Hope After Blasphemy

There is hope after blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Find that hope here.

On the previous page of this study, Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit, Part 2: Intentional Sin Vs. Unintentional Sin, we saw that ANY intentional sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit; and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable (never forgiven). These two facts lead to obvious questions:

  • Does everyone who ever intentionally sinned go to Hell to burn forever?
  • Is there any hope left?

The answer to the first question is "No, some people who intentionally sin nevertheless avoid being in Hell forever"; and the answer to the second question is "YES, there is still hope!"


The Bible provides us with several examples of individuals who clearly did sin intentionally, but who clearly did NOT go to Hell when they died. Logically, one example would be enough to prove that the two answers above are correct; but I will provide three examples.

There are, in fact, many more than three examples in the Bible (e.g. Adam and Eve, Jonah, etc.) as well as the parable that Jesus told about the prodigal son (Luke 16).


In these examples, please notice that the Bible clearly shows that the individual in each example:

  1. knew his action would be a sin before acting;
  2. committed the sin (1. and 2. make the sin an intentional sin);
  3. did not go to Hell for the sin; and
  4. did suffer greatly for the sin, despite being forgiven.


Points 1, 2, and 3 prove the answers given above: that intentional sinners can still hope for salvation from an eternity in Hell. However, point 4 will show that an intentional sin is still a VERY SERIOUS matter, and should never be taken lightly!


EXAMPLE ONE: MOSES

The first example offered here involves Moses. Moses is the person through whom God gave humanity the Law (which includes the Ten Commandments; and is also the very writings in which God made known the difference between UNintentional and intentional sin). The intentional sin in this example is first mentioned in the Bible in Numbers, chapter 20 (particularly Numbers 20:7-13). It was a time filled with sorrow for Moses, as the chapter begins with the death of his sister, Miriam (Numbers 20:1), and ends with the death of his brother, Aaron (Numbers 20:28-29).

Numbers 20:7-13

"7 And Yehovah (God) spoke to Moses, saying,

8 'Take the rod, and assemble the congregation--you, and your brother, Aaron! And speak to the rock, to its fountains; and it will give its waters; and you will bring out waters for them from the rock, and you will give drink to the congregation, and their livestock.'

9 And Moses took the rod from the presence of Yehovah (God), as he was commanded.

10 And they--Moses and Aaron--assembled the congregation before the rock; and he said to them, 'Listen, rebels! Will we bring waters for you from this rock?'

11 And Moses raised up his hand, and he hit the rock with his rod a second time; and waters gushed out. And the congregation drank, and their livestock.

12 And Yehovah (God) said to Moses and Aaron, 'Because you did not believe me, to hallow me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you will not lead this congregation into the land which I give to them.'

13 These waters of Meribah (contention) (for which the children of Israel contended with Yehovah (God)), He hallowed Himself in them."


Even though God explicitly told Moses to "speak to the rock" (Numbers 20:8) (Point 1), Moses nevertheless "hit the rock with his rod a second time" (Numbers 20:11), rather than speaking to it (Point 2). This was an intentional sin. (Additionally, note that Moses calls the congregation "rebels" just before he, too, rebels against God.)

In Numbers 20:11, we read that Moses "hit the rock with his rod a second time". The first time that Moses hit the rock was in Exodus 17:1-7. On that occasion, Moses was commanded to hit the rock (Exodus 17:6). That place was called "Massah" (temptation), at Mt. Horeb; whereas the event in Numbers chapter 20 is said to take place in "Kadesh" (Numbers 20:1). Nevertheless, both Exodus 17:7 and Numbers 20:13 speak of "Meribah".


Moses may have been very upset at this time, as his sister Miriam died shortly before this incident (Numbers 20:1); but that is not an excuse for his intentional sin.

Moses did not go to Hell for his sin, however. There are many, many evidences given in the Bible of this fact.

"The Transfiguration" is what this transformation is usually called; and the "Mount of Transfiguration" is the name of the place where this event occurred.


