Bulletin Articles

Bulletin Articles

“Sacrificed to the Demons”

Categories: Iron sharpens iron

“When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering…for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.” (Deuteronomy 18.9-12)

Sometimes the news cycle is suspiciously coincidental.  A week or two ago, a story circulated about roughly 150 human skulls found in a cave in Mexico.  They’d actually been found in 2012, so this wasn’t exactly breaking news, but a summary of a decade’s worth of investigation.  When the skulls were found, authorities assumed the drug cartels were responsible.  But analysis proved them innocent, at least of these particular murders.

The investigation pointed in a different direction because of the age of the skulls— about 1,000 years old.  That led to a different explanation: Aztec human sacrifice.  It’s morbidly humorous to note that they would have come to this conclusion much sooner, but unlike these specimens, usually the skulls of such victims have a hole in each temple, enabling their display lined up on a pole.  Let that sink in.  Usually, when one happens upon a giant pile of skulls from human sacrifice in Mexico, they look a little different. 

This shocks us, but it really shouldn’t.  The barbarism of these civilizations has been known for more than 500 years—Hernán Cortés and others reported these atrocities among the natives of these lands.  Entire societies were structured around human sacrifice.  Wars were fought over territory and trade as always, but also for the sake of capturing victims to be sacrificed to their gods later.  When insufficient quantities of enemy captives were available, did they just skip the scheduled offerings?  Of course they didn’t.  Instead they selected some of their neighbors to be the next victims, usually from among the poor and weak, including children.

When Cortés and the other conquistadors saw this behavior, they were horrified, and conquered the natives in large part to put a stop to it.  Of course, these conquerors from Europe were hardly blameless themselves, but even in that regard they resemble the ancient Israelites, who committed many sins and even adopted the very same practices that led to the judgment and expulsion of other nations from their promised land.

They did not destroy the peoples,

        as the Lord commanded them,

but they mixed with the nations

        and learned to do as they did.

They served their idols,

        which became a snare to them.

They sacrificed their sons

        and their daughters to the demons;

they poured out innocent blood,

        the blood of their sons and daughters,

whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan,

        and the land was polluted with blood. (Psalm 106.34-38)

Enter the coincidence.  Within days of this old story’s revival and its attendant reminder of the ancient mesoamericans’ barbarity, news broke that the Supreme Court of the United States is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.  This 50-year-old ruling legalized nationwide the killing of babies in the womb, and since then around 60 million such procedures have been performed.  The ruling—if it transpires as expected—will not outlaw abortion, only remit to the states the authority to regulate it.  Nevertheless, barricades soon had to be erected around the Supreme Court building.  Home addresses of several justices were published, and explicit suggestions that they be assassinated have been widely viewed but seldom condemned by opponents of the expected ruling.  One Lieutenant Governor’s reaction is particularly telling.  In his tweet we find confirmation of what we should have already known.  “The right to an abortion is sacred,” he said.  He might as well come right out and say that they sacrifice their sons and daughters to the demons.

Is our society so very different from the barbaric Aztecs of old?  Is it so different from the ancient Israelites who knew better, yet ended up devaluing their children enough to kill them and call it virtue?  Is it so different from the Canaanites who taught this evil to Israel?  “There is nothing new under the sun,” Solomon tells us (Ec 1.9).  We like to think we’re more advanced, civilized, and moral than all who came before us.  We like to condemn our forbears’ sins—bigotry, chattel slavery, misogyny, oppression, hypocrisy, and especially the use of religion to justify heinous crimes.   “You then who teach others, do you not teach yourself?” (Ro 2.21).  Today, we’re still grappling with the same old sins, the same old barbarity.

We don’t have the power to change society.  But there are some things we can and should do.  First and foremost, we can learn from God’s word about the immense evil of killing one’s own children, and refuse to take part.  We can also do our best to teach others and participate in the political process to the extent we’re capable, in an effort to provide alternatives to frightened and despairing mothers, and rescue these precious lives.  We can pray for God’s intervention.  Ultimately we ought to learn this lesson: our culture claims to be secular and and basically atheistic.  It’s a lie.  Satan is never happier than when men declare he doesn’t exist.  He doesn’t need men to believe in him, in order to revel in their worship.  And if they don’t worship God Almighty, their innate religious devotion will invariably direct them to worship someone or something else, whether self, state, Science, or Molech.  Satan is pleased to accept all of the above.

Jeremy Nettles