Friday, September 9, 2011

The Other Paraclete

Paraclete -- from the Greek word "Parakletos" meaning a strong person called in to help in time of trouble.

F.B. Meyer, in his book Love to the Uttermost, writes of the other Paraclete.  "There is no adequate translation for that word Paraclete.  It may be rendered Comforter, Helper, Advocate, Interpreter; but no one word suffices.  The Greek simply means one whom you call to your side, in a battle, or a law-court, to assist you by word or act.  Such a one is Christ; such a One is the Holy Spirit.  He is a definite Person whom you would call to, lean on and work with.  If a man were drowning, he would not call to the wandering breath of the wind; but to any person who might be on the bank.  The Spirit is One whom you can summon to your side..."

A Sevenfold Parallel Between the Advents of the Two Paracletes--
(1) Each was in the world before his specific advent.  Long before his incarnation the delights of the Son of God were with men.  In Angel-form, He visited their tents, spoke with them face to face, and fought on their behalf.  He trod the holy fields of Palestine with noiseless footfall that left no impress on the lightest sands, long before He learned to walk with baby-feet, or bore His cross up Calvary.

So with the Spirit.  He brooded over chaos, strove with men before the Deluge, moved holy men to write the Scriptures, foreshadowed the advent of Messiah, equipped prophets and kings for their special missions.  In restraining evil, urging to good, preparing the way for Christ, the Holy Spirit found abundant scope for his energies. But His influence was rather external than internal; savored rather gift than grace; and dealt more often with the few than with the many--with the great souls that reared themselves to heaven like Alpine summits touched with the fires of dawn, rather than with the generality of men, who dwelt in the valley of daily commonplace, enwrapt in the mists of ignorance and unbelief.  It was to be a special prerogative of this age that He sould be poured out on all flesh, so that sons and daughters should prophesy, while servants and handmaidens participated in His gracious influences.

(2) The advent of each was previously announced.
From the Fall, the coming of the great Deliverer was foretold in type and sign, in speech and act, in history and prophecy.  Indeed, as the time of the Incarnation drew nigh, as Milton tells us in his sublime ode on the Incarnation, surrounding nations had caught from the chosen people the spirit of expectancy, and the world was in feverish anticipation of the coming of its Redeemer.  He was the Desire of all Nations.  All the ages and all the family of man, accompanied Mary to Bethlehem, and worshipped with the Magi.

So with the Holy Spirit.  Joel distinctly foretold that in the last days of that dispensation, God would pour out  His Spirit; and His message is echoed by Isaiah, Zechariah, Ezekiel, and others; till Jesus came, more specifically and circumstantially led the thoughts of his disciples forward to the new age then dawning, which would be introduced and signalised by the coming and ministry of the Spirit.

(3) Each was manifested in a body.
The Lord Jesus in that which was prepared for Him by the Father, and born of a pure virgin.  We are told that He took on Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man.  Similarly the Holy Spirit became, so to speak, incorporate in that mystical Body, the Church, of which Jesus is the Head.

On the Day of Pentecost, the hundred and twenty who were gathered in the upper room, and who up to that time had no corporate existence, were suddenly constituted a Church, the habitation and home of the Divine Spirit.  What the human body of Jesus was to the second person of the Holy Trinity, that the infant Church was to the third; though it did not represent the whole body, since we must add to those gathered in the upper room many more in heaven and on earth, who by virtue of their union with the risen Christ...which is His body, the fulness of him who filleth all in all.

(4)  Each was named before his advent.
"Thou shalt call his name Emmanuel."  "His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."  Thus was the Lord Jesus designated to loving hearts before his birth.

So also with the Holy Spirit.  The last discourses of Jesus are full of appellatives, each setting forth some new phase of the Holy Spirit's ministry; some freshly-cut facet of His character.  The Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit; the Paraclete; the the Spirit of Conviction--such are the names by which He was to be known.

(5) Each was dependent on each other.
Our Lord said distinctly, "The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do;" and He said of the Holy Spirit, using the same preposition, "He shall not speak of Himself, but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak."

What a conception is here!  It is as though the Holy Spirit were ever listening to the Divine colloquy and communion between the Father and the Son, and communicating to receptive hearts disclosures of the secrets of the Deity.  The things which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, God hath revealed unto us by His Spirit; "for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

(6) Each received witness.
The Father bore witness to His Son on three occassions.  On the first, at his baptism, He said,"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;" on the second, when the three apostles were with Him on the Mount, and He received from the Father glory and honor; and on the third, when the inquiry of the Greeks reminded Him of his approaching death, and the voice from heaven assured Him that glory would accrue to the Father through his falling into the ground to die.

So in regard to the Holy Spirit.  Seven times from the Throne the ascended Lord summons those that have ears to hear what the Spirit saith to the churches; as though to emphasize the urgent importance of his message, and the neccessity of giving it our most earnest heed, lest we should drift past it.

(7).  The presence of each is guaranteed during the present age.
"I am with you," saith the Lord, and they were among the closing words of his posthumous ministry, "all the days, even unto the end of the age," and here it is foretold that the  Comforter would abide during the age, for so the phrase might more accurately be rendered.

This is specifically the age of the Holy Spirit.  He may be grieved, ignored, and rejected; but He will not cease his blessed ministry to the bride, till the Bridegroom comes to claim her for Himself...

The work of the Holy Spirit in and through us is conditioned by certain great laws, which call for our definite and accurate obedience. Not an emotion, nor on hysteric appeals, not on excitement, but on obedience, does the power of God's Spirit pass into human hearts and lives.  Therefore, let us walk in his gracious influences, which will bear us on their bosom ever nearer to our Lord.  Oh, to glorify Him; to know and love Him; to become passionately eager that all hearts should enthrone Him regardless of the personal cost it may involve!  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and shall be forevermore.  Amen.