The Parable of the Comforter: John 14-16

 

Before his ascension, Christ promised still to be with his disciples. But a question arose, how? They did not understand his Spiritual Manifestation as some do today:

 

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

 

And Jesus said He would give us the Comforter. What is the Comforter? It is the Holy Spirit of God. What is the Holy Spirit? It is the representative of Jesus Christ, it is our Advocate that stands by our side and places our petitions before the Father all fragrant with His merits. There He accepts the petition of the humblest saint. He doesn’t ask you how much money you have, or how heavy you are loaded with property, but the very humblest saint that brings his petition to God, and [his] thank offering is made fragrant with the riches of His grace, and the Father accepts it as your offering, and the blessing comes to you, grace for grace. {RC 285.4}

 

The disciples returned to Jerusalem rejoicing, not that they were deprived of their Master and Teacher, for this was to them a cause for personal mourning rather than joy. But Jesus had assured them that he would send the Comforter, as an equivalent for his visible presence. He had said, “If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father.” They rejoiced because Jesus had wrought out salvation for man; he had answered the claims of the law, and had become a perfect offering for man; he had ascended to Heaven to carry forward the work of atonement begun on earth. He was the Advocate of man, his Intercessor with the Father. {3SP 256.1}

 

It is not essential for you to know and be able to define just what the Holy Spirit is. Christ tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, and the Comforter is the Holy Ghost, “the Spirit of truth, which the Father shall send in My name.” “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, for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” [John 14:16, 17]. This refers to the omnipresence of the Spirit of Christ, called the Comforter. Again Jesus says, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth” [John 16:12, 13]. {14MR 179.2}

 

That Christ should manifest Himself to them, and yet be invisible to the world, was a mystery to the disciples. They could not understand the words of Christ in their spiritual sense. They were thinking of the outward, visible manifestation. They could not take in the fact that they could have the presence of Christ with them, and yet He be unseen by the world. They did not understand the meaning of a spiritual manifestation. {RC 129.2}

 

John 16:13 – Jesus is the Spirit of all truth Manifest in Flesh and IN our flesh

 

How shall I bear impressively the commission Christ has given to His people—the privilege of being workers with the Spirit of all truth manifest in the flesh—the divine Son of God, clothed with humanity, a channel devised and prepared to be continually receiving and imparting the heavenly current? Himself the overflowing Fountain, He receives to communicate to all those who will accept the gift. {Ms125-1906}

 

Christ Present With Believers by the Holy Spirit–“And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” [John 14:16, 17]. Christ was about to depart to His home in the heavenly courts. But He assured His disciples that He would send them another Comforter, who would abide with them forever. To the guidance of this Comforter all who believe in Christ may implicitly trust. He is the Spirit of truth, but this truth the world can neither discern nor receive. {12MR 260.1}

 

Now this fits well with “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that JESUS CHRIST –>IS COME<– IN THE FLESH is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ IS come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” — 1 John 4:2-3 (KJV)

 

One must say with John, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God; and every spirit that confesseth not that JESUS CHRIST IS COME IN THE FLESH is not of God; and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” What definite light God has given us in this chapter. It becomes every soul to be sure that CHRIST IS FORMED WITHIN, the hope of glory. O let us constantly walk humbly with God. We need now that living faith which takes God at His word. We are not to allow any discouraging features of opposition to depress our souls. It would not be for the glory of God for us to become discouraged. We are living amidst the closing scenes of this earth’s history, and we must now like Jacob cling to Jesus with all our power, exclaiming, “I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me, even me.” Hold fast to the promises of God.” {Lt335-1905.8-9} – EGW

 

“Where are you standing, brethren and sisters? Do you take hold of the death of Christ by faith and make it your salvation? Then we have made a new beginning and all our past life is as though it had not been. It is God’s life we are to live. God wants us to keep walking right along with Him. When we receive Him we are made free and sin no more. Why do we sin? We do not understand God’s sufficiency. He will reveal Himself in our hearts. We have had in our Sabbath school lessons that when we confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, WE ARE TO CONFESS THAT HE HAS COME –>IN<–OUR FLESH. We have laid aside our own sins and we are living to the glory of God.” {Ms15-1894.23} – EGW

