the Comforter - the Advocate
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. INTRODUCTION - PARAKLETOS DEFINED
In the KJV the same New Testament Greek word parakletos <Strong's Greek dictionary word #3875> is translated "Comforter" in Joh 14:16 and is translated "advocate" in 1Jo 2:1. The NRSV, TEV, and others translate parakletos in various ways in both verses, as illustrated below.
1 John 2:1
The Greek word parakletos is the basis for our modern (though infrequently used) English word paraclete. Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Unabridged Edition (McLean, VA: Mac Donald Publishing Company, no date) states:
PARAKLETOS..., lit., called to one's side, i.e., to one's aid, is primarily a verbal adjective, and suggests the capability or adaptability for giving aid. It was used in a court of justice to denote a legal assistant, counsel for the defence, an advocate; then generally, one who pleads another's cause, an intercessor, advocate, as in 1 John 2:1, of the Lord Jesus. In the widest sense, it signifies a succourer, comforter...
The writer of 1 John (1Jo 2:1) refers to Jesus as a parakletos <Greek word #3875> (Advocate or Comforter); and in the Gospel of John (Joh 14:16), Jesus himself implies that he had been serving as a parakletos <Greek word #3875> (Advocate or Comforter) and that he will give his followers another parakletos <Greek word #3875> (Advocate or Comforter).
The court case allegory in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (pages 430-442) by Mary Baker Eddy, refers to "Christian Science" appearing as "counsel" or "attorney" for Mortal Man. (See S&H 434:8 and 436:32.) In that allegory, the role of "the attorney, Christian Science" is identical to the role of the Comforter (Advocate, Defense Attorney, parakletos <Greek word #3875>) as described above.
(The New Testament uses the term satan or devil for "the accuser" of mankind, and uses the term Paraclete -- or Advocate, Comforter, Counselor -- as "the defender" of mankind. To read an article that explains the courtroom-like adversarial relationship of the Comforter and Satan/the Devil, browse http://www.bibletexts.com/terms/satan.htm.)
In various translations of the New Testament, the Greek word parakletos <Greek word #3875> is translated:
*(MBE) indicates that particular version was among the Bibles used by Mary Baker Eddy
2. FULL TEXT OF VERSES FROM 1 JOHN
In 1 John, the full text of the verses (as translated by the NRSV) describing Jesus as a parakletos <3875> (the Advocate or the Comforter) is as follows:
Our advocate/comforter, Jesus Christ
1Jo 1:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. 4 Whoever says, “I have come to know him,” but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; 5 but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him: 6 whoever says, “I abide in him,” ought to walk just as he walked.
[1Jo 1:3-5 - See corresponding teaching below, in Joh 14:21,23,24.]
3. FULL TEXT OF VERSES FROM THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
In the Gospel of John, Jesus describes the parakletos <3875> (the Advocate or the Comforter) as being:
In the Gospel of John, the full text of the verses (as translated and paragraphed by the NRSV) describing the parakletos is as follows:
The Father will give another Advocate/Comforter (the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit)
Joh 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.
[Joh 14:21,23,24 - See corresponding teaching above in 1Jo 1:3-5.]
25 “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us be on our way."
The Advocate/The Comforter "will testify" on Jesus' behalf
Joh 15:18 “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. 21 But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.’
26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27 You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.
Joh 16:1 “I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. 3 And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. 4a But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.
Summary of the role of the Advocate/the Comforter (the Spirit of truth)
Joh 16:4b “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11 about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
4. THE ROLE OF THE COMFORTER IN THE PAST AND PRESENT
The Comforter (the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth) actively speaks, pleads, and powerfully implements the truth of Christ, on behalf of Christ -- proving and declaring the truth, and guiding his followers into all truth -- to the glory of God. The Comforter's mission and activity have been vital to Christian life and ministry since the first century.
