MATTHEW 12:22-33

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

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

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

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:

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

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

28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

29 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.

30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

31 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.

32 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.

33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by [his] fruit.

The Pharisees, ever jealous of Jesus' popularity with the people who considered Him to be the promised Messiah and no doubt stinging from His continued revealing of their hypocrisy, tried to attribute the power He possessed to the disgusting demon god of the long destroyed Philistine city of Ekron, a demonic entity known as Beelzebub, the Lord of the Flies, or the dung god. Definitely an "unclean spirit"!

Jesus brought up an important series of points in his response. First, he pointed out that the Pharisees' accusations were not good military strategy. Why would Satan cast out his own demons, thereby weakening his force of human slaves? (There have been cases where Satanists have appeared to cast demons out of people, but the demon merely withdraws deep into the person and returns later. This is done to deceive Christians, making them think the Satanist is a righteous Christian). But Satan does not cast out his own demons.

Secondly, in verse 27 Jesus pointed out another fallacy in the Pharisees' accusation, namely that Satan's power is limited, and he can only be in one place at a time. If Satan was working through Jesus, he could not work through their children too. Only God has the power to be everywhere, nor is His power limited.

Thirdly, He explained in verse 29 that only One greater than Satan can cast a demon out of a man, and since He proved that only the Spirit of God can do so, therefore it was the Holy Spirit within Him that did the work.

Now comes the issue of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

There are three ways of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

1. Calling the Holy Spirit a demon or Satan.

2. Calling the power and work of the Holy Spirit, the power of Satan.

3. Calling the works of Satan, the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Pharisees performed the first two, speaking out of ignorance, therefore Jesus warned them concerning their actions. And once they had been warned, they were responsible for their actions from then on. Just as God held Adam and Eve responsible for the knowledge of good and evil they received in the Garden of Eden, if the Pharisees continued to accuse Jesus of working miracles through the power of Satan, they would with full knowledge of their actions commit a sin that would never be forgiven.

And here is the key to the whole issue.

If you have previously blasphemed the Holy Spirit without understanding what you were doing, if you repent you will be forgiven. Just as the Pharisees, if they repented were also forgiven. However, if you continue to do so willingly or fail to repent after receiving the knowledge of the truth, you also will commit a sin that will never be forgiven.

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit must be a willful act with full knowledge of what you are doing for it to become the unpardonable sin.

Satan will often put curses against the Holy Spirit in the minds of Christians to try to get them to sin or to try to convince them that they have blasphemed the Holy Spirit, but Christians will recognize this immediately, and will reject such thoughts.

I have had several people write to me who had accepted Jesus, who were terrified because they had blasphemed the Holy Spirit before they were saved, either out of hatred of God, or because they were into Satanism and the demonic spirit(s) controlling them had caused them do so.

But the fact that they had accepted Jesus into their hearts, and had found out the truth about blaspheming the Holy Spirit says much.

First, Jesus had come into their hearts and had saved them, showing that He had accepted them and had forgiven them of their sins. One person, a former Satanist, after accepting Jesus told me in wonder, "I never knew....... could never have known...... that there could be such peace." Jesus had forgiven him and had cleansed him of his sins.

Secondly, they had sinned out of ignorance, and God had understood that fact. And when they found out the truth, they had repented of what they had done, unlike many of the Pharisees, therefore God had forgiven them of their sinning in ignorance. But they also understood that they were now responsible before God for any future actions of this sort.

The sum of the issue is explained vividly and clearly in Hebrews;

HEBREWS 10:26-31

26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

31 [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

This is an important issue for new Christians, especially those who may have formerly been in the Occult or Satanism. It is also important for people considering becoming Christians. They may have previously blasphemed the Holy Spirit, and feel they cannot make it to Heaven because they have done so in the past, and feel they have no hope.

God is abundant in mercy and forgiveness, and he will forgive blasphemy against the Holy Spirit done in ignorance, provided the person repents once they have received the knowledge of the truth.

But they also need to know that once they receive this knowledge, they are responsible before God for that knowledge, and if they willfully blaspheme again they will not be forgiven even if they repent.

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