From Jim McGuiggan... Blasphemy of the Spirit

Blasphemy of the Spirit

I think Matthew 12:22-32 (and parallels) is quite a bit more complicated than a matter of  non-repentance though that is part of the picture. I think the crime is a peculiarly Jewish one because they experienced Jesus in his earthly ministry and his ministry in and as the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was always at work in the Lord Jesus [see Acts 10:37-38] but his glorification and exaltation the Holy Spirit  becomes Jesus' peculiar representative and witness [see Acts 2:33 and elsewhere]. And what you make of this somewhat repetitive piece.

1. Jesus makes a distinction between sin against him as "the Son of Man" and sin against the Spirit.

2. If it were simply a question of non-repentance then the distinction would not be a valid one.

3. If they remained non-repentant they could not be forgiven when they sin against either.

4. I'm sure we're dealing with two-phases of the redeeming work of God.

5. The two are: the earthly ministry of Jesus and his ministry in the new age (the eternal age) when the Spirit does his work in presenting the exalted and glorified Jesus to them (and to us).

6. For them to reject Jesus during his earthly ministry there was the possibility that they could be forgiven during the age of the Spirit, which was the age to come (Acts 2:23, 33-38 and Hebrews 2:5).

7. Reject Jesus when he comes in and through and as the Holy Spirit and there is no other manifestation of Jesus to come.

8. The era of "the flesh" ended when Jesus died in and to the flesh and the era of the Spirit began when as the exalted Lord Jesus sends and comes in the Holy Spirit to indwell them. Be sure to see 1 Peter 3:18 and Romans 1:3. When they sinned in the new age they sinned during the final age in which they can find forgiveness—that is, in the age when the Holy Spirit represents the Savior

