1. The next black waters that you observed was the wickedness of Manasseh, son of Hezekiah.
2. He committed many horrible abominations. He killed righteous ones, fought against judgment, shed the blood of innocent babies, violently polluted women, overturned holy altars, destroyed offerings to the Mighty One, and chased away priests that would want to minister in the Temple to the Mighty One.
3. He made an image with five faces, four of them faced the four directions, and the fifth stared upward toward heaven to offend the jealousy of the Mighty One.
4. Then wrath came from the Mighty One, and He determined to destroy Zion, as you, Baruch, have seen occur in your days.
5. Against the two and half tribes went forth a decree from the Mighty One, that captivity would come.
6. To that great measure of wickedness was Manasseh, even unto the time when there was heard no praise of the Most High in the sanctuary.
7. For those sins, Manasseh is called the "Impious One", and finally he was placed in a prison surrounded by fire.
8. The prayer of Manasseh was then heard by the Most High, and when he was put into the horse of brass, and the horse melted from the fire around it, it became a sign to Manasseh.
9. For he had sinned greatly, but now he realized Who was causing him to be so tormented.
10. For He Who is able to bless, is also able to torment.
1. For Manasseh sinned greatly, thinking that the Mighty One would not know what things he did.
2. These are those black waters that you observed.
God warned Hezekiah, Manasseh's father, that Manasseh would be a very wicked, demon-possessed ruler. Isaiah gave this prophecy to Hezekiah in the 26th year of Hezekiah's reign. Manasseh was only 8 years old at the time, but Hezekiah knew that he had only 4 more years to live. Hezekiah had called Manasseh to him, before Isaiah, to inform Manasseh of all the spiritual warfare that would be upon him as king. These revelations were given to Manasseh, but Isaiah's prophecy startled Hezekiah. Manasseh did not choose to retain the revelations of the Lord, and this is true of many today also. Though the message of God be propagated widely, many who hear, do not retain it. (Matthew 13:13-16)
Two evil demonic powers, Sammael Malchira and Belial later would inhabit Manasseh to make this time in Israel's history to be the darkest of all time. Manasseh, king of Judah, ruled for 55 years (II Kings 21:1, II Chron. 33:1). He began to rule at age 12 (II Ki. 21:1). He was born after Hezekiah was given 15 years more to live (Isaiah 38:15).
When Hezekiah was told of how evil Manasseh would be, he desired to kill him, but God would not allow it. The reign of Manasseh was not one of general peace. During the reign of Manasseh, Esar-haddon and Assurbanipal were at the height of arrogance and power. Manasseh generally was a willing and tributary king to them. Two inscriptions in Assyria mention Manasseh, and both recount him as a tributary king. The Assyrian armies passed to and fro throughout the land, for Assyria often had to pass by to Egypt, in order to keep Egypt in line. Yet, Judah did not attempt to rebel, and at least, they thought, the war was
not against them.
THE SINS OF MANASSEH
Manasseh was the most evil of all of the kings of Israel and Judah. His sins are recounted in II Kings 21:1-18, and II Chronicles 33:1-20.
Human sacrifices (sacrificial burning of the first born) were performed to the god, Moloch (another title for Belial). Manasseh even sacrificed some of his children to the fiery altars in the Valley of Hinnon, just outside of Jerusalem.
Many abortions were performed to honor a goddess, named Asherah. To this false goddess, he erected sacred areas on hilltops. See II Kings 21:3-16, II Chron. 33:7. Men came to the hilltops to participate in sexual orgies with the priestesses of this goddess. This was their method of worshipping this goddess. Carved, totem-pole-like altars were erected about the temple site, and people could worship this female goddess as they approached to worship Jehovah.
Many people against whom no crime had been proven, were slaughtered. In his following of false gods, Manasseh began an organized persecution of the true prophets and their followers. Sammael and Belial (demonic ruling powers of darkness) inspired Manasseh to have Isaiah sawn in half (Apocalypse of Isaiah 6:41).
Manasseh restored the old sanctuaries to the snake god (Sammael), and allowed the followers of such to reorganize that religion. He felt that these people were legitimate worshippers of Jehovah. Since Moses had put a serpent on a pole (Num. 21:4-9) they claimed this to be a legitimate symbol for the Lord. But they were worshipping the serpent. Hezekiah had ordered that these be broken down (II Ki. 18:4).
