BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT
BY: JONATHAN MITCHELL
SEPTEMBER 19, 2004
I recently shared this with some friends, and thought you all might be interested.
“Because of this [i.e., what He had just said re: those not on His side, those scattering], I am saying to you folks, every mistake (error; sin) and blasphemy will be divorced and sent away (released; left behind) for mankind. Yet the blasphemy pertaining to the Spirit will not be divorced and sent away (or: released; left behind)… but whoever may speak down to (or: down on; down against) the Holy Spirit, it will not be divorced and sent away (released; left behind) for him – neither within this age [the age of the Law] nor within the one about to be [our present age].” (Mat. 12:31-32)
Now note vs. 33-36. In vs. 33, Jesus speaks of them (i.e., “you folks”) “making” the tree one way or the other: beautiful and fine, or rotten. What tree was He speaking of? I suspect He was here referring to the “olive tree” that Paul spoke of, i.e., the people who were supposed to be the tree of life for the world – the Jews of that time. Their leadership had scattered the sheep and spoiled the tree, and they had a blasphemous spirit.
Then vs. 34 classes them as snakes and 35 speaks of the worthless and poor quality things that come from the treasures within the abundance of their heart, and which they speak. What is needed here is a decision about what will be best to change their internal condition. Judgment is His wonderful tool. We should not fear it for ourselves, nor for others. It is a process of making right.
Jesus ends here, in 36 and 37, correlating all this to their words:
“Now I am saying to you folks that every inactive (without an act; unemployed; inoperative; thus: unprofitable) saying, which men (mankind) shall say, they will give back (pay a recompense of) an account (a word) about (or: concerning) it within a day of separation and decision (judging). For from out of your words you will be placed within the way of right relationship (rightwised in fairness and equity; made right), and from out of your words your will be decided down against (condemned by an adverse decision).”
These things, within their heart, were not going to be sent away, divorced from them, nor released from out of them, but were to come to fruition in accordance with how they had made the tree. This spirit of blasphemy – use of unprofitable words – had planted seeds that would come to harvest: they would be judged.
This judgment would be no different than prior judgments which came upon Israel. God has always been merciful, but there come times when mercy must kiss judgment, and God takes action. We see from the history of Israel in the OT how this happened. We see what transpired at the conclusion of that age, in A.D. 70. We see from Paul in Rom. 11:17 that the folks Jesus was speaking to were broken off from the tree (note: it was “some” of the branches). Yet we see that in another age that God is able to graft them back in again (Rom. 11:23).
We are told that Israel did not first enter into the promised-land, under Moses, because faith was not mixed into them: it was something of the heart. The old generation needed to die off, and the new generation was destined to enter the land.
In our present text, these who speak abusively or unprofitably toward the work of the Spirit, or against the spirit of the new being, needing to be processed by way of His wonderful judgments, both in that age, and now in this one. As John has said, it was because of what was within them. They needed the fires of His purging and smelting, as He sat enthroned, purifying the sons of Levi (Mal. 3:2-3). So they remain with this spirit of blasphemy married (joined) to them – it is not yet taken away.
But another question in this passage can be asked re: the term “age.” Ages are of indefinite time, from our perspective. Recall that it could refer to the life of a man. So, the next age, which was then about to be, referred to an unspecified period pertaining to the leadership in Israel, and Paul told us in Rom. 11:23 that “if they should not persistently remain in the lack of faith (in unbelief), they will be grafted in.”
BLASPHEMY AGAINST the HOLY SPIRIT [Jonathan Mitchell] 1