 

  1. J. Waggoner The Present Truth | May 18, 1893; Excerpt from: “A Present Salvation.” “So it is that “every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God” (1 John 4:2, 3). Note again the present tense. It is not enough to confess that Jesus Christ did come in the flesh; that will bring no salvation to anybody. We must confess, from positive knowledge that Jesus IS JUST NOW come in the flesh, and then we are of God. Christ came in the flesh eighteen hundred years ago, just for the purpose of demonstrating the possibility. THAT WHICH HE DID ONCE, HE IS ABLE TO DO IT AGAIN. HE WHO DENIES THE POSSIBILITY OF HIS COMING IN THE FLESH OF MEN NOW, THEREBY DENIES THE POSSIBILITY OF HIS HAVING EVER COME IN THE FLESH.

 

The idea of Christ coming IN our flesh is demonstrated well by God being IN the flesh of Jesus Christ when he was on earth.

 

“2Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”

 

Though we speak about Christ coming in our flesh, the pantheistic view of Christ is come in flesh should be guarded. So, what’s the significance change post-incarnation with how the Father related to humans onwards? Before that he spoke through his divine son, after, he spoke in humanity to men, Christ had emptied himself of this divine glory, divinity in human flesh interacted with fallen men in their own likeness without consuming them. God was in Christ reconciling men to himself. In this state, the whole heaven was put at stake because there was a possibility of Christ failing, he risked heaven itself while he fully divine there was no risk.

 

The Holy Spirit is the presence of Jesus Himself without Human Form

 

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give YOU ANOTHER Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17[EVEN] the Spirit of truth [JOHN 14:6]; whom the world cannot receive, BECAUSE IT SEETH HIM NOT, NEITHER KNOWETH HIM: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and SHALL BE IN YOU.

 

Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally; therefore it was ALTOGETHER FOR THEIR ADVANTAGE that He should leave them, go to His father, and send THE HOLY SPIRIT to be His successor on earth. The Holy Spirit is HIMSELF DIVESTED OF THE PERSONALITY OF HUMANITY and independent thereof. He would represent HIMSELF as present in all places by His HOLY SPIRIT, AS THE OMNIPRESENT. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall (although unseen by you), [THIS PHRASE WAS ADDED BY ELLEN WHITE.] teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” [John 14:26]. “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will come not unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you” [John 16:7].  {14MR 23.3}

 

Notice in the above quote HIMSELF is used twice in place of CHRIST and then the HOLY SPIRIT is said to be AS THE OMNIPRESENT. You can’t miss that. Notice then

 

“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, for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” [John 14:16, 17]. THIS REFERS TO THE OMNIPRESENCE OF THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST, CALLED THE COMFORTER. Again Jesus says, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth” [John 16:12, 13].  {14MR 179.2}

 

John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I WILL LOVE HIM, AND WILL MANIFEST MYSELF TO HIM. 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, HOW IS IT THAT THOU WILT MANIFEST THYSELF UNTO US, AND NOT UNTO THE WORLD?  23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, AND COME [AGAIN] UNTO YOU. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

 

How does he COME AGAIN? [NOT IN HUMAN FORM]

 

John 16:16 A little while, and YE SHALL NOT SEE ME: AND AGAIN, A LITTLE WHILE, AND YE SHALL SEE ME, because I go to the Father.

 

John 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I WILL COME TO YOU. 19 Yet a little while, and THE WORLD SEETH ME NO MORE; BUT YE SEE ME: because I live, ye shall live also.

