Two Important Insights from the Biblical Record about Manasseh

King Manasseh was one of ungodliest kings to ever rule over God's people. The biblical record of his wickedness includes explicit statements that show that he was profoundly involved in the occult:

2 Chronicles 33:6 And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

He was so wicked that he even made God's people to err and do worse than the heathen:

2 Chronicles 33:9 So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel.

In spite of his great wickedness, God graciously saved him when he repented under the fierce judgment of God on him:

2 Chronicles 33:11 Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. 12 And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, 13 And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.

Careful consideration of the biblical revelation about him instructs us about two key points that many may never have understood.

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RajeshG's picture

2 Chronicles 33:6 And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

By inscripturating this information, the Spirit wants us to know that Manasseh had first-hand, direct contact with at least one demon and was involved in demonic activity in at least 5 different ways. Manasseh thus was an authentic source of authentic, first-hand detailed information about many occult activities as to their demonic character.

When God saved him so that he came to know "that the LORD he was God," Manasseh became a former occultist who had authentic, first-hand experiential information in great detail about the demonic character of many occult activities. Whatever testimonies he may have provided to anyone after his salvation about the demonic character of his previous activities were testimonies that were fully authentic, reliable, valid, true, and detailed information about the demonic character of many occult activities.

Other believers who would have received that information from him would have had full confidence as to the validity of that information in spite of not having any biblical statements to confirm those details about those occult activities. It simply is not true that the only way to have true information about the details of the demonic character of the occult is to have explicit Bible statements about those details.

In this way, the biblical records about Manasseh points us to the profound value of authentic information about the occult from former occultists who have been genuinely saved. Provided that the information provided does not contradict anything that is revealed in Scripture, Christians do not have any valid basis to reject such testimonies from former occultists.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Whatever testimonies he may have provided to anyone after his salvation about the demonic character of his previous activities were testimonies that were fully authentic, reliable, valid, true, and detailed information about the demonic character of many occult activities.

This seems to me to be an assumption. Do you have any Scripture to show that former practitioners of the occult are totally and completely incapable of exaggerating or being mistaken about any aspect of the character of their occultic activities?

I'm not saying they are purposely trying to deceive, but you seem to be implying that Manassah's experience shows former occultists like Manassah are incapable of being wrong. I don't see how you are coming to that conclusion.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

Whatever testimonies he may have provided to anyone after his salvation about the demonic character of his previous activities were testimonies that were fully authentic, reliable, valid, true, and detailed information about the demonic character of many occult activities.

This seems to me to be an assumption. Do you have any Scripture to show that former practitioners of the occult are totally and completely incapable of exaggerating or being mistaken about any aspect of the character of their occultic activities?

I'm not saying they are purposely trying to deceive, but you seem to be implying that Manassah's experience shows former occultists like Manassah are incapable of being wrong. I don't see how you are coming to that conclusion.

My point is that those who have formerly been involved in occult activities are fully capable of testifying authentically to the demonic character of those activities and providing valid information about the details of those activities. Christians cannot a priori validly deny the validity of the demonic character of those activities because Scripture tells us that even unbelieving occultists can and have validly testified to the demonic character of their activities.

If a Christian wants to dispute some specifics of such testimonies about the demonic character of their testimonies, the Christian has the burden of proving from Scripture that what is being testified to is not true.

Saying that they are exaggerating has to be proven; it cannot just be asserted. You have to have some valid biblical basis for denying what is being testified to, especially where there are multiple such testimonies from both unbelieving occultists and former occultists about those same demonic aspects of their activities.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

As I see it, the problem with giving weight to personal testimony is that we, as fallible humans, experience things though the lens of our fallen existence.  Thus, while personal testimony is not to be completely discarded or disregarded, and, if you trust the speaker, can be believed to an extent, it only can carry a certain amount of weight that is nowhere near scriptural weight.  Hearing someone tell an authentic experience doesn't make what they say the absolute truth.

Consider the typical problem of eyewitness testimony in court.  Very often, experienced investigators relate that multiple people witnessing an event can give quite different, and sometimes even contradictory testimony, without any intent to lie or deceive about what they saw.  I.e., they absolutely believe what they are recounting.

