BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT
Introduction – While I was living in Romania I received a letter from a friend asking me
a question. In the question there were two questions. They involved the passage dealing
with “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit”.
At the time I did not have an opportunity to discuss the questions face to face, so I
wrote a letter. This sermon is based on the contents of that letter. After some preliminary
remarks, some personal remarks... I wrote:
Now, on to our "discussion": blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Several issues are on the
1) what does it mean to "blaspheme" the Holy Spirit?,
2) can it be done today?,
3) what is our responsibility toward those who have done it? (if they have done
it.... can we baptize them?)
** And maybe for "extra credit", can we discuss the possibility of "repenting" of
Matthew 12:31 "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
Mark 3:28-3 "Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and
blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme
against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: 30
Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit."
Luke 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
It appears that the text is clear.... "whoever blasphemes the Holy Spirit" WILL
NOT be forgiven. That having been stated let us move on to the next layer of
Matthew 12:22-24 "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 saw. 23 And
all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? 24 But when the
Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the
prince of the devils."
Mark 3:22 "And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub,
and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils."
It is my understanding that the definition for "blaspheming the Holy Spirit" is
something that will be found in the context of what the scribes and Pharisees had done.
We must remember that Jesus' comments on this important subject were not made in a
vacuum. It is when we ignore the context and "define" blasphemy of the Holy Spirit any
way that fits our thinking that we erroneously conclude we should not be baptizing
certain people. I will address this matter more fully toward the end of the letter.
What had the scribes and Pharisees done? In essence they rejected the Divine
proof offered them, a proof that came through the power of the Holy Spirit, that is, the
casting out of a demon. How did they reject said proof (the miracle)? It was NOT by
denying that the miracle had been done. This they could not do, because God's miracles
are "undeniable" (contrary to modern so-called miracles... which prove nothing).
Undeniable miracle = Acts 5:5-14 And it came to pass on the morrow, that their
rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem;
6. and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander,
and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest.
7. And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, By what power, or in
what name, have ye done this?
8. Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people,
9. if we this day are examined concerning a good deed done to an impotent man,
by what means this man is made whole;
10. be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of
Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead,
even in him doth this man stand here before you whole.
11. He is the stone which was set at nought of you the builders, which was made
the head of the corner.
12. And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name
under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved.
13. Now when they beheld the boldness of Peter and John, and had perceived
that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took
knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
14. And seeing the man that was healed standing with them, they could say
nothing against it.
So, with Jesus’ miracle they attributed the miracle to the power of Satan, thus denying the
true source... the Holy Spirit. It is in THIS context that Jesus warns against blaspheming
the Holy Spirit (ie, speaking against Him).
It is interesting to me that Jesus makes the distinction between blaspheming Himself and
that of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
Luke 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 forgiven."
Are we to conclude that it is "less" of a sin to blaspheme the Father or the Son, than it is
to blaspheme the Holy Spirit? Why should it be so? To blaspheme God is to blaspheme
God! Why should one particular person of the godhead be "more sinful" and (worse)
1) What does it mean to "blaspheme" the Holy Spirit?
In the context of our passage blaspheming the Holy Spirit is directly related to
"denying" the true source of the miracle done by Jesus; worse, it is the attributing of this
miracle done by the power of God to be something that originated with Satan. How was
the Holy Spirit blasphemed?
First, let us get a working definition of "blasphemy" -- 988. blasphemia, - vilification
(espec. against God):--blasphemy, evil speaking, railing. That is the dictionary
definition.... how does the Bible shed light on how this word is used...
It is translated:
"evil speaking" - Eph. 4:31 - Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and
evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: (KJV)
"railings" - 1 Tim. 6:4 he is puffed up, knowing nothing, but doting about questionings
and disputes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
"railing" - Jude 9 But Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed
about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing judgment, but said, The
Lord rebuke thee.
** It may be of interest to note here that "blasphemy" is not always
something done against God. **
Further, it is interesting to note that Jesus was accused of blaspheming God on any
number of different occasions....
