By Philip Cottraux
Blasphemy of the Holy Ghost is the one unforgivable sin; a crime against God so terrible that even the blood of Christ cannot wash it away. This sounds shocking, but Jesus Himself declared in Mark 3:29: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. I said last week that “Blaspheming the Holy Ghost had never been mentioned in scripture before; and yet it unlocks an entire new dimension to the Word of God.” This week I want to explore that new dimension. Every time God’s judgment fell in the Bible, it was because of blasphemy.
I dare say that Lucifer himself may have been the first to commit this sin, as his rebellion in heaven caused him to be cast out with no hope of ever returning. Isaiah 14:12: How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! Lucifer thought he could ascend higher than the throne of God. For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit (verses 13, 15). God never showed any mercy towards Lucifer or his demons, demonstrating at the very least that His love for us is greater than His love for even the highest angels.
Aside from Satan, the first recorded instance of human blasphemy is also the first murder. God honored Abel’s sacrifice over his brother’s, but knew that Cain was jealous and warned him that if he acted on it, sin lieth at the door (Genesis 4:7). And when the Lord called out to Cain after he’d spilled his brother’s blood, he had the audacity to talk back to the Almighty. And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper (verse 9)? At this, the Spirit was grieved, leaving no hope for Cain’s redemption. God pronounced judgment and marked him with a lifelong curse. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; (verse 11). Cain cried out in verse 13 My punishment is greater than I can bear, but he never repented.
In Exodus, the Lord told Moses in advance that his plan was to smite Egypt, and that no matter how many times he pleaded, Pharaoh was not going to let his people go. And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go (Exodus 4:19-20). The scriptures present two different points of view on the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart: God does it in Exodus 10:1: And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: but then 8:15 declares that he did it to himself. But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.
Throughout the ten plagues, Pharaoh went through a cycle of claiming he would let the Israelites go, then changing his mind. Biblical scholars have debated this throughout the years, but my take is that by examining it through the lens of blasphemy, his actions make much more sense. The first time Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, he had blasphemed and God was merely using him to bring judgment on a sinful nation. I don’t believe that the Lord had overridden his free will; Pharaoh believed himself to be a god, and in defiance to the God of Moses, he probably believed he could manipulate divine judgment while still keeping the Hebrew slaves. But he was gravely mistaken.
In Exodus 10:7, Pharaoh's servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed? By this point, even the magicians, the leaders of idol worship, acknowledged that their gods couldn’t save them. Exodus 14:17: And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians. I firmly believe had the Egyptian people repented, the plagues would have stopped. But by now they too had joined Pharaoh in his blasphemy.
Compare them, for example, the Assyrians in the book of Jonah. Assyria was a far more evil empire than Egypt ever was. Jonah 3:6: For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. The king proclaimed a fast throughout all of Nineveh, and the people repented. And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not (verse 10). If the Lord would bless the Assyrians despite all their wickedness, there’s no reason why He wouldn’t have done the same for the Egyptians; repentance is what makes the difference.
But while the history of Israel is rife with blasphemers, what makes King Saul’s story all the more tragic is how righteous he started out, so humble that he did not even attend his own coronation. But once his reign began, disobedience took over and Samuel gave him the infamous dire warning: Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, (1 Samuel 15:22).
But that spirit very quickly took him over, and by 1 Samuel 16:4, he had committed blasphemy. The scripture is specific in mentioning that the Spirit left him: But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him. God was so done with him that He even told the prophet to stop mourning. 1 Samuel 16:1: And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Notice the change that took place in Saul after this point; study how devil-possessed he became and you will get the complete picture of what blasphemy does to someone.
But don’t think that just because Jesus came and brought us into an age of grace that blasphemy of the Holy Ghost can’t take place today; it happened in the New Testament as well. As the church grew in the book of Acts, the newly converted Christians were so on fire for God that they sold their homes and all of their possessions to lay down at the apostle’s feet. In giving all, the church lacked for nothing. Acts 4:34, 37: Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet (Acts 5:1-2). Why did this married couple sell part of their possessions, then give the money to the apostles claiming that it was all? If they had been honest, they may have been spared God’s wrath.
Let’s hearken back to a passage told by Jesus. We have already established that the Pharisees had committed blasphemy; Matthew 6:5: And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. Jesus despised the religious leaders who prayed vocally in the streets so that others could admire how “holy” and “righteous” they were. He rails against this behavior many times.
Ananias and Sapphira were guilty of the same thing; they were giving part of their possessions and claiming it was all, so that they could be seen of men. They wanted the other Christians to admire them without actually making the true sacrifice; it was all about getting glory for themselves. This is the behavior of a blasphemer; they want to steal praise that rightfully belongs to the Lord, which goes back to the very sin of Lucifer.
God can forgive the most heinous of sins. He can forgive lying, stealing, cheating, gambling, drug addiction, fornication, and even homosexuality. But what can the Lord do with a so-called Christian who wants all the glory for themselves? Job 13:16: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.
The Lord immediately revealed to Peter what was going on. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land (Acts 5:3)? Notice carefully that Peter specified that Ananias and his wife had lied to the Holy Ghost. In other words, they had committed blasphemy. There was no hope for them after this; Ananias immediately died and his wife was soon to follow. Verses 7, 9-10: And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.
Perhaps the most terrifying example of blasphemy is in Revelation. And he (the antichrist) causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six (Revelation 3:16-18). Without the mark, you won’t be able to buy or sell; but to take it means eternal damnation. If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: (Revelation 14:9-10).
But taking the mark of the beast during the Tribulation period will be the final blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. Look at how Saul changed into a madman intent on killing David for no reason. That same demonic spirit will take over those with the mark, giving them an unquenchable desire to butcher the children of God. Revelation 13:15: And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. “Take the mark, or die!” will be the rallying cry around the world.
We are living in the foreshadowing of that cry now. Devil-possessed lunatics take guns and massacre schools full of children. Around the world, terrorists without feeling torture and behead Christians. It’s as if they’ve already taken the mark. We shudder in horror at what is only going to grow more prevalent in this last hour; the stage is being set for the mark of the beast to take over.
We are living in the hour of great blasphemy. It is in our governments and courts, on the internet, and broadcast over television 24/7. The world is changing rapidly before our eyes: everywhere, blasphemy, blasphemy. The storm clouds of the Tribulation are gathering. We talk about the mark as if it is a future event; but in my opinion, it’s already here. The physical mark may have yet to be introduced, but the spiritual mark has taken over. All around us, it’s as if people have already taken it and we can no longer reason with them.
I beg this last generation to heed the warning in Proverbs 1:24-30:
Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.