Understanding the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

"Promising a Paraclete" by Johann Michael Rottmayr at the Karlskirche, Vienna  (Domain)

“Promising a Paraclete” by Johann Michael Rottmayr at the Karlskirche Vienna (CC-PD)

What is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? Why is it unpardonable? And is it possible for you and me to be guilty of it? Let’s discuss important details of Matthew 12:22-31.

I

After Jesus heals a blind and mute man by driving out a demon, the Pharisees scoff that he could perform such wonders only because he himself is possessed by Satan. This is the context of the idea: the works of Jesus attributed to Satan. What is revealing is the religious leaders never deny the extraordinary things Jesus does. His signs and wonders were real; even in the Talmud Jesus is called a “sorcerer,” a charge contributing to his execution. Yet the religious establishment considered his teaching and works to be a threat to traditional Jewish practice.

II

Jesus states, “Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man will be forgiven” (v. 32). There was nothing blasphemous about misunderstanding Jesus, or bad-mouthing or thinking evil of him. Otherwise, the disciples were in trouble and Saul of Tarsus would have never been saved. Being the eccentric figure he was, Jesus seized the attention of everyone and forced them to make a decision about his claims. As it turned out, he convinced many but just as many proved to be loyalists to the Establishment.

III

The attitude of the scribes and Pharisees is what Jesus challenges. A person today can mock and deride God and not approach the blasphemy concept due to their ignorance, misconceptions, and other. Paul testifies to this in 1 Tim. 1:13: “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.” Yet that person would be closer to the sin should their attitude be malicious and evil, which is the case with the religious leaders.

The attitude of the heart is key. Jesus says something poignant regarding this: “But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you” (v. 28). Jesus wasn’t concerned about people speaking against him; the concern was speaking against the agency by which he worked, the Holy Spirit. Jesus knew everyone wasn’t convinced about him. So he allows them the right to make up their minds, yet he implores their trust simply on the character of the works he did (John 10:37-38; 14:10-11). Based on this, there was no reason not to believe in him.

IV

Let’s summarize this scenario. The religious leaders witnessed the miracles of Jesus up close like others did. Many of them talked with Jesus publicly and privately; they even shared meals with him. Yet the relationship was largely adversarial because Jesus threatened their political hold on Judea. Consequently, they despised him and lied on him and murderously plotted against him. And despite knowing in their hearts that Jesus did good things that were indeed from God, they reviled him and attributed his miracles to Satan.

V

Blasphemy against the Spirit is not possible today in the context in which Jesus spoke. We cannot attribute Jesus’s works to Satan in the firsthand way an observer of his earthly ministry did. The seriousness of the offense was that those who beheld the works of Jesus and chose to slander them discredited Jesus as Messiah; and he deemed it unforgivable. Why? Because the “Spirit of the Lord” was upon him (Luke 4:18) for that moment in time. One might reject Jesus today and die eternally but not blaspheme the Spirit the way a first-century onlooker could have.

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15 thoughts on “Understanding the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

  1. “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. ” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:32)

    There was the First Aion Age when Jesus was walking the Earth and arguing with the Pharisees, which corresponds to when Jesus said “This age” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:31-32)

    There was the Second Aion Age when Jesus was dead in the tomb, which corresponds to when Jesus said “the age to come” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:31-32)

    There is a the Third Aion Age when Jesus was resurrected alive again and also is the Age when Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit is forgiven and is also the age that we are in now. This age goes on for eternity.

    Thus ALL GO TO HEAVEN and nothing changed about grace.
    Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the term word for unbelief.
    ALL GO TO HEAVEN BECAUSE unbelief is forgiven.

    A Time in the Life of Jesus is an Age because Jesus is God and is that important.

    “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. ” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:32)

    Matthew 12:32 is when Jesus canceled the Old Code of the law found in Matthew 12:31.

    “And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:31)

    “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. ” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:32)

    In the Third age blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is forgiven along with all sins.

