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The Unpardonable Sin

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  • The Unpardonable Sin

    The preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom by John the Baptist and the Messiah laid upon the chosen nation, Israel, the demand for a decision. This demand was openly present in all the early preaching of the Kingdom Gospel. The imperatives were “repent,” “believe,” “receive,” “confess,” and “follow.” No room was left for neutrality: those who heard the message must either be for the Messiah King or against Him (Matt 12:30).

    It was the religious leaders of Israel who rejected Jesus’ Messiahship, and they would ultimately lead the nation into the same rejection. The basis of the rejection was demon possession, for the leaders claimed that the source of the Messiah’s power came from “the prince of demons” (12:24).

    Rejecting Jesus as the Messiah on the basis of His being demon possessed led to His charge that the leadership of Israel, and by extension the entire nation, was now guilty of the “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (12:31).

    Dr. Alva McClain gives a seven-point elaboration of the in his “The Greatness of the Kingdom”: First, the blasphemy committed was definitely related to the Kingdom of God, for that is the concept running through the context. Second, the blasphemy committed involved a question regarding the regal credentials of Christ. Rejecting Him as the Messiah also meant rejecting Him as King, and, therefore, a rejection of the Kingdom offer.

    Third, this specific sin was declared a blasphemy against the Spirit of God. Since the miracles of Jesus were by the power of the Holy Spirit and through these miracles the Holy Spirit gave testimony to the Messiahship of Jesus, to ascribe these miracles as resulting from the power of Satan was to speak against the Holy Spirit.

    Fourth, this was declared to be an unpardonable sin (12:32). Since God the Father sent the Messiah to be the Savior of men, in the Messiah all sin can be forgiven without limitation. Therefore, the sinful resistance of the Holy Spirit, Who testifies as to Jesus’ Messiahship, puts the rejecter outside the Messiah. Since it is morally impossible for God to forgive sin outside Christ, this rendered the sin unpardonable.

    Fifth, the specific ones involved in this sin against the Holy Spirit were the religious leaders of Israel. Sixth, the responsibility for this sin is not limited to the leaders, it also extended to the whole nation of Israel, for they ultimately followed their leaders in the rejection. This corporate responsibility of the people of Israel is clear from the several uses of the term “generation” in the same context (12:39-45).

    By the same token, the responsibility for the unpardonable sin is limited to the Jewish generation of Jesus’ day and is not extended to subsequent Jewish generations. Seventh, the specific penalty for this sin was a national judgment, and immediate judgement within the history of that particular generation. For that generation it was the judgment of A.D. 70 when within the time span of a single generation, judgment fell in the destruction of Jerusalem and the world-wide dispersion of the nation.

    Nevertheless, while an entire generation has lost its historical opportunity, and with dire results (other than Spirit blasphemy—NC) for many succeeding generations, the nation of Israel itself could not irrecoverably lose those ancient rights (Kingdom promises to subsequent Jews outside the blasphemy sin—NC) which had been guaranteed by the God of Israel.
    - Unknown

  • #2
    Originally posted by NetChaplain View Post
    It was the religious leaders of Israel who rejected Jesus’ Messiahship, and they would ultimately lead the nation into the same rejection. The basis of the rejection was demon possession, for the leaders claimed that the source of the Messiah’s power came from “the prince of demons” (12:24).
    I tend to stop reading anything that starts out with cowardly and dishonest Political Correctness. One such example claiming biblical criticism of Jews is aimed at "religious leaders". Some modern translations, like the NIV, even add the word "leaders" into a number of places to change the meaning of scripture. The Bible actually has words it uses when it means religious leaders, and those words aren't used in Matthew 12. Mathew 12:24 identifies "Pharisees" not "leaders". Saying "Pharisees", a religious movement, is like saying "Catholics". E.g. Catholics pray to Mary, not just Catholic leaders. In v39, in response to Scribes and Pharisees asking Jesus for a sign, Jesus replied that an evil and adulterous generation will get just one sign. "Generation" isn't code for leaders, but rather means the people as a whole at that time.

    The Pharisees accused Jesus of using demonic power.

    Jesus spoke in public and there's no reason to think these particular Pharisees were leaders. Leaders were less likely to engage in street debates, even if for no other reason there are relatively few of them. But, also, because they would likely think that arguing in the street is beneath them. Regardless, the Bible doesn't identify these Pharisees as leaders, but simply as Pharisees. Therefor, it is appropriate to hold these false charges against Pharisees in general.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Cornelius View Post

      I tend to stop reading anything that starts out with cowardly and dishonest Political Correctness. One such example claiming biblical criticism of Jews is aimed at "religious leaders". Some modern translations, like the NIV, even add the word "leaders" into a number of places to change the meaning of scripture. The Bible actually has words it uses when it means religious leaders, and those words aren't used in Matthew 12. Mathew 12:24 identifies "Pharisees" not "leaders". Saying "Pharisees", a religious movement, is like saying "Catholics". E.g. Catholics pray to Mary, not just Catholic leaders. In v39, in response to Scribes and Pharisees asking Jesus for a sign, Jesus replied that an evil and adulterous generation will get just one sign. "Generation" isn't code for leaders, but rather means the people as a whole at that time.

      The Pharisees accused Jesus of using demonic power.

      Jesus spoke in public and there's no reason to think these particular Pharisees were leaders. Leaders were less likely to engage in street debates, even if for no other reason there are relatively few of them. But, also, because they would likely think that arguing in the street is beneath them. Regardless, the Bible doesn't identify these Pharisees as leaders, but simply as Pharisees. Therefor, it is appropriate to hold these false charges against Pharisees in general.
      Hi C - Thanks for your reply and input, with which I mostly agree, but concerning the influence of the Pharisees, they effected the majority of the Jewish nation with their doctrines, hence the term "generation" (Matt 12:39, 41, 42, 45, 16:4, 17:17, 33:36).

      Spirit blasphemy was a particular sin (declaring the Spirit of God as after the devil - Matt 12:24) at a particular time, i.e. "the present generation," by a particular people (Jewish religious leaders and those they affected). I do not believe this sin, and esp. in this magnitude has been repeated, because it rose from false teachers opposing Christ and the Holy Spirit during Their time when They began healing people at the great magnitude They were working, which was a first occurrence in life at that level.

      "Pharisaic beliefs became the foundational, liturgical and ritualistic basis for Rabbinic Judaism (the term 'Judaism' today almost always refers to Rabbinic Judaism). Pharisees - Wikipedia

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      • #4
        The one thing that can't be forgiven is rejecting Christ. That means that rejecting Christ is the unpardonable sin, or at least it's the manifestation of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

        Jesus call his generation of Jews an evil generation. But, I don't know if it was much worse than many other generations. The OT is pretty clear that the only reason God didn't destroy Judea before the time of Christ for the sake of delivering the Messiah. The New Testament charges previous generations of Jews with killing the prophets, which suggests that t they would have well killed Jesus if Jesus came into the world in a previous generation.
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        • #5
          I believe Spirit blasphemy can only be committed by unbelievers (during Christ's time), and no sin is forgivable outside of Christ.
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