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There are some sentences which are difficult to read in the Gospel of John, some of them lead me think that the Comforter will be a person, which has not come yet (A) whereas there are some which lead me to believe that the Comforter was the Holy Spririt (B).

(A)

When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. John 16:8-11

It seems to me that it has not happened already that those 3 fact were fulfilled, in particula the last one, I can't say Satan has been defeated again since Jesus death.

13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the 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

How can we say that a spirit hears? Additionally the greek word is ἀκούω, https://studybible.info/strongs/G191 shows the common usage on persons.

(B)

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and 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 14:16-17

This can only be the spirit because of the last sentence, and because otherwise how can he be forever?

So what are your thoughts?

  • I don't understand what you mean, just tell me: do you think that he is a person or he is a spirit? Thanks – Alberto Tiraboschi Dec 18 '19 at 17:57
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    @AlbertoTiraboschi The Holy Spirit is both a person and a spirit. See my answer. I will expand the answer for your question on "hearing" later today. – GratefulDisciple Dec 18 '19 at 18:17
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    The Holy Spirit is God and the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. – user96931 Dec 18 '19 at 22:17
  • The Comforter is the Holy Spirit, but since the Holy Spirit although a person is still existed as a Spirit, it needed a body to dwell in like what happened in Jesus baptism, the Holy Spirit dwells in him perfectly & completely to become the Advocate. The Comforter and the another Advocate would be the same, it needs a human body to indwelt upon. See my answer below. – marian agustin Dec 18 '19 at 23:20
  • @marian why does the Holy Spirit need a body to dwell in? – curiousdannii Dec 19 '19 at 1:00
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The common interpretation for all Trinitarian Christian denominations are as follows:

  • John 16:8-11 : Jesus is referring to His still being in a human (bodily) form, but He will later send His Spirit (who is essentially the same as God the Father's Spirit) to "stand in" as Comforter for His disciples just in the way He was while in bodily form on earth before His Resurrection and Ascension. But the dialog was set before crucifixion, so the 3 facts (sin, righteousness, judgment) were not yet clear. At Resurrection Jesus 1) received glory because the Father raised him from the dead and 2) defeated death and Satan. At Ascension Jesus 3) sat at the right hand of the Father. And at Pentecost His Spirit came.

    The Holy Spirit is the one who shows the world those 3 facts, testifying to what Jesus did to 1) convict the world of sin, 2) making righteousness available (because now Jesus is our High Priest in the heavenly temple interceding for us), and 3) pronouncing judgment to those allying themselves with Satan (Satan was defeated at Resurrection). We are now in the era between Pentecost and Second coming where Satan is still allowed to rule the world, although his power is diminished, and the "underground resistance force" through the church is growing.

    About judgment: In the "first coming" Jesus didn't come as a judge, but there is language in John about "pre-judgment" for those who didn't accept Jesus as the Son of God. The "definitive" and "public" judgment will happen at the Second Coming when Jesus will come again, this time in glory, and all the world (saved and not saved alike) will see who are really the children of God and who are not. See a more comprehensive explanation with Bible references here.

  • John 16:13: This Spirit is a person and therefore the language in John Gospel reflects this, as what the doctrine of the Trinity says.

  • John 14:16-17: You are correct in that the Spirit in this passage refers to the Holy Spirit who is eternal. John's focus is to show how the world rejected the incarnate Word of God (Jesus) who came to the world created through Him but who didn't recognize Him (John 1:10-12). The world didn't believe that Jesus was sent by the Father, and consequently the world didn't accept the Father either (despite the Pharisee's claims to know the Father better than Jesus, and who in fact executed Jesus thinking that they were doing the will of the Father). That's what John meant by "neither sees him nor knows him", because the world did see Jesus physically, but not spiritually. Only those who accepted Jesus as the Son of God will have the Holy Spirit living in their heart.