 

“Greater works than these shall ye do; because I go unto my Father.” He would then intercede for them, and would send them his own representative, the Holy Spirit, who would attend them in their work. THIS REPRESENTATIVE WOULD NOT APPEAR IN HUMAN FORM, but by faith would BE SEEN AND RECOGNIZED BY ALL WHO BELIEVE IN CHRIST.  {HM, July 1, 1897 par. 9}

 

John chapter 14 and 16 SPOKEN IN A PARABLE that is why the disciples could not understand; this is one clear reason why many have not understood what is being said. These chapters are far from straight sayings

 

John 16:25 These things have I SPOKEN UNTO YOU IN PROVERBS: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father.

 

HOW IS IT THAT THOU WILT MANIFEST THYSELF UNTO US, AND NOT UNTO THE WORLD?”

 

John 16:17 Then said [some] of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? 18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.

 

That Christ should manifest Himself to them, and yet be invisible to the world, was a mystery to the disciples. THEY COULD NOT UNDERSTAND THE WORDS OF CHRIST IN THEIR SPIRITUAL SENSE. They were thinking of the outward, visible manifestation. They could not take in the fact that they could have the presence of Christ with them, and yet He be unseen by the world. They did not understand the meaning of a spiritual manifestation.  {RC 129.2}

 

How the Holy Spirit is a Distinct Personality

 

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you ANOTHER COMFORTER, that he may abide with you for ever;

 

John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, BUT CANST NOT TELL WHENCE IT COMETH, AND WHITHER IT GOETH: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

 

Christ, our Mediator, and the Holy Spirit are constantly interceding in man’s behalf, BUT THE SPIRIT PLEADS NOT FOR US AS DOES CHRIST, WHO PRESENTS HIS BLOOD, SHED FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD; THE SPIRIT WORKS UPON OUR HEARTS, DRAWING OUT PRAYERS AND PENITENCE, PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING. The gratitude which flows from our lips is the result of the Spirit’s striking the cords of the soul in holy memories, awakening the music of the heart.  {1SM 344.1}

 

It is the operations and office of the Holy Spirit which is more of DISTINCT PERSONALITY

 

The Oneness of the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit and Their Distinct Personalities

 

Elder Terry Hill wrote:

“I believe it can be rightly said that the Holy Spirit is a spiritual manifestation of Christ (the omnipresence of Christ’s Spirit), but to have three persons, Christ cannot be the same person as the Holy Spirit – at least I cannot see how that can be. If I am thought to be wrong, then perhaps someone can explain it to me.”

 

My response

This is so wonderful and I thank God we see eye to eye on this point maybe just semantics and the way I may express it but that is the bold truth. When we say the Holy Spirit is Jesus Christ vis-a-vis, we have to know what we are saying. We shouldn’t be in the habit of just quoting SoP and Bible verses without understanding the though inspiration behind it. Here is what I think. I have borrowed some works of Bro. Corey

 

“The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, in Christ’s name. He personifies Christ, yet is a distinct personality.”  {20MR 324.2}  1893

 

In the context above the Holy Spirit is said to be a “distinct personality”. Distinct from who? The context clearly suggests that He is distinct from Christ. Also you cannot “personify” yourself. This is one of those quotes where Trinitarians easily see non-trinitarians not wanting to face the whole truth.

 

The Holy Spirit is truly Christ in nature but not in personality when it comes to the Spirit in our hearts. It is Christ’s divine nature we receive through different appointed agencies that comes from Himself which He inherited from His Father. In this way we have both the Father and Son as we have their divine nature within our hearts produced by the word of God. This life given in the word forms Christ within the hope of glory but it functions in the human body as a “distinct personality”. The personality of Jesus is in Heaven with the personality of God but we are given the personality of the Holy Spirit through the appointed agencies. Jesus has the “life of God” in Him yet Jesus is a distinct personality, and so it is with the Spirit as the Spirit is the “life of Christ and God” but is a distinct personality. Notice:

 

“Science and literature cannot bring into the darkened mind of men the light which the glorious gospel of the Son of God can bring. The Son of God alone can do the great work of illuminating the soul. No wonder Paul exclaims, ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.’ [Romans 1:16.] The gospel of Christ becomes personality in those who believe, and makes them living epistles, known and read of all men. In this way the leaven of godliness passes into the multitude. The heavenly intelligences are able to discern the true elements of greatness in character; for only goodness is esteemed as efficiency with God.”  {CE 97.1}

