Truth, Understanding, Insight

Holy Spirit

9th August 2009, mgh


3) The Comforter or Helper

In the Gospel of John, there are four references to the 'comforter' ('helper' or 'advocate' Greek: paraklētos) that would come after Jesus' resurrection. Much bad theology is built on John's use of Greek. There are 2 points to remember: Firstly John was a Hebrew so he didn't think in Greek. Secondly the idea only occurs in John's work and so should be treated with caution and understood in John's context.

The following quotations reveal an interesting aspect of the 'comforter'. All are from the Apostle John's writings and as the word does not appear elsewhere and only in John's writings, it is important to closely examine his use of the term, 'Comforter'. In John chapters 14, 15 and 16. they are applied before the resurrection and are the Messiah's own words. It is the same word as 'advocate' in 1John 2, which was written after the resurrection and Yeshua's ascension to heaven. It should also be noted in passing that it was to John that the Revelation was given by Yeshua and this indeed would have been a comfort and source of hope for many faithful in the following 2000 years.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter/advocate, that he may abide with you for ever;.... But the comforter/advocate the spirit the holy, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:16, 26)

Some take it that this 'comforter' was personified as 'he'. Both Pneuma (spirit) and Hagios (holy) are grammatically neuter, so theologians argue when it is spoken of using a masculine pronoun, that the holy spirit is 'he'. But it doesn't say holy spirit- it says 'the spirit of the Holy'. Though spirit and holy are neuter, when used together they refer to the mind and power of Yahweh. It is therefore right when speaking of the spirit of the holy to use a masculine pronoun.

Yeshua speaks of “the helper 'the spirit the holy', which (masculine form) the father will send in the name of me” (John 14:26)

In John 15:26 he writes of 'the spirit the truth'. In Greek grammar the spirit is neuter and truth is feminine, but together as an expression they speak of the mind of Yahweh which John rightly called 'He'.

But like 'the Holy' the term 'the truth' is a Hebrew name for the God of Israel as the Jews considered the very essence of God's character is 'truth'. Isaiah wrote that Israel was to “lean upon Yahweh holy in truth”(Isa.10:20) and

That he who blesses himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God truth (amen /truthful/faithful) (Isaiah 65:16)

John clearly states that this 'comforter' was the spirit of 'truth'. It was the ability to absorb, discern and disseminate the knowledge of God's plan and Gospel message. The Apostles gave many people the ability to understand the prophetic writings and to show that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah, which is evidenced in the gospels and epistles of the New Testament and written for the early congregations of the first century. The emphasis in John's gospel is on the importance of 'truth'.

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4: 23-24)
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but ye know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world sees me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. (John 14:17-20)

The spirit of truth is the character or spirit or mind of Yahweh. It is this 'him' that the world doesn't know. Both Yahweh and Yeshua will be with the Apostles, and so the spirit of truth is doubly established.

John speaks of truth and defines it as 'the word of the Father'

the word made flesh begotten of the father full of grace and truth. (John1:14)

The word being full of truth. Clearly John listened to Yeshua,

But when the comforter/advocate is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.(John 15: 26-27)

The advocate is the spirit of truth.

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the comforter/advocate will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (John 16:7)
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an comforter/advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1John 2:1)

The preceding quotations from John reveal that the comforter, intercessor or advocate, was the communication of the word of truth. After the resurrection Jesus would no longer be amongst them. But the Spirit of Yahweh would come upon the apostles to allow the dissemination of truth and to bring to remembrance the words and prophecies of Yeshua whilst he was in their midst so that the words would not be forgotten.

John uses the same word paraklētos meaning comforter/ advocate/ intercessor in 1 John 2:1 to speak of how Yeshua, although not on earth, is our advocate in heaven before Yahweh. The comforter/advocate/ intercessor is about a go-between, or about in modern terms a line of communication.

If the president of a modern nation wishes to speak to another president he is not on diplomatic terms with, he will speak through 'back channels' and in this way communicate. Before the age of telephone the idea of speaking through the means of 'something' was best expressed paraklētos where 'para' means 'near/beside' and 'kletos' means 'appointed' or 'called'. Paul was called (kletos) to be an apostle (Romans 1:1, 1 Cor. 1:1). The paraklētos is a thing appointed to our side to communicate through.

In modern terms the best analogy of what Yeshua sent his Apostles from his father is a dedicated communication 'hot-line'. This is why he called it “the holy spirit”. It was like the communication device an army commander would carry into battle that puts him in contact with headquarters. This was linked with greater skills that were also given, just as an army commander will have in his command some weapons. But to see how the power of Yahweh worked as opposed to the spirit we need to understand that in the combined operation the commander of troops does not have access to missiles. If greater power is needed the commander calls though his communication device to headquarters who send out the missiles.

This is simplistic, and the situation is better understood by observing the work of the Elohim, the Mighty Ones, often called angels (messengers). They speak for Yahweh himself as seen when the angel spoke to Abraham (Genesis 18) and to Moses out of the burning bush (Exodus 3:2-4), which shows they have direct communication with Yahweh's thinking at a given time. They also carry out work in Yahweh's power such as the plague in Israel due to David's numbering (I Sam. 24:17). Yet it is clear that to only Yahweh himself belongs the power such as was used when Joshua fought at Gibeon (Joshua 10) and Jehoshaphat at Berachah (2 Chron. 20). In essence the Apostles had, after Pentecost, a portion of the type of communication ability the Elohim (angels) would have. The Apostles could give a portion of their skills to others.

Luke records Yeshua's final instructions to his disciples, as John did, but in a more clear, precise and straightforward manner. The disciples were given instructions about the work that was entrusted to them. They had been witnesses of all that had happened in Jerusalem. Yeshua said he would leave the disciples, but the Father would give them a special tool, the 'promise of my Father', to assist them to preach and teach. (Luke 24:46-49).

That 'the comforter' is described as 'he' does not imply a person, as it was clearly stated by the apostle John that the 'comforter' was the 'spirit of truth'. Luke describes it as a miraculous or mighty power from the Father (Luke 24:49). The comforter was masculine being Yahweh's power by which all that the Messiah had said would come to their remembrance.


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