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Who is the Spirit of Truth in John 16?

Who is the Spirit of Truth in John 16?

By Paul Chung

John 16:13 “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 show you things to come.”

In John 16, we are told that the Spirit of Truth will come and that He will guide those who are seeking into all truth.  But who or what is this Spirit? Most christians believe that the "Spirit of Truth" is another designation for the Holy Spirit, aforementioned in John 14, whom Christ would send as His representative to be our Comforter and guide. Moreover, Seventh-day Adventists, not unlike most evangelicals, also teach that the Holy Spirit is an entirely separate personality, a distinctly different individual, not unlike how Jesus or God the Father are individual personal beings. But did you know that the Spirit of Truth is actually the Spirit of Christ? In other words, it is Jesus Christ, not in person, but in His Spirit. Let's take a look and see what the Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy reveals about the identity of the "Spirit of Truth."

In John 14:6, it says, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:” Jesus plainly stated that He is the Truth. And we know that Jesus has a spirit (Philippians 1:19, Romans 8:8-9). Therefore if Christ is the "truth" then it's not unreasonable to deduce and conclude that the “Spirit OF Truth” should refer to none other than the Spirit OF Christ. And this will become even more clear as we continue.


Christ = The Truth
Spirit OF Truth = Spirit OF Christ


"he shall not speak of himself"

Notice in John 16:13, that the Spirit of truth does not speak of Himself, but speaks what He hears from someone else. In the following verses we find that Jesus also did not speak of Himself but spoke on behalf of someone else. That "someone else" was His Father. As a person, Jesus did not speak of Himself but always spoke what He hears from His Father and we see that this remained the same for the Spirit of Truth:

John 12:49 “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.”

John 14:10 “The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me,”

John 14:24 “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.”

John 8:28 “When you have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things.”

Again, when Jesus was on Earth, He did not SPEAK OF HIMSELF but what the Father told Him to speak. And when Jesus returns by His own Spirit as the Spirit of truth, nothing changed.

"he will show you things to come.” 

We are also told that the Spirit of truth is to show us what things are to come ( vs. 13 “and he will show you things to come.”) and we find in Revelation 1:1, that it is Christ Himself who revealed to John the things, which must shortly come to pass:

Revelation 1:1 says, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God [Father] gave unto him [Christ], to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass;” (words in brackets inserted for clarity and emphasis)

Notice how Ellen White affirms who came to John to tell him what to write:

“The revelation of Christ to John is a wonderful, dignified, exalted, solemn message. To present this message with decided emphasis demands all the talents of capabilities that God has given to man. When John received it , he was worked (upon) by the Holy Spirit, FOR CHRIST HIMSELF CAME FROM HEAVEN and told him what to write.” {UL 310.5} (The Upward Look)

"CHRIST CAME TO JOHN on the Isle of Patmos to show him symbols and representations and to explain their meaning. He desires us to study this instruction." {Lt100-1906.9}

Just as the words He speaks are from His Father, so are the things to come that He is to show us. Hence we find all Scripture lines up without any contradiction or inconsistencies as truth always does.

Peter also tells us that it was the Spirit of Christ in the Old Testament which testified to the patriarchs of the things which would come to pass:

"Searching what, or what manner of time the SPRIT OF CHRIST WHICH WAS IN THEM did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. ( 1 Peter 1:11 )

“It was Christ that spoke to His people through the prophets. The apostle Peter, writing to the Christian church, says that the prophets ‘prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.’ 1 Peter 1:10, 11. It is the voice of Christ that speaks to us through the Old Testament. ‘The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’” Revelation 19:10. {PP 366.3}

The Spirit of Truth is also to come and convict the world of sin.

“And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” (John 16:8)

We are also told that this same Spirit "will reprove the world of sin", meaning he will convict us and turn us away from sin.

Notice what Acts 3:26 says: “Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, SENT HIM to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” (Acts 3:26)

Did you catch that? God sent WHO to turn us away from our iniquities? It is Jesus (in His Spirit), after His resurrection, who comes to us to turn us away from sin.

Notice the following statement:

"Christ OVERCAME all corrupting influence. He KNOWS just man is beset. He KNOWS the strength of every temptation. He KNOWS how to meet man under all circumstances, how to uplift and strength and IMBUE HIM WITH THE DIVINE NATURE, HOW TO BREATHE THE BREATH OF LIFE UPON HIM, SAYING, RECEIVE YE THE HOLY GHOST." {Ms43-1898.16}

You see, how does Christ KNOW “just man is beset”, “the strength of every temptation”, “how to meet man under all circumstances”? Because He lived the life! You see, quality of the Spirit is such that the “Comforter” that Christ sent AFTER his ascension is imbued with Christ’s victorious life.

And the same author, John, who wrote John 16 also tells us that it is Christ who is our Comforter:

The Greek word (παράκλητος paraklētos)  translated “Comforter,” is used 5 times in the Bible. Four times the word is translated “Comforter” and the other time it is translated “Advocate.” 

In 1 John 2:1, it clearly states WHO the Comforter is. “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate [parakletos = Comforter] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” God has plainly revealed that Jesus Christ is our Comforter.

The evidence shown forth should leave no doubt that it is Christ who is identified as the Spirit of Truth. Would you rather have a Comforter (a.k.a. Spirit of Truth) who knows what you are going through because He has been there Himself, or the spirit (as taught by Trinity) who cannot empathize with you because he has never been in your shoes; who has never experience humanity?

For further evidence let's take a look what Ellen White had to say about who the Spirit of Truth is:

“How shall I bear impressively the commission Christ has given to His people—the privilege of being workers with the SPIRIT OF ALL TRUTH MANIFEST IN THE FLESH—THE DIVINE SON OF GOD, CLOTHED WITH HUMANITY, a channel devised and prepared to be continually receiving and imparting the heavenly current? HIMSELF THE OVERFLOWING FOUNTAIN, He receives to communicate to all those who will accept the gift.” Ms125-1906.13 (July 25, 1906 Campground, Oakland, California) 

"CHRIST WAS THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH. The world will not listen to HIS PLEADINGS. They would not accept Him as their guide. They could not discern unseen things; spiritual things were unknown to them. But His disciples see in Him the way, the Truth, and the Life. And they shall have HIS ABIDING PRESENCE. (The Southern Review Oct 25, 1898)

“JESUS comes to you as the SPIRIT of TRUTH; study the mind of the Spirit, consult your Lord, follow His way.” — (E.G. White, 2MR 337.1)

“The SPIRIT of TRUTH is the only effectual teacher of divine truth; those who are taught of Him have entered the school of CHRIST. How must God esteem the race, that He gave His Son to die for them, and appoints HIS SPIRIT to be man's teacher and continual guide.” — (E.G. White, ST, Oct 24, 1906)

“Christ was about to depart to His home in the heavenly courts. But He assured His disciples that He would send them another Comforter, who would abide with them forever. To the guidance of this Comforter all who believe in CHRIST may implicitly trust. HE is the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, but this truth the world can neither discern nor receive.” — (E.G. White, 12MR 260.1)

“We cannot be with CHRIST in person, as were His first disciples, but HE HAS SENT HIS HOLY SPIRIT TO GUIDE US INTO ALL TRUTH, and through this power we too can bear witness for the Saviour. [John 16:13 quoted]” — (E.G. White, Ms30, June 18, 1900)

“We need individually to have CHRIST ABIDING IN THE SOUL. We need to open our minds and hearts to the INDWELLING OF THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH. We need to appreciate our privileges as the possessors of sacred, elevating truth. Think of what this means to us—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ!” {HP 248.5}

For a related study check out "Who is the Comforter in John 14"