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:
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.
In these examples, please notice that the Bible clearly shows that the individual in each example:
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).
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.)
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.
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).
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 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.
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
As a result,
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.
We find Peter's response in Mark 14:31.
(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.
(See also 2 Timothy 2:12.)
Later that night, Peter did commit the sin.
(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).
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.
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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