    Jesus died for You You will go to heaven.

    • Not sure what spiritual philosophy you believe, but it is clearly not Christian. Where in the Christian context (or in the Bible) do we surmise your premise that “a time in the life of Jesus is an age because Jesus is God and is that important”? Anyway, thanks for reading.

  2. blasphemy of the Holy Ghost: the definition of blasphemy is to hold sacrilegious or otherwise disrespectful regard towards something sacred. you can blast from the Holy Ghost, I know this. I was saved, but now I am damned eternally… all because I was under the influence while thinking about ideas for my story. I have blasphemed the spirit, examination awaits me. My dreams remind me, I live a cursed life, no love, no true friends… even my family creep away, and they don’t know, I still consider killing myself and going to hell immediately, but I want to do some good before I burn eternally, I still repent,but when I am judged… I will shout. I have blasphemed the spirit, cast me into the fire. I fear my examination, but some day, I will accept my fate. I think I am going insane, I will not go to heaven, I will not get my crown, sword, and shield, I will not be given a soul mate, the thing I’ve always wanted. I am doomed! Anyone who thinks the Holy ghost cannot be blasphemed is a fool, woe to anyone who disrespects the spirit, you will burn for it! God will become deaf to your prayers unless you just pray for others, you will lose more than you gain, you will hurt like I do, always in pain… my soul constantly screams, and in my dreams I sometimes hear my voice screaming in agony, I prayed hard in church, tears pouring down my face, stuttering in fear,but the spirit wouldn’t come into me! I am doomed !

    • Daniel, I’m not sure whether you are serious or not; however, I will take you seriously. So I encourage you to simply abandon those ideas because they are not true. How did you arrive at them? Your view of God is off. Why is he so judgmental and vengeful? Sure, the Spirit can be sinned against, egregiously so; but in the context in which Christ spoke he cannot.

      Receive the love of God. Accept your new identity in Christ and pursue the fruit of worship to God in your life. There is NO reason why you cannot be saved. If you wish to speak further about this, press the Contact tab and write me personally. Give me a few days, but I promise I’ll respond. Cheers!

  3. Hi Mike! I read this post twice because it covers such a complex subject. At first I wanted to disagree with your statement that “blasphemy against the Spirit is not possible today,” but I didn’t pay enough attention to “in the context in which Jesus spoke.” You are saying that the blasphemy of the religious leaders was directly connected to how they related to Jesus, I believe. So no, we obviously can’t blaspheme in the same way today, because Jesus is not physically among us. But I’m glad you made the point that we still can commit blasphemy by shutting out the Holy Spirit–and eternally lose our souls. The way a person would commit that sin today would just be different…like continually shutting off our “conscience”–or that still, small voice. Do I have you right? And do you agree?

    • Hi Lindsey! We’re on the same page. I read your comment and thought of Jesus’s encounter with the Samaritan woman: “The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am he.'” Jesus effectually said the same thing, looking into the faces of those who witnessed his wonders; however, many of them, including the religious leaders, saw and understood them but chose to reject them. The Holy Spirit rested on Christ to validate him as Messiah; but not only was Jesus spurned, the Spirit himself was slandered, his works were attributed to the Devil. So in that way, blasphemy can never occur again.

      You said, “…because Jesus is not physically among us”–and that’s a big point. It’s one thing to read of Jesus’s miracles and believe them (or not); but it’s a different thing to actually see someone raised from the dead, watch him command a sickness, or create food when there was none and then say it’s the work of Satan. (And all the miracles we don’t know about!) Where does a person’s heart have to be to continually deny that?

      Thus, we see how proud, evil, bent on political control, etc., the religious leaders were, knowing within themselves that only God could do those things. Jesus did what he did to help people and show them the Father, so his motives were pure. If he wished to use his powers to take over the society, I suppose he could’ve done that; and certainly the leaders would have loved him had he used his abilities to drive out Rome. But this wasn’t his purpose with his good works.