Perhaps the clearest such evidence is that Moses, along with Elijah, appears before a transformed Jesus, according to Matthew 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-13; and Luke 9:28-36. Since this event happened hundreds of years after the death of Moses, Moses could not have gone to spend eternity in Hell when he died (Point 3).

Nevertheless, Moses and his brother, Aaron, were banned by God from going with the people into the promised land (Numbers 20:12). In fact, Aaron died soon after this incident (Numbers 20:28-29); and Moses, too, died without ever entering the land of Israel (Numbers 27:12-14; Deuteronomy 1:34-37; 3:23-27; 32:48-52; 34:1-4).

Despite the fact that Moses very humbly asked God to allow him to enter the promised land, God refused, and also forbade Moses to even ask again. After enduring forty years of wandering in the desert, and suffering with the rebelliousness of the people, this one intentional sin caused Moses to be left behind (Point 4).


EXAMPLE TWO: KING DAVID

The Bible passage from 2 Samuel 11:1-12:23 tells the story of the intentional sin committed by David, which involved one of his soldier's, Uriah the Hittite; and Uriah's wife, Bathsheba.

In 2 Samuel 11:2-5, we learn about how David became aware of Bathsheba; that David committed adultery with Bathsheba; and that Bathsheba became pregnant (Point 2, involving the sin of adultery).

In 2 Samuel 11:6-13, David tries to encourage Uriah to have sexual relations with Bathsheba. If Uriah had done this, David likely would have deceived Uriah into believing that Bathsheba's baby was the child of Uriah (Point 2, involving the sin of fraud).

In 2 Samuel 11:14-17, David arranges to have Uriah abandoned on the worst part of the battlefield, so that he is killed (Point 2, involving the sin of murder).

After hearing that Uriah was dead, Bathsheba mourned his death; and after that period of mourning, David took Bathsheba as his wife (2 Samuel 11:26-27).

In current English, the idiom "in broad daylight" is a good phrase-for-phase translation of the expression "before the sun" in 2 Samuel 12:2-3.

2 Samuel 12:9-14

"9 Why have you despised the commandments of Yehovah [God], to do wickedness in His sight--in My sight?! Uriah the Hittite was struck by you, by the sword; and his wife, you took for your wife; and you murdered him by the sword of the sons of Ammon.

10 And now, the sword will not leave your house until eternity; because you despised me, and you are taking the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.

11 Yehovah (God) says this, 'Watch me raising evil over you from your house! And I take your women from before you, and I give to your associate; and he lies with your women before this sun.

12 You did that in secret; but I will do this thing before all of Israel and before the sun.'

13 And David says to Nathan, 'I sinned against Yehovah (God).' And Nathan says to David, 'Yet, Yehovah (God) caused your sin to pass away: you will not die.

14 Nevertheless, to despise in this matter, you cause the enemies of Yehovah (God) to despise. Indeed, the son--the one born to you--dies: he will die."


In this passage, we see that David knew his actions would be sinful before he did them (Point 1), making this intentional sin.

In particular, God rhetorically asks David why David "despised" God's commandment (2 Samuel 12:9). This is followed by God saying to David "you have despised me" (2 Samuel 12:10). The word "despise" is used again when the penalty is set (2 Samuel 12:14). These echo the use of the word "despised" in Numbers 15:30-31.

Numbers 15:30-31

"30 And the soul that acts defiantly, from the native to the foreigner, that person blasphemes Yehovah (God); and that soul is to be cut from among its people.

31 It despised the Word of Yehovah (God), and it broke His Commandment. That soul, it will be completely cut off, its sin with it."


In response, David admits that he has sinned; and David is told that "Yehovah (God) caused your [David's] sin to pass away [was forgiven]", and that he will NOT die because of the sin (2 Samuel 12:13). David did not go to Hell (Point 3).

Nevertheless, the Judgment of God in this matter is still harsh. David is told that his sin has even led others to despise (blaspheme) God.

As a result,

  1. the child that was conceived in this sin will die (2 Samuel 12:14);
  2. David's own household will fight against him; and
  3. his women will have sex in public with another man (2 Samuel 12:11-12) (Point 4).

