The unforgivable sin


“I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.” He said this because they were saying, “He has an evil spirit.”" Mark 3

“And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” Matt 12

Who committed this unforgivable sin? Who thought Jesus was possessed by the devil and conspired to kill him? It was Israel. Was she forgiven in that age? No. The curtain was torn, signaling the end of the age. The Holy of Holies was now a mere room, an empty husk to be thrown into the furnace. God was gone. The Romans came and tore the temple down. The Jews were scattered.

Will they be forgiven in the age to come, the time of the Gentiles? No. Like the Rich Man in Jesus’ parable, a great gulf separates Israel from Abraham’s bosom, the gulf of unbelief. Rather, the Gentiles find comfort in God’s grace while Israel finds none.

Will they ever be forgiven? Paul agonized over the question. He knew Jesus’ teaching on the unforgivable sin, but Paul’s conclusion is both inspired and inspiring. When the Gentiles have fulfilled their part, when this present age is complete, all Israel will be saved. Why? Because God’s promise is irrevocable.

But that’s not all that will be accomplished. Everything that came from God through Christ will return to God through Christ. “For from him and through him and to him are all things.” No wonder Paul cried out in praise.


I recently came upon a quote from a Greek Father named Theophylact.

He said the Pharisees commited this sin, but added the following:

We must however understand, that they will not obtain pardon unless they repent. But since it was at the flesh of Christ that they were offended, even though they did not repent, some excuse was allowed them, and they obtained some remission.

I think he’s saying that rejecting Christ before His resurrection might be excusable (“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”), but going on to unrepentently bribe the gaurds at the tomb (and persecute the church after Pentecost) would place them outside God’s mercy (unless and until they repented.)

Some have suggested that that was the meaning of the parable (if it is a parable, and it’s not introduced as one.)

But given that interpretation (that the Rich man represents the Jewish people, and that hades represents their current condition of exile), who are the Rich man’s five living brothers (and in what sense did they go on living when Israel was scattered)?