The Promise of the Spirit in John 14-16 By Rex Banks One thousand years before Jesus was born, the Patriarch David spoke of the Messiah’s coming rei

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The Promise of the Spirit in John 14-16

By Rex Banks

One thousand years before Jesus was born, the Patriarch David spoke of the Messiah’s coming reign at the right hand of God (Ps. 110:1). The Christ was to rule from Zion in the midst of His enemies (Ps. 110:2), while holding the office of High Priest (Ps. 110.4). David wrote that in the day of His power (Ps. 110:3), “...He will judge among the nations.” Premillennialist not withstanding, this Messianic prophecy is currently being fulfilled. Christ occupies His throne (Rev. 3:21) at the right hand of God (Heb. 1:3) and will continue His mediatorial reign until the last enemy, Death, is abolished (1 Cor. 15:26). The Son of Man occupies His throne “in the regeneration” (Matt. 19:28), and His kingdom is entered by “the washing of regeneration” (Tit. 3:5), that is Baptism. The prophecy that he would “…judge among the nations” springs to mind as we read the rest of Matthew 19:28 and His promise to the apostles “…you also shall sit upon thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel.”

Of course, the apostles judge in that they were the recipients of the inspired word of God (Jn. 14:26, Gal. 1:11). As ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20), they taught by word of mouth, by letter (2 Thess. 2:15), and by imparting the gift of prophecy to others (Acts 19:6). The apostles spoke “the commandment of the Lord and Saviour ” (2 Pet. 3:2), and the apostolic doctrine remains the foundation of the church of which Christ is the cornerstone (Eph. 2:19, 20). While it is true that Jesus alone will judge man on the last day (Jn. 5:22), it is equally true that the standard of that judgement is the word which He received from the Father (Jn. 12:48,49) and promised to the apostles through the Holy Spirit (Jn. 17: 7,8). The promise of the Holy Spirit to the apostles was a promise of inspiration to a specific group of men to equip them as “stewards of the mysteries of God" (1 Cor. 4:1). No man or group since the Apostolic age has received a similar promise.

A Unique Promise

The uniqueness of the promise made to the apostles is well illustrated in John’s Gospel, chapters 14, 15 and 16. These chapters record Christ’s words to His chosen witnesses on the night before He died, and the promise of the Comforter (KJV, ASV), or Helper (NASB), whom the Father would send in His name (Jn. 14:26). Notice that the promise was made to a specific group of witnesses, those who had been personally taught by Jesus (Jn. 14:26), and had been with Him from the beginning of His public ministry (Jn. 15:27; Jn. 16:14). Notice also, that it is only in these three chapters where Christ addresses the apostles, that the Holy Spirit is spoken of as the “Paracletos” (Comforter, Helper), and here the word is used four times – John 14:16; John 14:26; John 15:26; and John 16:7. In 1 John 2:1, Christ is said to be the Christian’s “Paracletos” (Advocate), but it is only to the Apostles that the Spirit is promised as “Paracletos” in John’s Gospel.

Commenting on John 14:16, M.R. Vincent says of this word Paracletos: “From ‘Para’, ‘to the side of ‘and ‘Kaleo’ ‘to summon’. Hence, originally one who is called to another’s side to aid him as an Advocate in a Court of Justice." William Barclay concludes his discussion of Paracletos:

1. The word Paracletos always means someone called in to help, and to render some service.
2. …that kind of comfort and consolation in distress, which keeps a man on his feet, when left to himself he would collapse.
3. …the prisoners friend, the advocate and counsel for the defense... who bore witness to his friend’s character.
4. …Paracletos is the word for exhorting men to noble deeds and high thoughts (New Testament Words, p. 222).

Notice that the Holy Spirit would be another Comforter (Jn. 14:16); “...the word ‘another’ is ‘allos’, not ‘heteros’ which means ‘different’. The advocate …is not different from Christ, but another similar to Himself” (Vincent). In short, the Holy Spirit would be to the apostles what Christ had been to them during His personal ministry; a personal guide and teacher who would equip them for their unique role.

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