Referring to the Comforter (the parakletos <3875>, the Advocate), Mary Baker Eddy (the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science), writes:
In the words of St. John: "He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever." This Comforter I understand to be Divine Science. (S&H 55:27)
Our Master said, "But the Comforter . . . shall teach you all things." When the Science of Christianity appears, it will lead you into all truth. The Sermon on the Mount is the essence of this Science, and the eternal life, not the death of Jesus, is its outcome. (S&H 271:20)
About this Comforter, "the Science of Christianity," "divine Science," she also writes (S&H 471:23):
The author subscribed to an orthodox creed in early youth, and tried to adhere to it until she caught the first gleam of that which interprets God as above mortal sense. This view rebuked human beliefs, and gave the spiritual import, expressed through Science, of all that proceeds from the divine Mind. Since then her highest creed has been divine Science, which, reduced to human apprehension, she has named Christian Science. This Science teaches man that God is the only Life, and that this Life is Truth and Love; that God is to be understood, adored, and demonstrated; that divine Truth casts out suppositional error and heals the sick.
As understood in Christian Science and in the Gospel of John, the Comforter is "a divine utterance." Rather than considering Christian Science to be a uniquely nineteenth century appearing or phenomenon, Mrs. Eddy refers to her "rediscovery" of Christian Science (My 284:1). She also writes:
Science is an emanation of divine Mind, and is alone able to interpret God aright. It has a spiritual, and not a material origin. It is a divine utterance,--the Comforter which leadeth into all truth. (S&H 127:26)
Christian Science is more than two hundred years old. It dates beyond Socrates, Leibnitz, Berkeley, Darwin, or Huxley. It is as old as God, although its earthly advent is called the Christian era. ('01 24:17)
She does refer to her major literary work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, as containing "the full statement of Christian Science" and as being "the voice of Truth to this age" (S&H 456:25-30). Christian Scientists accept the teachings and practice of Christian Science to be vital parts of the modern-day work of the Comforter. They also consider the Christian Science that Mrs. Eddy discovered to be the "final revelation of the absolute divine Principle of scientific mental healing" (S&H 107:1). But the Comforter itself is not confined in or limited to any particular denominational organization or worship. As I stated above, the Comforter (the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth) actively speaks, pleads, and powerfully implements the truth of Christ, on behalf of Christ -- proving and declaring the truth, and guiding his followers into all truth -- to the glory of God. The Comforter's mission and activity have been vital to Christian life and ministry since the first century. (See also S&H 150:4; S&H 577:28.) Mrs. Eddy writes:
In healing the sick and sinning, Jesus elaborated the fact that the healing effect followed the understanding of the divine Principle and of the Christ-spirit which governed the corporeal Jesus. For this Principle there is no dynasty, no ecclesiastical monopoly. (S&H 141:13-18)
Speaking of the Comforter's active role in her discovery, Mrs. Eddy says (S&H 123:19-29) that divine Science was revealed to her "through the teachings of the Comforter, as promised by the Master."