 

The divine life contained in God’s word becomes “personality” in the believer. Christ said:

I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.13 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.14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (John 16:12-14)

 

Christ sometimes spoke of himself in the “third person” but in the above context that cannot be so. The words “me” and “mine” are speaking of the personality of Jesus which is glorified by the Holy Spirit a “distinct personality”/comforter from the Father. Notice:

 

John 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:

 

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

 

You see how John 16:13, 15:26 and 14:16, 17 are like a hand and glove?

 

The above passage doesn’t carry the idea of “I will testify of myself”. The purpose of the Holy Spirit guiding into all truth is to glorify Christ. The work of Christ as a comforter and distinct personality was to glorify the Father. The work of the Holy Spirit as a comforter and distinct personality from the Father is to glorify Christ:

 

“Christ said of the Spirit, “He shall glorify me.” As Christ glorified the Father by the demonstration of his love, so the Spirit was to glorify Christ by revealing to the world the riches of his grace. The very image of God is to be reproduced in humanity. The honor of God, the honor of Christ, is involved in the perfection of the character of his people.”  {RH, May 19, 1904 par. 4} 

 

If we say that the Holy Spirit is Christ in a strict sense, then Christ is glorifying Christ then we destroy John 16:13, 14.

 

Notice in the following scripture how Jesus when He was on earth was here to glorify God:

“Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.” (John 7:16-18)

 

It is also interesting to note that that Jesus says whoever has seen him has seen the Father so whoever has the Holy Spirit has the Father and the Son though he is having a distinct personality just as the Father and the Son have distinct personalities yet they are one. Paul brings that out clearly:

 

Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

 

With that in mind that the Holy Spirit is a Distinct Personality, let us also apply the same to the Father and the Son when it comes to distinct personalities. The Father and Son are “distinct personalities” which we should never attempt to blend together in “one Spirit” or “one God”.

 

“The oneness existing between the Father and the Son does not affect the distinct personality of each.”  {14MR 220.4} 

 

Now notice:

 

“The personality of the Father and the Son, also the unity that exists between them, are presented in the seventeenth chapter of John, in the prayer of Christ for His disciples:  ‘Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.’ ” John 17:20, 21.  The unity that exists between Christ and His disciples does not destroy the personality of either. They are one in purpose, in mind, in character, but not in person. It is thus that God and Christ are one.”  {MH 422.1}

 

The personalities of God and Christ cannot be blended in “one person”, “one Spirit” or “one God” as this is what destroys their personalities. If we take the omniscient minds of God and Christ and place them in one “person” (third person of the divine nature) we have exactly what SOP warned about, personality destruction. The phrase “third person of the Godhead” is “office language”. It is taking the truth of the Spirit being the life and power in the word of God and giving it the phrase “third person of the Godhead” to describe its office. Non-Trinitarians need to understand the Holy Spirit does not have “two personalities”.

 

“The Holy Spirit has a personality, else He could not bear witness to our spirits and with our spirits that we are the children of God. He must also be a divine person, else He could not search out the secrets which lie hidden in the mind of God. ‘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.’–Ms 20, 1906.

 

There are a few things in this passage we need to look at. The Holy Spirit does not contain two personalities. What is the reason given above to why the Holy Spirit “has a personality”? The answer is “else He could not bear witness to our spirits and with our spirits that we are the children of God”. The thought inspiration behind the quote is that:

 

“The gospel of Christ becomes personality in those who believe, and makes them living epistles, known and read of all men. In this way the leaven of godliness passes into the multitude. The heavenly intelligences are able to discern the true elements of greatness in character; for only goodness is esteemed as efficiency with God.”  {CE 97.1}

 

 