      I see a frightening picture of the religious leaders in these verses; and the little we know of these factions, including archaeological finds, proves their wealth and clamp on Judea. Yet some of them, like Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, Simon the Leper, actually liked Jesus and turned to him; and there were others because Act 6:7 tells us that following Jesus’s ascension, many of the priests turned to the Christian faith.

      I think we can still blaspheme the Spirit, in ignorance and with malice. The dialogue below between Mel and I lends insight on the condition of people who could be said to scorn God with intransigence. Yet there is no sin that is unforgivable other than to have died without Christ in the heart, very much a blasphemy of the Spirit–not that we attribute the works of God to Satan, but we reject the Spirit’s agency to redeem our souls.

      So I agree with you that there is a strong correlation with the sin Jesus mentions and that people can bring themselves to that brink. Paul speaks of this kind at the start of 1 Tim. 4 and describes them as having “seared consciences.” Still, we must appreciate the context of these verses (Christ’s physical presence, his Messiah-ship, Satanic ascription) because it is slightly different, momentous, and acute. Thank God we can pray for resisting hearts, although not all will change.

      • Mike, what a deep “think” you’ve given this subject! Yes, it is frightening to look at the reaction and actions of the religious leaders (the majority of them), in light of all the miracles they saw Jesus perform–and the clear evidence of who he was. Indeed, their behavior tells us their hearts were closed to the Spirit. It’s so sad to think that with Jesus RIGHT THERE in front of them, they didn’t “get it,” and they lost their salvation. This almost seems like a more egregious form of the unpardonable sin than that which we could commit today–but even today it’s a scary thing. I think a person gets to the brink by repeated, continuous choices to shut the Spirit out, the “searing of the conscience,” as you brought out. Whichever context we are talking about, it is a repeated denial of the evidence that is in front of a person, whether that was Jesus on earth (for the religious leaders) or anything else in this day and age. Thanks for the good discussion!

        • No, thank you! I really enjoyed this last comment of yours. You’re right: it was egregious sin that their hearts were so staunch in the face of God himself. We playfully say, “If I could meet God, this is what I’d tell him.” Well the NT shows us how people really did. Further, I don’t think most of us want an encounter with God in all his array, the way we conceive it. In the end we agree: the sin continues.

  4. Interesting point here about the first-hand context. I’ve known people over the years who thought they might’ve lost their salvation because of some sin they did blasphemed the Holy Spirit, which is a lie from the enemy. It’s trying to get us to stand on our own merit. I believe that what Jesus is talking about here is similar to what the writer of Hebrews was talking about (Heb.6:4-6). If we deny God’s agency, the Holy Spirit, to make us a new creation, we cannot be forgiven. Because we’re rejecting the free gift of the Holy Spirit’s work that cleanses us and makes us right with God. In effect, we reject the grace of God that empowers us to live the Christian life. We’re basically rejecting the New Covenant!

    Great post, Mike. it’s an important subject to bring up, to free people from unnecessary condemnation. Blessings.

    • Love the insight! First, if you think you may have committed an unpardonable sin, you haven’t because there really isn’t one besides passing on without faith in Christ. But I’m so glad you bring up Heb. 6, and I think you’re so right about it. I used to wrestle with those verses and the Reformed tradition always using them to refute the Arminian position of one being able to walk away from God. They use it to backtrack and incredulously claim, “Well that person wasn’t truly saved after all.” But I found the illumination of Heb. 6:4-6 just a few chapters over in Heb. 10:26-31. And it’s message is clear: The sacrifice has been paid. But if you insist on making yourself God’s enemy, all you can expect is his wrath; and you will be lost. Instead, be reconciled to God. It would seem that the religious leaders would have rejoiced for the message, plainly evident to them in Jesus. Again, there was no reason for them not to believe. Great comment, Mel…thanks.

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