Mrs. Eddy frequently refers to Divine Science (again, understood in Christian Science to be "the Comforter") as "eternal Science," and writes under the marginal heading, "Christian Science as old as God:"
Divine Science derives its sanction from the Bible, and the divine origin of Science is demonstrated through the holy influence of Truth in healing sickness and sin. This healing power of Truth must have been far anterior to the period in which Jesus lived. It is as ancient as "the Ancient of days." It lives through all Life, and extends throughout all space. (S&H 146:23)
Of Christian Science (divine Science [or the Comforter] "reduced to human apprehension" - see above quote from S&H 471:23), Mrs. Eddy writes:
It presents the calm and clear verdict of Truth against error, uttered and illustrated by the prophets, by Jesus, by his apostles, as is recorded throughout the Scriptures. (S&H 358:15)
Of the modern-day activity of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, "eternal Science," Mrs. Eddy writes:
Its appearing is the coming anew of the gospel of "on earth peace, good-will toward men." This coming, as was promised by the Master, is for its establishment as a permanent dispensation among men; but the mission of Christian Science now, as in the time of its earlier demonstration, is not primarily one of physical healing. Now, as then, signs and wonders are wrought in the metaphysical healing of physical disease; but these signs are only to demonstrate its divine origin,--to attest the reality of the higher mission of the Christ-power to take away the sins of the world. (S&H 150:6)
Mary Baker Eddy writes of her own experience with the Comforter, "the Science of Christianity:"
The author became a member of the orthodox Congregational Church in early years. Later she learned that her own prayers failed to heal her as did the prayers of her devout parents and the church; but when the spiritual sense of the creed was discerned in the Science of Christianity, this spiritual sense was a present help. It was the living, palpitating presence of Christ, Truth, which healed the sick. (S&H 351:8)
Mrs. Eddy also loudly echoes the biblical significance of the Comforter in her twelve-page court-case allegory, where "Christian Science" triumphantly acts as "counsel" (advocate, defense attorney) for a sick "Mortal Man." (See S&H 430:13 - 442:15) Her "allegory in which the plea of Christian Science heals the sick" (S&H 430:13) strongly coincides with the courtroom terminology sometimes used in the New Testament when describing Jesus healings. (For examples of such courtroom terminology, see the commentary on Matthew 9:2-9 at http://www.bibletexts.com/versecom/mat09v02.htm and the commentary on Luke 13:10-17 at http://www.bibletexts.com/versecom/luk13v10.htm.)
"The living, palpitating presence of Christ, Truth" (see above, S&H 351:8) directly coincides with the descriptions of the Comforter in the Gospel of John (Joh 14:16-20; 15:26; 16:13,14). Knowing that the Gospel of John equates the Comforter (the Advocate, NRSV) with the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit, NRSV) or "the Spirit of truth," Mrs. Eddy also writes,
Hold perpetually this thought,--that it is the spiritual idea, the Holy Ghost and Christ, which enables you to demonstrate, with scientific certainty, the rule of healing, based upon its divine Principle, Love, underlying, overlying, and encompassing all true being. (S&H 496:15)
5. THE COMFORTER / HOLY SPIRIT ACTIVELY CONTINUES TO DEFEND AND GUIDE US
In a letter to the Romans (Rom 8:26, 27, NRSV), Paul writes of the dynamic activity of "the Spirit" -- the Holy Spirit (the Holy Ghost, KJV), known in the Gospel of John as "the Spirit of truth" and "the Comforter " (or Advocate/Defense Attorney):
Rom 8: 26 ...the Spirit [the Comforter, the Advocate, the Defense Attorney] helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?
Paul immediately continues his letter, emphasizing the Defense Attorney function of "the Spirit" in language that evokes images of court proceedings. (See also S&H pages 430-442). Further describing the interceding, protective, guiding, and triumphant activity of that "Spirit of truth" (the Comforter, the Advocate) on our behalf in the defeat of Satan (the devil, the Accuser, the Slanderer, the Prosecuting Attorney), Paul writes:
Rom 8: 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.
35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
6. THOUGHT-PROVOKING AND EDIFYING EXERCISES FOR STUDY
The terms "the Spirit" or "the Holy Spirit" (or "the Holy Ghost") is used 224 times in the New Testament. When reading the New Testament, it is very edifying to take the various terms for parakletos,
You can interchange these terms to see the richness of meaning and the ever-active presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, just as it was in the lives of the prophets, of Jesus, of the apostles, and of Christians throughout the ages. It is also instructive and throught-provoking to substitute "Divine Science" or "the Science of Christianity" wherever "the Spirit" or "the Holy Spirit" (or "the Holy Ghost") appears in the biblical text.
When reading the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, the genuine meaning and biblical foundation of "Divine Science" or "the Science of Christianity" can be more fully comprehended by substituting
wherever the term "Divine Science," "the Science of Christianity," or any other synonymous term appears in Mrs. Eddy's writings.
The Scripture quotations above are from:
Copyright 1996-2002 Robert Nguyen Cramer