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  • Jesus became the Advocate when the Holy Spirit dwells in Him to empower His redemptive mission. Would the "another Advocate" chooses another human person to perfectly dwell in him to fulfill the salvific mission of the Holy Spirit? The answer does not specifically said who among the people present in the Upper Room the Holy Spirit had chosen to dwell perfectly & completely to become the "another Advocate" in place of Jesus. – marian agustin Dec 18 '19 at 23:14
  • @marianagustin My answer is clear enough. It's already implicit that the Comforter is the Holy Spirit, a member of the Trinity, not anyone else in the Upper Room. And the Holy Spirit will not incarnate in a human being, but dwelling in every individual believer. Jesus was the only one who incarnated (=become flesh) into a human being. Every Christian denominations accepting the doctrine of Trinity interpret it this way. – GratefulDisciple Dec 19 '19 at 0:42
  • The Holy Spirit indwelt the humanity of Jesus in Baptism to become the Advocate. Will the Holy Spirit the Comforter need to indwelt a human body to fulfill Her salvific role as the "another Advocate"? Indwelling in human body is not "incarnation" it is called "quasi-incarnation", as if the Holy Spirit fully possessed our whole being, meaning all our thoughs,words and actions comes from the Holy Spirit. So, who is the one chosen by the Holy Spirit to indwelt fully & perfectly like She did to Jesus humanity? Ex. is Galatians2:20 "St.Paul quasi-incarnated Jesus in his being". – marian agustin Dec 19 '19 at 1:16
  • @marianagustin "quasi-incarnated" is your own private terminology. If you're trying to connect Mary to this Advocate please show authoritative Catholic teaching source which interprets John 14:16-17 that way. As far as I know, the Catholic Church is unified with all major denominations that the Advocate is simply the Holy Spirit, a member of the Trinity, but Mary is not. – GratefulDisciple Dec 19 '19 at 1:25
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    The remarks and musings of saints don't make doctrine for the Church. The faith is once for all delivered: and no one ever considered Mary the incarnate or quasi-incarnate Third Person of the Trinity. Sounds like a new version of Antidikomarianism. No Magisterial document says Mary was 'possessed' by the Holy Ghost, nor that she was the Advocate promised by Jesus, which He explicitly identified as the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Ghost, which on Pentecost baptized them all with His grace, not just Mary, as says Acts. Mary is the new Eve and mother of all the living in Christ. That's sufficient. – Sola Gratia Dec 20 '19 at 18:21
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Is the Comforter a person?

The answer is Yes. The Comforter is the Holy Spirit the Third Person in the Most Holy Trinity. But a good follow-up question is, is He or She a person like Jesus who was incarnated to lived in a full human nature?

The Holy Spirit will take on the role Jesus would leave behind and that is of being an Advocate or a Consoler, Comforter and a Paraclete. The simple question is, would the coming of the Holy Spirit needed a "flesh" too like the coming of the Logos also a Spirit the Second Person in the Most Holy Trinity was incarnated?

The answer is No, the Holy Spirit will not be incarnated like the Logos but instead of incarnated the Holy Spirit would simply dwell or indwelt all the redeemed. As scriptures said the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; (1Corinthian6:19)

Let's take one by one your raised confusions;

(A)

When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. John 16:8-11

You raised two good question and a good reference pointing it to a person like human;

1.It seems to me that it has not happened already that those 3 fact were fulfilled, in particula the last one, I can't say Satan has been defeated again since Jesus death.

2.How can we say that a spirit hears? Additionally the greek word is ἀκούω, https://studybible.info/strongs/G191 shows the common usage on persons.

Answer:

  1. Jesus dying on the Cross won for us the victory over satan, and indeed Jesus condemned satan as He came to destroy the works of the devils. (1John3:8)

The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

  1. The Holy Spirit will not only testify on the Truth about Jesus like what the Apostles did in their mission to spread the gospel, but part of it is to convict the man of their sins and wicked living because the Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of the Apostles.

(B)

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and 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 14:16-17

This can only be the spirit because of the last sentence, and because otherwise how can he be forever?

Answer

  1. This passages is where the confusions mostly arises, is the "another Advocate" a real person or a person in the form of Spirit?

The passage said the "another Advocate" or the "spirit" already lives in all the Apostles although it has not yet come fully in them as the Holy Spirit will come during the Pentecost at the Upper Room to fully anoint them in their mission to evangelize and baptize the whole world.