9. In this text [Matthew 12:22-32] "this world" is the era of "the flesh" during which Jesus carries out his redeeming work in "the body of his flesh" (compare Ephesians 2:15) and "the world to come" is when he carries out his redeeming work in and through the Spirit (see texts below).
   The passage seems to suggest that blaspheming the Spirit is worse than blaspheming Jesus, since one is forgivable and the other isn’t. But if both Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are both part of the Godhead why would one sin be regarded worse than the other?
   Is it because the Son of Man is merely human and that we can be forgiven for blaspheming a human but not for blaspheming deity? Probably not. Jesus made it clear that when we dishonor him we dishonor the Father. It isn’t hard to find Israel (and other nations) attributing God’s righteous work to their gods or Israel’s own wisdom. Nor is it difficult to find Israel and the nations saying evil things of God (Assyria did but Jonah says they were forgiven when they repented). Nor is it difficult to find Israel attributing the Spirit’s work in the prophets to some vile source. [You'll remember the "golden calf" incident when Israel said, "Here is your God, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt"—Exodus 32:4 when in fact it was the Holy Spirit that led them through the wilderness to Canaan—Isaiah 63:7, 10-11, 14.]
   Maybe it’s not a question of “worse” and maybe it’s not a question of humanity or divinity. My judgment is that it has to do with the nature of God’s revelation of himself and his purposes. I don’t think the big issue is in the word “blaspheme". I don’t think attributing Christ’s miracles to a satanic source is the peculiar way to blaspheme the Spirit.
   Once more, here’s what I think we're dealing with. There are two phases of God's redeeming work in Jesus. The first phase is what Jesus did during his "earthly ministry" in the body of his flesh and the second phase is what is accomplished in his present post-resurrection and glorified state when he presents himself to the world in and through the Holy Spirit.
   To redeem the world and bring it life God came in and as Jesus Christ, who was born of a woman and under the Torah. Like the rest of his people (and humanity) he was made in the likeness of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3, John 1:14 and Galatians 4:4) though, of course, he lived in positive, sinless holiness to the Holy Father. But that was the initial phase of God’s self-unveiling in Jesus Christ--in flesh, in Jewish flesh. In the purpose of God and to bring the world to glory he must die to the flesh so in his fleshly body he died to reconcile the world and bring immortality (note Ephesians 2:15). “The flesh” (with all its Adamic and peculiarly Jewish connections) must be lived through and overcome. Christ said to the Jews “the flesh profits nothing” (John 6:62-63). He is put to death in flesh and made alive in spirit (see 1 Peter 3:18 and compare 2 Corinthians 13:4 and 1 Corinthians 15:44-49). Christ is the Redeemer unveiled as part of the old Adamic structure (see Luke 3:37), he dies to it and rises as the new and last Adam.
   Now the still human (but no longer “fleshly” in the old Adamic sense, subject to death and the like) the exalted and glorified Jesus Christ reveals himself to them in and through the Holy Spirit. See passages like John 14:18-27, 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 and Ephesians 2:22. And take a really close look at Acts 3:19-21 (maybe I can say something about this text later).
   There are two phases of the self-revelation of the Redeemer. One in “the flesh” (an earthy ministry as a child of Adam like the rest of us) and it took place in “this age” (the age prior to the Messianic age). To reject, vilify and crucify him during his time in the flesh could be forgiven (see Acts 2:23, 37-38) because he would come again in and through and as the Holy Spirit. But to reject and vilify (crucify him again) when he finally presents himself in and through the Spirit is to reject the final self-revelation of Jesus available to them and to judge themselves "unworthy of eternal life" (Acts 13:46 with Acts 2:33). To reject the exalted and immortal Jesus is to reject the new creation of which he is the Author and that is to sin against the new order, the new world but more to the point, it is to sin against the Holy Spirit who came to bring the exalted Jesus to the hearts of men (see Acts 3:19-22, John 14:15-18,23 and 16:13-15). To reject the glorified and risen Christ is to reject the full, final and exhaustive revelation of the Holy Spirit in and through whom Christ himself appeals to the world— that is unforgivable. It’s unforgivable because there is no other self-revelation of God. A merely earthly, subject to death Jesus Christ, is not enough to redeem the world. He must also be raised in glory (see Romans 4:25 and John 6:62-63 and 16:7-8).
   But what if people repent? Why, then, they are forgiven! But they cannot repent while rejecting the only revelation of Jesus there is. We need to remember that if they persisted throughout until death to blaspheme the Son of Man there would have been no forgiveness. “Except you believe that I am he you will die in your sins,” he said in one place. No, he isn’t saying that if they reject the Spirit that they would become incapable of repentance under any circumstances. He’s saying (if I understand him correctly), “You can reject me now in this phase of my self-revelation and find forgiveness when I later reveal myself in and through the Holy Spirit as the exalted and glorified Lord. But you can’t reject my self-revelation in and through the Spirit and find forgiveness later because there is no other form or phase of revelation. You shut the door against yourselves.”
Summarizing then:
1. If they rejected [until they died] Jesus during his earthly ministry—his ministry in the flesh—they would not have been forgiven.
2. If they reject him [until they died] during his ministry in the Spirit in his present exalted and glorified state—they would not be forgiven.
3. If they rejected him during his earthly ministry and then received him during his ministry in the Spirit (as they did in Acts 2) they could be forgiven.
4. If they rejected him during his final ministry through the Holy Spirit they could no forgiveness.
Note the similarities (though there are differences) to all this in Hebrews 10:26-29.
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.

"Technicalities" by Dave Miller, Ph.D.



