1 & 2 Thess.
1 & 2 Timothy
1 & 2 Peter
Gifts of the Spirit
Exposition of The Spirit in John
The Promise of the Parakletos (John 14-16)
Jesus spent the last few minutes between the departure of Judas from the last supper and the arrival of himself and his disciples at the brook Cedron, discussing how they would manage in his physical absence. They were to expect two things:
It is important that we see that the disciples were promised two things and not one as some allege2. Two facts demonstrate that the disciples were promised two things:
1 We suggest without dogmatism that it was the Angel because of the very nature of the transaction and because of the obvious use of the personal pronouns. However it does not matter whether the Holy Spirit gifts came directly or indirectly through an angel. The important thing to note is that every feature of the advocate was miraculous, and temporary.
2 "the doctrine of the Holy Spirit cannot be grasped if "the abiding" and "the Comforter" are seen as synonymous terms for only one phenomenon, namely, the spiritual presence or "grace" of the Father and the Son "for ever" in the lives of all believers". Whittaker and Carr, TEST, Vol. 43, P. 129.
These words are not to be taken too literally. The Father was dwelling in Jesus through the power that had been given to him. "And Jesus saw the Spirit of God (Holy Spirit, Luke) descending like a dove, and lighting upon him" (Matt. 3:16). This Holy Spirit power which Jesus was given, enabled him to do "the works" (miracles and words). Conversely the works which Jesus did were evidence of the dwelling. We cannot claim that the Father is in us in the sense of this verse because we lack the ability to do the "works" which Jesus did. It is well to remember that Jesus was talking here to only 11 disciples.
Again we must see these words in their historical context. Within that context, we recall that the Apostles did His works when they were given the Power of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and after. It was the plan and purpose of God that His word should be preached unto all the world. To do this, the early Christians were given extra-ordinary powers. These powers could not be transferred from one person to another except by the Apostles (Acts 8:18). When the last of the Apostles died, then the Holy Spirit was no longer transferred to others and eventually the gifts ceased (cf. 1 Cor. 13:8-12).
"greater works than these shall he do"
i.e. not qualitatively but rather in scope. Jesus limited his preaching to Palestine. The Apostles preached the word with signs following throughout the whole oikoumene (world) (cf. Rev. 7:9). We must not confuse the work of Christadelphian "missionaries" with what Christ meant here. What Christ referred to was the ability to perform miracles, as is evident from the phrase that follows
"because I go unto my Father".
Today only the very foolish would claim to be able to perform the miracles Christ did. The ability to do these works was tied to two things - Jesus going to the Father (v.12) and another advocate being sent (v. 16).
This is a specific statement made within the confines of the context. It cannot apply outside this context. For example it applied only to the Apostles. This is evident from the word "ye"1. Christ was specifically talking to them. He states that "I chose you and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit" (ch. 15:16, NASB). This personal appointment applied only to the twelve and later to Paul. This statement cannot be generalized to refer to us. Even then, Paul asked that his thorn in the flesh be removed but Christ said, "My grace is sufficient for thee" (2 Cor. 12:7-9).
This was an hour of need for his disciples for soon Christ would be crucified, resurrected and ascend into heaven thereby leaving them on their own, (or so they thought). Whenever they had become entrapped2 Jesus had been there to rescue them. Partly to dispel their fear and sorrow (cf. v. 27; John 16:1, 6) but primarily to instruct them, and witness for them, Jesus told them that they would have another advocate (NEB) to take his3 place. The meaning of "Comforter" (Grk. Para-kletos) is "one called alongside" (Y) and may refer to the Angel of the Presence4 who probably was Michael. This Parakletos variously termed "the Spirit of truth’ or "the Holy Spirit" enabled the disciples to do "greater5" than what Christ had done. Christ meant that the disciples would receive gifts by this term Parakletos6. This is evident from Acts 2:33:
"Having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he (Christ) hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear".
and Psa. 68:18:
"Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men".
