Sunday, June 25, 2023

A Study of Matthew Chapter 12:22-24

by Stan Feldsine (

Matthew 12:22-24 - The Unforgivable Sin

Jesus once again heals a person who is mute, which the Jewish leaders could not cast out due to their procedures requiring his name. Jesus, having no such restrictions healed him right away. This again amazed the people, who questioned specifically if Jesus could be the "Son of David" who would rule over the earth (Mat 1:1, 2Sa 7:8-16). The people were expecting a powerful Messiah, and Jesus's gentleness was unexpected and they were confused. The Pharisees saw the people's doubts and swayed them claiming that Jesus wasn't the coming Messianic King, but just a man possessed by a demon, Beelzebul.

This blasphemic rejection of Jesus by the religious leadership of the nation of Israel is a dividing point in the gospel of Matthew. Before, the Gospel of the Kingdom is being proclaimed, after, Jesus speaks in parables about the "mystery program, which will be discussed in Chapter 13.

The Unforgivable Sin

The "unforgivable sin" of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is found only in this specific context of this generation's rejection of the King and Kingdom and the claim that Jesus was possessed with the demon Beelzebul. This sin, in this context, is a national and generational sin, not an individual sin or multi-generational national sin. Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees when He tells them that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. He was referring to this specific event (Mat 12:24-25, ,..., Mat 12:31 ... ).

The KJV addresses "whosoever", which is interpreted as either an individual or a group depending on the context. In this context, it is the group of Pharisees and unbelievers of this generation that rejected the Jesus's Kingship. It could be paraphrased as "And whatever group speaketh a word against the Son of man, it will be forgiven them ...." (Mat 12:32).

The responsible party committing this sin and becoming liable to the judgment is, "this generation". it is this generation that Jesus came and offered the Kingdom to. No other generation had rejected the king with such blasphemy. The generation of Israel would experience severe judgment which would come in the destruction of Jerusalem and the banishment of the Jewish people to the diaspora. This judgment cannot be applied to later generations of the Jews, it is unique to "this generation" (Luk 11:49-51, Luk 17:24-25).

Not a Salvation Passage for Individuals

It should be clear that the context of the "unforgivable sin" is "this generation" and the rejection of Jesus as King. "This generation" means the generation (group) of living Israelites alive at the first coming of Jesus. The rejection of the King occurred when the Pharisees rejected the King by claiming that Jesus was demon possessed with Beelzebul.

It is important to to consider the teachings we have regarding individual salvation. Individuals are saved by grace through faith, not by works. That would include this sin of blasphemy, speaking against the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not die on the cross for only certain kinds of sin, he died for all sin. Even though "this generation" would be condemned and judged, individuals within that generation could still be saved, as was the case with all of the followers of Jesus.

We are saved by grace through faith, not by works. We are not "this generation", and we did not reject a Kingdom that was personally offered by Jesus during His ministry (Eph 2:8-9).

Of course, this does not mean that you can call Jesus demon possessed with Beelzebul without consequences. No doubt, the consequences would be severe in this life and the next, but according to the whole counsel of scripture, you cannot loose your salvation by this sin.


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