The important question is, we go back to the analogy with Jesus Christ. We can see that the Logos like the Holy Spirit is a "spirit" and had no human flesh. Jesus became the Advocate when the Holy Spirit dwells in Him in the Baptism in the Jordan River.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew3:16-17)

This passage shows that Jesus in the human flesh became the Advocate when the Holy Spirit came down to fully and perfectly dwells in Him because Jesus although fully man is co-substantial with the Abba Father the First Person in the Most Holy Trinity.

Now, if we ponder the scene in the Upper Room, among all the people present in the Upper Room, to whom do you think the Holy Spirit will dwell fully & perfectly to become the "another Advocate". Remember Jesus became the Advocate because the Holy Spirit was able to dwell in Him fully and perfectly.

Now, if we choose among the people present in the Upper Room. most likely who would the Holy Spirit choose for Her (Ruach the Holy Spirit in Hebrew is feminine) to fully and perfectly dwell so that She can fulfill Her role as the "another Advocate"?

It's up for us to choose among the Twelve Apostles, would it be Peter or John the beloved or would it be James the Greater as this three were all seen Jesus in His Transfiguration in Mount Tabor.

Would it be Peter that the Holy Spirit had chosen because Jesus gave him the Keys to His Kingdom in Matthew16:19 and promised His powerful protection that his faith will not fail, and also Jesus had given Peter the task of "Advocating" for his confused and fallen brethren in Luke22:32

But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.(Douay-Rheims)

..but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."(New American Standard Bible)

Plus, the strongest passages where it seen that the Holy Spirit perfectly dwell in Peter is in Acts5:3-ff wherein it showed a lie spoken to Peter is a direct blasphemy against the Holy Spirit who dwells in him.

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? (Acts5:3)

In this passage, we can see that Ananias does not know that when he lied to Peter, he is actually lying to the Holy Spirit who perfectly dwells in Peter as Jesus anointed Him and appoint him to Shepherd His flock.

The interesting part here is before Peter can "advocate" to the rest of the Apostles, Peter had fallen first, he betrayed Jesus Christ thrice..So, how did Peter rise up?

Peter was consoled and comforted by another person and She is the Theotokos. Peter now learned how to be consoled from the Maternal Hands of Mary. Since Peter learnt the art of consoling from the Theotokos. Were now left with two choices;

Who would the Holy Spirit choose to dwell to perform Her role as the "another Advocate"?

Would it be Peter whom Jesus gave the Keys and the responsibilities to console his brethren or the Holy Spirit will choose the Theotokos anyway She already "overshadowed" Her..

The answer needs more pondering....but St.Alphonsus Liguori a Doctor of the Church and one of the Great Marian Saints had already meditated the answer...

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A person is anyone who can think, feel, and act; anyone capable of self-consciousness and self-determination; any individual having legal rights and duties; a rational being with bodily presence, soul passions and spirit faculties. All this is true of the Holy Spirit

The Comforter is the Holy Spirit. He is fully a person and fully divine. Here are a few aspects of the Holy Spirit that prove He is a real person:

  • Divine titles and personal names are given to Him, such as

    The Spirit of God (1 Cor 3:16, Gen 1:2)
    The Spirit of Counsel and Might (Isa 11:1-2)
    The Spirit of Life (Rom 8:2, Rev 11:11)
    ...

  • Personal pronouns are used of Him (for example in Jn 14:16-26)

  • Personal attributes are ascribed to Him, such as:

    Self existence (Heb 9:14)
    Omniscience (1 Cor 2:10-11, John 14:26)
    Mind (Rom 8:27, 1 Cor 2:10-11) Hearing and Speech (Jn 15:26; 16:13-15; Acts 2:4)
    Unselfishness (Jn 16:13-15)
    ...

  • Personal works are ascribed to Him, such as:

    creation (Ps 104:30)
    healing (Rom 9:11)
    life giving (Rom 8:2)
    speaking of Christ and glorifying Him (Jn 16:13-15)

  • Personal references are made of Him and he is associated with the Father and the Son as an equal member of deity (Mt 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14; Eph 4:1-6)

  • Personal treatments is ascribed to Him

    He can be resisted (Acts 7:51)
    He can be "fellowshipped" (Phil 2:1)
    He can be quenched (1 Thess. 5:19)
    ...

(Ref: Dake's God's plan for man, Lesson twenty-five, the truth about the Holy Spirit)

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