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revisiting the term "Paraclete" in John's gospel

Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict XVI and the Koran
in response to reader comment: Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the Old Testament

Submitted by Lactantius Jr (United Kingdom), Jun 5, 2012 at 16:06

To Mohammad Waqas Ahmad (upon whom be peace)

I greet you in the precious Name of the Lord Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace, the author and distributor of peace and I wish you His peace.

Rereading your original comments, I thought it worthwhile to revisit your claims that Muhammad the prophet of Islam is referred to in John's gospel, your posting claiming that the gospel of John chapter 14 verse 16, chapter 15 verse 26 and John chapter 16 verse 7 refer to Muhammad the prophet of Islam, claiming that periclytos meaning "Ahmed" or "Muhammad," is the word actually appearing in Koine Greek in John's gospel, rather than paraclete. Please enlighten us by telling us which ancient Biblical documents this "warped" rendering of periclytos can be found in.

There are five recorded instances in John's gospel where the Lord Jesus Christ refers to the paraclete, the "Comforter," and it is quite obvious from them that Comforter, Holy Spirit, and Spirit of Truth are interchangeable terms, and that the Lord Jesus Christ is speaking of the same Person in each instance. The word paraclete is usually rendered Advocate, Intercessor, Comforter or helper, with perhaps no English word being able to render the word in all its significance, except perhaps the word "Helper." The Holy Spirit helps the disciples in all of the above-indicated ways, the objection to "helper" being that it is too indefinite, with the specific Christian conception being lost in the comprehensiveness of the term. Our conclusion, therefore, is that the term "Paraclete" itself would perhaps be the best designation of the Holy Spirit in the 5 passages referred to in John's gospel.

Cited in "Paraclete in the Bible" at http://tinyurl.com/p97egd

"If you love Me you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Comforter to be with you forever - the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him for he lives with you and will be in you." John 14:15-17

"All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." John 14:25, 26

"When the Comforter comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about Me." John 15:26

"But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment...."

John 16:7, 8

"But when he, the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own, he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is Mine and make it known to you."

John 16:13-15

The Greek word translated from the Koine Greek that John's gospel was written in is "parakletos" and is most often translated "Comforter," but a better translation would be "Counselor" or "Advocate," as in a legal sense.

The Lord Jesus Christ spoke to His disciples about the Comforter and said that the Comforter was the Holy Spirit. However, some 600 years later, Muhammad claimed that the Scriptures of the Jews and Christians predicted that another prophet would arise and that he (Muhammad) was that prophet. To support Muhammad's claim, early Islamic writings such as that of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasulallah state that Muhammad was the "Comforter."

Let's now let the New Testament texts speak for themselves, that is, let's seek to do careful exegesis (taking out of the Scriptures what is there), rather than eisegesis (forcing into them something that is not there). They clearly state that the Comforter is the Holy Spirit. There is no ambiguity about this. Consequently Muhammad is not the Comforter based upon what the Bible explicitly states, and I will show from the Scriptures quoted, why he isn't and cannot possibly be .

When the Lord Jesus Christ spoke these words recorded in John's gospel, it was His last time with His disciples prior to His death, crucifixion, and resurrection. The Lord Jesus Christ is being very intimate with them. Understand then, that when He speaks to them He is including them – these very disciples, specifically. These are the men He knew best and loved; they were His friends. These were His final words to them, and He wanted them to know what was in store.

Therefore, knowing that these words recorded in John's gospel are being spoken intimately between the Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples, there are several key points we can discover concerning the Comforter and His relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ's disciples.

"And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Comforter to be with you forever - the Spirit of Truth."

John 14:16

The Comforter will be with these disciples forever. The Lord Jesus Christ promised that the Comforter would be with these disciples forever. Muhammad could not be the Comforter because he wasn't born until over 500 years later – well after the deaths of these disciples. Muhammad was born around 570 AD and died around 632 AD.

"…………………………………..but you know him for he lives with you and will be in you." John 14:17

The Comforter lives with the disciples already now and will later be 'in' them. The Holy Spirit came to the disciples and indwelt them. Muhammad could not be the Comforter because firstly, he (Muhammad) wasn't around at the time when the Lord Jesus Christ was speaking to His disciples, nor secondly could he (Muhammad) ever be in any of the disciples. The Greek word is 'en', and it means 'right inside'. The Lord Jesus Christ is saying that the Comforter will be 'right inside' of the disciples.

"But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit …………" John 14:26

The Comforter is specifically described as the Holy Spirit. The Comforter is not a man. Muhammad could not be the Comforter because he isn't and never was the Holy Spirit.

"But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name……….." John14:26

The Comforter will be sent in the Lord Jesus Christ's name. The Holy Spirit represented the Lord on earth. Muslims do not believe that Muhammad was sent by Allah in the Lord Jesus Christ's name. Muhammad did not come in the Lord Jesus Christ's name, as His apostle, rather he came in his own name with his own revelations.