Paul applies these last words in Ephesians 4:8-11 to the various spirit gifted offices of the first century ecclesia. When we combine these four scriptures we see that one aspect of the Parakletos (apart from an Advocate) is that it was an outward sign that Christ had finished his initial earthly ministry - "thou hast led captivity captive" and that this atoning work had been accepted by the Holy One of Israel.
"that he may abide with you"
Note v. 17 which says that as well as dwelling with them, he would be in them. This language is understandable if the Parakletos was indeed a ministering Spirit. He was dwelling with them and was in them in that he ministered to the disciples the various gifts. He put a part of his power within them. While we don’t understand the actual mechanics7 of this we can see this threefold cooperation in Rev. 1:1.
Grk. = "eis ton aiona". Aion is a Greek term for an undefined period of time8. The context normally provides the boundaries and indeed does in this case. Aion "Ever" would not start until after Christ’s ascension and could last in its primary sense no longer than the lifetime of the disciple who lived the longest (Most probably John). Thus aion here had a span of about seventy years. As well as being directly definitive the context indirectly defines the period. This first mentioned aspect of the Parakletos was a "personal antidote for their impending bereavement9". Christ had acted as a father10 to these men after they had left their families to catch men. Indeed for Christ to leave them now would be to make them orphans (v.18) or fatherless11. This intimate relationship with Jesus was something unique to the eleven disciples12 to whom he now talked.
The exact phrase is used by John in 1 John 4:6 and 1 John 5:6. In the former it refers by metonymy to a person possessing the Spirit gifts. In the latter it may refer to the same thing as here in this passage. The idea here is that the Parakletos would be a truth imparting Spirit, (cf. 1 John 2: 27) that would enlarge upon what Jesus had taught them. This certainly is implied here and is stated in the next mention of the Parakletos. (v. 26).
"whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him."
The world had rejected the truth even as they rejected him who was the Truth. They rejected those who were the "sons of God13." Also they rejected the operation of the Spirit through the disciples and Christ, claiming that Christ healed through Beelzebub.
"for he dwelleth with you"
dwelleth = Grk. meno = abide or remain (Y). Although the verb is in the present tense14, the meaning is future as is evident from v. 26, "will send".
"and shall be in you".This was not realized until Pentecost when the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). (cf. v. 10).
In addition to the Parakletos, Jesus and the Father would abide by omnipresence15, with those who "keep my words". Notice in verses 21 and 23-24 that Jesus is not referring specifically to the disciples but employs such general words as "he", "a man", "him". "Comfortless" is a very poor choice to translate the Greek word orphanos. The margin gives the sense as does the NASB (cf. 13:33).
"I will come to you"
The Father would come also (v. 23) to those who keep his words.
"The world saw him for the last time when he hung upon the cross: but the chosen witnesses saw him again; and we may perhaps give an added meaning to the second occurrence of the word see - they saw when he was raised from the dead, and by the eye of faith saw him exalted to the Father’s right hand.
They should have known that already as Christ states in verse 11.
"Ye in me and I in you".
If there was any doubt about their fellowship this was dispelled at Pentecost. John restates this more clearly in 1 John 3:24. Watch the pronouns!
"He (that is anyone) that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us."
This abiding was not the possession of the Spirit, but on the other hand the Spirit they possessed was evidence to them that the abiding was real. Our evidence is the fact that it is recorded. It should be emphasized that we do not need or receive the evidence in the same way as in the first century (cf. 1 John 1:3; and 17:21).
The extension of the fellowship beyond the Apostles is indicated by the pronoun "he". A person must have the gospel before he can keep it.
"and keepeth them".
Intellectual knowledge will not cause fellowship. We must obey the commands. Those who argue for a mystical indwelling of grace say ‘Christ did not give us any commands, only the Spirit.’ Here we see otherwise! Our obedience is evidence to Christ that our claims are founded on love.
"I . . . will manifest myself to him".
