Sabbath - Green blasphemed
First posted: August 24, 2014
This article is the fourth in a series of articles dealing with the spiritual meaning of the Sabbath as portrayed in Matthew chapter 12. This article will share on the words spoken by the Lord in Matthew 12:31?.
As Matthew 12 begins to turn fully into the green-horse stage, the Lord declares the following:
The word "Holy" in the phrase "Holy Ghost" was added by the King James translators and does not appear in the original Greek text, and the word "Ghost" was translated from the Greek word pneuma meaning "spirit". Therefore, the phrase "blasphemy against the Holy Ghost" in the verse above should have been translated as "blasphemy against the spirit". It is important to bear this in mind as we meditate on this verse (and the verse that follows it, Matthew 12:32).
To better understand the meaning behind Matthew 12:31, we must first consider two of the words used by the Spirit in this verse. The words "sin" and "blasphemy" were translated from the Greek nouns hamartia and blasphemia, which, interestingly enough, only appear together in 3 verses in all of Scripture. Both other times, Mark 2:7 and Luke 5:21, these words appear in the context of the religious leaders questioning a man's authority to forgive:
"4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. 6 But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, 7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? 8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? 9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? 10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) 11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. 12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion." (Mark 2:4-12)
Notice how the scribes considered it a blasphemy for Yeshua to claim that He could forgive sins. Notice also that Yeshua did not reply by saying that He, as the "Only Begotten Son of God" did have the authority to forgive sins. Instead, He responded that the "son of man" did indeed have "exousia authority on Earth to forgive sins" (v11). In other words, Yeshua appealed to His humanity to validate His authority to forgive sins. The stubbornly religious scribes of today, who do not deem themselves worthy (Acts 13:46) of Oneness with God, however, may want to argue that the phrase "son of man" was nothing more than a "code phrase" used by Yeshua to refer to the "Old-Testament" prophesies of a coming Messiah. Pious and "relieving" as this baseless (yet popular) explanation may be, Scripture clearly shows that the phrase "son of man" is not some sort of magical code phrase to refer to one and only one individual in human history, as shown by the following passage:
"21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." (John 20:21-23)
Fittingly enough, the King James translators soulishly bungled the translation of verse 23, using the word "remit" to translate the Greek verb aphiemi, which is the same verb that they correctly translated as "forgiven" in Matthew 12:31 and in all the other verses where it is applied to "sin" in the New Testament. In other words, the original Greek text actually reads, "Whose so ever sins you forgive, they are forgiven unto them", but, just as the scribes of Yeshua's earthly days, the King James scribes found it blasphemous to say such a thing, even when it was being said by God Himself in the Scriptures right in front of them. Considering that the passage above appears in the only Gospel that refers to Yeshua as the "Only Begotten Son of God" (John 1:14, 18, 3:16, 3:18) and the only book that describes Him as such more than once, it is safe to conclude that Yeshua was indeed referring to restored man in general, not just to His historical self, when He said that the "son of man" had the authority to forgive sins. Otherwise, why would He declare that His disciples, who were also "sons of men", had the authority to forgive sins, and even the authority to "retain", i.e.- not to forgive sins (John 20:23)?
It is worth noting that Yeshua declared the disciples' authority to forgive sins after He had blown on them and had told them to receive the Holy Spirit. This means that that authority is not inherent in natural man (the first Adam) but is instead inherent in the resurrected, last-Adam Spirit nature (Colossians 3:1-10, Ephesians 4:24) that is placed in us when we are born again and which gets activated when we walk in Him. Hence, if anyone objects to you forgiving or "retaining" sins whilst you are operating in your last-Adam nature, they are actually objecting to the Spirit of God. By objecting, they are denying God's regeneration work in you, and they are claiming that Yeshua's blow on His disciples (described in John 20:21-23) was nothing more than a meaningless, ineffectual farce. It is then that the person objecting to you begins to enter into dangerous territory, especially if that person claims to worship Jesus and follow the God of the Bible.