"But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

John 14:26

The Comforter will teach these disciples and remind them of what the Lord Jesus Christ said to them. As the early Christians grew, the Holy Spirit taught them. Muhammad is not the Comforter because he never knew the disciples and he didn't teach them, and Muhammad never reminded the disciples of what the Lord Jesus Christ said.

"When the Comforter comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about Me."

John 15:26

The Comforter would be sent to these disciples. These disciples received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Muhammad was never sent to these disciples.

"But when he, the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all truth." John 16:13

The Comforter will guide these disciples into all truth. These disciples (and others) grew in the knowledge of God through the revelations from the Holy Spirit. Muhammad never guided these disciples into any truth.

"He will not speak on his own, he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come."

John 16:13

The Comforter will speak to these disciples. These disciples grew to know the leading of the Holy Spirit, i.e. they knew His voice. Muhammad never spoke to these disciples.

"He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is Mine and make it known to you."

John 16:14

The Comforter will take from Jesus and make it known to the disciples. Muhammad never knew the Lord Jesus Christ and never took from Him and made it known to anyone.

The context of these passages shows clearly that Muhammad could not be the Comforter. Jesus was not speaking of another person to come at a later date. Jesus' precious final words to His disciples were meant for them. Jesus was not merely preaching a sermon to be analyzed and intellectually talked about through the centuries, rather, He was giving His disciples with Him there, His final commands, love, and encouragement.

Here's a question for you to consider Mohammad: In Islamic theology, Muhammad rendered the Lord Jesus Christ's message fulfilled or ended because he (Muhammad) brought Allah's latest message to the people. Muhammad expected that true believers in Allah would accept Islam. Therefore, if the Lord Jesus Christ was foretelling Muhammad, wouldn't the Lord Jesus Christ be prophesying that His ministry will be rendered void by the Paraclete? Read the context of the passages and decide.

Furthermore, to fulfill exactly what the Lord Jesus Christ foretold concerning the Comforter and His relationship with the disciples, the New Testament records the fulfillment of the coming of the Holy Spirit and the disciples receiving Him. The disciples received the Comforter - the Holy Spirit, on the day of Pentecost (50 days after Resurrection Sunday), which is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles 2:1-4

"When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them."

Within only ten days after the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, His disciples duly received the Comforter as He was promised to them by the Lord Jesus Christ. He had told them to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, should come, as indeed He did while they were all together praying for His advent in the city. Muhammad is right out of this picture.

"On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command: 'Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift My Father promised, which you have heard Me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' Then they gathered around Him and asked Him, 'Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?'

He said to them: 'It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.' " Acts of the Apostles 1:4-8

The Comforter was now "in" the disciples and He remained "in" them from then on and taught them — just as the Lord Jesus Christ had said He would. The Bible says much about the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, but the great and most handsome work of the Spirit is summed up in Jesus' words:

"He will glorify Me".
John 16.14

Although the Holy Spirit had been at work in the world before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and had indeed filled many of the great prophets and men of old with a longing for the coming Christ, He only finally united Himself to men, and men to God, and indeed true believers to one another after the resurrection from the dead, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ to heaven.

The Lord Jesus Christ spoke to His OWN disciples of the coming of the Comforter because the Holy Spirit was sent down to comfort and regenerate all true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is one of the most significant and consistent elements of the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ about the Comforter. The prime purpose of the coming of the Comforter - immediately after the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ was to draw men to Him, so that those who are influenced by the work of the Comforter will therefore become followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is further evidence against the theory that Muhammad was the Comforter for, whereas the Comforter would not speak of Himself, but only of the Lord Jesus Christ, Muhammad drew attention away from the Lord Jesus Christ to himself, describing himself as the ultimate apostle of Allah to be followed and obeyed. The Comforter was never to do a thing like this. The Lord Jesus Christ made it plain that the Comforter would draw the attention and faith of all men to Himself and would glorify Him before the eyes of faith of true believers as the Lord of glory in heaven.

After the Lord Jesus Christ had ascended to heaven to be glorified at the right hand of God above all the angels and departed saints, the Comforter came immediately upon His disciples to make this glory real to them and through them to spread it all over the world. For the Lord Jesus Christ is the very image of the Father's glory. In Him are all things united, whether in heaven or on earth. He is the climax of God's plan for the fullness of time. He is the beginning and the end of all God's gracious work in all ages - for all the salvation and glory that God has prepared for those who love Him are vested in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Comforter came to give us a foretaste of this glory. He came to make the resplendent glory of the Lord Jesus Christ real to those who follow Him. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God and He is given to all true believers, so that the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven may become real to men on earth.

With kind regards and best wishes, you're going to live forever Mohammad, please choose your address.

Lactantius Jr

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