Vol. 23 New Series December, 1961 No. 6
OUR ADVOCATE

Some time ago I was asked by a lady in U.S.A. to give a translation of John 14:16-17, 15:26, and 16:7, 8, 13. I shall also try to give an explanation of these verses. Firstly, I shall give Rotherham's translation.

John 14:16-17: "And I will request the Father, and another Advocate will he give you, in order that he may be with you for ever,—the Spirit of Truth, which the world is not able to receive, because it is not looking upon it, nor taking note of it; but ye are taking note of it, because near you it is abiding, and in you it is."

John 15:26: "But whensoever the Advocate may come, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of Truth, which from the Father is proceeding forth—he will testify concerning me."

John 16:7: "But I, the Truth, am telling you, It is profitable for you that I should depart; for, if perchance I should not depart,—the Advocate in no wise would come unto you; but if perchance I may go away,—I will send him unto you."

John 16:8: "And, coming, he will convict the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment."

John 16:13: "but, whensoever he may comethe Spirit of Truth, he will guide you into all Truth; for he will not speak from himself, but as many things as he shall hear will he speak, and the coming things will he rehearse to you."

Strictly, we ought to read "the Spirit of the Truth" each time, and Rotherham shewed a small raised circle before the word Truth to represent this, which I am unable to shew with a typewriter. The Concordant Version of 1930 did not show the word "the" before "Truth," but the revised 1944 Concordant Version shewed a most tiny dot before "truth."

The translation by Rotherham was his first edition. But in the 5th Edition, neither a circle nor the word "the" is placed before "truth." The words "for ever" in 14:16 were in the 5th Edition shewn as "age abidingly," which is much better. Nathaniel Scarlett's version of 1798 reads "to the age." Wiclif's version of 1380 reads "with outen ende."

Now for some explanations. The "Advocate" or "Paraclete" means one called to stand by us for our help, our Helper or Representative. The "Comforter" is not the real meaning. The Paraclete is one who stands by our side, sustains us in our Christian calling, and breathes into us ever new measures of a spirit of boldness and daring in the warfare we have to wage. He is the representative of the glorified Lord with His militant people upon earth. He is mentioned again in John 14:26, 15:26, 16:7, and 1. John 2:1, and there only. In John 14:16 and 26 the term has reference mainly to the preparation of the heart and mind of the disciples, but in 15:26 and 16:7, to their actual work.

The words, "Another Advocate" plainly imply that the first Advocate had been the Lord Jesus Himself, whose going away prevented His continuing to be still the Advocate of His disciples. The Lord glorified represents us before the Father's throne; the Holy Spirit abiding with us represents the Lord gone to the Father. What He had been to them during His earthly life, His representative will be after He has gone away, so that every narrative of what He had done for them becomes a prediction of what the Holy Spirit will do for them and for us who come after them.

Verse 17 explains more fully what the Advocate is and does. He is the Spirit of the Truth, the Spirit whose essence is "the Truth," and who is the medium by which the Truth comes to human beings. This Spirit the world is incapable of receiving, because it has no perception of the things with which He deals, and no sympathy with them. As it cannot hear God's words, because it is not of God (ch. 8:47), so it cannot receive the Spirit of the Truth. Professor Godet called the Advocate "the Support," but the "World" does not want such support.

John 15:26: The Lord had encouraged His disciples by the assurance that they shall be strengthened to overcome whatever hatred and opposition from the world they shall have to encounter in the performance of their work. Now He further assures them that this is not all. They shall not merely meet the world unshaken by all that it can do: they shall also receive a Divine power, in possession of which they shall bear a joyful and triumphant witness even in the midst of suffering. In the promise of the Advocate here given there is an advance upon that of ch. 14:16, 26. In the latter passage the promise had been connected with the training of the disciples for their work; in the present it is connected with the execution of the work. First of all, the Advocate will bear witness concerning Jesus, and will perform that work of witnessing which belongs to heralds of the Cross. But He will do this in them.

John 16:7: The departure of the Lord is the indispensable condition of the bestowal of the Holy Spirit. And through such bestowal the world with which the disciples must contend shall become to them not only a conquered foe, but a self convicted foe. The era now to begin was the era of the Spirit, in which He was to breathe a new life into the world.

John 16:8: We are not to understand by the word "convict" or "reprove" or "convince" the true sense required. Rather it is an exposure of the world. The promise now given to the disciples is not that they will convert the world, but that it shall be silenced, self-condemned, overwhelmed with shame and confusion of face. The Judge of all the earth is upon their side, and He will judge for them.

John 16:13: This verse mentions guidance, something different from the previous verses. It implies not merely that He shall show the way, but that He shall Himself experimentally go before them in the way. See Matt. 15:14; Luke 6:39; Acts 8:31; and Rev. 7:17 for blindness and guidance. The unexpected use of the word "for" in the clause "for He will not speak from Himself" closely binds the clauses together, makes it plain that "all the Truth" can be nothing else than the Truth of which Jesus was the Proclaimer: "all the Truth" He would say, "which I have proclaimed, of which I am Myself the substance." The Advocate comes as My Representative, and will carry on My work.

A.T. Last updated 23.3.2006