We have a scripture that helps us understand this.  Peter, when relaying his personal testimony had this to say in II Peter 1:

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son,[i] with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Peter himself knew his personal testimony was not as sure as the scriptures.  We have the scriptures to tell us what happened to Manasseh.  Those we trust completely.  Even having experienced it though, Manasseh himself may not be able to give a completely accurate account about what happened.  That is human nature.  Anyone living today who claims to have experience with demonic activities has even less proof, since he doesn't have scripture confirming it.  Further, he doesn't know which things he has learned are absolute truth, and which things are only personally something that worked for him (like a personal application).  If I believe what he is saying, I'll agree that he believes his experience happened that way, and I might even take advice as to some things to avoid, but I would never give his warnings as much weight as I would give the sure words of the Bible, or consider any "Do not do this" statements from him to be binding as biblical command would be.

Dave Barnhart

RajeshG's picture

dcbii wrote:

Anyone living today who claims to have experience with demonic activities has even less proof, since he doesn't have scripture confirming it.  Further, he doesn't know which things he has learned are absolute truth, and which things are only personally something that worked for him (like a personal application).  If I believe what he is saying, I'll agree that he believes his experience happened that way, and I might even take advice as to some things to avoid, but I would never give his warnings as much weight as I would give the sure words of the Bible, or consider any "Do not do this" statements from him to be binding as biblical command would be.

I disagree strongly. Anyone today who engages in occult activities such as witchcraft, voodoo, etc., or who eats in a worship context things that have been offered to an idol in a worship context puts himself in contact with demons. There are hundreds of millions of people in the world today who still practice actual idolatrous worship of physical objects, including offering things to those objects and then eating as an act of worship those things that have been offered as an act of worship.

I do not know of any biblical basis to hold that all authentic practitioners of the occult miraculously disappeared from the earth at some known time since the first century AD. Nor do I know of any biblical basis to assert that all previously occult practices spoken of in Scripture are no longer occult practices. If these are your views, how do you support them biblically?

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

RajeshG wrote:

I do not know of any biblical basis to hold that all authentic practitioners of the occult miraculously disappeared from the earth at some known time since the first century AD. Nor do I know of any biblical basis to assert that all previously occult practices spoken of in Scripture are no longer occult practices. If these are your views, how do you support them biblically?

I think you must be misunderstanding me.  I'm not claiming that occult practices are gone, or that those who practice them today are not actually in contact with demons.  Of course, I also don't know how much of what is practiced out there is fake, and how much is real.  With respect to Manasseh, we have scriptural testimony about what went on (though not in much detail), and we have confidence that what the scripture said about him is true.

My point is that even those that really were in contact with demons and are saved out of it (praise the Lord!) and tell us about what happened might not be able to accurately describe what happened to them.  Given that angels and demons have powers we humans don't have, the person might not even understand everything that went on or be able to put it into words.  Maybe all they can tell us is their best impression and recollection.  That's interesting information, but hardly equal to scriptural truth about demons.

Dave Barnhart

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

Whatever testimonies he may have provided to anyone after his salvation about the demonic character of his previous activities were testimonies that were fully authentic, reliable, valid, true, and detailed information about the demonic character of many occult activities.

This seems to me to be an assumption. Do you have any Scripture to show that former practitioners of the occult are totally and completely incapable of exaggerating or being mistaken about any aspect of the character of their occultic activities?

I'm not saying they are purposely trying to deceive, but you seem to be implying that Manassah's experience shows former occultists like Manassah are incapable of being wrong. I don't see how you are coming to that conclusion.

 

 

My point is that those who have formerly been involved in occult activities are fully capable of testifying authentically to the demonic character of those activities and providing valid information about the details of those activities. Christians cannot a priori validly deny the validity of the demonic character of those activities because Scripture tells us that even unbelieving occultists can and have validly testified to the demonic character of their activities.

If a Christian wants to dispute some specifics of such testimonies about the demonic character of their testimonies, the Christian has the burden of proving from Scripture that what is being testified to is not true.

Saying that they are exaggerating has to be proven; it cannot just be asserted. You have to have some valid biblical basis for denying what is being testified to, especially where there are multiple such testimonies from both unbelieving occultists and former occultists about those same demonic aspects of their activities.

I'll repeat my previous question, since you didn't bother answering it directly.  Do you have any Scripture to show that former practitioners of the occult are totally and completely incapable of exaggerating or being mistaken about any aspect of the character of their occultic activities?