by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

“Are you telling me that just because I don’t belong to your church, or just because I haven’t been baptized into the remission of sins, or just because I use the instrument when I worship God, or just because I don’t attend every worship service, or just because I don’t partake of the Lord’s Supper every Sunday—that I can’t make it to heaven? I can’t believe that God would condemn me on a technicality! Besides, that’s legalistic!”
Many, many religious people are characterized by this attitude. Their perceptions of God and His grace serve to minimize the necessity of being overly concerned about strict obedience to every command of God. This attitude is manifested in the idea that arriving at correct doctrine is irrelevant to establishing a right relationship with God. But this is precisely what the Bible teaches. Doctrinal purity does not necessarily guarantee a right relationship with God, but a right relationship with God is impossible without doctrinal purity. Both “spirit and truth” (i.e., proper attitude and proper adherence to truth—John 4:24) are essential to a right relationship with God. Even if some religious individuals give the impression that they have gone “overboard” on truth, yet with insufficient attention to proper attitude, no solution is achieved by abandoning, compromising, or softening adherence to truth in an effort to accept those who are determined to remain unconformed to truth.
The very nature of God and truth is at stake in this discussion. Truth, by its very definition, is narrow, specific, fixed, and technical. God is a God of truth Who operates within the parameters of truth. Since He is God, He does not, and cannot, vary from truth and right. Man’s definition of what constitutes a “technicality” rarely matches God’s definition. More often than not, the very items that humans brush aside as unimportant and trivial, are those things upon which God lays great importance. Herein lies the crux of man’s problem. We decide what we think is important, and then proceed to structure our religion around those self-stylized premises, assuming divine sanction and “grace.” Never mind the fact that “it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Never mind the fact that “the wisdom of this world” is foolish to God (1 Corinthians 1:20). And never mind the fact that such an attitude and approach betrays great arrogance.
In everyday living, we understand very well the principle that those things that appear to be trivial or mere technicalities can be crucial to survival. The incorrect dosage of medicine in a medical emergency—even milligrams—can mean the difference between life and death. One or two miles over the speed limit can secure the offender a ticket. Accidentally putting gasoline into a diesel engine can ruin an automobile. I suppose one could label each of these examples as “technicalities,” but doing so does not alter the magnitude of their importance or the extent to which they impact reality.
In biblical history, the same principle holds true. Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden for eating from one piece of fruit from one tree (Genesis 3). Nadab and Abihu—the right boys, at the right place, at the right time, with the right censers and the right incense—nevertheless were destroyed for incorporating foreign fire into their incense offering (Leviticus 10:1-2). Moses was excluded from entrance into the Promised Land because of his one mistake at Kadesh—striking a rock instead of speaking to it (Numbers 20:7-12). Saul was deposed as king for sparing the best sheep and cattle, and the life of one individual out of an entire nation (1 Samuel 15). Uzzah was struck dead for merely reaching out and steadying the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 6:6-7). God rejected Uzziah because he entered the temple, merely to burn incense (2 Chronicles 26).
Many more examples could be considered. These are no more “technical” or “trivial” than New Testament regulations pertaining to vocal (as opposed to instrumental) music in worship (Ephesians 5:19), unleavened bread and fruit of the vine at the Lord’s Table (Matthew 26:26-29), and the qualifications of elders and deacons (1 Timothy 3:1-13). We must refrain from attempting to second-guess God, or deciding for ourselves what we think is important to Him—“that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). We need to be attentive to “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27)—even those portions that humans deem unimportant or peripheral. When people are clamoring, “Those matters are not salvation issues,” we need to reaffirm the words of Jesus, “These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone” (Matthew 23:23).

From Mark Copeland... The Death And Burial Of Jesus (Mark 15:33-47)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                The Death And Burial Of Jesus (15:33-47)


1. Following a night and morning of torture and ridicule, Jesus was
   crucified - Mk 14:53-15:25

2. For six hours as He hung on the cross, the mockery continued 
   - Mk 15:26-32

[We come in our study of the gospel of Mark to the time of our Lord’s
death and burial.  Let us use this time to reflect upon the details of
those events, beginning with...]


      1. Lasting from the sixth hour (noon) to the ninth hour (3pm) - Mk 15:33
      2. The significance?  Several possibilities:
         a. A sign of mourning
         b. A sign of judgment
         c. A veil covering the shame of the crucifixion

      1. "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" - Mk 15:34
      2. A proverbial expression of distress from Ps 22:1 - ZIBBC
      3. It is possible that citing the first verse of the psalm refers
         to the entire psalm - ibid.
      4. Psalms 22 begins with bitter despair, but ends with supreme
         confidence - ibid.
      5. This interpretation does not deny the real anguish that Jesus
         experiences but understands his cry as an expression of trust
         that God will intervene and ultimately vindicate him - ibid.

