The Spirit Will Guide You Into All Truth

John 16: 5-15

On the walk to Gethsemane
sometime between 11:00 pm and midnight,
the fifteenth of Nisan

DIG: What are the talmidim feeling now? What is their grief keeping them from understanding? How would you paraphrase the three goals of the Spirit’s work in John 16:8-11? What are the seven ministries of the Ruach HaKodesh? Therefore, why is it good that Messiah goes away? If you were an apostle, how would you feel after hearing Yochanan 15:16?

REFLECT: Of the various ministries of the Holy Spirit described here, which one have you come to appreciate recently? How so? How much am I willing to allow God to touch my life? Do I want Him to restore me fully to Himself, or am I satisfied with some minor improvements? Do I fear that if I let the Spirit do too much, I won’t end up happy or fulfilled? Can I trust that He only wants the best for me?

The Lord’s words must have sounded like a foreign language to the talmidim. After announcing His imminent departure from the earth (John 13:33; 14:1-6), He urged His apostles to obey His commands (Yochanan 14:12-15, 15:1-11), to love one another (John 15:12-17), and to beware of the hostility of the world (John 15:18-28). And while doing so He alluded to the coming of the Ruach HaKodesh to guide us into all truth (Yochanan 14:16-17 and 26, 15:26). But these passing references could only have been mystifying. In the TaNaKh, the Holy Spirit was reserved for kings and prophets, and occasionally for common people when God wanted to accomplish something extraordinary. The thought that the Helper would indwell each believer was unthinkable – an unbelievable lavishness of which no one was worthy. The apostles’ heads must have been spinning.

Although the Eleven didn’t ask about the Spiritthey probably felt too preoccupied with the thought of Yeshua going away – the Great Rabbi returned to this promise in order to clarify the Ruach’s role in their lives . . . and the lives of believers throughout all time.1460

But now a change was imminent. I AM going to Him who sent Me. This should have led the apostles to ask questions, but they didn’t. None of you asks Me, “Where are You going?” Their preoccupation with their own problems prevented their understanding the momentous significance of Christ’s imminent death, burial, resurrection and ascension. But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart (Yochanan 16:5-6 NASB). The Greek term translated sorrow means pain, which can be either physical or emotional. Pain filled the hearts of the talmidim, who felt like spiritual orphans. All they could think about was the pain of losing Him. But that pain in their hearts would not cease until the joy of resurrection Sunday would replace it.

Yeshua soothed their pain with a wonderful truth. In one sense Someone far superior would replace the Lord’s physical presence. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I AM going away. Unless I go away, the comforting Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you (John 16:7). Whereas Messiah in the flesh could only be in one place at a time, the Ruach can be everywhere at once. Limited access to God’s presence would give way to continual communion with Him. Teaching through physical means would begin to take place directly within the heart. Far from being abandoned, the talmidim would experience the presence of God as never before.1461

The Master explained that the ministry of the Holy Spirit would have two primary aspects: one to the world (verses 8-11) and one to believers (verses 13-15).

The Ruach HaKodesh’s ministry to the world: And when the Advocate comes, He will convict (Greek: elegcho) the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment (Jn 16:8). In a legal sense, the Holy Spirit will convict the world in the same way a judge or a prosecuting attorney presents evidence to bring a conviction. There are seven ministries of the Advocate:

1. Restraint of evil: The fact that there is still much good in the world, even though the whole world is under the control of the evil one (First John 5:19b), is because of the restraining work of the Spirit of Truth, both directly and indirectly through His guidance of the lives and actions of individual believers. When believers are taken out of this world at the Rapture (see my commentary on Revelation By - The Rapture of the Church), the world’s moral and spiritual state will rapidly decay to its lowest state since the days of Noah.

2. Conviction of sin: Concerning the Spirit of Truth, Yeshua said: And when the Advocate comes, He will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment (John 16:8). By various means - conscience, the Scriptures, the testimony of believing friends, the preaching of the Gospel in person, on the radio, on television, on the internet, on social media – the Holy Spirit convicts people that they are lost sinners, facing the judgment of God and in urgent need of a Savior.

3. Regeneration: When a person responds to the convicting of the Spirit, and believes in the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior, then the Ruach imparts a new spiritual life into that person, and he or she is born again (Yochanan 3:3). Not because of righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing or the rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).

4. Baptism into Messiah: For we were all baptized in, by, with (Greek: ‘ev pneumati) one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Ruach to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many (First Corinthians 12:12-14). The Spirit of Truth, as He regenerates the new believer, simultaneously places him or her into the spiritual body of Christ (see Bw – What God Does for Us at the Moment of Faith). This is symbolized by his or her immersion in water, and thus uniting him or her with a local messianic synagogue or church.

5. Indwelling of the believer: When a believer has received the Meshiach by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), the Ruach HaKodesh in some mystical way indwells his or her body at that moment. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at an unbelievably high price. Then, honor God with your bodies (First Corinthians 6:19-20).

6. Instruction: It was by the Spirit that the Scriptures were inspired (First Peter 2:21) when they were first written by the human authors. The unregenerate, or people who have not been saved, cannot truly understand or appreciate the Bible (First Corinthians 2:12-14), but the one who has been born again finds a new love for the Scriptures and it begins to open up to him or her in a new way. This is because of the insight given by the divine Teacher. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth (Yochanan 16:13). With the Advocate’s help we can find the safety of truth in a world of counterfeit messages.