The "sword" (war, fighting) would never leave David's household: it would be without peace until David died (2 Samuel 12:10) (Point 4).

In 2 Samuel 12:15-23, we are told about how the (first) child of David and Bathsheba becomes sick, and dies; and how David reacts.

In 2 Samuel 16:20-23, the Judgment of God concerning David's women is fulfilled. David's own son, Absalom, as part of his fight to replace David as the king of Israel, takes David's concubines on to the roof of David's palace and publicly has sexual relations with them.

Besides Absalom, many, many others in David's household also fight against David. One of the last struggles was with another of David's sons, Adonijah, who was also Absalom's brother. This story is told in 1 Kings 1:5-2:25.

To learn more about the Judgment of God in this incident, read 2 Samuel 12:14-24:25 and 1 Kings 1:5-2:25. (There is still some residual influence of God's Judgment against David beyond 1 Kings 2:25, particularly in the royal court. However, this is enough to read to know that the "sword" truly was on David's household from the time of God's judgment against David until David's death.)



EXAMPLE 3: PETER

It was just before the death of Jesus that Peter committed the sin in this example. Jesus told Peter that Peter would commit this sin.


Luke 22:31-34

"31 But the Lord said, 'Simon, Simon, observe! Satan desires you, to sift like grain.

32 But I prayed about you, that your faith might not fail; and when you return,
steady your brothers!'

33 But he said to Him, 'Lord, I am ready to go with you into jail, and into death!'

34 But He said, 'I am telling you, Peter, the rooster will not sound today before three times you will deny knowing me!'"


We find Peter's response in Mark 14:31.

Mark 14:31

"31 But fervidly he further said, 'If I must die with you, no, I will not deny you!' And all spoke similarly."


(See also Matthew 26:33-35; Mark 14:29-31; and John 13:37-38.)

Peter was obviously aware that denying he knew Jesus was a sin, as evidenced by Peter telling Jesus that he would never do it (Matthew 26:33; Mark 14:31) (Point 1). Additionally, Jesus had explicitly commanded all the disciples (including Peter, in Matthew 10:1-5) about this.

Matthew 10:32-33

"32 Whoever then will be acknowledging me in front of people, I also will be acknowledging that person in front of my Father in the Heavens.

33 But whoever will deny me in front of people, I also will be denying that person in front of my Father in the Heavens."


(See also 2 Timothy 2:12.)

Later that night, Peter did commit the sin.

Luke 22:54-62

"54 And arresting Him, they led, and they brought Him into house of the high priest; but Peter followed distantly.

55 And kindling a fire in the midst of the courtyard, and they being seated together, Peter sat in the midst of them.

56 But a certain young woman, seeing him sitting by the light, and looking intently him, said, 'This one was also with Him.'

57 But he denies Him, saying, 'Woman, I have not known Him!'

58 And after a bit, another saw him, affirming, 'You are also of them.' But Peter said, 'Man, I am not!'

59 And separated by about one hour, some other confidently affirms, saying, 'Truly, this one was also with Him, for he is also a Galilean.'

60 But Peter said, 'Man, I have not known that which you are saying!' And instantly, he still speaking, the rooster sounds.

61 And being turned, the Lord looks at Peter; and Peter is reminded of the Lord's saying, as He said to him that, 'before the rooster sounds, you will deny me three times'.

62 And coming outside, Peter weeps bitterly."


(See also Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; and John 18:15-18,25-27.)

Thus, even though Peter knew it was sinful to deny that he knew Jesus, Peter did it anyway (Point 2). Therefore Peter was guilty of committing an intentional sin.

Nevertheless, Peter did not go to Hell. After Jesus was resurrected, He met with Peter; and Jesus and Peter were clearly reconciled (John 21:15-19) (Point 3).

John 21:15-24

"15 Then when they lunch, Jesus says to Simon Peter, 'Simon of Jonah! You love me more than these?' He says to Him, 'Yes, Lord, you know that I am fond of you!' He says to him, 'Graze my ewes!'

