Who is the Helper of whom Jesus Spoke?
Although Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit during His lifetime (Matthew 12:32; Mark 12:36; 13:11; Luke 11:13; 12:10, 12), He gave additional insights into the Spirit in the upper room before He left for the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of His betrayal.
The Lord Jesus had His twelve disciples (apostles) around Him and promised, I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever (John 14:16). The term Helper is important in this context. The KJV uses the term Comforter. It comes from the Greek parakletos, and means called to ones side or to ones aid. W.E. Vine says: It was used in a court of justice to denote a legal assistant, counsel for the defense, an advocate; then, generally, one who pleads anothers cause, an intercessor, advocate (Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words). In this sense, Jesus is our intercessor or advocate. As John says, We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1).
But as we note this term (Helper) on Jesus lips in the upper room, we have another identificationthe Holy Spirit. The Lord said that the Father would give the apostles another Helper. The term another is allos, another of the same sort, not heteros, different. (Ibid). In other words, Jesus said that God the Father would send another Helper of the same sort as He had been with them for several years. The Spirit was not a different Helper, but the same kind of Helper as was Jesus.
We see a distinction here. Oneness (Jesus Only) adherents say that the Holy Spirit was Jesus in spirit form, but Jesus plainly said that the Spirit was to be distinguished from Himanother Helper, not the same Helper!
The Lord Jesus continued His promise of the Spirit: The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you (John 14:26). Here again, the Helper is identified as the Holy Spirit. Just as Jesus had been a Helper to the apostles, when He would depart to go to the Father, He (the Father) would send another Helperthe Holy Spirit. What would this Helper do? He would teach the apostles all things and bring to their remembrance all that Jesus had said to the apostles earlier.
It is important to notice a fact that many seem to overlook: The Helper would give the apostles this remembrance. They were the ones who had heard Jesus teachings personally and could then remember what He had earlier said. While much in this upper room discourse (John 13-16) has application to every believer then and now, some of it (as here) has special application to the apostles and the apostles alone.
Again, the Lord Jesus speaks of the Helper in these terms: When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me (John 15:27). Here again, the Spirit is the Helper or the advocate on our behalf. Notice too that here Jesus is said to send the Spirit, whereas in 14:26 it is the Father who sends the Spirit. Apparently both the Father and the Son send the Spirit, with the Son sending the Spirit from the Father (15:26).
In the next chapter, Jesus again refers to the Spirit: I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you (John 16:7). Once again, it is the Son who sends the Spirit. The Spirit would then convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (vv. 8-11).
Although that was the last reference to the Spirit as a Helper (see also Romans 8:26-27), He is mentioned in the following verses of John 16. The Lord explains, When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak, and He will disclose to you what is to come (v. 13). Surely another reference to the apostles who had full revelation knowledge and could proclaim and write under the Spirits inspiration, Jesus said that they would be guided into all the truthsomething that no one today has. The Spirit would also reveal to the apostles what is to comeenabling them to prophecy of the future.
Finally, the Lord said of the Spirit: He [The Spirit] will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you (John 16:14-15). Again we see a clear distinction between the Spirit and the Son, showing that the Oneness view is false. The Spirit is not the Son, but the Spirit will glorify the Son. The Holy Spirit was to take Christs revelation and make it known to the Apostles in their preaching and writing activity on behalf of the Son.
We have seen that Christ would be taken away (He was taken away in death the very next day and then He was taken to heaven forty days later where He was glorified at the right hand of God). And in His place, He would send the Holy Spirit. Christ was limited by his fleshly body for some 33 years, but when He departed, the Holy Spirit would be given to believers everywherein Palestine, in Africa, in Asia, in Europe, and eventually in North and South America and in the islands of the world. Thus we can see that there was a real advantage in Christs departure and the Spirits arrival (John 16:7).
Some have charged a second century false teacher named Montanus as claiming to be the Helper about whom Jesus spoke. However, it probably is the case that Montanus and his two women companions merely claimed to speak for the Holy Spirit and were not the Spirit Himself. Surely they were mistaken about this for they uttered a number of false statements.
New Prophecy, as described by Eusebius of Caesarea, departed from Church tradition: “And he [Montanus] became beside himself, and being suddenly in a sort of frenzy and ecstasy, he raved, and began to babble and utter strange things, prophesying in a manner contrary to the constant custom of the Church handed down by tradition from the beginning.” The Montanist prophets did not speak as messengers of God but were described as possessed by God while being unable to resist. A prophetic utterance by Montanus described this possessed state: “Lo, the man is as a lyre, and I fly over him as a pick. The man sleepeth, while I watch.” Thus, the Phrygians were seen as false prophets because they acted irrationally and were not in control of their senses.
In some of his prophecies, Montanus apparently, and somewhat like the oracles of the Greco-Roman world, spoke in the first person as God: “I am the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Many understood this to be Montanus claiming himself to be God. However, scholars agree that these words of Montanus exemplify the general practice of religious prophets to speak as the passive mouthpieces of the divine, and to claim divine inspiration (similar to modern prophets stating “Thus saith the Lord”). That practice occurred in Christian as well as in pagan circles with some degree of frequency.(Wikipedia).
Another assertion is made among Muslims. It is their belief that the Helper or the Holy Spirit was Muhammad (the eighth century false prophet who began the Islamic movement). Was he the Helper about whom Jesus prophesied some 700 years before the days of Muhammad? Not at all. Notice this explanation:
The Muslims claim that the Bible has been corrupted, and it cannot be trusted. One of the chief verses they point out is the Greek rendering for Comforter (Paracletos) which means advocate or helper. Their scholars translate this to be Pariclytos and use this to point to Mohammed (related to ahmad praised one). The Muslims see Jesus’ reference to the coming of the Comforter helper ( Paraclete) as fulfilled by Mohammed They base this on Quaran 61:6 Mohammed as ahmad (Periclytos) Jesus, the son of Mary, said O children of Israel! I am the apostle of God … giving glad tidings of an apostle to come after me whose name shall be ahmad.
In all the 5,366 manuscripts of the New Testament there is no pariclytos (praised one,) so there is no textual evidence for this, but this doesn’t stop them from holding to this view.
Sura 16:102 and Sura 26:192-194 says Mohammeds call was issued by the Holy Spirit who appeared to Mohammed. According to their teaching he is the angel Gabriel who also appeared to him in Sura 2:97 (also called the angel in 19:17). In other places in the Koran he is God’s own breath, Surat al-Hyjr 15:29, and the divine inspiration The Bee 16:2. According the Bible the Comforter is the Holy Spirit who is God. This conflict certainly shows the biblical illiteracy of the Koran’s author who took biblical terminology to mean something completely different. (letusreason.org/Islam3.htm)
As the Lord Jesus said, He would and did send the Holy Spirit some 50 days later on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-39). The Spirit or Helper came in a unique way on that memorable day (2:4) and was also promised to all who would respond to Christ in repentance and baptism (2:38-39). He is alive and well today! He was neither Montanus nor Muhammad, but was Himself God! Lets earnestly strive to understand Scripture better so that we will be prepared to discern false teachings on the Spirit and be able to recognize counterfeits.
Do you have the Holy Spirit? Is He living in you?