What Is The
Against the Holy Spirit?
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. (KJV)
For nearly two thousand years, Satan and his army
of fallen angels have used a horrible ploy against Christians. Just as
the Devil tempted Jesus by twisting Bible verses, he loves to twist
these two verses and use them against Christians. The word “Satan”
means “The Accuser,"
and he is not called this for nothing! He loves to accuse God’s
people! What better way to sink a Christian into the utter depths of
despair, incapacitate him, and ruin his witness, than to falsely accuse
him of having committed an unpardonable sin that can never be forgiven!
Have you (or someone you care about) fallen into
this snare of Satan? If so, there is only one thing that can set such a
person free. The truth of
John 8:31 Then said Jesus
to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are
ye my disciples indeed; 32 And
ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Obviously, if you do not correctly understand God’s word,
you do not know the truth of it. And if you do not
know the truth of it, you cannot be set free!
The aim of this article is to help you to properly
understand this Bible passage, so that the truth may set you (or someone
you care about) free from Satan's snare.
Must Understand the Context
First, let’s consider the context of these two
verses. In order to properly understand many Bible passages, we must
know the context.
Jesus had just performed an amazing miracle by the power
of the Holy Spirit.
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
A man who was possessed
with a demon was brought to Jesus. He cast the demon out and healed him,
so that he could now both speak and see! What an amazing demonstration
of the power of God!
This was a very plain demonstration of the power of God.
Because of this miracle, the people began to believe in Jesus.
And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of
very important for you to understand that there was no room for doubt
here. This was an obvious manifestation of the power of God. It was
clearly a miracle of God! No one could deny that this miracle was from
God, unless he was a willing liar, who had an evil heart that was
unwilling to believe! The term “Son of David” was a synonym for
Messiah, or Christ. Because of this marvelous miracle, the people were
beginning to recognize that Jesus was the Messiah.
Pharisees wanted to stop the people from believing in Jesus. So they
told a very wicked, evil lie.
But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not
cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
The Pharisees tried to
closely follow the law of Moses. Because of this, they were looked up to
and respected by the people. But many of them had grown to love being
admired and respected more than they loved God! They were not obeying
the law of Moses for God’s sake, but for their own selfish ends. They enjoyed being constantly
complimented and praised for their outward obedience to the law. They
had grown to love the approval of men more than the approval of God. They
wanted to be the center of attention!
Not only that, but many of
the Pharisees followed "fence laws" - laws that they had made
up themselves that were intended to protect them from breaking the
Mosaic laws. Some of these fence laws were very impractical, and so
nit-picky that they defied reason. Nevertheless, people who did not obey
those fence laws were looked down on, even though they had not broken
God's commandments at all. This gave the Pharisees justification to
think that they were better than other people.
Jesus disregarded some of
those fence laws, because they had not come from God. In one instance,
Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath day. Although He did not break the Sabbath
when He did this, he did break their fence laws. Rather than being happy
for the person who had been healed, they were angry with Jesus for
breaking their man-made rules!
Because of these things, the Pharisees refused to place their faith in
Jesus, and even threatened to kick anyone out of the synagogue who
trusted in him. Jesus was a great threat
to them! And now that Jesus
had worked this undeniable miracle - casting out a demon and making a
blind and dumb man both see and speak - it was quite obvious that the
Pharisees were wrong about Jesus.
They already had rejected
Jesus, the source of eternal life. Now, they were desperate to make
people think they were right, and to turn the
spotlight back from Jesus to them. They had already hardened their
hearts by refusing to trust in Jesus. But now some of them may have hardened their hearts beyond repair, and sealed their eternal destiny by
inventing a horrible lie. Or in mercy, Jesus was warning them that they
were coming dangerously close to doing that.
Jesus exposed the falsehood, illogic and hypocrisy of
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?
Satan and his demons know
that they must be united or their kingdom will fall. So they co-operate.
Even the wicked co-operate when it is in their self-interest.
Satan would never really
cast out Satan. He might “fake” casting himself out, only to get an
even more powerful hold on someone. But this man had been completely set
free, healed and delivered.
And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children
cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.
The hypocrisy of the
Pharisees who invented this lie was obvious, since even some of their
young men practiced casting out demons by calling upon the help of God.
But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom
of God is come unto you.
Here, Jesus made the
hypocrisy and poor reasoning of these Pharisees even plainer. No kingdom
permits territory to be taken from it against its will; an opposing
kingdom must take it by force. In all of Creation, there are ultimately
only two kingdoms; God’s and Satan’s. When demons are cast out by
the Spirit of God among any group of people, Satan’s kingdom has lost
territory. This can only be because an opposing kingdom, God’s
kingdom, has taken away that territory by force. Satan’s kingdom has
decreased; God’s has increased!
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
Satan is a strong man. No
strong man will willingly allow good things to be taken from his house.
He must be tied up first. The Spirit of God is much stronger than Satan.
He can easily tie up the Accuser.