You said in your opening post that there were "two key points that many may never have understood" about Manassah. I'm not sure exactly what the two points were, since you didn't specifically number them, but I gather that one of them is that the testimony of Manassah about demonic activity would have been "fully authentic, reliable, valid, true, and detailed information about the demonic character of many occult activities" such that a listener " would have had full confidence as to the validity of that information in spite of not having any biblical statements to confirm those details about those occult activities." Is this your first point? Because I see this point as going beyond what the Bible actually claims. The Bible tells us that Manassah had occult experience, but the bible doesn't tell us that people with occult experience are ever and always going to give information that is without error. I take it that your repetition of words like authentic, reliable, valid, and true means that you absolutely, positively, certainly, without a doubt believe that Manassah could not be wrong about demonic matters. Why else would you emphasize his truthfulness so strongly?

It seems to me that your second point is that former occult practitioners today would be just as authentic, reliable, valid, and true as what Manassah would have supposedly been. Am I reading your second point accurately?

Since you are making the claim that former occult practitioners are practically inerrant in what they say about demonic matters, then you have the burden of showing from Scripture how that could be so. You can't just assert inerrancy for those individuals without actually proving from Scripture that it's even possible.

 

"

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

Whatever testimonies he may have provided to anyone after his salvation about the demonic character of his previous activities were testimonies that were fully authentic, reliable, valid, true, and detailed information about the demonic character of many occult activities.

This seems to me to be an assumption. Do you have any Scripture to show that former practitioners of the occult are totally and completely incapable of exaggerating or being mistaken about any aspect of the character of their occultic activities?

I'm not saying they are purposely trying to deceive, but you seem to be implying that Manassah's experience shows former occultists like Manassah are incapable of being wrong. I don't see how you are coming to that conclusion.

 

 

My point is that those who have formerly been involved in occult activities are fully capable of testifying authentically to the demonic character of those activities and providing valid information about the details of those activities. Christians cannot a priori validly deny the validity of the demonic character of those activities because Scripture tells us that even unbelieving occultists can and have validly testified to the demonic character of their activities.

If a Christian wants to dispute some specifics of such testimonies about the demonic character of their testimonies, the Christian has the burden of proving from Scripture that what is being testified to is not true.

Saying that they are exaggerating has to be proven; it cannot just be asserted. You have to have some valid biblical basis for denying what is being testified to, especially where there are multiple such testimonies from both unbelieving occultists and former occultists about those same demonic aspects of their activities.

 

I'll repeat my previous question, since you didn't bother answering it directly.  Do you have any Scripture to show that former practitioners of the occult are totally and completely incapable of exaggerating or being mistaken about any aspect of the character of their occultic activities?

 

You said in your opening post that there were "two key points that many may never have understood" about Manassah. I'm not sure exactly what the two points were, since you didn't specifically number them, but I gather that one of them is that the testimony of Manassah about demonic activity would have been "fully authentic, reliable, valid, true, and detailed information about the demonic character of many occult activities" such that a listener " would have had full confidence as to the validity of that information in spite of not having any biblical statements to confirm those details about those occult activities." Is this your first point? Because I see this point as going beyond what the Bible actually claims. The Bible tells us that Manassah had occult experience, but the bible doesn't tell us that people with occult experience are ever and always going to give information that is without error. I take it that your repetition of words like authentic, reliable, valid, and true means that you absolutely, positively, certainly, without a doubt believe that Manassah could not be wrong about demonic matters. Why else would you emphasize his truthfulness so strongly?

It seems to me that your second point is that former occult practitioners today would be just as authentic, reliable, valid, and true as what Manassah would have supposedly been. Am I reading your second point accurately?

Since you are making the claim that former occult practitioners are practically inerrant in what they say about demonic matters, then you have the burden of showing from Scripture how that could be so. You can't just assert inerrancy for those individuals without actually proving from Scripture that it's even possible.

This is an entirely new study for me; I have only seen the significance of the revelation about Manasseh in the last couple days.

I appreciate the constructive interaction that you and Dave have provided so far. Thinking carefully through what the two of you are saying requires time and prayerful study.

I have not said anything about my second point yet. That point would take this study in a related but different direction that would require lots of careful thought and interaction as well so I am going to hold off on sharing that second point at this time.

By the way, you are repeatedly misspelling Manasseh as "Manassah." Please note the correct spelling of his name.