Christ’s answer to Judas, the brother of James, shows that only those who love him and keep his words will experience this manifestation. Only those who are his have experienced fellowship with him, have felt the cleansing of forgiven sin and have received answers to their prayers. This manifestation is not physical nor does it refer to having the Spirit in any form.
Such manifestation does not require the actual presence of Jesus to the believer any more than God manifestation requires the appearance of God to the believer. Those who are hazy on this subject of manifestation should read Phanerosis and Theophany instead of dreaming dreams about a mystical indwelling.
v.23 "We will come unto him and make our abode with him". This refers to fellowship which we have through the omnipresence of God and Christ. This statement completes the thought (v.2) of the "many abiding places in the Father’s house." If the believer finds a place in God’s house, he is also himself the sanctuary of God. Isaiah had indicated this when he said that the high and lofty one that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy, dwells not only in the high and holy place, but also with him that is of a humble and a contrite spirit (57:15). As these notes so far demonstrate the abiding does not refer to the Comforter (Parakletos).
It is the action of the believer in "keeping my words" that brings about the abiding. In verse 25, addressing the apostles, he says: "These things have I spoken unto you while yet abiding with you" (RV). "While yet abiding with you" conveys more than just his physical presence: it speaks of companionship, of a close relationship and friendship. Jesus was abiding with them, and this relationship would continue when he physically left. Similarly the souls of David and Jonathon were "knit together" (1 Sam. 18:1) - they dwelt in each other’s heart - though David had to flee into the wilderness.
So Jesus’ words further illustrate the nature of the abiding and that it existed before the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost.19
‘I am presently the Advocate who teaches you what I learn from my Father. However I am going away and you will have another Advocate. He shall teach you all things’. The above attempted paraphrase seems to be why Jesus says these words.
The contrasting connective ("But" v.25) is used to contrast the then present method of revelation with the method to be ‘operative after his ascension.’
This verse along with v. 26 implies that there was much that Christ could not tell them about the truth because they could not "bear them" (16:12) Possibly this is why he had sometimes called them children (Mark 10:24; John 13:33).
There is no contradiction here with 15:26 when we compare these two statements to Rev. 1:1; 22:6. The Father gave the Advocate to Jesus (cf. 16:15) who in turn sent him "unto you".
"in my name" It is interesting to note that the only time that Christ is given the title Parakletos (1 John 2:1) is after his ascension and in his role as a mediator.
"he shall teach you all things". It was not only necessary that they remember what Jesus had said but also it was necessary to be taught the meaning of all these things. He would teach them the meaning of doctrines that they thus far had not been able to grasp. (cf. 2:22; 12:16; 13:7; Acts 11:16; 20:27).
John records this in his epistle.
"Ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know all things" and "ye need not that any teach you, but as the same anointing teacheth you all things ... abide in him" 1 John 2:20,27.
In this connection those who were called children23 were now called fathers. (1 John 2:13, 14). In addition to what Christ had taught them, there were many events they had not witnessed: "The birth of Jesus; his temptation; the plottings in the Sanhedrin; the private conversation of Pilate with his wife; and the Lord’s passionate prayers in Gethsemane24." The Advocate provided these details to the gospel writers probably by the ‘word of knowledge’.
"and bring all things to your remembrance"
He would recall infallibly to the disciples’ minds all the instruction Christ had personally given them. We see again the miraculous and temporary character of the Parakletos. The Apostles in turn would impart this knowledge by word, spoken or written, to others.
The words that Jesus spoke were to give them this peace (cf. 16:33). Initially this was not so but after they grasped the meaning and felt the reality of the Parakletos they indeed had peace that overcame all obstacles. cf. Rom. 8:18.
This was a word of exhortation to be obedient. There is nothought of some mystical indwelling by the Spirit causing us to be obedient. The meaning of this phrase is clearly defined by John in his Epistle.
"Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son and in the Father." (1 John 2:24).
"And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth25 in Him, and he in Him." (1 John 3:24).
This abiding is a fellowship we have with the Father and the Son if we continue to obey his commandments26. John 15:7 shows us that it is obedience rather than just a mere knowledge.