      1. The mockery seen earlier continues - Mk 15:35-36; cf. Mk 15:29-32
      2. Yet one offers a gesture of sympathy (sponge full of sour wine)
         - Mk 15:36

   D. THE DEATH...
      1. Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last - Mk 15:37
      2. "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit" - Lk 23:46
      3. He "yielded up" His spirit (suggesting a voluntary death) - Mt 27:50
      4. Some suggest He died from a ruptured heart, others that it was
         dehydration and loss of blood

      1. The veil of the temple torn in two from top to bottom - Mk 15:38
      2. Likely the veil separating the Holy Place and the Most Holy
      3. Perhaps indicating the end of the Old Covenant, and beginning
         of the New - He 10:19-20

      1. Observing the manner in which Jesus died, confessed faith in
      2. "Truly this Man was the Son of God!" - Mk 15:39

      1. Looking from afar - Mk 15:40-41
         a. Mary Magdalene
         b. Mary (wife of Clopas) the mother of James the Less and Joses
            - Jn 19:25
         c. Salome - the mother of the sons of Zebedee (James and John)
            - cf. Mt 27:56
         d. Many other women - including Mary the mother of Jesus - Jn 19:25
      2. Women who had followed Jesus
         a. Ministering to Him in Galilee - cf. Lk 8:1-3
         b. Coming with Him to Jerusalem

[Jesus is now dead, His body mangled as it hung on the cross.  Mark now
records for us in his gospel...]


      1. "when evening had come", likely late afternoon - Mk 15:42
      2. "the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath",
         i.e., Friday - Mk 15:42

      1. Made by Joseph - Mk 15:43
         a. From Arimathea (the city of Ramah, city of Samuel)
         b. Prominent member of the council (Sanhedrin)
         c. Who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God
         d. A rich man - Mt 27:57
         e. A disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews - Mt 27:57; Jn 19:38
      2. Together with Nicodemus - Jn 19:38
         a. A ruler of the Jews who came to Jesus by night - Jn 3:1-2
         b. Also a member of the council - Jn 7:50
         b. Who brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred

      1. To convince Pilate that Jesus was dead - Mk 15:44
      2. Confirmed by the centurion, the body was released - Mk 15:45

      1. The body was wrapped in fine linen - Mk 15:46
      2. Laid in a new tomb hewn out of rock, located in a garden - Jn 19:40-42
      3. A stone rolled against the door of the tomb

   E. THE WOMEN...
      1. Mary Magdalene and Mary of Joses observed where He was laid
         - Mk 15:47
      2. They left, prepared spices and fragrant oils, then rested on
         the Sabbath - Lk 23:55-56


1. Thus Jesus, the Son of God, gave His life for our sins and was buried;
   but the story is not over, in our next lesson we will read of His
   amazing resurrection from the dead...

2. Until then, remember what we should learn from this death of
   Jesus... - cf. He 12:2-3; 1Pe 2:21-25

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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From Gary... Bible Reading February 3