From the above, we can see that the religious leaders' accusation of blasphemy against Yeshua was actually a reflection of their own blasphemy against the Spirit, a blasphemy that became evident as the green-horse stage began to settle in over them. As we have shared before, the green-horse stage sees the earthly leadership morphing into a "bald" Korah that has been exposed for what they are: nothing more than a soulish, earthly leadership with no true covering or manifestation of the Spirit that they claim to uphold. It is at this point, after their spiritual disguise has been removed, that they and those who follow them are placed in a position of great accountability, for the excuses to not recognise their nakedness are all but gone. It is at this point where any indictment of those who are truly covered in the Spirit becomes a great, great offence against God Himself, and this is when the consequences of this offence turn inerasable and "unforgiveable". To better understand what this lack of forgiveness is all about, we must delve a little more into the nature of the blasphemy that the Lord refers to in Matthew 12:31-32.
To better understand Matthew 12:31-32, we must also consider its parallel passage in the Gospel of Mark:
"28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation" (Mark 3:28-29)
The word "eternal" near the end of verse 29 was translated from the Greek word aionios, which is derived from the noun aion, which, in turn, can also be translated as "age". Therefore, aionios has the connotation of something that transcends ages. The word "damnation", on the other hand, was mistranslated from the noun krisis, which literally means "judgement". Interestingly enough, the words aionios and krisis only appear together in two verses in all of Scripture. The first verse is Mark 3:29, and the other verse is in the book of John, where they are translated as "everlasting" and "condemnation":
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24)
Notice how "coming into judgement" (mistranslated as "coming into condemnation") is portrayed by God as the opposite of "eternal life" in the passage above. Notice also how the "action" that moves you from one state to the other is the act of believing on Him who sent the human Yeshua after hearing his word. Said another way, the action that moves you from one state to the other is to recognise the Divinity behind Yeshua, a human, as you hear him speak whilst cloaked in his humanity. Even though the verse above has been oversimplified by the matriarchal Church to portray the concept of salvation from literal hell, reducing it to such a basic concept creates serious problems, especially when you consider it in the context of Mark 3:29. Since Yeshua uses the words aionios and krisis in both Mark 3:29 and John 5:24 (and in no other verse), is Yeshua saying that those who blaspheme against the Spirit are in danger of being damned to literal hell, without ever having the possibility of being born again? What about someone who has already been born again? Would such a person "lose" his salvation and be sent to hell if he blasphemed against the Spirit? If that were the case, it would create a horrible cloud of uncertainty over every believer, especially since we would never be sure if we have ever, at some point, pronounced a word of blasphemy against the Spirit. On top of that, serious questions could be raised over the "salvation" of millions of believers from traditionalist sects such as America's Southern Baptists, many of whom have vociferously and without hesitation declared many Pentecostal manifestations and acts of healing as "works of the devil". If John 5:24 is simply referring to being "saved from hell" versus "going to Heaven", we could clearly make a case that such believers have already lost their salvation and are hopelessly condemned to "eternity in hell", even if they sincerely gave their lives to Christ and were born again at some point in their lives.
From all of the above, we can safely conclude that the contrast between "coming into judgement" and "eternal life" in John 5:24 has a much deeper texture than the basic concept of "salvation from literal hell". This deeper texture becomes easier to discern as we move away from the Church's false belief that every person must either enter into "eternal life" or go to literal hell, with no ground in between. We shall not revisit this issue here, given that this writer's spirit becomes stirred to wrath every time we are compelled to "explain ourselves" in this regard. Suffice it to say that, if you are firm in not believing that born-again Christians can perish in the desert without entering the Promised Land of eternal life and without dying in Egypt (i.e. in the "lost world") either, then you are visiting the wrong website and are wasting your time reading these postings; in fact, you are coming into further judgement from God as you continue on this website, for, in doing so, you become more and more accountable to God for hearing His words on this matter and refusing to believe them. Even if we are wrong on this matter, you would still be coming into further judgement from God, since you would not be separating yourself from people speaking such "blasphemous" and "anti-Scriptural" things.
