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Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit?

by Mark Horne

Copyright © 2002

(What follows is adapted from my forthcoming commentary on the Gospel of Mark)

In Mark’s Gospel we read: “And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebul,’ and ‘He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons’” (3.22).

Jesus replied in part, “Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” (3.28, 29).

What did Jesus mean? If we say ascribe the work of the Spirit to the work of the Devil are we automatically beyond hope of forgiveness.

Looking at the background to this story in Mark’s gospel we see that John prophesied that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and at John’s baptism the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus. Jesus received his Pentecost at the Jordan so that he would be able to accomplish his mission and arrange a Pentecost in Jerusalem for his followers. Thus, we have two stages set forth for us in Mark’s Gospel: The ministry of the Son and then the ministry of the Spirit. Though the Spirit is unquestionably present in Jesus, it has not yet flowed out of Jesus to others, as it will on the day of Pentecost.

The Scribes from Jerusalem are rejecting the witness of Jesus, but that does not bring immediate judgment. Indeed, they go on rejecting Jesus during his years of ministry. What the scribes from Jerusalem reject in Galilee will be offered again in Jerusalem by disciples from Galilee (see Acts 2). The Holy Spirit will come upon the disciples and they will witness to the scribes. At that point, everything will still be forgivable. The great day of vengeance will still not fall on Israel if they repent. But if this second witness—the witness of the Spirit—is spoken against, then time will run out and the wrath of God will fall. Because Israel rejected the witness of the Spirit during the forty years of the early Church, they were eventually judged by God (c.f. Luke 19.41-45).

Luke clearly spells this out by recording Jesus’ exhortation to his disciples to bear witness for him when his time comes:

And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man shall confess him also before the angels of God; but he who denies Me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who will speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him. And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not become anxious about how or what you should speak in your defense, or what you should say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say (Luke 12:9-12).

The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit here is the rejection of the Spirit-taught witnesses who confess the Son of Man before men. Bear in mind that in the Bible, a prosecution requires no less than two witness (Deut 19.15; Matt 18.16; John 8.17; 2 Cor 13.1; 1 Tim 5.19; Heb 10.28).

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, then, is not to be explained in terms of some difference in being or eternal status between the Son and the Holy Spirit so that curse words involving Jesus’ name are forgivable, but not expletives involving the Spirit. Rather, it refers to the historical framework of Jesus’ work in his own generation. The rejection of Jesus, as serious as that is, does not bring immediate condemnation. Forgiveness is still available. But after rejecting the second witness of the Spirit after Pentecost, time runs out for that generation of Israel. There is no forgiveness for blasphemy against the Spirit—the rejection of the second witness.

If I met someone who thought they had said something about the Spirit that damned him without hope, I would tell him to repent and believe. The general application of Jesus’ warning against blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is to not reject repeated warning: “A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken and there is no remedy” (Proverbs 29:1).

God sends us different witnesses and warnings via the ministry of the Church both official and unofficial, as well as through providence. He is patient and slow to anger. But if we continue in sin we will be judged.

Jesus’ warning against blasphemy against the Holy Spirit means we should to repent the first time.

Copyright © 2002



89 Comments »

  1. Greetings, I write this to all who question what blasphemy again’st the Holy Ghost is or claim this sin can’t be committed today, that only those in Christ time upon the earth could committ that sin. Which is a total lie again’st the word of God. This sin CAN be committed today !!! But for it to be committed a person would most diffently know what they we’re doing by uttering curse words or evil intent toward the Holy Ghost. You see God looks at the intent of a persons heart, and knows weather a word spoken is with true intent or what ever the case may be. my point is yes this sin can be committed today. But if it is the person who has committed it will have NO remorse or care that they have because the very instant they committ that sin they can not be saved. And that means that all light from Gods word will be cut off from them and without that light they can never be led to repentance, and without repentance a person can’t be saved. If anyone would like help feel free to contact me anytime. BUT if u only contact me to argue i will NOT return an E-Mail to you !!!……Love Rev.G.H.Hunter (groverhunter7@yahoo.com

    Comment by Rev. Grover H. Hunter — March 20, 2014 @ 4:36 pm

  2. i believe that blasphemy the holy spirit isn’t rejecting Christ and choosing to live their life. I think it has to do with denying the holy spirit when it deals with you and you know its the holy spirit convicting with you but you still deny him. Saying to yourself its not the Holy spirit. the bible says that the spirit of god draws us to him. If we deny that then i believe we are in a reprobate mind set.
    so i believe its denying even when you know its the holy ghost convicting you.
    remember this is my opinion,we don’t build a whole doctrine off of a opinion.

    only god fully understand this scripture and when we make heaven we can ask him.

