WHO IS THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH?
John 16:13 – “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 show you things to come.”
Q. Who is the spirit of truth?
A. John 15:26 The spirit of truth is the Comforter.
Q. Who is the Comforter?
A. John 14:12, 16-22
John 14:12, Jesus is going away. John 14:16, He will ask the Father to send another Comforter that will abide with them forever. John 14:17, Comforter is called the spirit of truth. The world cannot receive Him. The world cannot see him or know him. But the disciples know him, and this comforter is already dwelling with them.
Notice: They know him . He is already dwelling with them. He is a comfort to them. He is always truthful to them.
Q. Who is the only person the disciples knew personally? Who was already dwelling with them?
Who was a comfort to them and was always truthful?
A. Only Jesus could fulfill these requirements. And He says so in the next verse.
John 14:18, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
But He was coming back in another form. From dwelling with them physically, to dwelling in them spiritually. (Verse 17, “shall be in you”).
This is why Jesus says ‘another’ comforter. He would be coming back in the spirit. A different form than what they were use to.
Compare verse 17. Jesus says the world cannot receive the spirit of truth, neither can it see him or know him, but the disciples did know him.
Verse 19, Jesus makes almost the same statement, but speaks of Himself.
Notice: “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.”
Dear friends, this is so clear, Jesus is telling the disciples that He is the Comforter. He is using third person language (referred to as an illeism) and reverts back to first person language.
Verse 18, “I will come to you.” Verse 19, "You will see me". Verse 20, "I in you".
Verse 21, “I will manifest myself to him.” Verse 23, “we (my Father and I) will make our abode with him.”
Q. Did Christ’s disciples understand that He would be coming back to them?
A. Yes, Verse 22 “Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, HOW is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?”
Now notice how the words from the messenger of the Lord harmonize with Scripture:
“As by faith we look to Jesus, our faith pierces the shadow, and we adore God for His wondrous love in giving Jesus the Comforter.” – Ellen White, 19MR, p. 296, 297
“The Saviour is our Comforter. This I have proved Him to be.” - Ellen White, 8MR, p. 49
“Christ comes as a Comforter to all who believe. He invites your confidence. He says, "Abide in me." Surely we may trust in our loving Saviour.” – Ellen White, 8MR p. 57
“Let them study the seventeenth of John, and learn how to pray and how to live the prayer of Christ. He is the Comforter. He will abide in their hearts, making their joy full.” – Ellen White, Review & Herald, January 27, 1903
“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]. – Ellen White, Manuscript Releases 14, p. 179.2
“Jesus comes to you as the Spirit of Truth;” – Ellen White, 2MR, p.337.1, No. 97-161
This is why Paul could Say, "Christ in you", "Christ that liveth in me", "let this mind be in you", etc...
John 16:13 - So the Spirit of Truth is the Spirit of Jesus, our Comforter.
Notice how Jesus is speaking of Himself in the spirit as another person.
We notice this also in John 14:16, 17 (Another comforter). Jesus often spoke this way. (See John 17:3; 5:19, 23; 3:13-16; Matthew 24:30-37; 25:13, 31.)
In fact, every time Jesus speaks of the Son of Man, it is always in the third person using what is known as an "illeism" or third person language. He speaks of himself in third person language 30 times in Matthew alone. About 79 times overall in the New Testament as the Son of man.
John 16:12 - note how before Jesus speaks of the Spirit of Truth He says: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” (could Jesus be saying that He will reveal these things to them later?)
Notice the parallels between John 16:14, 15 and some other statements of Jesus.
John 16:14 “He shall glorify me (how?): for he shall receive of mine, and shall show [it] unto you.”
John 16:15, “All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show [it] unto you.”
Q. Why does Jesus say ‘all things that the Father hath are mine’?
A. To impress upon His disciples that in giving them His spirit, He is giving them His life, His character, everything He has inherited from His Father, Hebrews 1:4.
“Christ is to live in his human agents, and work through their faculties, and act through their capabilities. Their will must be submitted to his will, they must act with his spirit, that it may be no more they that live, but Christ that liveth in them. Jesus is seeking to impress upon them the thought that in giving his Holy Spirit he is giving to them the glory which the Father has given him, that he and his people may be one in God.” – Ellen White, Signs of the Times, October 3, 1892 par. 4
This is why Jesus says, “He will glorify me” in John 16:14.
“The Saviour came to glorify the Father by the demonstration of His love; so the Spirit was to glorify Christ by revealing His grace to the world. 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.” – Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 671.3
Before this could happen, Jesus had to go away.
John 16:7 “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.”
Q. If the Holy Spirit is another God-being, separate from the Father and the Son, why did Jesus have to go before he could come?
Why was it expedient for the disciples that Jesus had to leave them, and then the spirit come?
