THE BLASPHEMY OF THE
- by A. E.
Therefore I am saying to you,
Every sin and blasphemy shall be pardoned men, yet the blasphemy of the spirit
shall not be pardoned.
And whosoever may be
saying a word against the Son of Mankind, it will be pardoned him, yet whoever
may be saying aught against the holy spirit, it shall not be pardoned him,
neither in this eon nor in that which is impending.? (Matt.12:31,32)
Verily, I am saying to
you that all shall be pardoned the sons of mankind, the penalties of the sins
and the blasphemies, whatsoever they should be blaspheming, yet whoever should
be blaspheming against the holy spirit is having no pardon for the eon, but is
liable to the eonian penalty for the sin?? for they said, ?An unclean spirit has
he.? ? (Mark 3:28-30)
Now I am saying
to you that everyone whoever shall be avowing Me in front of men, him shall the
Son of Mankind also be avowing in front of the messengers of God.
Now he who is disowning
Me before men will be renounced before the messengers of God. And everyone who
shall be declaring a word against the Son of Mankind, it shall be pardoned him,
yet the one who is blaspheming against the holy spirit shall not be pardoned.?
in the passages quoted
above have been seized upon to prove that there is no salvation for those who
blaspheme the holy spirit.
blasphemy of the spirit shall not be pardoned? (Matt.12:31),
the one who blasphemes the holy spirit shall not
be pardoned? (Luke 12:10).
These passages, we are told,
utterly disprove the salvation of all (1 Tim.4:10) and universal reconciliation
We are told that here are passages which we refuse to
To the superficial reader this seems to be true. But, as God grants
grace for realization, one who carefully and objectively examines these passages
will find that they do not by any means deny other portions of our God?s
First of all,
anyone reading all of the
passages attentively will see that the time of action is circumscribed.
It is confined within the boundaries of only two eons. With considerable
circumstance we are informed that the pardon is not possible?neither in this eon
nor in that which is future.
This is in exact accord with the facts in
other scriptures. Pardon has its place in the millennial kingdom and in its
The question of pardon does not arise at any other time.
After that time is the great white throne judgment, when all unbelievers will
enter the second death. Pardon can have no place in the new earth.
consummation men are not pardoned, but justified. An intelligent study of the
Scriptures will confirm the limiting of pardon, in this passage, to this eon and
that which is impending.
There is no pardon in these for those who
blaspheme the holy spirit.
The question now arises,
Do the two statements
which are not explicitly confined to these eons contradict this limitation, or
are they in harmony with it?
The negative used is absolute, not
relative. How shall we understand ?shall not be pardoned??
that, according to common speech and especially, popular reasoning, most will
conclude from their consideration of this phrase that there can be no
possibility of such a thing as the universal grace of the
However, the simple solution is that those not pardoned of
the penalty which is their due, will nonetheless
be justified (Rom.5:1) and
which is infinitely more.
It is the due
penalty of the day of judging from which such sinners will not be being
pardoned; not some mythical penalty of an eternity spent in hellfire destitute
of all hope of God?s mercy and grace.
It will be helpful to note the form
of the Greek verb used, which we will now seek to make plain to all, even though
they know nothing of Greek.
The verb, in Greek, is divided into three
great classes, as shown on page 25 of THE GREEK ELEMENTS. These are the
Indefinite, the Incomplete, and the Complete. The first simply states a fact, as
?the Son of Mankind has authority on earth to pardon sins? (Matt.9:6).
Here there is no question of time, for the verb is indefinite. The last
form, the Complete, tells of the state resulting from an action, as, ?Child,
your sins have been pardoned you? (Mark 2:5).
The second form, however,
the Incomplete, deals with an action in progress, as, ?we ourselves, also, are
pardoning every one who is owing us? (Luke 11:4).
re-analysis of the Greek verb in the course of compiling the Concordant Version
brought to light several facts which are not to be found in the usual grammars
and lexicons. Among other things, it was observed that the future forms, which
have the endings of the incomplete, partake of the nature of this form, and
speak of an action in progress, and limited to the time of the
All of these forms are distinguished by the ending ?ing in the
English sublinear of the CONCORDANT GREEK TEXT. Therefore the passages which we
are considering should really be rendered ?shall not be being pardoned,? as it
is in the sublinear.
It is a pity that this cannot be readily carried
over into the Version. Yet even in the Version itself in cases where the ?ing
form does not appear in the main text, it is noted by a superior vertical stroke
as an indicator of this verb form.
That the future form of the verb may
be limited is evident from the fact that the very same form (aphethêsetai) is
used in Matthew 12:31 and 32.
Much patient investigation, and years of
experience since this fact was first observed, have convinced the compiler of
the Concordant Version that the Greek future with a negative is always limited
to the time of action. It does not deny at all times.