16 He says to him again a second time, 'Simon of Jonah! You love me?' He says to Him, 'Yes, Lord, You know that I am fond of you!' He says to him, 'Shepherd my sheep.'

17 He says to him the third time, 'Simon of Jonah! You are fond of me?' Peter was sorry that He said to him the third time, 'you are fond of me'; and he said to Him, 'Lord, you have known all: you know that I am fond of you.' Jesus says to him, 'Graze my sheep.

18 Amen, Amen. I say to you, when you were younger, you prepared, and you walked wherever you wanted. But whenever you grow old, you will be stretching out your hands, and another will be preparing you, and will be carrying you where you will not want.'

19 And He said this to indicate with what death he will be glorifying God. And stating this, He says to him, 'Follow me!'

20 And being turned, Peter observes the disciple whom Jesus loved (who, following the supper, also leans back on the chest of Him, and said, 'Lord, who is the one giving you up [betraying you]?').

21 Seeing him, Peter says to Jesus, 'Lord, and what of this one?'

22 Jesus says to him, 'If I might be willing for him to remain until I come, what [is it] to you? Follow me!'

23 Then came out this saying to the brothers, that the disciple will not die; but Jesus did not say to him that he will not die; rather, 'If I might be willing for him to remain until I come, what [is it] to you?'

24 This is the disciple testifying about these things, and writing these things; and we know that his testimony is true."

The reason that Peter denied knowing Jesus was because Peter was afraid someone would be "carrying [him] where [he would] not want [to go]" (John 21:18). Jesus was telling Peter that Peter would suffer precisely the death that he tried to avoid by sinning.


As for Point 4, the suffering of Peter for this intentional sin, it could simply be noted how upset that Peter became afterwards (Luke 22:62). However, Peter apparently suffered more than sorrow and shame for this sin.

Just as Peter had denied his knowledge of Jesus three times, Jesus asked three times if Peter loved/was fond of Him (John 21:15-17). Jesus then indicated to Peter the type of death that Peter must die (John 21:18-19). Since John 21:18 talks about other people leading Peter somewhere he does not want to go, the indication is that Peter would die by execution.

This strongly suggests that Jesus intended to communicate a connection between

⦁    the 3 time denial of Jesus / 3 time confession of caring for Jesus, and
⦁    the indication to Peter that he would be executed.

The apparent connection is that Peter would eventually be executed because he had denied knowing Jesus, which was an intentional sin. Additionally, the indication that Peter would be executed is itself immediately followed by Peter asking Jesus about how (or even if) John would die. There is a reason why Peter asked about John, but not the other disciples.


Obviously, Jesus loved ALL of the disciples. However, the Bible tells us that Jesus especially loved John.


John was the only one of the twelve main disciples of Jesus that was with Jesus at the crucifixion. We know this because John was the disciple that Jesus (especially) loved (John 21:20-24); and this (especially) loved disciple is the only one of the twelve main disciples that was at the foot of the cross of Jesus (John 19:25-27). John ultimately acknowledged Jesus publicly in the last moments before Jesus died--unlike Peter, and the other disciples.

Thus, the reason that Peter only asked about John's death is apparently because Peter recognized there was a connection between whether a disciple had denied knowing Jesus, and how that disciple would die.

HOW CAN THIS BE?

Even though the punishment for intentional sin can be very severe, it is clear some people who commit such sin do not go to Hell, and there is still hope for them. Moses, David, and Peter are examples of such people.

However, on Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit, Part 2: Intentional Sin Vs. Unintentional Sin, we saw that intentional sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit; and "... whoever may blaspheme toward the Holy Spirit is not getting forgiveness in this time, but is subject to eternal damnation" (Mark 3:29).


So how can anyone intentionally sin--thereby blaspheming the Holy Spirit, and becoming "subject to eternal damnation"--and yet not become eternally damned, and go to Hell? How did Moses, David, and Peter do this? How can this be?

On the next page of this study, The Adoption Loophole, we will discover how Moses, David, and Peter--and many, many others--have avoided going to Hell, even after sinning intentionally (and how we can, too).

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