What Is Blasphemy and Is This the Unforgivable Sin?
The Crime of Blasphemy
2011© Roy Blizzard III
Blasphemy is the Speaking evil towards GOD. In its essence, it is a crime that consists of an impious PURPOSE in the usage of the words. It doesn’t necessarily include any action done, but may. This thought is based on Leviticus 24:10-23, where a man blasphemed the name of God and cursed Him and in turn was judged. The man cursed, reviled, hated or despised the name and/or person of God and held God in light regard and this was the reason for him being judged. By cursing, the person was declaring the cursed one (God) to be evil or utterly detestable.
Jesus and Blasphemy
Much later in 1st century CE times, this was taken to mean the mere mentioning of God’s name would subject a man to the curse. Yeshua (Jesus) however takes the earlier pre-Talmudic view based upon the purpose behind the words. Beyond this reference in Lev. nothing in the Bible indicates what constitutes Blasphemy other than the words of Yeshua about Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit in Matthew 12:31-32 in which people attributed works of God to HaSatan. This was the impious purpose in their blaming, in other words there was an ulterior motive.
We do have one early pre-Levitical example where in Job 2:9 Job’s wife tells Job to “curse God and die.” But how does one do this? It is tied to this same concept of Blasphemy. One can’t actually place a “curse” on God, but one can curse God by denying His power and purposes and acting out or stating hateful things about God and this enacts judgment of oneself by claiming Godship over their own life. By cursing God, Job’s purpose, had he done so, would be that God would quickly enact judgment and end his miserable life.
The Mishna lays stress on the term nokeb from קבב (to utter a curse against) and says that only if a person utters the name of God (Sanhedrin 7:5) is he guilty, but the Gemara goes further and makes it a criminal offence even to improperly use the sacred attributes of God such as the holy one or the merciful one. The Jewish courts only imposed the death penalty on the person who spoke the name of God, but did inflict corporal punishment upon those who uttered even God’s attributes (Sanhedrin 56a).
Later on after the fall of the Temple and with the rise of “Christianity” excommunication became an important tool in the controlling of the Jewish community due to the proclivity of the Believers to use what the Jews had lately declared blasphemy. They didn’t have to render a physical “death” penalty, they could just kill the relationships and thusly enact a “death” penalty of sorts.
A common ritual in the Middle East circa 1800 BCE was the practice of cursing, or denouncing someone’s enemies. They believed they could achieve this by writing their names on some type of figurine or clay bowl and then smashing it. Many times sections of the text included what they thought were evil spiritual forces and specific enemies at whom the curse was aimed. By destroying the figurine or bowl the curser cast a spell over their enemies by symbolizing their demise. This may have been done by the man in Leviticus as he was from an Egyptian Father and had come out from Egypt and so would have been familiar with this process. He may have been struggling with another Israelite who was trying to prevent this “curse” from occurring.
There is a text, in various versions, on several figurines, which contains the earliest-known mention of Jerusalem (Egyptian: ’wš’mm). This was much prior to it becoming the capital of Ancient Israel. In the cursing section devoted to Asiatic peoples, more than two dozen are named, including many other cities that we know of from the Bible, including Ashkelon and Hazor.
Damning the innocent is a sin in Judaism and God holds one accountable. When someone tries to condemn or curse an innocent they are attempting to usurp that which only belongs to God. This is a supreme act of arrogance and in Psalms 94 God is called on to punish the arrogant. This is what subjected the man in Leviticus to death as God was innocent.
While we are far removed from the life and times of Moses and Job, what we need to see in this is the fact that we as believers should take pains to not Blame God for our circumstances or Curse God because other people are somehow blessed. Both of these acts have a purpose behind them and that is ultimately what God judges. We are to be one with His purpose and we can’t be if we are blaming others or cursing God. God however is always there if we just call out to him in a true spirit of repentance. The only way for us to commit an unforgivable sin is to walk away from God and allow ourselves to sit in judgment as God in our lives.