CHAPTER 12:22-50 TEXT:
Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation. While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
12:23 Is not this the son of David?
The miracles Yeshua had been performing in God's name were beginning to have an effect on the minds of the people. Many of them were now considering that He was the Messiah.(The term "son of David" was a euphemism for the Messiah.)
12:25 And Jesus knew their thoughts ...
Whose thoughts? When closely examined, the text indicates He is considering the thoughts of the people (in verse 23), not the Pharisees. His ensuing comments are directed toward them more than their leaders.
12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
Again, the direct connection is made between the miracles He is doing and their specific purpose, to declare to them that the Kingdom of God is being offered. There is no argument as to the validity of these being "real miracles." The discussion at hand is by whose authority these miracles are being done. If by God, then this was there opportunity to usher in His Kingdom on earth. It is interesting that Scripture tells us that many of the physical problems people were experiencing at that time, were directly attributed to the work of Satan or a demon.
The Hebrew Zohar shows that the clash between God's Kingdom being established over Satan's, is what spiritual warfare is all about. This section also testifies to what Paul wrote about Satan being the god of this world, and also to the gospel account of Satan being able to tempt Yeshua with the kingdoms of this world.
The Zohar makes it clear that the Kingdom of God is in a struggle to be established:
The time period of the Kingdom offer extended for a brief while after Yeshua's death. Peter reiterated the offer to his kinsmen. Peter let them know that if they were to accept the message of Yeshua, He would immediately return and usher in the Kingdom:
NOTE: One of the criticisms of the "New Testament" until recent times, has been the great mention of demonic activity within its pages, in light of the fact that there was little other historical evidence that witnessed to such things in the Second Temple period. This changed with the Dead Sea Scrolls. Among the parchments (dated about 100 years prior to Yeshua), are found detailed instructions on casting away demons, using either chants or the placing of an amulet upon the body. Many of these demons were directly connected to physical ailments. (Scrolls 4Q560 and 11Q11.)
12:29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man?
The idea of binding a spiritual enemy being, before accomplishing an earthly deed, is found both in Scripture (see study on Daniel 10) as well as in Midrash:
12:30 He that is not with me is against me;
On the surface, this would seem to contradict the following words from Yeshua:
It is important to consider here, that Yeshua is not telling John that, "it's OK as long as they are using my name." Yeshua had already said that this is no guarantee of anything:
This situation is remarkably similar to an occurence in Moses' time:
12:32 ... blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men
The proof that what Yeshua was doing was of God, was not that He said so, nor was it the miracles themselves. (Satan and his demons can claim to be doing things of God and perform wonderful deeds.) Rather, Yeshua's "litmus test" for the Pharisees was Torah.
He had previously told them to go properly understand what was meant in the verse, "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice." Why did He tell them to do this? Had they done so, they would have learned that they were seeking their own righteousness and not submitting to God's. (This is a purpose and function of Torah.) They would have then known Yeshua for who He was and His works as being of God. Rather than doing thing however, these Pharisees choose to view themselves as righteous, walk away from the Kingdom offer, and attribute the work of the Ruach haKodesh to Satan.
The warning of the "unforgivable sin" is given in the book of Hebrews, only in a different setting. (As Yeshua has died and resurrected by this time, which holds additional signficance. This will be discussed in our upcoming Hebrews study.). Again, this has to do with experiencing the work of the Ruach and rejecting it, when you have enough understanding to know better:
There is a bit of a paradox here that needs to be addressed. Although Yeshua says that this generation is condemned, later in Acts chapter 3 (see above) Peter tells these people that they still have yet one more chance. Anyone cognizant of the Hebrew Scriptures knows that this is common. The prophets, on more than one occasion, told the people they were doomed as they would not listen, while still preaching repentance to them.
12:39 An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign;
It is a fact of Scripture that some generations end up cursed, while others especially blessed. Those in the position to receive the greatest blessings from God, and who fail Him, end up in the former category.
The other generation in Scripture, cursed in such a fashion, was that which came out of Egypt. They received the offer of the Kingdom and the written Torah. Those in Matthew's narrative, receive the Kingdom offer and the walking, talking, Torah - Yeshua.
12:43-45 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none ... Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
This generation had the greatest preacher of the Kingdom in their midst. Yeshua's miracles were not only physical cures, they were spiritual gains, each contributing to the binding of Satan and his own legions of angels (demons). The great physician was making them well by bringing God's light into the world, forcing out the darkness of the enemy, and ushering in the Kingdom of God. Here was there chance! Their rejection of this opportunity is worse for them than if He had never come and preached to them at all. For now they will be beyond repentance (i.e., Hebrews 6:4).
12:50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven,
What is the "Will of God" that each of us, without exception, is to do?