If you are still reading, we trust that you do believe in the notion that a believer can be banned from eternal life even if he will not spend eternity burning in literal hell (i.e. that a believer can be born again to "see" the Kingdom without going through the fullness of the Spirit process that would have enabled him to "enter" into it - John 3:3-5). Having accepted the existence of this "middle ground", the deeper context of John 5:24 can now become more evident. When you are born again, God rescues your soul from eternal damnation in literal hell, and you are given a new "nationality" in the spirit realm, being declared a "naturalised" citizen of the spiritual Israel. As a person who is now "called by His Name", you are put through a growth process, like a baby who has been born into this world and who must grow into a mature adult. If you are able to complete this growth process, you will have grown unto the "measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13). Said another way, you will have "overcome", and God will allow you to enter into Him and be One with Him for eternity (John 17:20-23), sitting on Yeshua's throne just as He has sat down with His Father on His throne (Revelation 3:21). If you willingly fail to complete this process, your salvation from literal hell will no be lost, but you will be as one rescued from a fire with nothing but the pyjamas on your back, having to spend eternity wearing those pyjamas as a sign that you chose to sleep through the maturation process you had been called to go through in this short life (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). Thus, a believer that cannot accept the notion that he (or any other human) can be made One with God for eternity cannot complete God's process of spiritual maturation, for it is impossible for you to strive towards a prize (Philippians 3:8-16) whose existence you soundly reject. This is why Yeshua speaks in John 5:24 of "believing in Him who sent Him" (not in Him per se) after hearing His words. When people would hear Yeshua's words, they would hear the words of a man in the flesh, a man who looked like any other man on Earth, with no visible aura of "divinity" or "extra-terrestrial greatness" about Him. Yet, as He spoke, the expectation was for the hearer to not only recognise Him but also recognise the One who had sent Him. In other words, the expectation was for the hearer to suddenly recognise the Eternal Father in Heaven as he heard a human (in this case, Yeshua) speaking words audible to the natural ear. This is why Yeshua says the following in John chapter 17, the chapter where He expounds on eternal life and being One with the Father (bear in mind that Yeshua did not speak these words to the "crowds of followers" but rather to those who stayed faithful and close to Him until the end of His walk on Earth):
"1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. 6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word." (John 17:1-6)
"17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." (John 17:17-19)
Notice how Yeshua asked God to "glorify" Him (v1), something that would have sounded utterly blasphemous to a disciple if he had been able to see nothing more than a human when he beheld Jesus. Notice also how the ability to not consider these words as "blasphemy" hinged on recognising the One who had sent Jesus (v3) through the work that He had performed (v4). Notice then how Yeshua proceeds to speak of His disciples being sent by Him, just as He was sent by the Father (v18), meaning that the world was now being asked to recognise Yeshua's "Divinity" in the disciples just as the disciples had recognised the Divine Father in Yeshua. This means that the disciples were also being called to be "glorified" just as Yeshua had been glorified. Most believers in the Church would quickly shout "Blasphemy" upon hearing such words, but such believers would be calling Jesus a liar for saying the following:
"21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." (John 17:21-23)
As the Lord declares in verse 23, to truly believe His words in the passage above (in their full extent) hinges on what you think about God's love for you. It is ironic that the Church is willing to believe that God loves them enough to grant them a new car, a new house, or a job promotion (sometimes at the snap of their fingers), but not enough to let them sit on His throne in Heaven. It is ironic that the Church is willing to believe that God loves them "so much" that He will never want to "judge" them, but not to the point of wanting to be One with them and glorifying them just as Yeshua was glorified. When push comes to shove, the matriarchal Church will never believe that the Father has loved them as He has loved Yeshua (v23), even as they keep preaching and emphasising God's "love" and "forgiveness". It is ironic, therefore, that the one thing that Scripture declares as "unforgiveable" actually involves rejecting the true magnitude of the very love and forgiveness that the Church claims to understand and uphold. The greatest irony is that those who actively accuse the remnant of "blasphemy" are the ones who are more likely to commit the blasphemy that God will never forgive. In this spiritual back-and-forth of "blasphemy accusations", it is important to recognise who the true blasphemers are and why.
