A young man stood before the judge waiting to hear his sentence. There would be no redemption for the crime he had committed; no way to undo the act he so regretfully had committed when he was in despair, anger, spite, and vengeance.
The words of the judge seared the man’s soul, “Life in prison without parole”.
The young man wept silently in bitter agony. Freedom would never be his. He felt condemned to hell. His future became nothing more than sand falling between his fingers. He fell to his knees and begged the judge for a death sentence, stating that he would prefer death over a life imprisoned in condemnation and pain.
The judge, after a long pause, answered, “Sir, you did not understand your sentence. When I sentenced you, I did not mean just for this life, but for the life to come as well.”
Is there a sin so horrific there is never to be forgiveness; not in this age, nor in the age to come? A sin which results in eternal damnation?
Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” (A) Matthew 12:31-32
These words turn the table on everything Jesus taught. Didn’t he previously tell his disciples to forgive seventy times seven, or 490 times? (B) Matthew 18:22
Even though no one seems to know exactly what this unforgivable sin is, no other verse in scripture seizes the soul and leaves it trembling in mortal fear more than the concept of an unforgiveable sin. It is like wading in a shark tank with an underwater shark which can’t be seen, located, or identified; which makes sharks – and the concept of an unforgivable sin – terrifying.
The explanation for this dichotomy began in Genesis after Adam and Eve disobeyed God.
God describes the future plot that will unfold in a mere 4,000 years when the Son of God will step off the porch of heaven and onto the doorstep of earth to forfeit His life for men.
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3:8
In four days from Genesis, there will be a war like no other, one of dire consequences between Jesus and Satan, redemption and unforgiveness, between Light and darkness. Absolutely everything is on the line. It will be the greatest event in history with the hosts of heaven rushing to arms, but refrained, forced to watch in horror.
God warned Satan, I will put hatred between your seed (sons) and the woman’s Seed (Son); Her Seed will destroy you Satan (bruise your head), and your seed will kill Him (bruise his heel) without completely destroying Him.” (C) Genesis 3:15 (D)
Who is the seed of the woman, and who is the seed of the serpent, Satan? The word “seed” refers to that which is generated, or born. A seed bears fruit. The fruit of a woman is a child. Jesus was born of the woman, not through the man Joseph, but through the Holy Spirit. The seed of Satan is none other than the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day, who, under the influence of Satan and his lies, plot to put Jesus to death. They are the “seed” of Satan.
This conflict, which began in Genesis, is now leading up to its fulfillment when Jesus discusses his identity with the leaders of the Jews and the Pharisees. Jesus told them, “If you were Abraham’s children (a chosen one, a Jew), you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father (the Devil).” (F) John 8:39
And so the plot between Satan and Jesus hits its climax leading up to His crucifixion, burial, and death. Jesus repeatedly told his disciples beforehand that he would be handed over to be killed. Jesus already knew his destination and how it would play out. (E)
Then the leaders of the Jews and the Pharisees said to Him in indignation, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.” (F) John 8:39
Jesus answered, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil (Satan: the seed of Satan), and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning.?” (G) John 8:46a
This entire conversation centered on Jesus’ identity. They accused him of being born in fornication, ie: a bastard, since Mary was not married when she conceived. They continued their attacks, accusing him of being a Samaritan (a heathen and a sinner) and having a demon.
In the presence of Pilate they accused Jesus of being a son of fornication: (H) John 8:40b
The following article is from (Nic. 2) “The Acts of Pilate” (I)
Pilate called Jesus, and said to him: “What is it that these witness say against you, and you say nothing to them?”
And Jesus answered: “If they had not the power, they would not speak. (bg: They do have the power to speak and they are using it for evil.) Everyone has power over his own mouth to say good and evil; let them see to it.”
And the elders of the Jews, answering, say to Jesus: “What shall we see? First that you was born of fornication; second, that at your birth in Bethlehem there took place a massacre of infants; third that your father Joseph and your mother Mary fled into Egypt, because they had no confidence in the people.”
