Title: The unpardonable sin part 4
Scriptures to Read: Matthew 12:38-45
The New Policy Concerning Signs
The scribes and the Pharisees after listening to these words ask for another sign. In spite of all the miracles that Jesus had already done (including two messianic miracles), they have rejected Him as their Messiah. As a result, a new policy concerning the purpose of his signs, is announced. The purpose of His miracles, until now, was to serve as signs for Israel to get them to make a decision. In verse 39 He says: “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” In other words, for this generation, to whom He is speaking, there will be no more miracles to serve as signs that He is the Messiah, except for the sign of Jonah. From now on, the purpose of His miracles will be to train the twelve disciples for the new kind of work that they will have to conduct because the leadership of Israel has rejected Him as Messiah. This work will continue in the Book of Acts.
The Sign for that Generation
He will give them one more public miracle: the sign of Jonah, the sign of resurrection. This sign will come to Israel three different times.
1. First will be the resurrection of Lazarus (Gospels).
2. Secondly will be the resurrection of Jesus (Gospels).
3. Thirdly will be the resurrection of the two witnesses during the tribulation (Future).
What is common in all of these resurrection accounts is a three-day period of time.
The Judgement of this Generation
Now notice that, having dealt with the interruption by announcing His new policy concerning the purpose of His signs, He returns to the theme that was interrupted: the theme of judgement. And notice also the emphasis here on this specific generation. He now brings in two Gentile examples from the Old Testament: the men of Nineveh, and the Queen of Sheba.
“The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it.”“The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it” (vv 41a, 42a)
At the Great White Throne Judgement (Rev. 20:11-15) these Gentiles will be able to stand and witness against this Jewish generation for being guilty of rejecting the greater light, and being guilty of the unpardonable sin.
The illustration of the unclean spirit
The theme of judgement finally comes to a close in verses 43 to 45 with a story involving a demon.
“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.”
What details does Jesus give us about this man’s life, and what is the climax of his experience? He talks about a demon that was indwelling a person (house) but then chose to leave. He was not cast out. He left of his own free will looking for a better house in which to live. He searches for a while, but when he can find no vacancies he decides to go back to the person (house) he was indwelling earlier. When he finds him again we are told in verse 44, he finds him swept, he finds him garnished (in order). But also notice he finds him still empty, because in this interval, when the man was freed of demonic indwelling, he was not indwelt by some other spirit, be it the Holy Spirit or a demonic spirit. So because he remained empty this demon is able to go back in. But he doesn’t want to live by himself anymore, so he invites seven of his buddies to join him and Jesus says in verse 45: “the last state of that person is worse than the first”, because at first he only had one demon in him, and now because he remained empty he now has eight demons in him.
The meaning of the unclean spirit
The point of the story is made in the last part of verse 45: “So also will it be with this evil generation.” Once again the emphasis and focus is on this specific generation. What are the points of similarity between the man and this evil generation? When this generation began, it began with the preaching of John the Baptist. The purpose of John was to speak to them to get them to accept the Messiahship of Yeshua, and by means of the preaching of John this generation was swept and this generation was garnished. But now with the rejection of his Messiahship they also remain empty. And because the generation remains empty, the last state will be worse than the first. At first they were under Roman domination. They had to pay annual tribute to Rome. But Rome allowed them to retain their national identity. Jerusalem was standing. The temple was functioning with its Herodian glory. They even had a semi-autonomous government in the Sanhedrin. Forty years after these words are spoken the legions of Rome will invade the land. After a four-year war and a two year siege the city will be destroyed, the temple torn down until there is not one stone on top of another, and the Jews dispersed all over the world. The last state of that man did become worse than the first. And to this day the worldwide dispersion is still with us. There are still more Jews outside the land than are inside the land.