Mark 2:7 (when Jesus forgave a man his sins), - “Why doth this man thus speak? he
blasphemeth: who can forgive sins but one, even God?”
John 10:33 “Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from the
Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? 33. The Jews answered him, For a
good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man,
makest thyself God.”
Matthew 26:64-65 (at His trial, so-called) - Jesus said unto him, Thou hast said:
nevertheless I say unto you, Henceforth ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right
hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven. 65. Then the high priest rent his
garments, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy: what further need have we of witnesses?
behold, now ye have heard the blasphemy:
You can look up the cross references. But, here we note something else about
"blasphemy"... that is, it does not have to be a "railing accusation directed AGAINST
God". Any pretense at usurping some aspect of God's authority was considered to be
So, what was it that the scribes and Pharisees did in our original context? They denied
the Holy Spirit in that they ascribed to Satan a work that the Holy Spirit had clearly done
(miracle). There was NO direct mention of the Holy Spirit. There was no railing
accusation against His Person. No mean spirited, vile attack was made against the Holy
Spirit "in particular". What was done was the ascribing of certain of His works to be that
which was done by Satan. THIS is blaspheming the Holy Spirit as would be defined by
Now, maybe we can move on to another aspect of blaspheming the Holy Spirit, sort of
a continuation in our thinking on this subject... Is "directly speaking against" the Holy
Spirit (today) a "blasphemy" of the Holy Spirit? By definition, the answer is yes. But, is
that what the Pharisees had done? And is that what Jesus condemned as the unforgivable
sin? Consider the context.
2) Can an individual blaspheme the Holy Spirit today? In the general sense of "speaking
against" the answer is clearly "yes". One can speak against the Father, the Son and the
Holy Spirit today (and people do).
But, more specifically, can people today blaspheme the Holy Spirit in the way that
Jesus condemned in the context of Matthew 12 / Mark 3? It appears to me that what they
were guilty of was a direct denial of the "power" of the Holy Spirit.... a power that had
been demonstrated. Maybe now is a good time to analyze the difference between
blaspheming the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
From a strictly operational sense, the difference can be seen in this way:
1) a man who blasphemes the Father in heaven, speaks against that which he has NOT
seen. This is a grave sin, punishable by death in the Old Testament –
Lev. 24:11-14 and the son of the Israelitish woman blasphemed the Name, and
cursed; and they brought him unto Moses. And his mother's name was Shelomith,
the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan. 12. And they put him in ward, that it
might be declared unto them at the mouth of Jehovah. 13. And Jehovah spake
unto Moses, saying, 14. Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and
let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation
vs. 23 And Moses spake to the children of Israel; and they brought forth him that
had cursed out of the camp, and stoned him with stones. And the children of Israel
did as Jehovah commanded Moses.
2) a man who blasphemes the Son (in the time that Jesus was on the earth), blasphemes
that which he can see. But, what does he see in Jesus? He appeared to be a man with all
the outward appearance of an ordinary man. It could not be distinguished with the human
eye that Jesus was God.
3) a man who blasphemes the Holy Spirit through the direct denial of His manifested
"power" (miracle) has blasphemed not only that which was "seen"... but, that which God
has offered as Divine proof that:
a) there is a God in heaven (God is the source of the miracle power)
b) Jesus is His Son on the earth – doing the miracle. The miracle was the "last
line" proof offered to confirm that the words of Jesus were given Him by His
Father in heaven.
Think of it this way..... if a man does not believe in God, it is not difficult for such to
"speak against Him". But, this is a sin that the man can "repent of" later, after having
some time to understand that GOD IS. In the same way of thinking, a man who viewed
Jesus in the flesh... seeing Him through the eye of human experience.... may not
immediately recognize Him to be God incarnate (not even His disciples saw this... at
first). To speak against this "man" (Jesus) was a natural thing to do when viewed in the
"Jewish context". Even Saul of Tarsus blasphemed Jesus before "repenting" and
becoming an apostle.
