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.
Blasphemy in its technical English sense, signifies the speaking evil of God and in this sense it is found (Psalms 74:18; Isaiah 52:5; Romans 2:24) etc. But according to its derivation it may mean any species of calumny and abuse: see (1 Kings 21:10; Acts 18:6; Jude 1:9) etc.
Blasphemy was punished by stoning, which was inflicted on the son of Shelomith. (Leviticus 24:11).
On this charge both our Lord and Stephen were condemned to death by the Jews. The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, (Matthew 12:32; Mark 3:28) consisted in attributing to the power of Satan those unquestionable miracles which Jesus performed by “the finger of God” and the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is plainly such a state of wilful, determined opposition to God and the Holy Spirit that no efforts will avail to lead to repentance. Among the Jews it was a sin against God answering to treason in our times.
A man is guilty of blasphemy, when he speaks of God, or his attributes, injuriously; when he calumniously ascribe such qualities to him as do not belong to him, or robs him of those which do. The law sentenced blasphemers to death, Leviticus 24:12-16.
In a lower sense, men are said to be blasphemed when abused by calumnious and reviling words, 1 Kings 21:10; Acts 6:11.
In the sense of speaking evil of God this word is found in Psalm 74:18; Isaiah 52:5; Romans 2:24; Revelation 13:1, 6; 16:9, 11, 21. It denotes also any kind of calumny, or evil-speaking, or abuse (1 Kings 21:10; Acts 13:45; 18:6, etc.).
Our Lord was accused of blasphemy when he claimed to be the Son of God (Matthew 26:65; Comp. Matthew 9:3; Mark 2:7).
They who deny his Messiahship blaspheme Jesus (Luke 22:65; John 10:36).
- Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost (Matthew 12:31, 32; Mark 3:28, 29; Luke 12:10) is regarded by some as a continued and obstinate rejection of the gospel, and hence is an unpardonable sin, simply because as long as a sinner remains in unbelief he voluntarily excludes himself from pardon.
- Others regard the expression as designating the sin of attributing to the power of Satan those miracles which Christ performed, or generally those works which are the result of the Spirit’s agency.
blas’-fe-mi (blasphemia): In classical Greek meant primarily “defamation” or “evil-speaking” in general; “a word of evil omen,” hence, “impious, and irreverent speech against God.”
(1) In the Old Testament
(a) (barakh) “Naboth did blaspheme God and the king” (1 Kings 21:10, 13 KJV);
(b) (gadhaph) of Senna-cherib defying Yahweh (2 Kings 19:6, 22 = Isaiah 37:6, 23; also Psalm 44:16; Ezekiel 20:27; compare Numbers 15:30), “But the soul that doeth aught with a high hand (i.e. knowingly and defiantly), the same blasphemeth (so the Revised Version (British and American), but the King James Version “reproacheth”) Yahweh; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.”
Blasphemy is always in word or deed, injury, dishonor and defiance offered to God, and its penalty is death by stoning;
(c) (charaph) of idolatry as blasphemy against Yahweh (Isaiah 65:7);
(d) (naqabh) “And he that blasphemeth the name of Yahweh, he shall surely be put to death” (Leviticus 24:11, 16);
(e) (na’ats) David’s sin is an occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme (2 Samuel 12:14; also Psalm 74:10, 18; Isaiah 52:5; compare Ezekiel 35:12; 2 Kings 19:3 KJV; Isaiah 37:3).
(2) In the New Testament
(a) of evil-speaking generally, (Acts 13:45; Acts 18:6);
The Jews contradicted Paul “and blasphemed,” the Revised Version, margin “railed.” (So in the King James Version of Matthew 15:19 = Mark 7:22; Colossians 3:8, but in the Revised Version (British and American) “railings”; Revelation 2:9 the Revised Version, margin “reviling”; so perhaps in 1 Timothy 1:20; or Hymeneus and Alexander may have blasphemed Christ by professing faith and living unworthily of it.)
(b) Speaking against a heathen goddess:
the town clerk of Ephesus repels the charge that Paul and his companions were blasphemers of Diana (Acts 19:37).
(c) Against God:
(i) uttering impious words (Revelation 13:1, 5, 6; 16:9, 11, 21; 17:3);
(ii) unworthy conduct of Jews (Romans 2:24) and Christians (1 Timothy 6:1; Titus 2:5; and perhaps 1 Timothy 1:20);
(iii) of Jesus Christ, alleged to be usurping the authority of God (Matthew 9:3 = Mark 2:7 = Luke 5:21), claiming to be the Messiah, the son of God (Matthew 26:65 = Mark 14:64), or making Himself God (John 10:33, 36).
(d) Against Jesus Christ:
Saul strove to make the Christians he persecuted blaspheme their Lord (Acts 26:11). So was he himself a blasphemer (1 Timothy 1:13; compare James 2:7).
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