I am not ignoring what you have said earlier about what I said in my OP; I have not yet formulated and studied out how to respond correctly to what you have said in your first reply about what I said in my OP.

One of the things that is making this much harder is that there are too many ideas being set forth at the same time. I need to try to figure out how to sort through it all in a way that would be profitable for all of us.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

By the way, you are repeatedly misspelling Manasseh as "Manassah." Please note the correct spelling of his name.

Thanks. I was typing fast and must have been conflating it with how Manassas is spelled.

RajeshG's picture

dcbii wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

I do not know of any biblical basis to hold that all authentic practitioners of the occult miraculously disappeared from the earth at some known time since the first century AD. Nor do I know of any biblical basis to assert that all previously occult practices spoken of in Scripture are no longer occult practices. If these are your views, how do you support them biblically?

 

 

I think you must be misunderstanding me.  I'm not claiming that occult practices are gone, or that those who practice them today are not actually in contact with demons.  Of course, I also don't know how much of what is practiced out there is fake, and how much is real.  With respect to Manasseh, we have scriptural testimony about what went on (though not in much detail), and we have confidence that what the scripture said about him is true.

My point is that even those that really were in contact with demons and are saved out of it (praise the Lord!) and tell us about what happened might not be able to accurately describe what happened to them.  Given that angels and demons have powers we humans don't have, the person might not even understand everything that went on or be able to put it into words.  Maybe all they can tell us is their best impression and recollection.  That's interesting information, but hardly equal to scriptural truth about demons.

I am glad to hear that you are not taking those positions about the occult today.

 

RajeshG's picture

To sort through what is being said, I think it is necessary to start over and look more closely at what was true for Manasseh first before making any applications for us today.

The following were true for Manasseh:

1. He was not a prophet or a priest.

2. He was an unbeliever.

3. He was a profoundly wicked idolater and occultist.

4. We do not have any information about his resorting to whatever Scripture, if any, was available to him in his day.

5. He did not have the accounts in 2 Chron. 33 and 2 Kings 21 that we have about his life. His views and practices were not based on that biblical information.

6. He was in contact with demons through multiple avenues.

7. In spite of his profound involvement in idolatry and the occult, he was not possessed by any demons.

8. He did receive divine warnings about his wickedness (2 Chron. 33:10), but we are not told what the specific content of that information was as to whether it revealed to him any specific information about his occult practices.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

To sort through what is being said, I think it is necessary to start over and look more closely at what was true for Manasseh first before making any applications for us today.

The following were true for Manasseh:

1. He was not a prophet or a priest.

2. He was an unbeliever.

3. He was a profoundly wicked idolater and occultist.

4. We do not have any information about his resorting to whatever Scripture, if any, was available to him in his day.

5. He did not have the accounts in 2 Chron. 33 and 2 Kings 21 that we have about his life. His views and practices were not based on that biblical information.

6. He was in contact with demons through multiple avenues.

7. In spite of his profound involvement in idolatry and the occult, he was not possessed by any demons.

8. He did receive divine warnings about his wickedness (2 Chron. 33:10), but we are not told what the specific content of that information was as to whether it revealed to him any specific information about his occult practices.

I'm surprised you didn't include a line about Manasseh humbling himself greatly before God and acknowledging that "the Lord was God." 2 Chron 33:12-13

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

To sort through what is being said, I think it is necessary to start over and look more closely at what was true for Manasseh first before making any applications for us today.

The following were true for Manasseh:

1. He was not a prophet or a priest.

2. He was an unbeliever.

3. He was a profoundly wicked idolater and occultist.

4. We do not have any information about his resorting to whatever Scripture, if any, was available to him in his day.

5. He did not have the accounts in 2 Chron. 33 and 2 Kings 21 that we have about his life. His views and practices were not based on that biblical information.

6. He was in contact with demons through multiple avenues.

7. In spite of his profound involvement in idolatry and the occult, he was not possessed by any demons.

8. He did receive divine warnings about his wickedness (2 Chron. 33:10), but we are not told what the specific content of that information was as to whether it revealed to him any specific information about his occult practices.

 

I'm surprised you didn't include a line about Manasseh humbling himself greatly before God and acknowledging that "the Lord was God." 2 Chron 33:12-13

I am first examining thoroughly the information that Scripture provides about his sinfulness prior to his repentance. This morning, I did an extensive comparison of 2 Kings 21 and 2 Chronicles 33 and noticed several additional points that are directly relevant to this study so I am going to have to do a lot more work to account for all that the Scripture reveals about his sinfulness. 

