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What is 'the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit'?
Answer by Bill Cavender

This sin, called "the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit," by our Lord Jesus in Matthew 12:31-32 and Mark 3:29, is a sin that Jesus said, when one commited it, "is guilty of an eternal sin," (ASV; Mark 3:29), and "it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come," (KJV); Matthew 12:32). Thus, we sometimes speak of "the unpardonable sin." The complete record of the events and circumstances surrounding the uttering of these statements by our Master is found in Matthew 12:22-37; Mark 3:22-30; Luke 11:14-26. (You should read these accounts before proceeding with me in this study.)

1. Jesus had cast a demon (Greek: "daimon" - "a knowing one;" an "evil spirit;" "unclean spirit." In the New Testament it denotes an "evil spirit." The King James text erroneously translates the word "devil" or "devils." This is unfortunate. There is only ONE "devil" (Greek: "diabolos"), called Satan, Beelzebub, the devil, the deceiver, the serpent, the dragon, etc. There are MANY "demons.") out of a man. This demon had caused the man to be both blind and dumb, not seeing nor speaking (Matt. 12:22; Luke 11:14). When the demon was cast out of the man, he could both speak and see.

2. The Jewish religious leaders, Pharisees and scribes, who despised Jesus, ADMITTED this miracle had been done. There stood the man before them, and before the miltitude of people present. But they began to DENY THE POWER by which it was done. They began to argue that the miracle was done by the power of Satan, Beelzebub, the devil, and thus Jesus was in league with, and a confederate of, the devil, Satan!

3. Jesus, in answering their explanation of the miracle, and their charge that He was in collusion with the devil, made three (3) arguments to refute their false accusation and charge:

(1) If their false charge was true, then Satan was divided against himself, his kingdom was divided against itself, Satan would be casting out his own demons who are under his control, would be destroying his own work in afflicting mankind, he would be dividing his kingdom and his family, and his kingdom could not stand - if Satan did such tactics. Satan is too smart to do such things (Matt. 12:24-26; Mark 3:22-26; Luke 11:15-18). (Note: a thought - aside from our question. We often will do what Satan won't do! We, as brethren in Christ, will bite and devour one another, malign and mistreat one another, divide and destroy the kingdom of our Lord, the church, and glory in doing so, in so many instances, doing what Satan does not and would not do to his own. How sad!)

(2) If Jesus cast out demons by Beelzebub, the devil, the prince of demons, then by whom did "their children," Jewish teachers who practiced "exorcism" ("to expel or drive out an evil spirit" - Webster) cast them out? There were certain Jews, called "exorcists" ( Acts 19:13-17), who claimed powers to expel or exorcise evil spirits, demons, from demon-possessed people. These scribes and Pharisees, who were attributing to Jesus the power of the devil to cast out a demon, would have to also attribute the same power to their own "children," their own brethren who claimed to cast out demons (Luke 11:19; Matthew 12:27). Consistency in argumentation demands this conclusion. What applied to one would apply to the other. "What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,' so we oftentimes observe.

(3) BUT this third argument of our Lord against their false accusation is THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER, THE TRUE EXPLANATION. "But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come upon you" (Matt. 12:28; Luke 11:20). The kingdom of God is come upon them in the Person and Presence of its King, the Lord Jesus Christ, their Messiah! He was in the world, God in human form, etablishing His claims by signs, miracles, wonders and words (Hebrews 2:1-4; John 20:30-31, etc.). This was the "preparatory" stage or state of His kingdom, the kingdom of God foretold by the prophets of old, and He was "preparing" for the establishment and existence of His kingdom, beginning in Acts, chapter 2:1-47. (Note: The kingdom of God existed in five (5) different states or stages: (A) When it was "PURPOSED" in the mind of God, from eternity, Ephesians 3:9-12; (B) When it was "PROMISED" thru mother Eve, father Abraham, king David, etc., Genesis 3; Genesis, chapters 12, 15, 22; 2 Samuel, chapter 7, etc.; (C) When it was "PROPHESIED" of through the Old Testament prophets, as David in the Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Hosea, Amos, Zechariah, Malachi, etc.,; (D) When it was "PREPARED" by the coming of, and preaching of, John the baptizer and Jesus the Christ, in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; (E) And in its final and "PERFECTED" state when the gospel of Christ was first preached in its fulness, the terms and conditions of salvation were announed to the world by the Holy-Spirit-endowed apostles of Jesus, and lost men and women were first saved from their sins through their faith in Jesus as God's Son, obeyed the gospel of Christ, and were cleansed by His precious blood (Acts 2:1-47; 8:5, 12; 26-39; 10:1-48; 16:14-15, 25-33; 18:8; 22:16, etc). Jesus was whom He claimed to be, the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:13-19). It is "upon this rock" Jesus built His church, and gave to Peter "the keys of the kingdom of heaven," allowing Peter to first tell both Jews and Gentiles what to do to be saved - the Jews in Acts, chapter 2, and the Gentiles in Acts, chapters 10-11. By God's power, by the Spirit of God, Jesus had cast the demon out of this man who could now see and speak.