"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son" (2 John 9).
Our abiding in Christ has nothing to do with receiving the Spirit. Rather it has to do with how much we give heed to the doctrine of Christ. (cf. v. 7).
"Words" are the "word" of v. 3, which cleansed. As in 14:13 where a similar statement had its qualification and its limitation in the phrase "in my name", so the "asking" which brings such a complete response is one that is based on knowledge of God’s will, and asked subject to His will.28 We clearly see that a necessary condition to this fellowship with Christ is if his "words abide in" us.
The following is an attempted paraphrase:
"Abide in me so that MY WORDS which you will be obeying will guide you. If you ask anything - provided it is in the Divine Plan, it will come to pass.29"
This promise is connected to several things:
There are many things which we want but do not need. There are many things we ask for but which would not be good for us. This can be seen in what Jesus prayed for just a few minutes later:
"take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt" (Mark 14:36).
To ask for the Spirit would be to ask for something not according to his will. It is worth noting that in all the contexts quoted above, except the first, which is merely an introduction, Jesus associates this asking with love for the brethren. In the last one, a practical example of this type of prayer is given. The asking is for the forgiveness of a brother who has sinned.
In the last two examples above notice how close this thought is to the "asking". In the next quotation the "asking" is elucidated by a practical example.
"If any man see his brother sin a sin... he shall ask, and he (Christ) shall give him (the sinning brother) life".
This "asking" then is clearly associated with bearing fruit and the forgiveness of the sins of others. In no case above is the asking for personal30 benefit. We need to be more concerned about bearing fruit to the glory of God.
The word "testify" is the Greek martureo meaning to "bear witness" (Y) and is the same word as witness in v.27. The Holy Spirit was given in the days of the Apostles as a divine witness to their testimony of the resurrection of Christ31. In this and the next saying (which speaks of the effectiveness of this witness) the appropriateness of the title of Advocate is seen by the legal connotations associated with it. (cf. Matt. 10:20).
This witness would be exercised through the various gifts. The ability to work signs and wonders would be an indisputable confirmation of their own witness. "he" is not in the original Greek.
The fact that the Advocate was promised in its primary sense only to the Apostles is very evident here and in 16:1. "These things have I spoken unto you."
In the face of this evidence how can anyone today apply the purpose of the Comforter to himself or herself in any way, never mind in continuous non-miraculous sense? To do so surely is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
See notes on 14:16.
The "world" (cosmos) was the order or system that existed at that time. This in itself indicates the temporary nature of the Parakletos for once that order had passed away this job was completed. reprove = Grk. "elegcho" and is variously translated convict (1), convince (4), rebuke (5), reprove (5), (Y). The idea is twofold. It convinced those who recognized their sin (Acts 2:37; Acts 4:4) and condemned those who didn’t. (John 15:24; Acts 4:2).
The exact meaning of this statement is unclear. It could mean that whereas Jesus had been unsuccessful, the Parakletos would be; or it could also mean that the Parakletos would further condemn those who had not believed Jesus. Probably both ideas are correct. The witnessing of the Advocate in tongues together with the witness of Peter were tremendously successful only 7 weeks after the total rejection of Jesus by these same people. Of those who had crucified Christ (Acts 2:36), 3,000 were convinced on one day of their sin! But there were some who were grieved at the witness and Peter reminds them that they "shall be destroyed from among the people" (Acts 3:23).
The righteousness of Christ is linked directly to the outpoural of the Spirit gifts by Peter in the following:
"Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear" (Acts 2:33).
"Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour…We are his witnesses of these things (Grk. rema = words) and also the Holy Spirit, whom† ("which" NEST) God hath given to them that obey him" (Acts 5:31, 32).
Therefore anyone who accepted the miracles would also have to admit the righteousness of the one who sent the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. The ascent to the Father was a final vindication of Jesus and of the righteousness of God, as against the world’s attitude of him.