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

The Hidden Traps of Wicca

 

How is this relevant to Manasseh? Are you assuming Manasseh was a practicing Wiccan?


 

Manasseh "used enchantments, and used witchcraft" in his day (2 Chron. 33:6), and the Wiccans practice witchcraft in our day. The article also has a direct testimony in it from a former Wiccan who is now a Christian and relates her occult experience with demons after she had had contact with and instruction from a Wiccan high priestess. The article also relates this former occultist's warning to Christians about practicing Wicca.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

The Hidden Traps of Wicca

 

How is this relevant to Manasseh? Are you assuming Manasseh was a practicing Wiccan?

 

 

 

Manasseh practiced witchcraft in his day, and the Wiccans practice witchcraft in our day. The article also has a direct testimony in it from a former Wiccan who is now a Christian and relates her occult experience with demons and her contact with a Wiccan high priestess and her warning to Christians about practicing Wicca.

So anybody anywhere who practices any form of witchcraft is relevant to a study about Manasseh? That's a big stretch, isn't it?

I previously posted a verse about Manasseh's repentance, and you told me "I am first examining thoroughly the information that Scripture provides about his sinfulness prior to his repentance." I thought you were going to post more information from Scripture specifically about Manasseh, but instead, you post an article about Wicca. Scripture does NOT provide us with information that Manasseh practiced Wicca, a religion with numerous facets that would not apply to what Scripture has revealed about Manasseh.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

The Hidden Traps of Wicca

 

How is this relevant to Manasseh? Are you assuming Manasseh was a practicing Wiccan?

 

 

 

Manasseh practiced witchcraft in his day, and the Wiccans practice witchcraft in our day. The article also has a direct testimony in it from a former Wiccan who is now a Christian and relates her occult experience with demons and her contact with a Wiccan high priestess and her warning to Christians about practicing Wicca.

 

So anybody anywhere who practices any form of witchcraft is relevant to a study about Manasseh? That's a big stretch, isn't it?

I previously posted a verse about Manasseh's repentance, and you told me "I am first examining thoroughly the information that Scripture provides about his sinfulness prior to his repentance." I thought you were going to post more information from Scripture specifically about Manasseh, but instead, you post an article about Wicca. Scripture does NOT provide us with information that Manasseh practiced Wicca, a religion with numerous facets that would not apply to what Scripture has revealed about Manasseh.

Wow, in my opinion, you are being unnecessarily confrontational in your comments here. I happened to come across that article through something a friend posted on Facebook tonight; I was not looking for any such information. Skimming the article, I immediately saw its relevance to the broader subject.

I never claimed that Manasseh practiced Wicca; anyone who would say that I did would be making a nonsense claim. The fact stands that Manasseh used witchcraft and the Wiccans of today practice witchcraft--which God explicitly forbids in Scripture.

As to posting more from Scripture about Manasseh, I am continuing to study the relevant passages. There is so much material in 2 Kings 21 and 2 Chron. 33 that I need to handle carefully. I intend to post much more, as God directs, about the biblical record of Manasseh's wickedness prior to his repentance.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

So anybody anywhere who practices any form of witchcraft is relevant to a study about Manasseh? That's a big stretch, isn't it?

I previously posted a verse about Manasseh's repentance, and you told me "I am first examining thoroughly the information that Scripture provides about his sinfulness prior to his repentance." I thought you were going to post more information from Scripture specifically about Manasseh, but instead, you post an article about Wicca. Scripture does NOT provide us with information that Manasseh practiced Wicca, a religion with numerous facets that would not apply to what Scripture has revealed about Manasseh.

 

Wow, in my opinion, you are being unnecessarily confrontational in your comments here. I happened to come across that article through something a friend posted on Facebook tonight; I was not looking for any such information. Skimming the article, I immediately saw its relevance to the broader subject.

I didn't think that questioning a subject's relevance would be considered confrontational. I wasn't aware that we would be dealing with "the broader subject" at this time, since you wouldn't even deal with the addition of Manasseh's repentance to the discussion of "what was true for Manasseh first before making any applications for us today." You were the one who specifically said we would be dealing with Manasseh first before making applications for today, and then you changed your mind and posted that article about Wicca. 