In conclusion, when Yeshua speaks of "believing on Him that sent Him" in John 5:24, He is referring to the willingness to see the manifestation of the Father's Divinity in human flesh, which inevitably points to the possibility of "frail" man becoming One with the Eternal Father. Believing this and acting on this takes us on the path towards the "eternal life" mentioned in John 5:24. Rejecting this takes us towards the "coming into judgement" mentioned in John 5:24, which entails God eternally sentencing you as unworthy of becoming One with Him. This corresponds to the Israelites that perished in shame in the desert without entering the Promised Land. When your rejection of God's Promise continues, even as His remnant have exposed the spiritual nakedness of the matriarchal system, your rejection will eventually degrade into blasphemy not just against the human remnant but against the Spirit Himself, and you will be made to carry a blame that will never be forgiven of you. Since we have established that all of this has nothing to do with going to "hell" or "heaven" (despite the matriarchal Church's stubborn insistence on this immature topic), we can be certain that the inerasable blame is not related to people having their "salvations overturned" and being "condemned to hell" after being born again.
Now that we have a better understanding of the "blasphemy" mentioned in Matthew 12:31-32 and Mark 3:28-29, the question then becomes: What does it mean that this blasphemy shall not be forgiven? To answer this, we must consider the meaning of "forgiveness".
The word "danger" in Mark 3:29 above was mistranslated from the Greek word enochos, which literally means "liable, subject to" and is derived from the verb enecho, which literally means "to have within, to hold in", and which can be used to refer to someone holding a grudge against someone else. Therefore, enochos speaks of someone being guilty of an offence and having that offence held against him. This is why it is translated as "guilty" by the KJV translators in 4 of the 8 New Testament verses where it appears, in Matthew 26:66, Mark 14:64, 1 Corinthians 11:27, and James 2:10, where the word "guilty" is clearly the correct translation. The reason why the KJV translators preferred the word "danger" over "guilty" in Mark 3:29 is because their souls perceived how the word "guilty" raised questions about the validity of their understanding of salvation, eternal life, and hell. The word "danger" was a safer one, allowing them enough "wiggle room" to hold on to their matriarchal beliefs without having to openly deny Mark 3:28-29.
Interestingly enough, the KJV translators also translated enochos as "danger" in 2 other verses that are strongly related to Mark 3:28-29 (and Matthew 12:31-32). These 2 other verses are Matthew 5:21-22. "Coincidentally", these are the only two other verses in Scripture outside of Mark 3:29 that contain both the words enochos and krisis (meaning "judgement" but mistranslated as "damnation" in Mark 3:29).
"21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. 25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. 26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." (Matthew 5:21-26)
[All 4 "danger" words in verses 21 and 22 were mistranslated from enochos]
Notice how Yeshua uses enochos and krisis in the context of belittling the value of your neighbour. This correlates with insulting the manifestation of the Spirit (of God Himself) in your neighbour, which the Lord calls "blasphemy" in Matthew 12:31-32 and Mark 3:28-29. The word "hell" at the end of verse 22 was slightly mistranslated from the Greek word geena, which refers to Gehenna, the valley of Hinnom south of Jerusalem where the city's dead animals and rubbish were cast out and burnt. Therefore, it has the connotation of a place where things that have lost their usefulness or purpose are destroyed. Thus, to be "liable to Gehenna fire" speaks of having one's ultimate purpose in life --- being One with God --- cast out and burnt.
Notice also how this passage portrays a type of "debt", so to speak, that you incur when you insult the (Spirit-)value of a human being. The debt's I.O.U. is in the hands of the person whose value you have insulted, and he can decide what shall be of you. You must therefore try to "reconcile" (v24) and reach an "agreement" (v25) with that person before it is too late, much in the same way that you would try to reach a settlement with your creditor before he takes you to court and sends you to "prison". Once you reach that point, the full weight of the debt shall not be removed from you until you pay the very last "farthing" (v26). From this, we can discern that "forgiveness" involves the concept of a debt and the payment obligation that comes with that debt. When there is no "forgiveness" of the debt, the full weight of that debt becomes an immovable fixture on the debtor's head, and that weight cannot be removed until the debtor has paid off the full amount, with no hopes of the debt being reduced in any way.