Paul says in 1 Cor. 2:8 that "the princes of this world" "crucified the Lord." In John 12:31 and 32 Christ prophesies that "the prince of this world (would) be cast out" by his crucifixion. By these verses we understand that Christ meant those in authority which arrested him and caused him to be killed. The High Priest was rendered ineffectual by the resurrection of him who was the High Priest indeed.
Also Christ was no longer subject to the authorities but triumphed over them by his resurrection (cf. Col. 2:15).
The primary object of this particular phase of the Advocate was to act as a legal counsel for the disciples when they were "brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake". He would give them "a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist" (Luke 21:12 -15). ‘The book of Acts is full of actual court cases in which the Lord’s inspired controversialists were strengthened to such a degree by the Spirit - Advocate that they often assumed the role of accusers, convicting their opponents by the justice of their Spirit-guided declarations32’. This aspect of the Parakletos was definitely temporary and miraculous.
In this last saying, the Parakletos is not referred to as such because this part of the promise concerned the disciples’ relationship to their Lord and not their dealings with courts of law. He is, therefore, termed the Spirit of truth.
"he will guide you into all truth"
This "truth" would include the "many things" they could not bear before Christ’s death (v. 12). He would "teach" (14:26) by "speak"ing. It is important to note the words employed to describe the mechanics of revelation for we often hear of "divine illumination" but in the scriptures we read of revelation that involved hearing words and speech. There is a fundamental difference. One is the gospel but the other is a perverted gospel.33 The guiding was possibly through the gift of prophecy.
"for he shall not speak of34 himself"
Just as Jesus spoke "those things which I have heard of" the Father, the Spirit of truth would do likewise. The only difference was that he would receive his knowledge from the glorified Christ rather than from the Father. (v. 15).
"he will shew you things to come"
No doubt this would involve the gift of prophecy. He would give them knowledge of the future developments of God’s purpose with the earth. They recorded the parts of these revelations that were necessary for us.
By showing that the revelation was from Christ, the Spirit would thus give Christ the glory that was due to him because of His exalted position. Also revelations, possibly through the gift of knowledge, would enable the Apostles to know the true significance of the things that Christ had done, was doing, and will do. Also these revelations were recorded for us. We do not require these revelations to be repeated for us.
By examining these verses in detail we have seen that all aspects of the Parakletos35 were miraculous and temporary. Lest we forget, let it be emphasized that the disciples were declared to be "clean through the word which I have spoken" (15:3).
1 Much help to a right understanding of the discourse of Jesus in ch. 14 is obtained by noticing to whom and of whom Jesus is speaking (CGOJ, P. 160).
2 e.g. Mark 9:18, 28.
3 cf. 1 John 2:1
4 see John 14-16 - Additional notes.
5 (v.12) For example there is no record of Jesus speaking in tongues or striking a person dead. However the real meaning is probably as defined in the notes at v. 12.
6 For related words see Word Studies - Section F.
7 See table at John 16:13-15.
8 see footnote 3 Matt. 28:20.
9 TEST, Vol. 43, P. 131.
10 cf. Isa. 9:6. He corrected and instructed them.
11 The only other occurrence of the Greek word "orphanos" in the N.T. (James 1:27) is thus translated.
12 That the benefits of the Parakletos applied in a secondary sense to all who had the Spirit Gifts is not disputed in any way.
13 1 John 3:1.
14 CBSC P. 281.
15 See Rev. 3:20; "I will sup with him, and he with me" refers to fellowship and not to an actual physical presence or meal.
16 cf. AV margin at verse 2 where we are promised the closest of fellowship with the Father. This use of abode is not "us receiving the Spirit".
17 cf. 1 John 4:1-4 may be used if he excuses himself on the basis of 1 Cor. 2:15.