Quote:
I never claimed that Manasseh practiced Wicca; anyone who would say that I did would be making a nonsense claim. The fact stands that Manasseh used witchcraft and the Wiccans of today practice witchcraft--which God explicitly forbids in Scripture.
A lot of different people groups have used witchcraft, both in the past and today, and nobody is denying that God explicitly forbids it in Scripture. I'm still not seeing how a discussion about Manasseh is going to include discussions of those other groups without going way past what the Scriptures teach specifically about Manasseh.

Or are we now at the point where we talk about present day witchcraft in this thread?

 

RajeshG's picture

I posted the following on my blog tonight concerning a key truth about the occult that we know from the biblical record about Manasseh:

Scripture infallibly and inerrantly reveals that king Manasseh was a very wicked unbeliever who authentically [underlined here is in italics in the original] had contact with multiple [underlined here is in italics in the original] demons:

2 Kings 21:6 And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

2 Chronicles 33:6 And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

We are not told what the nature of those dealings were or what he did so that he had those authentic encounters with demons.

We know with certainty that he did not get any information from any Scripture or from any godly prophet, priest, or other servant of God about how specifically to have those dealings with familiar spirits.

Considering in this way what has been revealed about Manasseh, we learn with certainty that without any need for any biblical information at all, unbelievers can and have had authentic encounters with demons and have known all that they needed to know and all that they needed to do to have such authentic encounters.

Conclusion

Because no biblical information is necessary for any unbeliever to know to have such authentic contact with demons, we do not have any basis to hold that they cannot have or have not had such authentic contact with demons in our day.

Because unbelievers can and have known all that they have needed to know and all that they have needed to do to have such contact, we have no basis to deny a priori [underlined here is in italics in the original] the authenticity of such testimonies about contact with demons in our day.

Our not having specific biblical information about such occult practices does not mean in any way that we cannot know whether wicked people have had authentic encounters with demons in our day.

RajeshG's picture

Although 2 Chronicles 33 highlights Manasseh's repentance (7 verses), 2 Kings 21 remarkably does not mention anything about his repentance! This difference plainly refutes the false hermeneutical notion that what's truly important about an event, person, etc. will be repeated in more than one passage.

RajeshG's picture

Scripture attests many times to evil humans who had authentic occult contact with demons. The earliest explicit mentions of such people go back to the Pentateuch:

Lev. 19:31  Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.

Lev. 20:6  And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.

Lev. 20:27  A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

Deut. 18:11  Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

Evil people, therefore, have been authentically having contact with demons through occult practices for at least approximately 3500 years.

In fact, because there is no reason to hold that these references in the Pentateuch represent the first times in human history that the sin of having/consulting with familiars spirits was ever committed, the long history of authentic human occult contact with demons undoubtedly goes even further back in human history.

Given that such authentic occult contact with demons by sinful humans has such a long history among mankind, we have every reason to hold that there has been the transmission of authentic and factual information about such practices among sinful practitioners of the occult throughout that long history.

The inability of believers to verify that information with explicit, specific, and detailed statements from Scripture about those practices does not in any way invalidate that information or show the inauthenticity of those who claim to be such practitioners of the occult in our day and provide such information.

RajeshG's picture

A second key insight from the accounts of Manasseh's sinfulness concerns how Scripture itself testifies to the existence of valid non-biblical sources of information about the occult. Both 2 Kings 21 and 2 Chronicles 33 have such statements in the endings of their accounts about Manasseh:

2 Kings 21:17 Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and all that he did, and his sin that he sinned, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

2 Chronicles 33:18 Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer unto his God, and the words of the seers that spake to him in the name of the LORD God of Israel, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel. 19 His prayer also, and how God was intreated of him, and all his sin, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled: behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers.

The latter passage is especially instructive because it specifies that various details of his sinfulness were written down by seers (who were supernaturally gifted by God). For example, Scripture does not provide us anywhere the information about "the places wherein [Manasseh] built high places, and set up groves and graven images" so we know that the written materials spoken of here are not any of the books of Scripture.

Scripture thus teaches us that valid, authentic, and detailed information about Manasseh's sinfulness was written down by divinely empowered people and yet not included in Scripture! At least concerning Manasseh's wickedness, the Spirit wants us to know that the Scripture is thus not the only valid and authentic source of such information about Manasseh's sinfulness.