    Comment by Derrick Vernon — March 21, 2014 @ 8:19 pm

  3. many years ago i had just given my life to jesus and was in a great deal of emotional pain and turmoil because my mother had been very verbally abusive to me and i came home and was looking for comfort in the bible-i instead found those words and in my pain cried out to god that this holy spirit as a comfort was a lie because i felt no comfort and was afraid he was rejecting me like my mother had-i was so upset when i told him this, but immediately told him i was sorry for saying such things and talked to him about how i was feeling, that i was just really confused…i never thought of the holy spirit being demonic or that jesus was demonic-nothing like that…i had not always understood people falling out under the spirit and never had it happen but even in my lack of understanding it was not because i thought jesus or god or the spirit was demonic or anything….what has worried me is that a few years after that i had forgotten it, assuming i was
    forgiven because i repented straight away and did not revisits i, but other things in my life were causing me continued pain and hurt…i became so overwhelmed by it and thought maybe god had abandoned me, i still was going to church and clinging to what faith i could, was even playing music for ministry and yet because of the depression and pain i got really sick and stayed so for many years, to the point of being bedridden…i had committed some other sins during this time but a year ago began to make my way back to god and it was like being a lost prodigal child…at first it all seemed very exciting…i prayed and asked jesus to heal me and in a week was off over many medications and out of bed and able to walk without help i was elated and was doing my everything to really have him back in my life-i felt it was his conviction of my sins which led me to repent of them fully and i truly did end them all as i was being shown them…but one day i came
    across a scripture from hebrews talking about sinning after knowing jesus and suddenly felt all this condemnation flooding my very being….suddenly all my sins were right back on me including the words i spoke that day about the holy spirit being a lie as a comfort because i hurt so bad…it seemed someone was yelling in my chest that all these were held against me….i was now more confused and terrified because why would i feel the holy spirit convict me of sin and lead me to repent and also to be healed the way i was if i was unforgiven, yet the fears and terror of this have haunted me to this day…try as i might and i have my husband and some friends who are saved tell me i did not commit the sin i thought i had and that because i had repented and had been so seeking after him , that i am allowing the enemy to accuse me….it is awful because i have no lasting peace in this…beyond healing and then the conviction of sins and a few visions and
    what what i thought was jesus telling i was forgiven but to have faith in him, [my dad even called me up when this first happened and told me that the spirit had come to him in great power and told him to let me know i was forgiven and saved by his grace-he did not know i was going through this at the time and felt an urgent need to call me with this message] so why can i not get inner confirmation in this and why am i still so afraid….i need help and am not sure what to do….suzanne

    Comment by suzanne — August 4, 2014 @ 5:06 pm

  4. Suzane, in hopes that you will read this as I am feeling the same pain. Did you ever get to feeling the Lord again?

    Comment by James — October 8, 2014 @ 5:03 pm

  5. WOW there is SOOOOO much fear and torment here the devil is having a field day GOD IS GREAT AND GREATLY TO BE PRAISED I pray God all by Himself will come to each one in need and convict and convert and save and heal and deliver and assure and encourage and give REAL deliverance and victory over each individual situation that fear will be bound and faith loosed in Jesus Name I praye that His Word will set each one totally free and we all come into a closer relationship with Him that satan will be bound that God will renew out minds that every chain will be broken in Jesus Name and that God will envelope each one in His love in Jesus Name Amen

    Comment by clare eade — November 1, 2014 @ 5:47 pm

  6. Suzanne
    In answer to your post:
    “why would i feel the holy spirit convict me of sin and lead me to repent and also to be healed the way i was if i was unforgiven”
    [my dad even called me up when this first happened and told me that the spirit had come to him in great power and told him to let me know i was forgiven and saved by his grace-he did not know i was going through this at the time and felt an urgent need to call me with this message]

    I encourage you: please, hold on to your faith. Believe your Dad. What you said can be forgiven.
    Why would the Holy Spirit convict you of sin? Because He wants you to repent and He wants you back! In other words, He hasn’t left you. A real blasphemer would not be interested to repent.

    Also I am encouraged by your healing. This means that God has not given up on your case. Not only that, if someone is healed, their sins are also forgiven.

    Comment by Adrian Hicks — July 1, 2015 @ 1:02 pm

  7. I’m going through the same fear . I understand everyone’s horror . It’s the worse thing ever. All I can do is keep crying out to God .

    Comment by Otis — June 25, 2016 @ 4:31 am

  8. I was saved and Spirit filled in 1976-I never knew who I was in Jesus. I thought every time you sin you eere not His daughter until you repent. I held such bitterness and hatred in my heart that I decided to worship satan to stop the torment. I blasphemed Jesus repeatedly but don’t bieve He left me until I committed murder which I eas released from prison in 2 weeks for.That is when something felt like happened inside me like the devil laughing through me. Un 2012 until 3 mos. ago I genuinely believed that I was forgiven by Jesus and going through all the motions but sensing something wad wrong, I couldn’t find dedicated Spieit filled Christians though I prayed for God to lead me to them constantly and other thi.gs happened such as thete was a fire literally burning and weird feelings occuring. I just continued to search for Jesus to speak to me-Then a few mos. ago bizzare things started happening tp me. Burning in body and lums, heart attack symptoms repeatedly,trembling, electrical like feelings inside-Now I feel something moving insiode of my limbs and soul-I keep crying to Jesus, looked up the kundalini spirit and jave ALL the symptoms of a so called awakening, I had truly believed that Jesus had forgoven me. Now all day a.d noght I am tormented that I committed unpardonable sin. Tormented. Please pray for me if it won’t harm you.

    Comment by Eileen — July 1, 2016 @ 9:44 pm

  9. I am very angry and hateful. After a long twenty-eight years of constant trouble, I experienced a heinous strike, in the spirit world, to my soul. The first thing I said was that I had blasphemed the Holy Ghost. I burn in my soul with fire. I cant repent. I have no connection with God. I’m totally cut off. My ears started ringing immediately with that strike, and my bowels dropped. For two years I have suffered the heinous pain of not being able to get back to God and the torments of living under the devils power, and very aware that I’m under the judgement of God for having cursed His spirit. Its awful. Its hell. The worse part is to have no way back. My soul don’t move, its in one awful burning state, 24/7. I feel like the judgement that I am under is NOT fair and that God is being harsh with me. I am keenly aware that God removed His spirit’s work from my soul and that when I die I will be in real hell. My power of choice between God and Satan is totally taken away. I know longer have that option. Please cant someone beg to GOd for my soul. Its horrible. I cant even pray for myself because of the wrath of God.

    Comment by Monica Fisher — September 11, 2016 @ 10:43 pm

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