From the above, we can now have a better sense of what the Lord meant when He said that blasphemy against the Spirit "hath never forgiveness" and is "guilty of judgement from age to age" (Mark 3:29). Whenever someone refuses to see the weakness and falsehood of his beliefs, even after those beliefs have been denuded by the red horse and the black horse of the Apocalypse, he will be forced into a situation where he will reveal his own weakness and falsehood, which are rooted in his inherent spite of God's "male" nature and His high purpose for man. At this point, he will blaspheme against the Spirit by trying to smear the Spirit manifestation of a fellow man. He will then, without realising it, affront God Himself, even when he thinks that he has done nothing more than put down an "insignificant man". This is when an inerasable debt will be placed upon him, with God casting him into debtor's prison. This means that, for the rest of his life, he will have to pay a continuous price for his blasphemy, with no possibility of his debt being reduced through pleading or even repentance. This writer believes that this can at times be manifested in difficult personal circumstances that never go away. Even if the person has some sort of change in the attitude that led to the blasphemy, the punishment becomes irrevocable and must be borne until death.
To discern the attitude that makes a person most prone to the unforgivable blasphemy, we must consider the following passage:
"8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; 9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of satan. 10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." (Revelation 2:8-10)
The word "blasphemy" in verse 9 was translated from the Greek word blasphemia, which is the same word used in Matthew 12:31. Notice that the blasphemers in the passage above are those who say that they are "Jews" but are in truth the "synagogue of satan". Therefore, this speaks of people who are convinced of their right standing with God because of their strong religiosity. Hence, it is no coincidence that Yeshua speaks of the unforgivable blasphemy (in Matthew 12:31-32) in response to the accusations coming from the Pharisees, who were indeed convinced that they were the "spiritual people of God" (the true "Jews") due to their external religiosity. It also no coincidence that the Spirit of God speaks the words above to the Church of the Smyrneans, to whom God offers the crown of life (v10). As we shared above, those who commit the unforgivable blasphemy are those who reject the notion that "mortal" man can be One with God, which, unbeknownst to them, is equivalent to rejecting "eternal life".
As we have shared before, the Spirit who speaks to the Smyrneans is God's Prophetic Spirit of Sacrifice, and, as we have also shared before, the prophetic anointing promotes a sense of deep grace and spiritual intimacy with God. Therefore, those who operate in God's Prophetic Spirit in a true and significant way will appear to the religious as "blasphemous", daring to possess a closeness to God that no "mere mortal" should dare claim, especially if the "mere mortal" is not a member of the "religious elite". As a result, they will inevitably begin to rail and rail against them, and, as they persist in their opposition, they will eventually blaspheme against the Spirit, becoming unforgivably guilty of the very crime they accuse God's remnant of committing.
Interestingly enough, the phrase "synagogue of satan" is only used in the message to 2 of the 7 Churches of Revelation chapters 2 and 3. One is the Church of the Smyrneans (quoted above), and the other is the Church in Philadelphia:
"9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name." (Revelation 3:9-12)
As we have shared before, the Spirit of God who speaks to the Church in Philadelphia is God's Spirit of Dreams and Visions, who manifests Himself in those who dream of great and mighty things even in the midst of their human smallness. This illustrates the fact that people are most prone to committing the unforgivable blasphemy when they have disdain for those who dare to dream of great dreams and who dare to think that God has great visions for them to walk in, especially if those doing the "dreaming" are "unimportant" in the eyes of natural man. The Lord God deeply disdains this type of disdain against His Philadelphians; this is why He declares that those who persevere in His Spirit of Philadelphia shall be made pillars in His Temple (v12), thereby placing them as an important fixture in what the religious "Jews" would deem the most "sacrosanct" of places. The Lord also goes out of His way to declare that He will write His Name upon them (v12), thereby ascribing to them the Unspeakable Name that the religious "Jews" would deem so "holy" that no "mortal" is worthy of pronouncing. As we implied earlier, the word "Jews" does not necessarily refer to those who practise orthodox Judaism, for the words in Revelation were directed at the Church, at those who claim to believe in the Lord Jesus. Thus, the word "Jews" here refers most directly to those within the Church who faithfully follow the matriarchal Church's doctrines and practices, especially those who by their submission to the matriarchal soul have risen to positions of great human importance.