In fact, one or more authentic and fully reliable non-biblical documents provided much more information than Scripture does and details that Scripture does not!

 

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

RajeshG wrote:

Scripture thus teaches us that valid, authentic, and detailed information about Manasseh's sinfulness was written down by divinely empowered people and yet not included in Scripture! At least concerning Manasseh's wickedness, the Spirit wants us to know that the Scripture is thus not the only valid and authentic source of such information about Manasseh's sinfulness.

In fact, one or more authentic and fully reliable non-biblical documents provided much more information than Scripture does and details that Scripture does not!

I'm going to assume that you are not implying or claiming that these documents pointed to by scripture are inerrant and carry scriptural weight?  The formulation used in the passages you quoted is used a number of other places in the historical books, and there are other references in scripture to non-scriptural sources.  The parts that were quoted in scripture can be considered to have scriptural weight, but I don't see how references to outside works makes those works have the same authority as scripture in any way.

The fact that the Bible notes that Manasseh's deeds were written down in other works says nothing about whether the historians writing those other works had biases, or were accidentally inaccurate, or were anything other than a reasonably reliable (but still human and fallible) record of history.  Again, the biblical mention makes those works useful and interesting when we have them, but they still aren't scripture nor should they be considered as accurate or reliable as scripture.

Dave Barnhart

RajeshG's picture

dcbii wrote:

I'm going to assume that you are not implying or claiming that these documents pointed to by scripture are inerrant and carry scriptural weight?  The formulation used in the passages you quoted is used a number of other places in the historical books, and there are other references in scripture to non-scriptural sources.  The parts that were quoted in scripture can be considered to have scriptural weight, but I don't see how references to outside works makes those works have the same authority as scripture in any way.

The fact that the Bible notes that Manasseh's deeds were written down in other works says nothing about whether the historians writing those other works had biases, or were accidentally inaccurate, or were anything other than a reasonably reliable (but still human and fallible) record of history.  Again, the biblical mention makes those works useful and interesting when we have them, but they still aren't scripture nor should they be considered as accurate or reliable as scripture.


2 Chronicles 33:19 His prayer also, and how God was intreated of him, and all his sin, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled: behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers.

This statement in 2 Chronicles 33:19 does not specifiy that these were written works by historians--the text says that they were written among the sayings of seers. Seers were prophets, and as prophets, they were under divine obligation to only set forth what they received from God when they prophesied. What that means for these writings that are not a part of Scripture is an issue that needs careful consideration.

I believe that it is also vitally important for us to consider carefully why the Spirit even chose to inscripturate what He did in 2 Chronicles 33:19. Applying 2 Tim. 3:16-17 to that verse means that He wants us to profit in our doctrine from that revelation. I have not yet come to a definitive understanding of what exactly that means and all that it means.

Clearly, the Spirit wants us to know that other information that provided much more details about Manasseh's sinfulness was written down among information by seers. Why does He want us to know that such information was written down but not included in Scripture? 

RajeshG's picture

Just as Manasseh through his occult practices (and other sins as well) so greatly defiled the people over whom he ruled (2 Chron. 33:9), Scripture attests in the NT that occultists posed profound dangers for those people who interacted with them in NT times:

Acts 13:6 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: 7 Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. 9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, 10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

Noting that Paul was filled with the Spirit when he so strongly denounced this occultist, we can be certain that everything that he said about that occultist was absolutely true. Obviously, this occultist did not learn any of his authentic occult practices from anything in Scripture or from any information from any godly people.

Because this sorcerer did not learn his authentic occult practices from any godly sources, we know that there were non-biblical sources that he had accessed that gave to him all that he needed to engage in his occult practices. There undoubtedly were therefore also many other authentic occultists actively practicing the occult in his day who did so by accessing that non-biblical information.

It would have been a great mistake, therefore, for believers in NT times to have held that they could know that this occultist was authentic and therefore was very dangerous but that without Scripture or Spirit-filled apostles to similarly identify other occultists as also authentic, they would have to be agnostic about what any other occultists did and said.

Similarly, I believe that we err greatly when we do not heed with all seriousness the information available to us about the evil practices of occultists in our day. Occultists pose profound dangers to humanity in our day, and we must reject categorically everything that has to do with the occult in our day and not allow any of it in our homes and churches.