The Comforter

Bill Brinkworth

“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:” John 15:26

Just before Jesus faced the ordeal that would lead Him to the cross, He promised His disciples that another “Comforter” would be sent to them after He was gone. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;” John 14:16  Also: John 15:26.

When I think of “comforter,” I am reminded of the light, down-filled blanket my aunt let me use when I stayed with her in her Maine cabin. It kept me warm during the coolest nights. When I was afraid of the dark, or the bats that got in once in awhile, it was always that comforter that somehow made me feel safe and secure as I snuggled underneath it. Yet, as much as it protected me from what was outside, I hardly even knew it was there; as it was so light.

It has been over two thousand years, and Christ is no longer here to visibly comfort His followers; as He was when He walked this earth. He has kept His Word and left the “Comforter” to help meet the needs of His believers, while they are here on earth. Like the security my aunt’s blanket gave to whosoever used it; so will the “Comforter” Christ left here on earth comfort, soothe, strengthen and support a believer. Here is some of what is said about the Comforter in the Bible:

The Comforter is also called the Spirit, Holy Ghost, and Holy Spirit. The Spirit intercedes (“the act of mediating between two parties with the goal to reconcile those who differ or contend) for us.
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.’ Romans 8:26 Also: John 14:6 .

It was prophesied in the Old Testament that the Comforter would be sent.
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:” Joel 2:28   Also: Acts 2:17.

The Comforter would come after Christ had ascended to Heaven and would teach spiritual things, and help believers remember spiritual things.
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26
“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.” John 16:7
“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” Ephesians 4:8   
Also: Acts 2:33.

It is the Comforter who helps us understand the things of God, including His Word. It is He that helps us understand prophecy.
“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 shew you things to come.” John 16:13

The Comforter points to and glorifies Christ.
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:” John 15:26
“Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” I Corinthians 12:3

Only the saved can receive Him. The Comforter lives inside a believer.
“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 14:17
“(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” John 7:39
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38
“And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 10:45
— The Jews were surprised the Gentiles could also receive the Spirit.
“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Luke 11:13
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” Ephesians 1:13

It was the Holy Ghost that enabled the early church to speak to others in a language they had not learned. This Holy Spirit-given ability was to reach others of different languages with the Gospel. The gift was not given for their entertainment or to prove to them they were saved.
“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:4

That gift stopped when the Bible was given to the people: “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” I Corinthians 13:10. “Tongues” stopped: “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” I Corinthians 13:8

Some teach that the Holy Spirit goes from our lives when we sin and comes back when we are “good”.  The Bible does not teach this. The Comforter never leaves a person, but He can be saddened (grieved) and will not work in our lives. “…, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;” John 14:16 “
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30
“Quench not the Spirit.” I Thessalonians 5:19 

“When men surrender themselves to the Spirit of God, they will learn more concerning God and Christ and the atonement and immortality in a week, than they would learn in a lifetime, apart from the Spirit.” — Brown   

This study was featured in The Bible View #208.

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