Bible Reading  

February 3

The World English Bible

Feb. 3
Genesis 34

Gen 34:1 Dinah, the daughter of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
Gen 34:2 Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her. He took her, lay with her, and humbled her.
Gen 34:3 His soul joined to Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the young lady, and spoke kindly to the young lady.
Gen 34:4 Shechem spoke to his father, Hamor, saying, "Get me this young lady as a wife."
Gen 34:5 Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah, his daughter; and his sons were with his livestock in the field. Jacob held his peace until they came.
Gen 34:6 Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to talk with him.
Gen 34:7 The sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it. The men were grieved, and they were very angry, because he had done folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter; a which thing ought not to be done.
Gen 34:8 Hamor talked with them, saying, "The soul of my son, Shechem, longs for your daughter. Please give her to him as a wife.
Gen 34:9 Make marriages with us. Give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves.
Gen 34:10 You shall dwell with us, and the land will be before you. Live and trade in it, and get possessions in it."
Gen 34:11 Shechem said to her father and to her brothers, "Let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you will tell me I will give.
Gen 34:12 Ask me a great amount for a dowry, and I will give whatever you ask of me, but give me the young lady as a wife."
Gen 34:13 The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father with deceit, and spoke, because he had defiled Dinah their sister,
Gen 34:14 and said to them, "We can't do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised; for that is a reproach to us.
Gen 34:15 Only on this condition will we consent to you. If you will be as we are, that every male of you be circumcised;
Gen 34:16 then will we give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people.
Gen 34:17 But if you will not listen to us, to be circumcised, then we will take our sister, and we will be gone."
Gen 34:18 Their words pleased Hamor and Shechem, Hamor's son.
Gen 34:19 The young man didn't wait to do this thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter, and he was honored above all the house of his father.
Gen 34:20 Hamor and Shechem, his son, came to the gate of their city, and talked with the men of their city, saying,
Gen 34:21 "These men are peaceful with us. Therefore let them live in the land and trade in it. For behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters.
Gen 34:22 Only on this condition will the men consent to us to live with us, to become one people, if every male among us is circumcised, as they are circumcised.
Gen 34:23 Won't their livestock and their possessions and all their animals be ours? Only let us give our consent to them, and they will dwell with us."
Gen 34:24 All who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor, and to Shechem his son; and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.
Gen 34:25 It happened on the third day, when they were sore, that two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, each took his sword, came upon the unsuspecting city, and killed all the males.
Gen 34:26 They killed Hamor and Shechem, his son, with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went away.
Gen 34:27 Jacob's sons came on the dead, and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister.
Gen 34:28 They took their flocks, their herds, their donkeys, that which was in the city, that which was in the field,
Gen 34:29 and all their wealth. They took captive all their little ones and their wives, and took as plunder everything that was in the house.
Gen 34:30 Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, "You have troubled me, to make me odious to the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites. I am few in number. They will gather themselves together against me and strike me, and I will be destroyed, I and my house."

Gen 34:31 They said, "Should he deal with our sister as with a prostitute?"


From Gary... About more than just water

Did you every buy something, bring it home and realize what you bought was a big waste of money? This "Diet Water" is a good example. Those who deceive will eventually pay for what they do... and here is an example from the book of Acts...

Acts, Chapter 8

5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and proclaimed to them the Christ.  6 The multitudes listened with one accord to the things that were spoken by Philip, when they heard and saw the signs which he did.  7 For unclean spirits came out of many of those who had them. They came out, crying with a loud voice. Many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed.  8 There was great joy in that city. 

  9  But there was a certain man, Simon by name, who used to practice sorcery in the city, and amazed the people of Samaria, making himself out to be some great one,  10 to whom they all listened, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is that great power of God.”  11 They listened to him, because for a long time he had amazed them with his sorceries.  12 But when they believed Philip preaching good news concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.  13 Simon himself also believed. Being baptized, he continued with Philip. Seeing signs and great miracles occurring, he was amazed. 

  14  Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,  15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit;  16 for as yet he had fallen on none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of Christ Jesus. 17 Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.  18 Now when Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me also this power, that whomever I lay my hands on may receive the Holy Spirit.”  20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!  21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart isn’t right before God.  22 Repent therefore of this, your wickedness, and ask God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.  23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.” 

  24  Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that none of the things which you have spoken happen to me.” 

Simon thought he was somebody, but even he recognized true power when he saw it. But, instead of just submitting to God, he wanted to buy his way into God's power.  And he was condemned for it. Fortunately, he had enough sense to realize his stupidity to the point of repentance, with his statement of verse 24 being proof of this. The point of all this is... be honest in all that you do- and be careful how you act towards God, for HE holds your eternal destiny in his hands.