This study complements the study ‘Word study of the little Greek words epi, en, eis’.
What is important for this study is the little Greek word ‘en’ that is translated as ‘by’ in the texts below.
By Beelzebul – the texts:
But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by (en) Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” (Matthew 12:24)
(Jesus said:) And if I drive out demons by (en) Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. (Matthew 12:27 and Luke 11:19)
And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By (en) the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” (Mark 3:22)
But some of them said, “By (en) Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” (Luke 11:15)
(Jesus said:) If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by (en) Beelzebul. (Luke 11:18)
As is explained in de study ‘Word study of the little Greek words epi, en, eis’, the little Greek word ‘en’ indicates the place in which an act takes place or will take place.
‘By Beelzebul’ would therefore be better translated as ‘in Beelzebul’ in the texts quoted above.
For what does being ‘in’ someone mean?
To understand this it is important to realise what Jesus says about Himself.
“If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. (John 8:42)
The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” (John 8:29)
I and the Father are one. (John 10:30)
Don’t you believe that I am in (en) the Father, and that the Father is in (en) me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in (en) me, who is doing his work. (John 14:10)
Jesus always does what the Father says.
Jesus and the Father are one.
Jesus is in the Vader and the Father is in Jesus.
When Jesus lived in this world the Father did His works in Him.
And it is clear how Jesus drove evil spirits out:
But if it is by (en = in) the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Matthew 12:28)
But if I drive out demons by (en = in) the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Luke 11:20)
Jesus did not drive the evil spirits out ‘by’ the Holy Spirit, but ‘in’ the Holy Spirit.
Jesus did not give the Holy Spirit the command to drive Beelzebul out from a distance as it were.
No, Beelzebul had to obey Jesus because He gave him his orders in the authority of the Holy Spirit.
But what do the Pharisees say?
The Pharisees insinuated that Jesus did not drive evil spirits out by (en = in) the Holy Spirit, but by (en = in) Beelzebul, i.e. in the authority of Satan, the prince of the evil spirits.
Whereby Jesus would not be in the Father and the Father would not be in Him.
According to the Pharisees Jesus was only able to drive evil spirits out because He was in Satan, as a result of which Jesus became an accomplice of Satan in their eyes.
This is how the people among the masses were regarding Jesus, so that:
But some of them said, “By (en = in) Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” (Luke 11:15)
Jesus drove the evil spirits out in the authority of …
… the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father … (John 15:26)
When the Pharisees suggest that Jesus is receiving the authority from Beelzebul, the prince of the evil spirits, they are blaspheming against the Holy Spirit by doing so.
Jesus warns therefore:
And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. (Matthew 12:32 and Luke 12:10)
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