Image of Moloch Displayed at Roman Colosseum

By Mark A. Kellner | Posted November 18, 2019

Visitors to the Colosseum in Rome—the ruins of an ancient sporting complex where “games” included the sacrifice of Christians as audiences looked on and cheered—now have a tangible reminder of the days when faith in the living God was a minority viewpoint.

Starting in September, and continuing through the first quarter of next year, a replica of the pagan god Moloch is stationed at the entrance to the Colosseum, an unavoidable symbol of a grim past. According to LifeSiteNews, a pro-life news website, “The statue of Moloch, worshipped by both the Canaanites and the Phoenicians, is part of an exhibit dedicated to Ancient Rome’s once-great rival, the city of Carthage. The large-scale exhibition, titled Carthago: The immortal myth, runs until March 29, 2020.”

According to an official news release about the exhibit, “A reconstruction of the terrible deity Moloch, linked to Phoenician and Carthaginian religions and featured in the 1914 film Cabiria, will be stationed at the entrance to the Colosseum to welcome visitors to the exhibition.”

What Was Moloch Worship?

“The Sight Was Horrifying!”

How “welcome” those visitors felt at the Colosseum, however, is subject to question: “We were so excited the day we decided to go to the Colosseum,” Alexandra Clark wrote to LifeSiteNews in an email about a visit she and her sister made. “But the moment we got there the sight that greeted us was horrifying! Standing guard over the entrance was the colossal pagan statue of Moloch. It was placed in that prime spot so that everyone that entered into the Colosseum had to pass it,” she added.

Historic locations such as the Colosseum are treasured by many religious tourists as they evoke images of the sacrifice early Christian pioneers made to defend their faith. Approximately in AD 110, Ignatius of Antioch, an early martyr, wrote of his soon-coming fate: “I shall willingly die for God, unless you hinder me. I beseech of you not to show an unseasonable good-will towards me. Allow me to become food for the wild beasts, through whose instrumentality it will be granted me to attain to God.”

Eusebius of Caesaria, an early church historian, reported that Ignatius was indeed killed by wild animals in a Roman amphitheater, though it cannot be said with certainty that Ignatius died in the Colosseum.

Who was this Moloch, and why does a figure of an ancient deity cause many to recoil? According to Wikipedia, Moloch “is the biblical name of a Canaanite god associated with child sacrifice, through fire or war.” Handing a child over to Moloch meant the immediate death of the infant and heartbreak for the parents; loud drums would be sounded to drown out the victim’s cries, historians record. Today, many associate the ancient sacrifices made to Moloch with the nearly five decades of legalized abortion in the United States, in which as many as 60 million babies were slaughtered.

Bible Condemns Idolatry

Moloch (also spelled “Molech”) is mentioned by name five times in Leviticus, the first being chapter 18 and verse 21: “And you shall not let any of your descendants pass through the fire to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the LORD.” The other four references—Leviticus 20:2–5—are equally proscriptive against God’s people having anything to do with Moloch.

And during his recapitulation of Israel’s spiritual history, minutes before his own martyrdom at the hands of the Pharisees, Stephen, in Acts 7:43 cites the Hebrews’ ancient embrace of the pagan idol: “You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch.” Such an action was a direct rebellion against God, the young Christ-follower emphasized. 


The first sin, it could be argued, involved getting people—Eve and then Adam—to doubt the Lord and believe in other “gods” who could not save them. Indeed, in Genesis 3:5, Satan promises Eve that she and her husband “will be like God, knowing good and evil” with the implication they won’t need the real God to run their lives. Humanity has lived with the tragic results of the choice our first parents made ever since.

But even the most paganized of people can find redemption in Christ. As Pastor Doug Batchelor noted in one Bible study, “Even amid the worst apostasy, the Lord was willing to forgive and heal His people.” This challenging message from the Bible’s books of Micah in the Old Testament and Revelation in the New Testament will help you understand the need to stay close to God as well as His offer of restoration when we repent.

Our free online Bible Study Guide “No Turning Back” will also help your relationship with God as you walk on the path toward heaven. It’s available right now!

Mark Kellner
Mark A. Kellner is a staff writer for Amazing Facts International. He is a veteran journalist whose work has been published in Religion News Service, The Washington Times, and numerous computer magazines.

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