|Dr. Couch, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit in Matthew 12:22-32 is confusing. Would you clear this up for me?|
ANSWER: The reason it is confusing is that you are not looking at the Bible dispensationally. You take what is said in Matthew as applicable to the church today. Remember, we must interpret by context, context, and context! And what you're doing is pushing everything in the Gospels into the church age. Context is the key. Christ is discussing the fact that He is physically in the presence of Israel, showing the Jewish people by His healings that He is the Messiah. He is not speaking about church truth!
The common people were amazed at the fact that Christ was healing, and therefore, must be the "Son of David," Israel's promised King and Messiah (v. 23). The OT made it clear that the Messiah would heal—thus Christ is that One! His healings, done by the power of the Spirit of God, proved it. The Pharisees did not want to accept this fact! They argued that He was healing by the power of Satan, by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons (v. 24).
They did not question the fact that Jesus was healing—that they had to admit to! They saw the results of His healing work. What they were doing was ascribing that miracle working to Satan! They were denying the object facts that were taking place right in front of them. This blasphemy would never be forgiven because it was ascribing to Satan the work of the Holy Spirit (v. 31). Interestingly, they could blaspheme the Son of Man (the Messiah) and be forgiven. But to deny the objective work of the Holy Spirit, that was taking place right in front of them, was unforgivable (v. 32).
The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit cannot happen today. In Matthew 12, the people, and the Pharisees, were seeing literally the healings of Christ. Christ is not here with us physically, doing objective healings, which could be verified and not doubted. So this blasphemy can not happen today!
I am not fussing with you, but your question proves the point that we must understand Scripture from its dispensational framework, otherwise, we end up with false doctrine, and with an interpretive mess! (1) Keep the lines straight, (2) Observe carefully, (3) Pay attention to context. I fly small airplanes and I learned long ago to keep all my stuff in order, to observe carefully my maps, to keep a close watch on my radio dial settings, pay attention to my altitude (especially in night flying), or I'll end up in a big mess on the ground! Do things in order, and don't jump to conclusions without proper interpretive skills and good observation!
You need my Hermeneutic book: Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics (Kregel). We have it for a $17 donation. Send a check to: Scofield Ministries, 120 CR 3222, Clifton, TX. 76634. This book will lay out all the key principles that will guide you straight in interpretation!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch