stand on who we are as sons and daughters of God, the earthly Temple of the Most High, and what we are intended to be, salt and light in the world.  Today, our oldest daughter is 11 and on the middle school dance team. She recently went to a dance camp for several days. Some of the girls were trained in her studio. Others were trained at the other studios. Guess which group has girls already hyper-sexualized at their young age. And guess which group has girls already relatively secure and mature in their being.  So again, were we thinking too hard?

No. It’s simply parenting with an eye on the culture and an eye on living and parenting as we truly are.  In other words, it’s parenting as spiritual warfare.

Holiness matters when it comes to living and parenting.  This doesn’t mean falling back under the Old Covenant Law. That has certainly passed away. It means starting with our position as new creatures sitting in heavenly places with the Father, understanding the Law was a shadow pointing us to holiness, and responding to the Holy Spirit’s prompting as he conforms us to the image of Jesus.

For me, holiness includes making a covenant with my eyes about what they look at. It means guarding my mind and heart, to not assail my spirit with violent or sexual images, so I can better discern the voice of my Shepherd.  When I did not, in the spirit realm, I was inviting demons to assail my children with violent dreams.  When I chose to give up those kinds of movies and thought patterns, instead setting my heart, mind, and eyes on holiness through faith, that invitation was rescinded.

This spiritual principle applies in many aspects of life. Secretly, for the purpose of self-worship, many Christian men succumb to viewing porn, watching and fantasizing about certain acts between men and women whom God created in his image, whom God loves, and whom he sent his Son to die for. These men tend to think this is harmless to others, even if they are ashamed of it. And yet, this action has spiritual consequences that go beyond the marriage bed: parents watching porn are inviting the spirits aligned with Moloch into the lives of their children.

What admonitions in Leviticus are next to the God’s demand to not sacrifice children to Moloch?  Incest laws.  Perhaps God is telling us that by engaging in sexual immorality, even fantasizing about such acts, incest spirits are attracted to and gain influence over our children. Imagine the fruit produced by years of incest and other sexual spirits accessing children when they grow up. Actually don’t imagine it. Set your minds on things above. Not things below.

God reminds us of the purpose of these laws to protect our children and families: keep God’s sanctuary clean and glorify God’s Name.[21] Where is God’s sanctuary today? In whose Name do we live and move and have our being?

You see, the thoughts and acts of parents even when they are not parenting involve spiritual warfare for their children.  More on this topic next time.




[1] A paraphrase of Deuteronomy 5:27.

[2] Colossians 1:13, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 4:1-7, Acts 17:28.

[3] 2 Chronicles 6:32-33

[4] Isaiah 56:7

[5] 1 Corinthians 6:19, 3:16, Ephesians 2:19-22

[6] 2 Corinthians 5:20

[7] Genesis 1:27

[8] Colossians 3:1-17

[9] Deuteronomy 32:17

[10] Karel Van Der Toorn, Bob Becking, and Pieter W. Van Der Horst, Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, 2nd Edition (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999), 10, 34, 228, 484, 538, 581-585, 821.

[11] Leviticus 18:21, ESV

[12] Leviticus 20:1-3, ESV

[13] This story is told in full in Judges 10:17-11:40.

[14] Judges 11:30-31, ESV

[15] Mark 5:23, ESV

[16] Mark 5:36

[17] H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy, Volume 2: Anthropogenesis (Theosophical University Press), 2014, 304, 514.

[18] Christopher Partridge, “Alien Demonology: The Christian Roots of the Malevolent Extraterrestrial in UFO Religions and Abduction Spiritualities”, Religion 24 (2004), 163-189.

[19] Ibid., 184.

[20] Enoch 8:1

[21] Leviticus 20:3