The Comforter is spoken of in the following passages:
Jn. 14:16-18, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; and He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you”
Jn. 14:26, “But the Comforter, Which is the Holy Ghost, 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.
Jn. 15:26, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, Which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me”.
Jn. 16:7-15, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away. the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. ……..Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall He speak; and He will shew you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall shew it unto you”.
I Jn. 2:1, “….if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”.
We will consider the following questions as we continue our study of the Comforter:
WHO IS HE?
WHAT WAS HE SENT TO DO?
TO WHOM WAS HE SENT?
WHEN WAS HE SENT?
WHO IS HE?
We cannot begin to answer the question posed in this section without an understanding of the Greek word translated “Comforter”. That Greek word is “Parakletos”. The Companion Bible note on this word used in Jn. 14:26 is helpful. That note reads, Parakletos and the Lat. Advocatus both mean one called to the side of another for help or counsel“. In I Jn. 2:1 the word is translated “advocate”. Let us consider that verse as it will tell us a very surprising truth as to Who the “Parakletos” is, “….if any man sin, we have an advocate (Parakletos) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”. John tells us quite specifically that Jesus Christ is the Advocate (“Parakletos”).
But John also tells us in Jn. 14:26 that the Parakletos is the Holy Ghost“. “But the Comforter, Which is the Holy Ghost..…”. How can the Parakletos be both the Holy Ghost and Christ? If we are going to receive God’s truth in regard to this question we must be prepared to put aside the doctrine of the so-called “Trinity”. (Please see the papers on the Trinity on this web-site that prove from Scriptures that God is not three Persons, but that God has many titles.) Just as “Son of God”, “Son of Man”, “Emmanuel”, “Messiah” and “Lamb of God”, to name a few, are titles or offices of Jesus Christ, so too is “Parakletos” a title or office of Christ. As we see that Jesus Christ is God and fulfills all the offices of God, including Holy Spirit we see that there is no contradiction here. Christ Who fulfills the office of Holy Spirit is our Advocate (Parakletos) with the Father. (The paper on “spirit” also proves from Scripture that Christ fulfills the office of Holy Spirit.)
Jn. 14:16-18 also tells us that Christ is the Parakletos We read in that passage, “…I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter……….I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you“. Note that our Lord said that the Father shall give them another Comforter, Who in verse 17 is said to be the Holy Spirit. And yet Christ said that He would come to them so that they would not be “comfortless”. In other words, in this passage which speaks of the Father sending the Parakletos, Christ speaks of His coming. Again, that makes Christ the Parakletos. Since Christ is the Parakletos and Christ is also the Son, they cannot be two different Persons. But if one sees “Son” and “Parakletos” as different offices of one God and that Christ fulfills both offices, all is clear.
Let us also consider the Greek word translated “comfortless”. The note in the Companion Bible on this word reads, “comfortless=orphans. Gr. orphanos. Occurs only here and James 1:27 which reads, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless (Gr. orphanos) and widows in their affliction……”. It is clear from this context that “orphanos” means “fatherless”.
Let us return then to Jn. 14:18 where we read that Christ will not leave His disciples fatherless because He will come to them. That makes Christ their Father. That is to say, only the coming of the Father will make them not fatherless. But as we have seen in the paragraphs above, Christ is the Parakletos. So here Christ fulfills the offices of Father and Parakletos. And because the Parakletos is one of the offices of the Holy Spirit, that means that Christ also fulfills the office of Holy Spirit. Again, if one thinks of Father and Holy Spirit as two different Persons of a supposed triune God, this makes no sense. But if one sees these as offices of One God, all is clear.
So in answer to our question, “Who is the Comforter?” we must see that the Comforter is Christ in His office of Parakletos.
WHAT WAS HE SENT TO DO?