7. Guidance and comfort: Primarily through the Scriptures, but also, as need be, through both external circumstances and inner conviction, the Holy Spirit will lead the believer in the ways of God’s will in all things. The Helper will not compel us, of course, we have free will and we can say “no” to YHVH and make it stick. However, the Advocate will guide us in the way of greatest blessing if we will only allow Him to do so. So I say, walk in the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).1462

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).

About sin, because they do not believe in Me (John 16:9). Sin refers to one’s inability or unwillingness to do as God commands, resulting in guilt before Him. Yeshua died to pay the penalty of sin for the whole world (Jn 3:16), but only those who believe in Him have appropriated His sacrifice and, therefore, stand guiltless before the Father. But those who reject the Ruach HaKodesh (see Em - Whoever Blasphemes Against the Holy Spirit) remain in their sin and must answer for their choices.

And about righteousness, because I AM going to the Father, where you can see Me no longer (John 16:10). Righteousness refers to one’s legal standing before ADONAI as “not guilty.” In this context, Messiah relates the issue of righteousness to His going to the Father. All through His ministry, Yeshua claimed oneness with the Father, for which the Sanhedrin (see Lg – The Great Sanhedrin) accused Him of sin, deceit and blasphemy (Yochanan 5:18, 7:12, 9:16 and 24, 10:33). His going to the Father is the ultimate vindication of our Lord’s righteousness over that of the world. The Holy Spirit will confront mankind with the righteousness of the Son.

And about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned (Yochanan 16:11). The Lord entered into battle with the evil one at the cross, and His resurrection proved Him to be the Victor. Accordingly, the cross stands as a divine judgment against the ancient Serpent so that it could be said: the prince of this world now stands condemned. Those who have rejected Messiah are united with the prince of this world, who is under judgment. By virtue of their union with Satan, they share in his judgment.1463

I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear (John 16:12). The Chief Shepherd recognized the limitations of time and the apostles’ ability to receive more truth. Their obsession with their own pain prevented their understanding more about their mission after Messiah’s ascension. Not only that, without the Ruach HaKodesh, their minds could not comprehend the spiritual truths He wanted to teach. Yeshua would have much more to say after the birth of the messianic community on the festival of Shavu’ot (Acts 2:1-47).

The Holy Spirit’s ministry to believers: One of the many distinctions between the world and His own (John 10:3-4, 13:1) is the way in which the Holy Spirit ministers. His ministry to the world convicts in order to bring about repentance; but His ministry to believers is to bring about obedience through change. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son (Romans 8:29a). The masculine personal pronoun is used for the Holy Spirit no less than eight times in verses 13-14. Also the Greek word for Spirit (Pneuma) is a neuter noun and, according to the rules of Greek grammar, should be accompanied by a neuter pronoun (i.e. it), but the writers of the New Covenant went against those rules in order to reveal the Spirit’s unique personality.

The Ruach achieves His mission of believer transformation by bringing divine truth to the minds of His own. Before the Bible was written, He revealed truth directly to the prophets of the TaNaKh, prophets and talmidim of the B’rit Chadashah era. But once the last apostle, Yochanan, completed the final written communication from ADONAI, the book of Revelation, mankind had received all the divine truth needed to live obediently. Now the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to call Scripture to mind, shed light on its meaning, couple it with experience, and apply it. But when He (Greek: ekeinos or that one meaning that male person), the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own initiative; He will speak only what He hears from the Father. This shows the interdependence of the three Persons of the Trinity. The Father would tell the Ruach what to teach the talmidim about the Son. And He will tell you what is yet to come (Yochanan 16:13). The New Covenant is the fulfillment of this teaching ministry of the Spirit.

How were the apostles to know when the Ruach HaKodesh was bringing them new revelation? How were they to distinguish the thoughts of God from their own imaginations? According to Jesus, revelation from the Holy Spirit would always glorify the Son. As we saw in our study of John 13:31-32 (see Km – Three Times You Will Deny That You Know Me), the Greek word for glory (doxa) comes from the verb meaning to believe or to think. To be glorified is to be thought good of and vindicated in the eyes of all witnesses. Therefore, the concept of the glory in Christ’s vocabulary meant that the truth He had been teaching and the truth of His identity would be vindicated in the eyes of all humanity. The Holy Spirit (ekeinos) will glorify Me because it is from Me that He will receive what He will make known to you (John 16:14).

Because Yeshua is the Memra (see AF – The Memra of God), the revelation of the Father, or as Rabbi Sha’ul expressed it: the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15) all that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from Me what He will make known to you (John 16:15). The Spirit worked in the minds of the apostles so that they could perceive, understand and teach about the Savior.

Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit probably didn’t do much to calm the troubled minds of the eleven apostles. The gift of the Ruach would have been beyond their comprehension, not unlike us, only in reverse. We cannot imagine life without Him, so it’s easy for us to take His presence in our lives for granted. If we want to know what life would be like as believers left to exist on our own, all we need to do is observe the talmidim after Christ’s crucifixion and before Shavu’ot (Acts 2:1-47). They were dull of mind and weak of spirit, fearful, confused, doubting, despondent, and aimless. Thank ADONAI, He has not left us alone!1464

 

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