Having said all of the above, it is interesting to note that blasphemeo, which is the verb form of the Greek noun blasphemia, appears in the following passage:
"8 Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? 9 I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 Which thing I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests, and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. 11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme, and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. 12 Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. 14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." (Acts 26:8-14)
The apostle Paul spoke the words above when He was witnessing to king Agrippa, narrating how he came to the Lord on the road to Damascus. I must share that, for a long time, the word "blaspheme" in verse 11 would for some reason intrigue me every time I read that passage. I would always wonder, "What did Paul mean when he said that he compelled them to blaspheme? What types of blasphemies did he compel them to commit? Why didn't he simply say that he compelled them to deny the Lord? Why did he use the verb 'blaspheme' instead?" Even though my understanding on this is still sparse, I must dare say that the word "blaspheme" is finally beginning to make sense in my heart.
As you may have noticed, pre-conversion Paul, whose name (and nature) was "Saul" then, fits perfectly with the type of people most prone to blaspheming the Spirit. He was a "Hebrew of Hebrews" from the tribe of Benjamin (Philippians 3:5), a Pharisee, son of a Pharisee (Acts 23:6), and a strict and well-respected observer of Jewish religious law (Philippians 3:5-6). This means that he was a "Jew" (Acts 22:3, Acts 26:4-5), at least on the outside, who was convinced of his right standing with God due to his strong religiosity (Galatians 1:14). He was a devout Pharisee (Acts 26:5), i.e.- a loyal member of the religious clan that prompted Yeshua's words on the unforgivable blasphemy in Matthew 12:31-32. And, on top of that, he showed clear disdain for the "unimportant" Philadelphia people who dared to have a connection with God that they did not "deserve". This is evidenced by his constant appeal to the "important" people, i.e.- the chief priests, for validation of his actions (Acts 26:10, 12), as well as by the horrendous way in which he treated the believers he ferreted out in each synagogue, literally dragging many of them out of their houses and throwing them in prison (Acts 8:3), treating them like worthless, unimportant rubbish.
Considering that pre-conversion Paul, i.e.- Saul, was such a prime candidate for blaspheming against the Spirit, it begins to make sense why he inserted the word "blaspheme" in Acts 26:11. Every attack he launched against a vulnerable believer was an attack against Yeshua Himself (Acts 26:14), and, as Saul persisted, he suddenly crossed a line in his attack of Yeshua, which led to him "blaspheming" in a way that would not be forgiven of him in this lifetime. When his moment of conversion came, God blinded him for 3 days, and He made sure that he could only recover his sight if one of the very believers whom he had persecuted so fiercely would have mercy upon him and lay hands on him. The fact that the believer's name was Ananias is no spiritual coincidence. Ananias is the Greek version of the Hebrew name "Hananiah" meaning "Jehovah has graced", which points to the following passage:
"42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. 43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. 44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed." (Acts 13:42-48)
Notice how verse 44 speaks of Paul and Barnabas persuading the Gentiles to continue in the "grace of God". Notice also how the Spirit of God declares that the Gentiles who believed were "ordained to eternal life" (v48) and how the Jews who did not believe had judged themselves unworthy of eternal life (v46). This evidences that the ultimate manifestation of God's grace towards us is eternal life, i.e. Oneness with Him, for His grace is what enables us to come boldly before His throne (Hebrews 4:16), and it is as we continue in that grace that we not only can be close to Him but be One with Him and sit with Him on His throne (Revelation 3:21).
Hence, we can say that, when Ananias was sent (and agreed) to pray for Saul of Tarsus, God was telling Saul that the door to eternal life was open to him. In that sense, Saul was being forgiven of what he had done, and he was being allowed the opportunity to fulfil his calling and destiny in this life. However, since he had crossed the "blasphemy" line, he would not be fully forgiven of what he had done, at least during his life on Earth, meaning that he would have to pay off the debt and carry the burden of what he had done for the rest of his earthly existence.
As described by Paul himself in Acts 26:13, the Lord shone before Him with great brightness on the road to Damascus, a brightness above that of the sun. When this happened, Paul's spiritual eyes were opened to the Glory that he would behold and partake of for eternity, but his physical eyes were left with irreparable damage. Even though Ananias's prayer enabled him to recover his eyesight so that he could function, he suffered from eye issues for the rest of his life, as evidenced by the following passage:
"Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me" (Galatians 4:15)
As many of you know, it is believed that the "thorn" that Paul endured was some sort of eye condition that plagued him throughout his life, possibly some sort of yellowish discharge that would form around his eyes, even as he preached in God's heavy anointing and carried out miraculous healings in the Lord. This is why Paul said the following as he described his thorn:
"1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. 6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (2 Corinthians 12:1-10)
Notice how the Lord's answer to Paul was "My grace is enough for you", which is His way of saying, "The open door of eternal life that you did not lose and that I kept available for you is enough. The reward that you shall experience after your time on Earth is what you must keep your spiritual eyes focused on. But, with regard to your natural eyes, they will never be healed in this life because of the unforgivable line you crossed when you were still Saul."