1) Jn. 14:26, “that He (the Parakletos) may abide with you for ever”. If we are to understand what this phrase means we must understand the Greek preposition translated “with”. That preposition is “meta” which the Companion Bible Appendix 104 defines as, “….denotes association and companionship with”. It is used in the Genitive case in Jn. 14:26 which according to the Companion Bible definition “denotes among, amid or in company with”. So the Parakletos was sent to be with those to whom He was sent.
2) Jn. 14:26, “He shall teach you all things”.
3) Jn. 14:26, “and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
4) Jn. 15:26, “He shall testify of Me”.
5) Jn. 16:8, “He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”. This is obviously the work of the Holy Spirit among unbelievers.
6) Jn. 16:13, “He will guide you into all truth”.
7) Jn. 16:13, “He will shew you things to come”. The Greek word translated “shew” is “anangello”. It is usually translated “tell” or “declare”. The note in the Companion Bible on this word reads, “shew = tell or report”.
8) Jn. 16:14, “He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall shew it unto you”. How will the Parakletos that will be sent to the apostles glorify Christ? The word “for” tells us that the next phrase explains how Christ will be glorified. “For He shall receive of Mine, and shall shew it unto you”.
TO WHOM WAS HE SENT?
As we consider the context of all the times that Parakletos is mentioned in John’s Gospel, we will see that our Lord’s statement about the Parakletos came at the end of His last Passover supper. Who was there at the Passover supper? We read in Matt. 26:17-19 of the preparations of Christ’s last Passover supper. Then in verse 20 we read, “Now when the even was come, He sat down with the twelve“. So we know that Christ’s Passover supper was shared with His twelve apostles. Then we read in Jn. 13:30 “He (Judas) then having received the sop went immediately out….”. That means that the other eleven apostles were the ones to whom Christ promised the Parakletos.
With that in mind let us take another look at the passages that speak of Christ’s promise of the Parakletos.
Jn. 14:16-18, ….He shall give you another Comforter”.
“….. that He may abide with you for ever”. The Greek word translated “for ever” is “aion” and means ” the age”. For what age? For the age in which the Comforter will abide with those to whom He would be sent, i.e. to the apostles of Christ. In other words, for the life time of the apostles.
“but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you“. As discussed in the section above, Christ fulfills the office of Comforter and that is why He could say to His apostles that “ye know Him” (i.e. the Comforter) and that “He dwelleth with you”.
Jn. 14:26, “…..He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you”.
Jn. 15:26, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you….”
Jn. 16:7 and 13, “……for if I go not away. the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you“.
It is clear that the Parakletos was promised to the apostles of Christ. But most Christians believe that the Parakletos was sent to all believers, not to just the apostles. They will say that the Holy Spirit is indeed comforting all believers even today. We do indeed read of God’s comfort in II Cor.1:3-4, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation…..”. But the Parakletos was sent to do many things for those to whom He was sent. As we consider more carefully what the Parakletos was sent to do, we will see that many of those are not in evidence today. God does not fulfill His promises partially, He fulfills them fully. That being the case, if some of those things for which the Parakletos was sent are not in evidence among believers today, we must conclude that the Parakletos was not sent to any but those to whom Christ gave the promise of the Parakletos.
Below is the list of things that are not being fulfilled by the Parakletos today.
1) In Jn. 14:26 our Lord told His apostles that the Parakletos will “teach” them all things. There are two reasons for my belief that that promise is not being fulfilled today.
a) We read in Eph. 1:16-17, “…..making mention of you in my prayers that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ…..may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him; the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling…..”. We learn from this passage that Paul had prayed that believers would be given a spirit of wisdom and revelation and that their understanding be enlightened. If the Parakletos was teaching all things to all believers Paul’s prayer would have been absolutely redundant.
b) The Greek word translated “teach” is never used for what the Holy Spirit does for those other than the apostles.
2) In Jn. 14:26 we learn that the Parakletos was sent to bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. I’m sure I am not the only person who has to look up in the Gospels what our Lord had said. If the Parakletos was with believers today, that would not be in the least bit necessary because it was promised that He would “bring all things to your remembrance“.