But, when a man who "believes in God" and is waiting for the Messiah is offered a
Divine Proof (miracle) to convince him that JESUS is the Messiah come to save the
faithful... and then, he rejects this proof (the miracle) by ascribing the power of the Holy
Spirit to being that of Satan... what further argument can be offered to turn such to
Which brings us back full circle to the question: can a man blaspheme the Holy Spirit
today? It is my argument from the context that in order to do so, there must be a
"demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit" (defined: miracle) that can be negated
verbally by the unbeliever. IF there is a miracle done by the Holy Spirit, those who
negate it are guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. And for that they will never be
(to answer this question is not necessary; but, it can be informative to explore some of the
underlying reasons “why” such a one will NEVER be forgiven)
When addressing the question of "why" this is so, there are several side issues that
spring to mind. For me the most important is: Is there a sin against which the blood of
Christ is ineffective? On the surface it appears that maybe there is (blasphemy against the
Holy Spirit). But, digging deeper, let us consider the consequence of concluding that the
blood of Christ will forgive "most sins", but not all. Are there other unpardonable sins,
that is, sins that cannot be washed clean by the blood?
1 John 5:16-17 If any man see his brother sinning a sin not unto death, he shall
ask, and God will give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin
unto death: not concerning this do I say that he should make request. 17. All
unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.
POINT: is John speaking here concerning “another” unpardonable sin? Or is he
speaking of blaspheming the Holy Spirit? Or is this sin unto death ANY sin that a
person is unwilling to turn away from (repentance)?
Pay attention: the main concern of John in this passage is to point out that there
is “a sin not unto death” for which we should make intercessory prayer. The “sin
unto death” is unnamed in this passage and leaves the interpretation OPEN to
many possibilities. (ex. Consider a man who will not quit a particular sin such as
adultery. Any such sin would be a sin unto death if the sinner will not repent)
And further, WHY is it that to blaspheme the Father or the Son should be more
"forgivable" than blaspheming the Holy Spirit? Is the Holy Spirit a "more important"
person in the godhead than the other two? Is speaking against the Spirit more grievous in
some way than speaking against the Father? If so, there should be some reason as to why
this is so. Maybe it is beyond us to discover the "why"... but, it does not hurt to ask the
Finally, let us ask a pertinent question: If one who has blasphemed to Holy Spirit,
genuinely "repents" of His sin, why is it that he will not be forgiven? One can
blaspheme the Father, repent and be forgiven. One can blaspheme the Son, repent and be
forgiven. Why NOT... with the Holy Spirit?
Perhaps the answer lies not in questioning the efficacy of the blood of Christ, or the
ability of God to forgive. It may be that the "reason" one who blasphemes the Holy Spirit
in the manner indicated in our "context" will never be forgiven BECAUSE he is a person
"who will never repent" of this sin.
IF this is a valid observation, it does much to explain why this sin is so grievous, so
deadly. Could it be that the seriousness of this man's condition (having denied the
ultimate "proof" God offered) lies in the fact that such a one has hardened his heart
beyond all possibility of "repentance".
Hebrews 6:4-6 For as touching those who were once enlightened and tasted of
the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5. and tasted the
good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, 6. and then fell away, it is
impossible to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to
themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
And if one will NOT repent... he will NOT be forgiven (Luke 13:5).
Considering our context it is very likely that the ones Jesus addressed were men
whose hearts were so hardened against the TRUTH of GOD, a truth that stood before
them... Jesus was witnessed to be true through the miraculous working of the HOLY
SPIRIT... these hard hearted men would NEVER be forgiven for their blasphemy. Why?
Is it because Jesus' blood would not cover their sin? No! Rather, because they were the
type who would NEVER repent of their words, thoughts, sin against what the Holy Spirit
John 20:24-25 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them
when Jesus came. 25. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen
the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the
nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.
Has anyone ever considered the situation of Thomas after the other disciples had
declared that Jesus had been resurrected (by the power of the Holy Spirit - Romans 8:11).