Some of the bystanders, kind men of the Jews, say: “We say that he was not born of fornication; but we know that Mary was espoused to Joseph, and that he was not born of fornication.”
Pilate says to the Jews who said that he was of fornication. “This speech of yours is not true, seeing that the betrothal took place, as these of your nation say.”
Annas and Caiaphas (the leaders of the Jews who had Jesus arrested) say to Pilate: “We, with all the multitude, say that he was born of fornication, and that he is a magician; but these are proselytes, and his disciples.”
And Pilate, calling Annas and Caiaphas, says to them: “What are proselytes?”
They say to him: “They have been born sons of the Gentiles, and then have become Jews.”
Then answered those who testified that Jesus was not born of fornication, Lazarus and Asterius, Antonius and James, Annes and Azaras, Samuel and Isaace, Finees and Crispus, Agrippa and Judas: “We were not born proselytes, but are sons of the Jews, and we speak the truth; for we were present at the betrothal of Mary.”
And Pilate, calling to him those twelve men who proved that Jesus had not been born of fornication, said to them: “I adjure you by the health of Caesar, tell me if it is true that Jesus was not born of fornication.”
They say to Pilate: “We have a law not to swear, because it is a sin; but (instead) let them swear by the health of Caesar that it is not as we say, and we are worthy of death.”
Then said Pilate to Annas and Caiaphas: “Answer you nothing to those things which these testify?”
Annas and Caiaphas say to Pilate: “Those twelve believe that he is not born of fornication; we – all the people – cry out that he was born of fornication, and is a magician, and (he) says that he himself is the Son of God and a king, and we are not believed.” (Nic. 2)
“The Acts of Pilate” (I)
Here it will be said that the above account is not regarded as having historical veracity by scholars. Nevertheless, it is to be noted that the parenting of Jesus was in question by many of the Jews at that time.
Celsus, a staunch 2nd century opponent of Christianity, recounts in his book The True Doctrine, (which is quoted in Origen’s Against Celsus), an attack by a Jewish interlocutor on Jesus and the accusation that Jesus fabricated the story of his birth from a virgin:
He accuses Him of having “invented his birth from a virgin,” and upbraids Him with being “born in a certain Jewish village, of a poor woman of the country, who gained her subsistence by spinning, and who was turned out of doors by her husband, a carpenter by trade, because she was convicted of adultery; that after being driven away by her husband, and wandering about for a time, she disgracefully gave birth to Jesus, an illegitimate child, who having hired himself out as a servant in Egypt on account of his poverty, and having there acquired some miraculous powers, on which the Egyptians greatly pride themselves, returned to his own country, highly elated on account of them, and by means of these proclaimed himself a God.” (Origen, Against Celsus, 1.28)
Reports have even identified and named the man who is alleged to have fathered Jesus illegitimately. Celsus cites the following claim by a Jew against Mary: “when she was pregnant she was turned out of doors by the carpenter to whom she had been betrothed, as having been guilty of adultery, and that she bore a child to a certain soldier named Pantera”.
The Jewish Talmud also has a few references attributed to rabbis from the early 2nd century that call Jesus “son of Pantera,” and appear to treat “Pantera” as a family name. Other Talmudic references call Jesus the “son of Stada.” Miller points out that the Rabbis knew that “son of Stada” was not Jesus’ real name. He suggests that this seems to have been the name of a Jew who promoted the worship of non-Roman gods and was put to death because of that, so Jewish Rabbis applied it to Jesus because they considered him also to have called to the worship of false gods. In a reference to both “son of Pantera” and “son of Stada,” one Rabbi claims that Stada was Mary’s husband and Pantera was her paramour (Miller, 2003: 217).