After a demon has been
cast out, that house must not be left empty, or the demon can come back.
If it does, it will invite other demons more wicked than itself to also
come, to help insure that it will not be cast out again. (Matthew 12:45)
For this reason, a person
who has just been delivered from demon possession should be immediately
encouraged to place his or her trust in Jesus.
Then the Spirit of God will make that person His home.
When the Triune God (The
Father, Son and Holy Spirit), dwells in a house, that house is secure,
for Satan cannot bind up God and spoil his house. If Satan could do
this, then Jesus would not have uttered the following words in John
10:27-29: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow
me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish,
neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave
them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my
And so Jesus thoroughly
exposed the lie that these Pharisees were telling. That man could not
have been healed and had the demon cast out of him unless Satan had been
bound and his house spoiled.
He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not
with me scattereth abroad.
These Pharisees were not
with Jesus, because they loved the praise of men more than the praise of
God. Therefore, they were against Jesus. Because they did not gather
with Him, they were being scattered abroad, like lost goats in the
wilderness, where the wolves and lions could take their fill of them.
Now that you know the
context of Jesus’ words in Matthew 12:31-32, you will be better able
to understand the meaning of them.
The Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit Is:
Slander Purposely Directed Towards the Holy Spirit
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.
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
The word “blasphemy”
in this verse is a transliteration of the Greek noun blasphemia
When we say that a word is transliterated, that means it is
carried directly over into English rather than translated. According to
BDAG, one of the most highly regarded Greek lexicons, blasphemia
means, quite simply, " to speak in a disrespectful way that
demeans, denigrates, maligns." If this word were translated, a good English
phrase for it
would be injurious speaking, as
versions render it. It is
something spoken to others with the purposeful intent and desire to
unjustly injure someone or to injure that person's reputation.
Notice, also, that Jesus
referred to this as “the”
blasphemy. His use of the word “the” indicates that he has a
particular kind of blasphemy in mind. The nature of it is made clear in
Lu 12:10 and Mark 3:29:
Lu 12:10 And whosoever
shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but
unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be
Mark 3:29 But he that
shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in
danger of eternal damnation:
Although in Matthew
12:31, the word “against” is in italics, indicating that it is not
in the Greek, it is clearly implied, because the word is
explicitly stated in the Greek in the parallel verses, Luke 12:10 and Mark 3:39. The word
translated “against” in these verses is the Greek word eis,
which in this context means “directed towards.” In other words,
“the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” is spoken (not merely
thought) reviling, abusive speech purposely, knowingly, and intentionally directed towards
the Holy Spirit. That is exactly what these Pharisees were in
danger of doing, or perhaps were even doing.
Jesus used the word eis,
which means "directed towards" for a reason. It is
because God is a discerner of the
thoughts and intents of the heart. As a merciful, just and forgiving
God, He takes our intent into consideration when judging us.
Notice that Jesus also
said, "whosoever speaketh against".
He did not say, "whosoever thinketh against." The kind
of blasphemy Jesus was taking about must be spoken, and spoken
with purposeful, evil intent directed towards the Holy Spirit.
is an example of a kind of blasphemy, and it is what these Pharisees
were engaging in.
They were trying to damage the Holy Spirit's reputation in the minds of
others, after He had worked an undeniable miracle. This means that they
had dangerously hardened their hearts. When a person hardens his heart beyond
return, it will be impossible for him to repent and confess his sins.
That is why, in The People's New Testament Commentary,
Moule said, "For such a sin no forgiveness is possible, for none is desired."
A person who has
committed this sin will have a heart that has turned to stone. He will
feel no remorse for the sin, and consequently, will not bother to
confess it to God and ask for forgiveness. If he could confess, he could
find forgiveness, because 1 John 1:9 says:
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our
sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
And so, it is not because God is cruel and
unloving that this sin cannot be forgiven. It is because of the hardened
the person's heart who utters the blasphemy.
At this point, many
people will think, "I know that Jesus said whoever speaks a
word against the Holy Spirit has committed this sin. But didn't Jesus
also say, "If a man looks on a woman to lust after her in his heart,
he has committed adultery with her in his heart"? Doesn't this mean
that if I think a word against the Holy Spirit, I have committed this
sin in my heart? No, not if you thought it involuntarily or unwillingly.
There is a difference between a man lusting after a woman and
someone unwillingly or involuntarily thinking an unwelcome thought about the Holy Spirit. You see,
a man who lusts after a woman wants her. He would hop in bed with
her if he could. By contrast, hopefully you do not, in your spirit, want to slander the Holy Spirit to others.