What was his "refusal" to believe the miracle they had proclaimed to be real? It is true
that Thomas did not offer that Jesus was raised by the power of Beelzebub. In fact what
we see in Thomas is a lack of belief in the "fact" that such a miracle had taken place. If
later when Jesus had appeared to him, should he hold to the belief that Jesus was raised
by the "power of Satan", then he would enter the category of those who had blasphemed
the Holy Spirit (as defined in our context - Mark 3).
But, what was Thomas' condition (spiritually) in the week where he refused to believe
that Jesus was resurrected? Should he have continued in his unbelief... would he have
been forgiven and saved in heaven? - cf. Heb. 11:6. The difference between Thomas and
the Pharisees can be seen:
1) the Pharisees admitted the miracle; Thomas did not admit that a miracle had been done
2) the Pharisees attributed the power of the Holy Spirit to be that of Satan; Thomas did no
3) the Pharisees had no further avenue of "proof" beyond that which they had already
received (except for more demonstrations of the same quality); Thomas had yet to
witness the direct proof the miracle offered.
NOTE - it is not certain that the scribes and Pharisees actually saw the casting out of
the demon. Rather, the text seems to indicate that they heard about it later. However, the
proof of the miracle lay in the transformed behavior of the one who had been possessed.
This "de-possesssion" could not be denied; thus, they had to offer another explanation for
how it happened.
In the case of Thomas... the proof had yet to be offered. What Thomas did with the
"manifestation" of power that appeared before his eyes would determine if he accepted or
rejected the "miracle" of God.
4) the Pharisees did not repent of their "blasphemy"; Thomas repented of his unbelief.
Should we baptize people who have "blasphemed" the Holy Spirit? It is my contention
that no one who has truly blasphemed the Holy Spirit will submit themselves to the
command of God, that is, they will never ask to be baptized. Thus, this question becomes
a "moot point".
In order to blaspheme the Holy Spirit (as defined in our context), there must be a
demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit against which to speak. IF no miracle has
been done, one that cannot be denied as having happened (cf. Acts 4:14), then how can
one attribute that which has NOT been done to Satan?
Which brings us to the misuse of the passage by modern day Pentecostals and other
pretenders of miracles. They say that if you "deny" their miracles (so-called) you are
blaspheming the Holy Spirit and will never be forgiven. Really? IF indeed they have
performed a miracle which cannot be denied as having happened, then maybe they would
have a theological leg on which to stand. But, they don't. Their miracles are not, as any
careful investigation will reveal. Thus, to speak against their "claims" is not to speak
against the Holy Spirit; His power has NOT been manifested among those pretending to
do great works.
It is the Christian's responsibility to "test the spirits" –
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they
are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
In some situations, it was the spirits that tested you:
Acts 19:13-16 But certain also of the strolling Jews, exorcists, took upon them to
name over them that had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, I
adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
14. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, a chief priest, who did this.
15. And the evil spirit answered and said unto them, Jesus I know, and Paul I
know, but who are ye?
16. And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and mastered both
of them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and
Conclusion – We should be careful in the way we speak. We should never be guilty of
blaspheming God. Nor should we “rail” against each other. It is a work of the flesh.
But, we should be careful in our study to understand the context and rightly divide
the Word of God – when we seek to explain it and apply it to self and others.
If we saw a miracle – done by the power of God today – would we be tempted to
deny such... even to attribute it to Satan – just because it does not fit our preconceived
ideas or beliefs? I do not want to ever be guilty of denying the power of God.
However, I don’t want to be deceived by false signs, or fake miracles either.
When confronted with such, they will be evident as to what they are and who does them.
Anything that is contrary to God, or brings a DIFFERENT gospel is to be rejected.
Should I be afraid of blaspheming the Holy Spirit today? I am not afraid of
committing this sin. There first has to be a genuine miracle... an undeniable expression of
the power of God – something I will have to deny. I have not seen such as yet. If I ever
do, then I will cross that bridge when I get there.
Hope the study has been of some help to you.