Jesus then observed that He had entered the strong man's house, Satan, and was spoiling his goods, overturning Satan's work in the world, by casting out evil spirits, demons, and healing all manner of illnesses and diseases. (Luke 11:21-23; Mark 5:27; Matthew 12:29-30). The "strong man" is Satan, this world of sin is the "strong man's house," and his evil spirts, demons, are the agents used by Satan for his nefarious and malicious work of turning souls, created by God and made in His image, against Him. Jesus is stronger than Beelzebub, Satan, and overcomes his rebellious work each and every time a sinner turns from Satan to Jesus, from sin to righteousness, from unbelief to faith, from disobedience to obedience, from hell to heaven (I John 3:8; 4:4).

The RESULT, CONCLUSION was that Jesus told these religious tyrants and bigots, spiritual blind leaders of spiritually blind followers (Matt. 23:13-39; 15:14), that they blasphemed the Holy Spirit (by whose power Jesus cast out the demon), that they have no forgiveness, but are guilty of an eternal sin ("in danger of eternal damnation"), Mark 3:28-29); " shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world ('aion'), neither in the world ('aion') to come" (Matthew 12:32). "This world," or "aion" ("age or dispensation of time") was the Jewish age, from Moses to Christ, in which "age" Jesus and these Jewish religious leaders were living, but which was fast coming to a close, when He would die on the cross (Matt. 5:17-20; Colossians 2:14-17; Hebrews 1:1-2); "the world to come," "aion," would be the next period of Bible time, "age or dispensation", the gospel age or kingdom of God age, beginning in Acts chapter 2 and lasting until the end of time, until Jesus comes again. We are NOW living in this age, and have been for over 1,900 plus years!

Mark specificly and clearly tells us WHAT the "SIN OF THE BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT" is: "Because they said he hath an unclean spirit (demon)" (Mark 3:30). This sin was commited by people who lived in the lifetime of Jesus; who saw and admitted His miracles (especially the casting out of demons); who said He did this by the power of the devil; and whose lives spanned two ages or dispensations of time (in the Jewish, Mosaic age and in the gospel age). Jesus, who was with them personally, could not help nor save them, and the gospel preached in His name in the coming age would not help their unbelief. Jesus is not on earth anymore; miracles by the Holy Spirit are not being done anymore; there are no people living in any two ages of the world of men anymore (because there are no ages or dispensations after this one is over; time will come to an end when Jesus comes at the last day); and so THIS SIN IS NOT BEING COMMITED ANYMORE - AND CANNOT BE COMMITED since the days that Jesus was on earth doing miracles. REMEMBER what Mark said in 3:30. THAT was the sin!

All manner of sins, blasphemies, and evil speakings can and will be forgiven by our merciful God and Father in heaven (Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-29) , through faith in the sacrifice and blood of Jesus, and obedience from the heart when we repent of our sins and will be baptized into Christ (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-41; 22:16; Romans 6:1-7, 16-18; Galatians 3:26-29, I Peter 3:20-21, etc.). There is no sin now commited by sinful people which cannot be forgiven through faith, and obedience to the gospel (Romans 1:5, 16-17; 16:26). But "the unpardonable sin" was just that - a sin commited by those who said, "He hath a demon."

Next Question - Question #9: What is 'a sin which is not unto death,' and 'a sin which is unto death.' (I John 5:16-17, ASV)?

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