On the west and southwest side of Jerusalem is a valley which was called in the Bible the Valley of Ben Hinnom. One area in this valley was named Topheth (meaning altar). Topheth and the Valley of Ben Hinnom were used as a garbage dump, and a place where the bodies of executed criminals were disposed of. A continual fire was kept burning to dispose of the refuse deposited there. It was truly a contemptible, hellish place. The Greek word for hell, gehenna, was a transliteration from the Hebrew ge-hinnom (the Valley of Hinnom). Also, in Isaiah 30:33, Topheth is spoken of as a place of punishment and burning that the Lord has been preparing and will Himself ignite.

Topheth was the place where children where killed during pagan rituals as sacrifices to Molech, "the detestable god of the Ammonites." God first warned the Israelites about this practice in Leviticus 18:21: "Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD." The sacrifice of children profanes the name of God because it is the savage destruction of creatures who bears His likeness. It is an act of sedition against the throne of God, an act that demonstrates utmost contempt for what God values very highly. The sacrifice of children is at its very root an insurrection against the authority of God. Those who spill the blood of children are repeating the infamous words "Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?" The sacrifice of children is also an act of devotion to demons who have established themselves as competitors to the true God. "They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood." (Psalms 106:37-38 NIV)

The demon Molech is still around today, but now he is known by a different name: Choice. Today Molech, a.k.a. Choice, still deceives people into sacrificing their children to him. Today Topheth goes by names such as Women's Health Center. God is shocked at what occurs at those places; He describes it as detestable and unthinkable. "They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though I never commanded, nor did it enter my mind, that they should do such a detestable thing." (Jeremiah 32:35 NIV)

The Lord was appalled by the routine and unremitting human slaughter at Topheth. Then, as now, the killing of little children was sanctioned and encouraged by the governing authorities. King Manasseh, who began to rule in 696 B.C., led the people in wholesale depravity and rebellion against God. In addition to desecrating God's Temple by setting up idols to other gods, "he sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger." (2 Chronicles 33:6 NIV) "Moreover, Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from end to end." (2 Kings 21:16 NIV) The actions of Manasseh and the people so angered the Lord that He sent His prophets to tell them of His decision to wipe them out, "as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down." (2 Kings 21:13 NIV)

However, when Manasseh's grandson Josiah inherited the throne in 640 B.C., things began to change. Josiah and the people rediscovered and heeded the long neglected Word of God. After hearing what God had said in the Book of the Law, King Josiah said, "Great is the Lord's anger that burns against us because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book." (2 Kings 22:13 NIV) Josiah was responsive to God's word. He made up his mind "to follow the Lord and to keep His commands, regulations, and decrees with all his heart and all his soul." (2 Kings 23:3 NIV). As a result, Josiah went on a righteous rampage: smashing, demolishing, crushing and burning all of the idols, altars and shrines used in the worship of false gods. One of the things he did was put an end to the child sacrifice at Topheth: "He desecrated Topheth, which was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, so no one could use it to sacrifice his son or daughter in the fire to Molech." (2 Kings 23:10 NIV)

The Lord was very pleased with Josiah's actions. "Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did--with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength,in accordance with all the Law of Moses. Nevertheless, the LORD did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to provoke him to anger." (2 Kings 23:25-26 NIV) The Lord did finally execute the judgment that He had proclaimed against them. This happened during the reigns of Josiah's three sons Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Zedekiah, and grandson Jehoiachin, who did not follow the Lord as Josiah had. Listen to God's summary of what happened: "Surely these things happened to Judah according to the Lord's command, in order to remove them from his presence because of the sins of Manasseh and all he had done, including the shedding of innocent blood. For he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the LORD was not willing to forgive." (2 Kings 24:3-4 NIV)

The abortion "clinics" have filled America with innocent blood. Is the Lord willing to forgive? It may be too late for America, but for each individual who has breath, it is never too late for God's forgiveness. He is rich in mercy to all who call upon Him in sincere repentance. A full pardon for all wrongdoing is available at the cross of Jesus Christ!

Bob Westbrook 9/11/99