If the reader will
check this by the Greek or by the sublinear of the Concordant Version he will
arrive at the same conclusion, and it will be a source of much satisfaction to
him, for it really settles, and that conclusively, some most important
It will help us to believe all that God has said, so as not
to array one part of His Word against another.
How instructive and important
this fact is may be seen from another passage. In John 3:36 we read, ?He who is
believing into the Son has eonian life, yet he who is stubborn as to the Son
shall not be seeing life, but the indignation of God is remaining on him.?
The phrase ?shall not see life,? wrenched out of its context, has hindered
many from an acceptance of God?s glorious goal.
This has its root in the
mistranslation ?everlasting,? for, if eternal life is in question in one part of
the sentence, then ?shall not see life? can have no limits.
eonian life is promised to the believer, an intelligent reader will see that it
is eonian life also which the stubborn shall not see. And this is made
absolutely sure by the form of the Greek future.
It deals not with a
fact but an incomplete, limited action. The context, the form of the verb, and
definite declarations of God in other portions of His Word are in delightful
If we take ?shall not see life? as a fact for all time, we
must clash with the context, we must ignore the form of the verb, and we must
deny God?s great assertions that death shall be abolished (1 Cor.15:26) and
that, in Christ, all shall be made alive (1 Cor.15:22).
It is glorious to
be able to revel in all that God has revealed! We do not need to worry about
contradictory passages. They do not exist!
Only in our ignorance of the
exactitude of Holy Writ will we bring up texts to bolster up our unbelief in
God?s glorious ultimate.
To test such facts as these, let us not fall
back upon traditional scholarship. It has long been stereotyped and dares not
acknowledge its own deficiencies. I have never seen a Greek grammar which
clearly distinguishes between verb forms which are indefinite and those which
are incomplete, or, in process.
The incomplete form, however, simply
speaks of an action going on, at whatever time is in view, as specified or
Therefore, we simply affirm that the sin against the
holy spirit will not be pardoned in the time specified, the only time when
pardon is offered, in this eon and in the next, according as it is written.
(Moreover, it is concerned with the proclamation of the kingdom to Israel, and
not with the present grace.)
The statements where this time limit is not
directly included imply the same thing in the form of the verb. Besides, the
fate, after the next eon, of those who commit this sin, is not determined by
these passages anyway, but by other explicit declarations.
committing the sin against the holy spirit will not be released from God?s own
just judgment of this sin. Hence we say concerning it, not that it will be
pardoned (Luke 12:10), but, instead, that it will be judged.
commit it will stand before the great white throne and will suffer the penalty
imposed by our Lord for this sin. Subsequently, they will be cast into the lake
of fire, which is the second death.
Thereafter, when death is abolished,
and all are made alive at the consummation, they, with all the rest of mankind,
will be justified and reconciled to God through the blood of Christ?s
Were the Word of God a great hymn, as indeed it is, my ear could
never bear the jazz that theology has made of it. But now that my heart has
heard its heavenly harmony, and my spirit is inspired by its sweet symphony, it
is torture to hear the jangling discords of hard and stubborn hearts, which,
selfishly satisfied with their own safety, imagine that if they would have
?eternal? life, others (those who die in unbelief) must have ?eternal?
The crude reasoning that concludes that those who are never
?forgiven? will never be saved is a good example of how reasoning from ignorance
breeds unbelief and enslaves men in fear and utter despair.
have morbidly imagined that they had committed this sin and spoiled their whole
career! To the contrary, since Christ died for all that all might live, and all
who will be saved will be saved by grace, it follows that eventually all will be
saved, that God may be All in all (cf 1 Cor.15:20-28)
the reader be granted a realization of this very truth, even as a spirit of
thanksgiving to God in recognition of His vast love and saving grace for all
A. E. Knoch
1. Like all universal expressions, in all
contexts in which they appear, ?whoever? (even as ?each,? ?every,? and ?all?)
refers to all without exception who come under the purview of the subject of the
It is not such words themselves, but their present usage which
determines their scope. In some instances, in cases in which the subject of the
context itself is universal, such terms refer to all universally; but in other
instances, such as our present text, such terms refer solely to all of a limited
Our Lord?s earthly ministry concerns the evangel of the Circumcision;
it does not contemplate the untraceable riches of Christ for the nations through
Paul, or God?s ultimate purpose for all, where, in each case, transcendent grace
apart from law is the only consideration.
2. The essential meaning of the
Greek phrase itself, ouk aphethêsetai (?NOT it-WILL-BE-BEING-FROM-LET?;
Matt.12:32), is simply that of ?non-rescission? (of due penalty).
of abiding personal hostility and estrangement, as is commonly associated with
the English term ?unforgiveness,? is foreign to the Greek essence. The English
?pardon? (or ?remit,? or ?release?) comes closest to capturing the essence of
the Greek word, aphiêmi, which simply says ?let off.?
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