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THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS

 

THE BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST

Matthew 12:31-32

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.     In Matthew 12:31-32, Jesus teaches about the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.

 

Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men:  but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.  And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him:  but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

 

1.      Mark and Luke also record Jesus’ words about this subject (Mark 3:28-29; Luke 12:10).

2.      Some refer to the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost as “the unpardonable sin.”

a.      …the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

b.      …but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

c.      …but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal condemnation (Mark 3:29).

 

B.     Over the years, one common interpretation has been given to “the unpardonable sin.”

1.      The teaching basically says:  “If a man will not repent of his sins, he will not be forgiven.  Thus, he has committed ‘the unpardonable sin.’”

2.      While it is true that those who refuse to repent will perish (Luke 13:3), is this what Jesus has in mind in this context?  No.

a.      The whole context must be considered.

b.      Notice that Jesus says this type of “blasphemy” will not be forgiven.

1)      Definitions

a)      Strong (988):  vilification

b)      Thayer:  slander, detraction, speech injurious, to another’s good name, impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty

c)      Barnes:  from 984…to hurt, or blast the reputation, or from…906…to smite with words, or reports

2)      Something these individuals said against the Holy Spirit caused Jesus to teach about “the unpardonable sin.”

 

C.     Let’s look at the context of Jesus’ words in this lesson.

 

I.                 THE OPERATION OF A MIRACLE (Matt. 12:22)

 

There was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb:  and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both saw and spake.

 

A.     Demon possession was prevalent in the miraculous age.

1.      Demons

a.      One of Satan’s evil angels

b.      The spirit of a wicked person that was released from the hadean realm and allowed to dwell with Satanic powers in a living human being

2.      These demons took control of individuals and afflicted them in many ways.

a.      A dumb man possessed with a devil (Matt. 9:32).

b.      The woman of Canaan who pled with Jesus saying:  My daughter is grievously vexed with a devil (Matt. 15:22).

c.      In Matthew 17:14-18, a man pleads on behalf of his son who has a devil.  Lord, have mercy on my son:  for he is a lunatic, and sore vexed:  for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water (Matt. 17:15).

d.      The man who dwelt among the tombs (Mark 5:1-17).

1)      He was possessed with an unclean spirit (Mark 5:2), but it is called a devil in Mark 5:15.

2)      He name was legion because there were many demons in him (Mark 5:9).

3)      Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains (Mark 5:3).

e.      The demon in our story caused both blindness and loss of speech.

 

B.     Jesus healed this man.  …and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both saw and spoke.

1.      Jesus was a man who performed many miracles.

2.      His power to perform miracles was due to the fact that He possessed abilities of the Holy Spirit.

a.      Verses

1)      Luke 4:16-19

2)      John 3:34

b.      NOTE:  This point is very pertinent to our study.

 

II.              THE REACTION TO THE MIRACLE (Matt. 12:23-24)

 

A.     The Acclamation (Matt. 12:23)

 

And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the Son of David?

 

1.      Jesus was of the lineage of David (Matt. 1:1).

2.      Here, the acknowledgement was much more than lineage.  They were affirming that Jesus was the promised seed that was to come through David (II Sam. 7:12-13).

 

And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever.

 

B.     The Denunciation (Matt. 12:24)

 

But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of devils.

 

1.      The Pharisees were the strictest sect of the Jews and were Jewish leaders (Matt. 23:1-2).

2.      Instead of attributing Jesus’ miracles to God, they said that He cast them out by “Beelzebub the prince of the devils.”
a.    Notice that these were spoken words.

b.   Notice that these were words spoken against the miracles Jesus performed.

c.      Question:  Who gave Jesus the ability to perform these miracles?  The Holy Ghost

d.      Thus, when the Jews made this statement, they were blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

 

C.     Beelzebub

1.      Strong (954):  Of Chaldee origin (by parody upon [H1174]; dung god; Beelzebul, a name of Satan

2.      Thayer:  “the lord of the house,” a name of Satan, the prince of evil spirits

3.      NOTE:  “Among the Jews it was held, in a manner, for a matter of religion to reproach idols, and to give them odious names” (Lightfoot as quoted by Clarke, e-sword).

4.      “…the title, being applied by the Jews to our blessed Lord, affords the strongest proof of inveteracy (deeply ingrained) of their malice” (e-sword, Clarke).

 

III.            THE DENUNCIATION BY JESUS (Matt. 12:25-37)

 

A.     Division (Matt. 12:25-26)

1.      Physical kingdoms cannot be divided and remain standing (Matt. 12:25).

And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said, unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.

 

2.      Satan’s kingdom cannot be divided and stand (Matt. 12:26).

 

And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?

 

B.     Implications (Matt. 12:27-29)

1.      Implication #1 (Matt. 12:27)

 

And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out?  Therefore they shall be your judges.

 

a.      The children of the Pharisees would be the students that they taught.

b.      They claimed to cast out demons.

c.      They could not cast them out by Satan.  They could only cast them out by the Spirit of God.

d.      Jesus, too, could only cast them out by the Spirit of God.

e.      Thus, their own children would be their judges.

2.      Implication #2 (Matt. 12:28-29)

 

But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come near you.  Or else, how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man?  And then he will spoil his house.

 

a.      If Jesus cast out demons by the Spirit of God, this was evidence that He was the Messiah.

b.      NOTE:  Jesus said He cast out demons “by the Spirit of God.”  When the Pharisees attributed the miracles of Jesus to Satan, they were blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

c.      His miracles had to be real.  He entered into the realm of Satan (demon possession) and bound him (healing the one possessed).

 

C.     Association (Matt. 12:30)

 

He that is not with me is against me, and he that scattereth not with me scattereth abroad.

 

1.      Accepting Jesus is an either-or proposition.

2.      Either one is for Jesus or against Him.  Either one believes He is the Messiah or He is not .

 

D.    Action (Matt. 12:31-32)

 

Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men:  but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.  And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him:  but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

 

1.      The sin

a.      Clarke:  Here the matter is made clear beyond the smallest doubt that the unpardonable sin, as some would term it, is neither less nor more than ascribing the miracles Christ wrought, by the power of God, to the spirit of the devil (e-sword).

b.      Barnes:  …but he that reproaches the divine nature, charging me with being in league with Satan, and blaspheming the power of God manifestly displayed ‘by me,’ can never obtain forgiveness (e-sword).

2.      The sentence

a.      The unpardonable sin

b.      This world or the world to come

1)      Present world and the eternal world

2)      Present age (Mosaic) and the age to come (Christian)

E.     Decision (Matt. 12:33-35)

 

F.     Condemnation (Matt. 12:36-37)

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.     The sin against the Holy Spirit is attributing the miracles of Jesus to the power of the devil.

 

B.     If a religious group claims to acknowledge God and claims what these Jews claimed, they could commit the unpardonable sin also.