Vol.XI No.VII Pg.7
September 1974

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Dear Bro. Turner

Please explain how the Holy Spirit can be an intercessor (ROM.8:26) ("mediator," Webster) and yet we have only "one mediator," Christ, (1TI.2:5)? Are not both Christ and the Holy Spirit called "paraclete"?


I doubt that ROM.8:26 refers to the Holy Spirit (perhaps our spirit, sincerely reaching out for God but if H.S. under consideration, the idea is communication of our desires, not that of answering for us in justice before Gods throne. ROM.8:34 says the crucified and resurrected Christ does that. He alone is qualified to perform this priestly function. (See HEB.7:25-28) The "mediator" of 1TI.2:5-6 "gave himself" as our ransom.

"Parakletos" is the Greek translated "Advocate" in 1JO.2:1, and "Comforter" in JOH.14:16,26, 15:26, 16:7. This word literally means "called to ones side." It has the wide or ordinary sense, therefore, of "succorer, helper, assistant;" the technical sense of "lawyer- defender" (rare); and it is applied to Christ when the problem is sin, and the need is for one qualified to appear before the Father in our behalf. This priestly function is indicated by the context of 1JO.2:1, including the designation of Jesus Christ as "righteous." ("The adjective is not a simple epithet but marks predicatively (being as He is righteous) that characteristic of the Lord which gives efficacy to His advocacy of man." Westcott). Application of this word to Christ and to the Holy Spirit does not imply identical functions. Jesus promised certain disciples "another Comforter" (JOH.14:16). In his personal association with them He had been a Comforter — "by their side, helper, defender" — in the ordinary sense of the word. (He had not yet become their Advocate in the priestly sense, hence the Holy Spirit could not be "another" such Comforter.) The Spirit would perform some function He had performed personally; and the passages clearly show the "helper" role to be continued, had to do with their knowing and teaching the truth.

JOH.14:16-17 calls that "other" Comforter "Spirit of truth". JOH.14:26 says, "He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." "He shall testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning" (15:26-27). "And when He is come, He will reprove the world..." (16:7-f.), and this was done through teaching. There is nothing here to justify the conclusion that this "other" Comforter was promised to any but those whom the Lord had taught personally — His chosen and inspired Witnesses. There is nothing here to warrant people today claiming "comfort" by the Holy Spirit in a direct, mystical sense. These passages certainly do not teach that the Holy Spirit is another intercessor or mediator like Jesus Christ.

Yes, we may walk in the comfort of the Holy Spirit (ACT.9:31)— and of the scriptures (ROM.15:4), and of love (PHI.2:22), and of brethren (COL.4:11), etc.; but if one feels that "inner light" flickering, such truths do not "comfort" him.