“It is taught that Rabbi Eliezer said to the Wise, “Did not Ben Stada bring spells from Egypt in a cut in his flesh?” They said to him, “He was a fool, and they do not bring evidence from a fool.” Ben Stada is Ben Pantera. Rabbi Hisda said, “The husband was Stada, the lover was Pantera.” The husband was “actually” Pappos ben Judah, the mother was Stada. The mother was Miriam “Mary” the dresser of women’s hair. As we say in Pumbeditha, “She has been false to “satath da” her husband.” (b. Shabbat 104b)“
Peter Schäfer explains this passage as a commentary designed to clarify the multiple names used to refer to Jesus, concluding with the explanation that he was the son of his mother’s lover “Pantera”, but was known as “son of Stada”, because this name was given to his mother, being “an epithet which derives from the Hebrew/Aramaic root sat.ah/sete’ (‘to deviate from the right path, to go astray, to be unfaithful’). In other words, his mother Miriam was also called ‘Stada’ because she was a sotah, a woman suspected, or rather convicted, of adultery.” A few of the references explicitly name Jesus (“Yeshu”) as the “son of Pandera”: these explicit connections are found in the Tosefta, the Qohelet Rabbah, and the Jerusalem Talmud, but not in the Babylonian Talmud. Reference: Peter Schäfer, Jesus in the Talmud, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 2007, p.15-24
However; prior to his trial, Jesus countered the attacks of his parentage from the scribes and Pharisees by telling them it was they who were the seed of the serpent from the days of old, from Genesis 3:15, when Jesus told them, “YOU are of your father the devil”. Jesus marked them as the seed of Satan who plotted to kill him under Satan’s influence. (J)
The great students of God’s Word, the Pharisees, did not comprehend the seriousness of what they were saying.
Jesus had just finished telling them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I AM (He), you will die in your sins.” (K)
Then they said to Him, “Who are You?” (L)
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (M)
Their response to this message was to pick up stones and throw them at him in order to stone him for blasphemy. Why? Because they understood perfectly that Jesus was claiming to be God, the great “I AM” from Exodus 3:14, “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (N)
Jesus was claiming to exist before Moses, and even before Abraham.
The question of “Who is Jesus?” continues to rage today. It is the question which, once answered, will either glorify or condemn a person for eternity; even as Daniel wrote, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”(O)
The scribes and Pharisees intended to stone Jesus for blasphemy, but they were the ones who had committed blasphemy by denying the virgin birth, the sign given in Isaiah 7:14 of God coming in the flesh to dwell among men.
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel (literally God-With-Us).”
What does scripture say about the conception of Jesus and his identity?
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:18
But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him (Joseph) in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:20
And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus (literally the name means “salvation”), for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
(Joseph) did not know (have relations with) her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus. Matthew 1:25
[Circumcision of Jesus] And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. Luke 2:21
When a snake strikes, it strikes the bottom of a man’s body. In this case the heel. The power of the snake is in its venom. Satan is ready to strike with all the poison at his disposal in order to do away with the Son of God. Although the poison is deadly, God the Father sits and laughs Ps 2:4 at the futility of Satan trying to keep Jesus in the grave. Jesus is perfected (glorified) at his resurrection, not being subject to decay of the body. At the resurrection, the power of Satan is broken and destroyed. Satan’s head is crushed. Satan’s power has been completely destroyed while Jesus’ power continues on in absolute authority for eternity.
Jesus accused the leaders of the Jews of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which, if they had understood, meant not accepting his identity as proven by his immaculate conception.
“Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” Matthew 12:32
In other words, anyone who refuses to believe that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and was born to a virgin; anyone who does not recognize his identity as the Son of God, will not be forgiven, not in this age . . . and not in the age to come.
Each person has a choice: either to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin by the Holy Spirit as the Son of God, or to believe the one and only other option: that he is the son of fornication, a bastard. There are simply no other choices. If he is the Son of God as he claimed, then he is everything he claimed to be: The one and only Way to the Father, the embodiment of all Truth, and the source of all Life. As John the Baptist proclaimed, he is the Lamb of God who spilled his blood on the Roman cross to take away the sin of the world for those who accept his sinless identity. He was buried and resurrected the third day. THIS is the gospel, the “good news”.