Sammael, is known as 'the angel of death' and the 'angel of the underworld of sheol'. Therefore, necromancy (supposedly talking to the dead, but in reality talking with demonic beings through demon empowered mediums) became very predominant in Israel. It begins with a false teaching about death. When mankind begins to believe that the spirits of the dead remain in their graves, or tombs, and can be called back by a "skilled" person, it leads to people wanting to communicate with them. When the fresh teaching of the truth about sheol, (as a place to which dead souls departed, the righteous ones to paradise [until Christ's resurrection], and the unrighteous ones to hell) this heresy called 'necromancy' is eradicated. Neither the righteous, nor the unrighteous are lying in a grave awaiting someone to call them back to talk. They are either in heaven or hell.
Manasseh set up altars in the Temple itself to Baal (an idol empowered by the spirit power known as Belial). Manasseh worshipped "all the host of heaven", indicating that he worshipped the evil demonic beings, and all the evil powers that rule them.
II Chronicles 33:6
"...Manasseh ... dealt with a familial spirit..." Manasseh practiced augury (dealing with fortune telling using omens, signs, and portents to prognosticate the future.) He dealt with mediums, necromancers, soothsayers, and sorcerers.
Manasseh did not seek to discard the worship of Jehovah altogether, but he perverted and adulterated the true worship of Jehovah with false doctrines and sin. While sin raged, God kept raising up great prophets.
The sins of Manasseh brought judgment against Judah. And the Babylonian captivity resulted from such sins (II Kings 23:36, 24:3, Jeremiah 15:4)
THE SALVATION OF MANASSEH
The prophecy of Isaiah in Apoc. of Isa. 9:6: "And Belchira accused Isaiah and the prophets who were with him, saying: Isaiah and those with him prophesy against Jerusalem and the cities of Judah that they will be destroyed. And they say that Judah and Benjamin shall go into captivity. And they say against thee, Manasseh, that you will be bound with hooks and iron chains." was heard even by this rebellious Manasseh. Later, the Assyrian army descended upon Judah, and took Manasseh captive.
The Targum of Chronicles says about II Chronicles 33:11:
"...the Chaldeans made a copper mule and pierced it all over with little holes, and shut him (Manasseh) up therein, and kindled fire all around him. And when he was in straits, he besought help of all the idols which he had made, and was not helped, because they were worthless. And he turned, and prayed before the Lord his God, and humbled himself exceedingly before Jehovah, the God of his fathers..." (An Intro. to Apocrypha, Bruce M. Metzger, pp 126-127)
The Didascalia (a third century revision of the Didache) referred to this story, and the Apostolic Constitutions (another revision of the Didache of the 4th or 5th century) also incorporated it. Manasseh thus realized God was for real, and that the prophecy of Isaiah had come to pass literally, and this changed his life. He surrendered to God. Of all the people to become godly, this Manasseh was the least likely of that day. Unfortunately, his son, Amon, had already learned from the bad example of Manasseh, and returned to the evil of Manasseh. (See II Chron. 33:12-19.)
When Manasseh repented, and God mercifully forgave this terrible sinner, a great miracle occurred. The "Apostolic Constitutions" reveals:
"...the Lord heard his voice, and had compassion on him. And there appeared a flame of fire about him, and all the iron shackles and chains which were about him fell off; and the Lord healed Manasseh of his affliction, and brought him back to Jerusalem unto his kingdom."
The people felt that the presence of Jehovah within the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Jerusalem, meant that no harm could befall them. They ignored God's demand for morality. Yet, despite their false sense of security, and the sinfulness of the people, and the extreme sinfulness of Manasseh, God forgave Manasseh, and saved a remnant of the people.
Too often, we cease on praying for the "too sinful to be saved." Perhaps some who have strayed, rejected God, and have grown angry at our witness. Yet, God can save them, and even the wicked rulers of our nation who share guilt in 60,000,000 plus murders of unborn, partial birth infanticides, sexual perversions, etc. These lying, cruel, evil, murderous rulers may still be elected, but the mercy of God is great enough to save them!