Matt. 12:32. "Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." Parallel passages: Mark 3:29. "But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never (aiona) forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal (aionion) damnation." Luke 12:10. "And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven." Literally,
"neither in this age nor the coming," that is, neither in the Mosaic, nor the Christian age or dispensation. but then, these ages will both end, and in the dispensation of the fullness of times, or ages, all are to be redeemed, (Eph. 1:10.) Mark 3:29 is the same as Matt. 12:32. The Greek differs slightly, and is rendered literally, "has not forgiveness to the age, but is liable to age-lasting judgment." The thought of the Savior is, that those who should attribute his good deeds to an evil spirit would be so hardened that his religion would have difficulty in affecting them. Endless damnation is not thought of, and cannot be extorted from the language.
In the New Testament the "end of the age," and "ages" is a common expression, referring to what has now passed. See Col. 1:26, Heb. 9:26, Matt. 13:39, 40, 49, 14:3. Says Locke(62) "The nation of the Jews were the kingdom and people God whilst the law stood. And this kingdom of God, under the Mosaic constitution was called aion outos, this age, or as it is commonly translated, this world. But the kingdom of God was to be under the Messiah, wherein the economy and constitution of the Jewish church, and the nation itself, that in opposition to Christ adhered to it, was to be laid aside, is in the New Testament called aion mellon, the world or age to come."
Another writer(63) adds: "Why the times under the law, were called kronoi aionioi, we may find reason in their jubilees, which were aiones, "secula," or "ages," by which all the time under the law, was measured; and so kronoi aionioi; is used, 2 Tim. 1:9. Tit. 1:2. And so aiones are put for the times of the law, or the jubilees, Luke 1:70, Acts 3:21, 1 Cor. 2:7, 10:11, Eph. 3:9, Col. 1:26, Heb. 9:26. And so God is called the rock of aionon, of ages, Isa. 26:4, in the same sense that he is called the rock of Israel, Isa. 30:29, i. e. the strength and support of the Jewish state;— for it is of the Jews the prophet here speaks. So Exod. 21:6, eis ton aiona signifies not as we translate it, "forever," but "to the jubilee;" which will appear if we compare Lev. 25:39-41, and Exod. 21:2."
Pearce(64) in his commentary, says "Rather, neither in this age, nor in the age to come: i. e., neither in this age when the law of Moses subsists, nor in that also, when the kingdom of heaven, which is at hand, shall succeed to it. The Greek aion, seems to signify age here, as it often does in the New Testament, (see chap. 13:40; 24:3; Col. 1:26; Eph. 3:5, 21.) and according to its most proper signification. If this be so, then this age means the Jewish one, the age while their law subsisted and was in force; and the age to come (see Heb. 6:5; Eph. 2:7.) means that under the Christian dispensation."
Wakefield observes:(65) "Age, aioni; i. e., the Jewish dispensation which was then in being, or the Christian, which was going to be."
Clarke:(66) "Though I follow the common translation, (Matt. 12:31, 32.) yet I am fully satisfied the meaning of the words is, neither in this dispensation, viz., the Jewish, nor in that which is to come, the Christian. Olam ha-bo, the world to come, is a constant phrase for the times of the Messiah, in the Jewish writers." See also Hammond, Rosenmuller, etc.,(67). Take Hebrews 9:26, as an example. "For then must he (Christ) often have suffered since the foundation of the world (kosmos, literal world) but now once in the end of the world (aionon, age) hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." What world was at its end when Christ appeared? Indubitably the Jewish age. The world or age to come (aion) must be the Christian dispensation, as in 1 Cor. 10:11, where Paul says that upon him and his contemporaries "the ends of the world are come."
These passages state in strong language the heinous nature of the sin referred to. The age or world to come is not beyond the grave, but it is the Christian dispensation. It had a beginning eighteen centuries ago, and it will end when Jesus delivers the kingdom to God, the Father. (1 Cor. 15).
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