Notice how, when he was "caught up into paradise", Paul heard rhema words that were "unspeakable" (or "unutterable") and which were not "lawful" for "man" to declare (v4). The word "lawful" was translated from the Greek word exesti, which is derived from the prefix ek meaning "out" and the verb eimi meaning "to be, exist". Therefore, exesti has the connotation of something that is allowed to come out from within and exist on the outside. Interestingly enough, exesti appears 22 times in the 4 Gospels; these 22 appearances can be categorised in the following way:
Notice how exesti is used 20 of 22 times in the context of debates over what man may or may not do under either external religious law (18 times), under secular law (once), or under the laws of social convention (once). All of this reveals exesti's overwhelming connection to what man is allowed to do under temporary laws, especially under Old-Covenant laws. Therefore, it points to the limitations that natural, temporary man is subject to when he is not truly living under the New Covenant. Thus, we can say that the "unlawful-to-declare" rhema words that Paul heard whilst in Paradise refer to things that a person under the Old Covenant could not dare say, things that such a person would consider "blasphemous" in nature. This means that, during his Paradise experience, Paul was exposed by God to a strong "voltage" of the New-Covenant, prophetic freedom that his former Old-Covenant upbringing had so vehemently fought against because it seemed so blasphemous. Sadly, the present-day matriarchal Church continues to live under the Old-Covenant prison that Paul lived in, using "grace" only to extort temporary benefits from God, with no understanding that His grace was intended for reaching Oneness with Hashem, with the Only-Immortal and Almighty God of Israel, blasphemous as that may sound.
All of the above is certified by Paul's use of the word "man" in 2 Corinthians 12:4. It is common for the KJV translators to artificially insert the word "man" in a verse to (supposedly) improve its readability. In the case of 2 Corinthians 12:4, however, the word "man" actually does appear in the original Greek text, in the form of the noun anthropos, a word that points to one's "humanity", especially the one tied to the "first Adam". Therefore, the rhema words that were "not lawful for man to utter" are words that the Old-Covenant-bound man is banned (and bans others) from speaking.
The fact that Yeshua spoke to Saul of Tarsus in Hebrew when He confronted him on the road to Damascus (Acts 26:14) certifies the connection between all of this and the words in Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 that we studied earlier. By speaking to Saul in Hebrew, Yeshua was confronting him about who the true "Jews" were. In other words, Yeshua was revealing to Saul that, whilst he was taking pride in "cleaning up" the Jewish synagogues from the "blasphemous" Christians, and whilst he was faithfully upholding Judaic laws and traditions, he was actually persecuting the true "Jews", the true Hebrews, and that the one committing blasphemy in God's eyes was actually him, not the Christians.
Having said the above, it is then interesting to consider that Paul spoke of his "thorn" in the context of his Paradise experience, an experience during which he was exposed to things that would have been "blasphemous" to Old-Covenant man. This establishes the subtle root of his earthly infirmity. Having been spared from having absolutely no opportunity of Oneness with God, he was not spared of chronic suffering for having committed unforgivable blasphemy. In other words, God never forgave him fully for what he had done, at least during the rest of his existence on Earth. He was, however, forgiven in the "after-life", and this writer has had the witness of the Spirit whilst writing all of this that Paul did indeed enter into Eternal Life and Oneness with God.