3) We read in Jn. 16:13, “He will guide you into all truth“. Again there are two reasons that I do not believe that this promise is for us today.
a) The Greek word translated “guide” is never used for what the Holy Spirit does for those other than the apostles.
b) If the Parakletos was guiding believers today into “all truth” we would not have a myriad of interpretations of what truth is.
4) In Jn. 16:13 we read, “He will shew you things to come”. Believers today may search the Scriptures to understand the “things to come” but we cannot say that the Holy Spirit tells or declares (that is the meaning of the Greek word translated “shew”) us the things to come.
Because God does not fulfill His promises partially, and because some of the things which the Parakletos was sent to do are definitely not being done today, we must conclude that the Parakletos was sent to the apostles, but not to all believers.
One more thought should be helpful in this regard. As we learned from the scriptures quoted above the Parakletos was sent to “teach all things”, and to “bring all things to remembrance” (Jn. 14:2). He was also sent to “guide…into all truth”, and to tell (or declare)…all things to come” (Jn. 16:13). With that in mind I would like to call the reader’s attention to I Cor. 2:9-12 which reads, 9) “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. 10) But God hath revealed them unto us by His spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11) For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the spirit of God. 12) Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”
Let us first consider the phrase in verse 11 which contrasts the spirit of man with the spirit of God. Obviously this is not a contrast between the sinful spirit of man and God in His office of Holy Spirit. The “of” in this case is the Genitive of origin and means “the source”, i.e. the spirit coming from God. It is a contrast between the old nature of man and the new nature which comes from God. In other words, this verse leads to the conclusion that it is the spirit from God, i.e. the new nature which is the subject of this context.
Also, note in verse 12 that there is once again a contrast, this time between “the spirit of the world” and “the spirit which is of (should be “from”, Genitive of Origin) God”. Again, I believe that the contrast is between the old nature and the new nature. And note what that new nature is said to do for those who have it, “that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”
The point is that because the Parakletos was sent to teach, bring into remembrance, guide into and declare truth, why would the new nature need to search them out if the Comforter comes to those besides the apostles?
WHEN WAS HE SENT?
Some believe that the Parakletos was sent at Pentecost. But, in the section above we learned exactly what the Parakletos was sent to do and it did not include speaking in tongues. And the things that the Parakletos was sent to do are not in evidence at Pentecost.
Could the Parakletos have been sent at Jn. 20:22? We read in John 20:22, “And with that He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit'”. I do not think this describes the sending of the Parakletos. The reason for that belief is found in Jn. 20:23 where we learn just what the purpose was for this receiving of the holy spirit, “Whose soever sins ye remit they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained”. The remittance of sins was not one of the reasons that the Parakletos was sent to the apostles. We cannot just assume a reason in order to make it fit our preconceived conceptions.
So we are still left with the question,”when was the Parakletos sent to Christ’s apostles? I believe the answer to that question is found in Luke 24:45 which reads, “Then opened He their (the eleven apostles) understanding that they might understand the Scriptures”.
Let us consider again the things listed above that the Comforter was sent to do. He was sent to “teach you all things” (Jn. 14:26). He was sent to” bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (Jn. 14:26. He was sent to “testify of Me” (Jn. 15:26). And He was sent to “guide you into all truth” (Jn. 16:13). All of these things were fulfilled in Luke 24:45.
Consider also that, as shown above, the Comforter was to be sent to the eleven apostles, and that too was fulfilled in Luke 24:45.
And as was also shown above, Christ is the Comforter and Luke 24:45 speaks of Christ opening their understanding.
In short, all the prophecies concerning when the Comforter would be sent was fulfilled in Luke 24:45. For that reason, I believe we may conclude that the promise of the Comforter was fulfilled in Luke 24:45.
This paper was written by Joyce Pollard. If you would like to respond please e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org