A common answer from a trinitarian perspective is that Jesus, in His humanity, was limited and could not be in every place personally. But they contradict their own beliefs, because they say the Holy Spirit is a completely separate being. So, Jesus limited in His humanity would have no bearing on whether the spirit could come or not. For they say he is separate from Jesus.
It is true that Jesus needed to first ascend to heaven and receive from His Father that assurance that His sacrifice was ample. So the Holy Spirit could be sent to empower His church. But this has no relevance as to Christ being ‘cumbered with humanity’.
To be consistent, with the trinitarian viewpoint and their understanding of the Holy Spirit, they must acknowledge that once Christ’s offering was accepted by the Father, then the Holy Spirit could come irrespective of whether Jesus went away or not.
But this is not what Jesus said. And it is not what happened.
Read again, John 16:7 “...for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”
Clearly, Jesus had to go away before the Holy Spirit could come.
Let us see why:
John 7:39 “...for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified."
The Spirit was not yet given in its fullness. We know the Spirit was there because in Desire of Ages:
“The Holy Spirit was not yet fully manifested; for Christ had not yet been glorified. The more abundant impartation of the Spirit did not take place till after Christ's ascension.” – Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 805.2
So, the outpouring of the spirit was being held back until Christ was glorified.
Q. Why did Christ have to go and be glorified, before the spirit could be given?
“During the patriarchal age the influence of the Holy Spirit had often been revealed in a marked manner, but never in its fullness.” – Ellen White, Acts of the Apostles, p. 37.3
Q. Why was the spirit never given in its fullness?
A. “Christ in His humanity wrought out a perfect character, and this character He offers to impart to us.”
– Ellen White, Faith that I Live By, p.113.3
Christ had to work out a perfect character in his humanity. It was this perfect life that He offered at the cross for us. Refer to Romans 5:8, 9.
And this perfect life, His character (His spirit), He offers to impart to us. Romans 5:10. See also Romans 8:9-11.
Can you see that the spirit is the life of Christ?
“The influence of the Holy Spirit is the life of Christ in the soul.” – Ellen White Review & Herald, October 26, 1897 par. 15
Christ had to first live this life (work out a perfect character) before He could impart it to us. Christ brought glorified humanity back to heaven. It is this life that He offers to us divine nature – see 2 Peter 1:4
Q. How could this be done before Christ had lived this life?
Q. How could another do this in His place? Hebrews 2:17, 18; 4:15
This is why the spirit could not be given in its fullness. This is why the spirit could not be given unless Christ was glorified.
His life had to be first:
1) Lived and perfected (overcome, Revelation 3:21)
2) Then Sacrificed
3) Then glorified
4) Then poured out upon His church
“During His humiliation upon this earth, the Spirit had not descended with all its efficacy; and Christ declared that if He went not away, it would not come, but that if He went away, He would send it. It was a representation of Himself, and after He was glorified it was manifest.” – Ellen White, Signs of the Times, May 17, 1899 par. 3
Q. But why must Christ go away?
“But while Christ was on earth, the disciples had desired no other helper. Not until they were deprived of His presence would they feel their need of the Spirit, and then He would come. The Holy Spirit is Christ's representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore it was for their interest that He should go to the Father, and send the Spirit to be His successor on earth. No one could then have any advantage because of his location or his personal contact with Christ. By the Spirit the Saviour would be accessible to all. In this sense He would be nearer to them than if He had not ascended on high.” – Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 669.2
The key to this passage is the first sentence: “... while Christ was on earth, the disciples had desired no other helper.” (Peter had great courage when he was with Christ, but denied Him, when he was without Him.)
While Jesus was with them personally, the disciples felt secure. They had no desire for the Spirit. They only wanted to stay close to Jesus in His physical presence. But those who were distanced would feel disadvantaged. With this mindset of the people, the Saviour was cumbered, or hindered, and could not be in every place personally. He could not be everywhere physically.
Christ endeavoured to get their minds off His physical presence and onto His spiritual presence. This He can only do by going away.
Notice the next line:
“...Not until they were deprived of His presence would they feel their need of the Spirit, and then He would come.” – Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 669.1
In this way Christ in the Spirit is “divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof” (in other words, Christ is free to work independently with all His disciples)
This is why it says:
“No one could then have any advantage because of his location or his personal contact with Christ. By the Spirit the Saviour would be accessible to all. In this sense He would be nearer to them than if He had not ascended on high.” - Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 669.2
Please understand that no one else could fulfill this role. Jesus is our Comforter! Jesus is the third person of the Godhead, in spirit. Inspiration declares that.
“He [Satan] has sought to shut Jesus from their view as the Comforter” – Ellen White, Review & Herald, August 26, 1890 par. 10