Given this information, we know Judas never believed in Jesus’ identity. Judas, being indwelt by Satan, was solely interested in money and power. Luke 22:3
It is true Judas committed suicide in regret for his act of betrayal, but never came to understand Jesus’ role as redeemer. This is why Jesus said it would have been better if he, Judas had never been born. Mark 14:21
This leads us to Jesus’ own explanation of who He is as well as that which is forgiven vs that which is not forgiven:
“”No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up (crucified), that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is NOT condemned; BUT he who does NOT believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the ONLY begotten Son of God. “ John 3:13-18
“Begotten” here, refers to the resurrection of Jesus.
Those who don’t believe in the identity of Jesus, His virgin birth, His Name, His resurrection, or His Identity as the Son of God in the flesh (but God in the Spirit) are condemned and unforgiven in this age (life) and in the age (life) to come.
The Unforgiven are those “whose minds the god of this age (Satan) has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” 2 Corinthians 4:4
“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. He was buried, and He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” I Corinthians 15:3-4
God urges everyone to come to Him. Jesus paid the price so that men could escape an eternity of condemnation and reap a fabulous treasure of life eternal.
Everyone is invited:
And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:17
How can we escape if we ignore such a great salvation!
If you believe, you will be captivated by God. If you do not believe, you are already held captive by Satan and under his influence.
You are instead, his captive.
Pray, “Dear God, I believe in the identity of Jesus. That he is the Son You sent to mankind to save us. By his death on the cross he shed His innocent blood which, if I accept it, will forgive me of all my sins. Jesus was raised from the grave, so I know I also will be raised from the dead and given a glorified body to live and reign with Jesus forever. Please forgive me and let me live in Your presence forever.”
Bibliography and Notes
(A) Matthew 12:31-32
(B) Matthew 18:22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven (four hundred and ninety times).” Four hundred and ninety seems to be the number symbolizing God’s plan for man’s redemption; signifying a span from disobedience to ultimate freedom. This is reflected in Daniel’s Seventy Weeks for the nation of the Jews: From God’s chastisement of Israel when they disobeyed God, they were sent into captivity as a result of their sin, and until a time in the future when they will be completely redeemed.) Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks (seventy times seven) are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.
(C)Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
(D) The word “bruise” in Hebrew is shûwph, shoof; meaning to gape, i.e. snap at; figuratively, to overwhelm:—break, bruise, cover. Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon explains it as – to lie in wait in order to attack
(E)Verses in which Jesus predicted His betrayal, death, burial, and resurrection: John 12:16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.
- Matthew 17:22 [Jesus Again Predicts His Death and Resurrection] Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men,
- Matthew 20:18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death,
- Matthew 26:24 The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”
- Matthew 26:45 Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.
- Mark 9:31For He taught His disciples and said to them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.”
- Mark 10:33 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles;
- Mark 14:21 The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.”
- Mark 14:41 Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.
- Luke 9:44 “Let these words sink down into your ears, for the Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men.”
- Luke 22:22 And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”
- John 18:2 And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples.
- John 18:5 They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am.” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them.
- Matthew 12:39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah (who was in the belly of the great fish, symbolizing Hades, for three days and three nights, the number of days and nights Jesus was in Hades after his death). Luke 11:30 For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation.
- John 2:19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple (his body), and in three days I will raise it up.” (Signifying 3 days and 3 nights He spent in Hades, the belly of the earth, being resurrected the third day.)
- Matthew 26:39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
- John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up (crucified-signifying his type of death).
- John 12:34 The people answered Him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”
(F) John 8:39 Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 You do the deeds of your father.
(G) John 8:46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?
(H) John 8:40b “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”
(I) The Acts of Pilate, and the Gospel of Nicodemus, (which is believed to have been compiled in the beginning of the 5th century, although it probably used older materials. It is believed that the 2nd century Christian apologist Justin Martyr also referred to the Acts of Pilate in his writings.)
(J) John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
John 8:37-46 Abraham’s Seed and Satan’s Seed
“I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.”
39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 You do the deeds of your father.”
Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?
(K) John 8:23-25 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
25 Then they said to Him, “Who are You?” And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning.
(L) Exodus 3:14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
(M) John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
(N) Daniel 12:2-3 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.3 Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.
(O) Jesus is the Greek translation of the Hebrew name “Yeshua” which translated, means “Salvation”.