Children in the Marketplace, Blasphemy and Casting Out Devils.

Again, some verses to refresh your memory;

-- Click To Expand/Collapse Bible Verses -- Matt ch11:v7-19
Mat 11:7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
Mat 11:8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.
Mat 11:9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
Mat 11:10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
Mat 11:11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Mat 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
Mat 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
Mat 11:14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
Mat 11:15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Mat 11:16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,
Mat 11:17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.
Mat 11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.
Mat 11:19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children. (KJV)

Jesus' statement that the kingdom of heaven has allowed itself to be taken with violence, that the prophets were killed by the very people they were sent to, is true enough of the record of the old testament. The Kings of Israel whenever they wished to enquire of God would seek out a prophet. It is the case that they often chose to listen only to those prophets that told them what they wanted to hear, and instructed those with hard words not to say anything against them, thinking it would make a difference to God's own voice. To put God out of the kingdom, one just had to silence the prophet - or so they must have thought. Elijah in his day was sunk in depression that he was the last prophet, until God told him that he had preserved a remnant in Israel that had not bowed the knee to Baal.

It is recorded that the Pharisees were of the opinion that if they were alive in the days of the prophets that they would have had no part in their deaths, yet though they knew the scriptures extremely well, they were so far from the heart of God that they put to death God's own Son Jesus.

Jesus likens the people of His day to children in the marketplace that are apathetic, and worse than that; they are of the opinion that they have been zealous, they have preached, they have ministered.. and no one listened to them so that they themselves are now become simply dismissive. Concerning the descriptions of John and Jesus, their attitude is not just without common sense, but reflects a life of comfort outside of the consideration of God's work. The phrase "All things continue as they have ever done" springs to mind.

Not all of Jesus' contemporaries were apathetic. When Jesus' fame started to spread from His healings of the sick and the casting out of devils, the then 'powers that be' indeed saw him as a threat. Equally without common sense are the claims of the Pharisees and members of the crowd that Jesus cast out demons by the prince of demons, Beelzebub. Sadly, no matter how plainly it is taught them by Jesus that this makes no sense, and that they blaspheme the Holy Spirit He goes on to say that they still wouldn't believe if they saw what was spiritually happening in the process.

A long selection of verses, but all relevant on the subject of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

-- Click To Expand/Collapse Bible Verses -- Matt ch12:v22-45
Mat 12:22 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.
Mat 12:23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?
Mat 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
Mat 12:25 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:
Mat 12:26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
Mat 12:27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.
Mat 12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
Mat 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? and then he will spoil his house.
Mat 12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
Mat 12:31 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.
Mat 12:32 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.
Mat 12:33 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.
Mat 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
Mat 12:35 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.
Mat 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
Mat 12:37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
Mat 12:38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
Mat 12:39 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:
Mat 12:40 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.
Mat 12:41 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.
Mat 12:42 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.
Mat 12:43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.
Mat 12:44 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.
Mat 12:45 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. (KJV)

The statement that if satans kingdom is divided it will not stand (not function) is easy enough to understand. I never had a problem with that. That the Pharisees children cast out devils,.. I do not understand this as their children were following Christ and doing likewise. - I rather believe that if He; Jesus, as God himself cast out devils by Beelzebub, then by who do the Pharisees cast them out by? God, or by the devil as by God? - Again Jesus affirms he is the Christ, as affirmed by those that believed on him by calling him the Son of David.

Of course, you may not cast out a devil within a person unless you bind him. Here the devil is called strong because he has stolen the house to begin with from it's rightful owner. To do that you need one stronger than it. Jesus is the stronger man here.
This does not seem hard to understand either, but I always used to find it hard to reconcile this with the statements of v43-45. If after a demon is cast out the man is worse off, isn't this a contradiction? - Ill get to this, be patient.

Jesus states that the house indwelt by the devil is in fact the whole house of Israel. If Jesus casts out by the devil,.. why does He have authority to do so over the pharisees which can not cast them (the demons) out? It is simply common sense that Christ is bringing new authority back into His people Israel. It is rightly His house as He is the stronger man and binds the devil that has sway over these Israelites - In casting out the devil, were it the case that the pharisees "children" are strong in the Lord and Jesus brought beelzebub against God's house in whom God dwells, The devil in the role of a "stronger man" would not have the strength to make a difference. Jesus revealed their hypocrisy as children of the devil doing the will of their father satan.

Jesus states that the true flock of God are those that gather with him, and all others scatter abroad. The people of God are those whom are inwardly and not of the outer appearance. Being born an Israelite does not stop the devil being your spiritual father. In this manner Christ clears up the ambiguity that the pharisees and their "children" or followers are also those of the flock of the Lord.

The statements v30-32 are all that by blaspheming the name of Jesus you blaspheme the appearance of a man, but by blaspheming His Holy Spirit, through which he does His Father's Works, you blaspheme the Spirit of the Father. You are either for Christ in this respect and so gather to Him His chosen that recognise his Father's works through Him, or you blaspheme God by the works, and scatter those that are unfortunate enough to hold to you as over the mere human appearance of Jesus.

Within the statements up to v37 Jesus expounds on this, that they can't have it both ways. They cant have a mere man casting out devils without God, and appear to be good men without blasphemy. Some of them appear to understand this and ask Jesus for a sign, but He refers to His death and resurrection. He is not refusing them, He has told them He is Christ already. If they will not believe if one is raised from the dead, they would not believe any other. By referring to this generation and his resurrection he lumps all the bad eggs together and the best sign of all. Though they were many that were unbelievers, those that repented for being shown a much less powerful witness have more right than they in the judgement.

Jesus finally follows up with the passage I had always had trouble with. Jesus describes that demons go out and make things seven (+1) times worse than before. Not only is it self evident that this can not be the result of His work, because the demons house is "in order" when he (the demon) returns. That is, the possessed man is still "ill". The comparison of the preceding descriptions of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit lead me to compare that though a man have Christ and find faith through the sown word and then the seven spirits of God dwell within him, it would be to those blasphemers as if a demon hade made a home for seven more wicked demons than it. Hence the "Even so shall it be unto this wicked generation". They would completely misinterpret.

This "qualifier" at the end is not present in the other Gospels, but the verse itself is evident that the improved nature of those out of whom he cast devils is evidence enough. The last state of the man is better than the first, (Though whilst praising Jesus to all he meets and spreading his fame, maybe not to them.)

Likewise if demons are cast out by demons then the demon in fact temporarily leaves,.. then id free to return to the former vessel after some time of peace for the unfortuneate and the last state of that man is worse. The "stronger than he" is merely a feint - a trick. When Jesus fills a man with the seven Holy Spirits of God, then the house is barred to the demons and the man continues in good health.

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