Hopefully, you have not made yourself a sworn enemy of Jesus, as those Pharisees did. If
not, then your brain
is just malfunctioning (probably due to a medical condition known as OCD),
and causing you to think things that you do not, in your spirit, want to
think. Lusting after a woman is a willing, voluntary act. An OCD episode
is an involuntary thing. There is a very, very big difference between
You see, blasphemy
against the Holy Spirit is a final step in permanently rejecting God. It can only
be done by someone who not only rejects Jesus, but has made himself an open enemy of
Jesus to such an extent that he intentionally and purposely speaks against the Holy Spirit
for the purpose of injuring or discrediting Him. In order to direct such words
against the Holy Spirit, a person must be aware of what he is doing.
Like the Pharisees in this passage, he must undeniably know that God is
real and yet still intentionally choose to speak injurious words
against the Holy Spirit. Anything short of this is not the blasphemy
against the Holy Spirit!
To summarize, The Blasphemy Against The Holy Spirit is a final, ultimate rejection of Jesus, expressed by knowing,
intentional, reviling slander spoken out loud to others, for the purpose of
abusing or discrediting the Holy Spirit in their minds. Since God judges the thoughts
and intents of our hearts, involuntary OCD thoughts do not fall into
this category. Nor do the involuntary words spoken by sufferers of
Tourette's syndrome fall into it. Why would God, who is just,
condemn you for something you could not help, that is due to an illness? The blasphemy
the Holy Spirit must be spoken willfully and purposefully
against the Holy Spirit.
What The Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit is Not
Many people do not
understand exactly what the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit actually
This has led to much confusion, false condemnation and misplaced guilt.
But now that we understand what it really is, we can make following observations concerning
It is not disbelieving that the spiritual gifts of tongues is still in operation, or
ignorantly ascribing tongues to the devil.
It is not something that is only thought in the mind. By
its very nature, reviling slander must be spoken or written with purposeful
intent. Our Lord knows that
sometimes people, especially those with mental ailments such as
obsessive –compulsive disorder, or those under great stress or fear,
have difficulty controlling their thoughts. This may be why Jesus
clearly associated this sin with intentionally speaking
against the Holy Spirit:
Mt 12:32 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.
It is possible that someone with purposeful malice in his or her heart
towards God could intentionally think something reviling against the Holy
Spirit. That would be a very serious sin, but it is not what Jesus was talking
must be purposely communicated to other people.
Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is
impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the
heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have
tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If
they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they
crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open
There are those who have
been enlightened, but still choose to reject Jesus. Like those who
blaspheme the Holy Spirit, such people know what they are doing when
they walk away from Jesus. They
have tasted of God’s heavenly gift. But although they tasted, they
turned away and did not want to eat the heavenly meal.
When people like this fall away, they cannot be renewed to
repentance, for they have knowingly and willingly rejected God. But if
you are repentant for your sins, that is a sure sign that you have not
fallen away. You can still be forgiven!
To confess means to admit
or agree with, to consent with God about the terribleness of your sin. If
you had blasphemed the Holy Spirit, it would hardly bother you if at
all. You would not be that inclined to admit that you have anything
wrong at all. But if you have not done this awful sin, you will be
remorseful, you will admit that what you have done is wrong, and you
will beg God to forgive you. If you can still confess and ask God for
forgiveness, He WILL
to forgive your sins, and to CLEANSE
YOU FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, or
God’s word is not true!
impulsively spoke something you now regret, was it purposely directed
against the Holy Spirit with the intent of injuring Him? In other words,
was it a lie spoken with malice towards the Holy Spirit, or purposely
intended to make other people think something
damaging and untrue about God's Holy Spirit? If you are able to confess it and truly repent of
it, then you did not do it and can be
forgiven. Was it a knee-jerk
reaction, like the instinctive snapping of a cornered dog, spoken
impulsively when under great stress, temptation or fear, but without the
intent of maliciously abusing the Holy Spirit? Again, if you are able to repent and confess,
you too can find forgiveness.
At this point, if you suffer
from OCD, you may be wondering, "On the one hand, you say that if a
person has committed the unpardonable sin, it will not bother him much. But on
the other hand, you say that I should not be bothered by OCD-related
First of all, remember that
the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is injurious speech spoken purposely
and intentionally against the Holy Spirit. That is not the
same as OCD-related thoughts.
Secondly, if you suffer from OCD, unwanted thoughts are
involuntary, so you are not to blame for them. Would it be fair to accuse an old man with an uncontrollable twitch in his right eye for winking at a
pretty young girl, when he did not intend to do it or want to do it?
Of course not! He did not mean to do it, so he did not sin. You do not need to confess
thoughts either, since you do not want to
be thinking them. In your heart, you have no ill will or malice towards
the Holy Spirit. You do not want to injure Him. So those thoughts are just
symptoms of a malfunctioning brain, and not what you, in your heart, want
to do. So it is not you doing it, but the OCD. Remember that God is a
judge of our motives and of our intent. He is just and fair! He will never
condemn anyone unjustly or unfairly.
However, if you ever know
that you have thought them on purpose, you should confess them. But do it
silently, in your mind, in a way that no one else can tell what you are
doing. If people see or hear you constantly confessing, they
might not understand.