I believe the Father and Son are of “one mind” just as we are to be of “one mind”.  Yet like us, they do not “share” one center of intelligence like the Catholic Trinity of three consubstantial persons in one being. The Father and Son each have their own personality and omniscient mind though they think the same. We too have our own center of thinking, yet we as a body of believer’s are to be of “one mind”.  We read

 

“Here the position of Jesus Christ in reference to his Father is brought to view. While they are one in purpose, and one in mind, yet in personality they are two. May we not learn from this that there is to be unity between believers?” {RH, August 15, 1907 par. 4}

 

“In this scripture God and Christ are spoken of separately. They are two distinct persons, but one in mind, one in heart, one in holiness and justice, and purity, and one in the work of seeking to save the sinful race.”  {BCL 127.3} 

 

“If we will become one in mind and heart with the heavenly intelligences, we can be worked by them.” {6T 461.3} 

 

“On some occasions the Spirit of God would come upon me, and difficult portions were made clear through God’s appointed way, and then there was perfect harmony. We were all of one mind and one spirit.” {CET 193.1}

 

“He [Enoch] was of one mind with God. . . . If we are of one mind with God, our will will be swallowed up in God’s will, and we shall follow wherever God leads the way.”  {CC 28.4} 

 

As we can plainly see it’s not too difficult to understand what this concept of being of “one mind” means. Through the Spirit we are made to think and act like Christ, and thus we have the “mind of Christ”.  God and His Son are two distinct personalities. So by placing their omniscient minds in the Holy Spirit outside of their bodies brings in a concept of “two in one” equaling personality destruction. God and His Son each have a Spirit within them, but if we attach their omniscient minds to their Spirit outside of their bodies, we have to blend these two omniscient minds into one Spirit. Thus the believer would have the omniscient mind of God and the omniscient mind of Christ dwelling in him. This is identical to the Catholic concept to three persons/gods equaling one person except in this case it’s two omniscient minds/Spirits equaling one Spirit. This is personality destruction and confusion.

 

The issue of oneness is solved when we realize we are receiving God and Christ’s divine nature/life but not their omniscient minds within us. Blending two personalities together destroys the personalities of both, but in the concept of receiving divine nature/life we see how God and Christ are “one in Spirit”. These things can be blended together in one Spirit from both the Father and Son as we are talking about “divine nature” but you can never do this with personalities. Notice these from Ellen:

 

“From eternity there was a complete unity between the Father and the Son. They were two, yet little short of being identical; two in individuality, yet one in spirit, and heart, and character.”  {YI, December 16, 1897 par. 5}

 

“Christ the Word, the only begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father,—one in nature, in character, and in purpose,—the only being in all the universe that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God.” {GC88 493.1}

 

In the above two quotes we see how God and Christ are “one” in nature/spirit yet they are two individuals. Through the Holy Spirit we are to have this same “oneness” but notice below:

 

“The unity that exists between Christ and His disciples does not destroy the personality of either.  In mind, in purpose, in character, they are one, but not in person. By partaking of the Spirit of God, conforming to the law of God, man becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ brings His disciples into a living union with Himself and with the Father. Through the working of the Holy Spirit upon the human mind, man is made complete in Christ Jesus. Unity with Christ establishes a bond of unity with one another. This unity is the most convincing proof to the world of the majesty and virtue of Christ and of His power to take away sin. {OFC 36.3}

 

By taking three personalities and blending them into “one God” you have the destruction of all their personalities (confusion/mystery). Now if we understand that the Spirit of God and Christ is referring to their life/power/divine nature we avoid the problem of personality destruction. We can have both the Father and Son through the Holy Spirit as they both have the same “divine nature.”

 

“But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” (1 Cor 6:17)

 

Now if we have become “one Spirit” with Christ are we by this saying that we have become omniscient? Of course not, nor have we become “God the Holy Spirit,” but we have become partakers of the divine nature having the spiritual life of Christ in us. Let us therefore have the mind of Christ by faith in His word.

Blessings

For the pdf file click the title below

The Parable of the Comforter, John 14-16

 

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