Some may understandably argue that the above is an invalid explanation of the thorn's origin, especially since 2 Corinthians 12 itself provides a direct explanation for the thorn:
"7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)
Clearly, verse 7 above states that the thorn was there to prevent Paul over-exalting himself because of the revelations he was receiving. Even though this seems to be completely unrelated to all that we shared above, it actually is. The phrase "exalted above measure" in verse 7 was translated from the Greek verb hyperairo, which, interestingly enough, is only used one other time in Scripture, in verse 4 of the following passage, translated as "exalteth":
"3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
Notice how the passage above speaks of a man who pretends to sit as God in the temple of God. This may sound like a condemnation of the very things discussed in this posting about Oneness with God, eternal life, and sitting on God's throne (Revelation 3:21). However, there is a fundamental difference between what we have shared here and what is being indicted in the passage above; that difference is the fact that the passage above speaks of a man, an anthropos in the original Greek text, who wants to be like God whilst remaining in his first-Adam nature, i.e. in the nature of a "living soul" and not a life-giving spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45). This is why he is called the "man of sin", since, as we have studied before, "sin" is, in essence, the allowing of the soul to rule over the spirit. Also, it is worth noting that the anthropos described above has no interest in being One with God but is instead interested in replacing God, the Father of Spirits (not souls - Hebrews 12:9). This is why he is described as wanting to exalt himself above all that is called God, which reveals the matriarchal soul's intention to always be above the Spirit and not under it.
Hence, when Paul used the word hyperairo in 2 Corinthians 12:7, he was speaking of someone who tries to enjoy the benefits and grace of the last Adam whilst remaining in the first Adam. As Paul began to walk in the eternal-life grace of God, he began to enjoy the freedom that his religious, Old-Covenant upbringing had taught him was evil and unfathomable for man to walk in. However, there was a part of him that was in danger of taking those freedoms and lowering them from the spirit level to the soul level. Now that those freedoms were no longer "taboo", the first Adam in him, who was no longer fettered by Old-Covenant, religious chains, was susceptible to misinterpreting that freedom and appropriating it for himself. Why was Paul's "first Adam" so susceptible to this? Why could he not simply ask for that susceptibility to be removed so that the thorn would no longer be necessary? Why could he not simply ask God to heal the part of his soul that was so susceptible to earthly pride so that he could be free from the thorn? The answer to this is embedded in all that we shared above. When Saul of Tarsus crossed the "blasphemy" line, his first Adam was bound not to be forgiven of what it had done. Thus, there was no redemption possible for it; there was no possibility that God would work that part of him so as to end his susceptibility to pride, since that was the part that prompted his blasphemy in the first place. As a result, all that Paul could hope for at that point was to keep that first Adam in check, submitted through the thorn under the last Adam until he could be free of it upon physical death. All of this explains why Paul narrates his Paradise experience in the third person, speaking of a "man in Christ" whom he knew, which reflects the dichotomy that Paul was living out. On the one hand was a first Adam who had crossed an irremediable line and could not be forgiven, and on the other hand was a last Adam who was growing in the Spirit and was headed towards eternal life. These two "detached" beings were living inside the same body, but the "unforgiven" one of those two beings was more bound to his body than the other one, which meant that his body could not be completely healed. The "unforgiven" part of him was condemned to live in the very weakness that he had ferociously taken advantage of whilst chasing "Philadelphian" believers. Had that unforgiven first-Adam part of him been unshackled from extreme weakness and allowed access to the eternal-life fruits in Paul's life, it would have exalted itself in the way described in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, thus destroying Paul's possibility of eternal Ehad Oneness with God.
The reason why Paul prayed 3 times for the thorn to be removed is related to the 3 stages he traversed until he crossed the blasphemy line. As we have shared in this series of articles, you must go through the red-horse Sabbath, the black-horse Sabbath, and the green-horse Sabbath to get to the point of committing the unforgivable blasphemy. Each of Paul's prayers represents each of the 3 opportunities that the person has to "get off the blasphemy highway". Saul of Tarsus missed all 3 exits, and that is why Paul's 3 prayers went unanswered.
In a previous article, we saw how Matthew 12:1-8 points to the galloping of the white horse and Matthew 12:9-14 to the galloping of the red horse of the Apocalypse. In the next article, we saw how Matthew 12:15-21 points to the black horse of the Apocalypse. In the previous posting, we saw how Matthew 12:22-30 points to a transition from the black horse into the green horse of the Apocalypse. In this posting, we began to study the portion of Matthew 12 that deals fully with the green-horse stage. In a future posting, we shall continue with the verses in Matthew 12 that are also related to the green horse.