18 NASB. v. 25.
19 PGHS, P. 34
20 ‘The AV use of ‘Comforter’ has done much to give unwarranted support for unscriptural interpretations of the meaning and function of the Paraclete. The Greek word translated ‘Comforter’ is Parakletos derived from para, ‘alongside’ and kletos, ‘called to’, hence ‘one who pleads another’s cause before a judge: a pleader, counsel for the defence, legal assistant; an advocate.’ (Grimm-Thayer, Greek English Lexicon)’ (TEST, Vol, 43, P. 130). The NASB has "helper" and in the margin "Gk Paracletos = one called alongside to help or Intercessor."
21 A careful distinction is drawn between "the abiding" (which refers to fellowship and unfailing providential oversight) and the Parakletos (which included the miraculous gift of prophecy) in TEST, Vol. 43, P. 129.
22 See John 14 - 16 - Additional Notes.
23 see notes on v. 25.
24 TEST, Vol. 43, P. 132.
25 Greek = meno. The same word is also translated "abideth" in this verse.
26 see also 1 John 2:3-6; John 15:7-14.
27 see Section B - "PRAYER AND GUIDANCE".
28 largely from CGOJ, P. 172.
29 LJOH, P. 116.
30 The following from Leask (IBID. P.117) corroborates this statement. Ordained is from the "Gk. ‘tithemi’ meaning to appoint for one’s own purpose. The Middle Voice is used to indicate that the appointment was made for the Lord’s benefit." Even in Luke 11:9-13 the larger context (v.6) shows that the asking was not for himself but for a friend in his journey.
31 Acts 5:32, Heb. 2:4 cf. Acts 2:32; 3:15.
† Notice the Trinitarian bias. The Greek text is neuter gender NEST, Berry Diaglott etc.
32 TEST, Vol. 43, P. 133.
33 cf. Gal. 1:7-9
34 RV has "from". NASB has "on His own initiative".
35 see Word Studies, Section F.
1 This point and the table are from TEST, Vol. 43, P. 134.
John 14-16 - Additional Notes
There seems to be sufficient evidence in scripture to equate the Angel of the Presence (which was with Israel during Old Testament times) with the Parakletos of John and the angel of Jesus in Revelation.1
A. ANGEL OF THE PRESENCE
There are several important things to notice about this special "Angel of the Presence".
The following comparison shows the close similarities between the two.
C. JESUS’ ANGEL
In Rev. 1:1 we see that the Revelation of Jesus Christ was signified by "His angel to His bond-servant John". We see from this that Jesus has His own special angel doing His bidding. We read, however, that this angel says "I am a fellowservant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book" (22:6). It would seem from this that this angel performed similar functions for the Almighty in the Past. This idea is strengthened by Rev. 22:6
"The Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done."
These verses suggest that Jesus’ Angel was in earlier times the Angel of the Presence. Notice that what is said about this angel is also said of the Parakletos.
"He shall testify of me". (John 15:26).
‘Thus the Holy Spirit, the Angel once representing God, had been given by God to Jesus and so was now sent to the apostles and disciples by the Father in the name of the Son (John 14:26)6’.
1 This is stated in TBSM, Vol. 4, P. 85-89, 117-120 and in "The Revelation of Jesus Christ", TBSM, P. 25-27, 323-325. It is also suggested in TCM, Oct., 1973.
2 This was an angel bearing the divine title. It is not a matter of opinion but of divine testimony that this was an angel (cf. Acts 7:38, 53; Heb. 2:2).
3 See Lev. 26:41 "their uncircumcised hearts".
4 Phanerosis, P. 122, LOGOS.
5 IBID., P. 121.
6 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, available from TBSM, P. 325.
If these ideas are true, then the Comforter (one called alongside to help) was Jesus’ angel; a mighty Spirit termed the Spirit of truth. It explains the words "he", "him", "whom", etc. No longer must we wriggle when the trinitarian presents us with these verses†. They become straight forward. The Holy Spirit, however, does not always refer to this. It mostly refers to the power of Yahweh revealed to bring salvation to man.
† It also explains verses such as Acts 13:2; Matt. 28:19. cf. TBSM, Vol. 4, P. 119.