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John Sixteen

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

John 16:1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.

John 16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

John 16:3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

John 16:4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.

John 16:5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?

John 16:6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

I go away. Instead of an occasion for sorrow, it was good that the Son should return to the Father. He had assumed a human body, and thus could henceforth be only in one place at a time, like other human beings. In His Spirit, however, He could be with all His disciples in all ages throughout the whole world, for the Spirit is invisible and omnipresent.

the Comforter. The Comforter is the Holy Spirit (John 14:26), the “Spirit of Truth” (John 15:26), the “paraklete” (Greek—that is, “the one called alongside”). He will come from the Father through the Son (John 15:26), and this He does eternally, for every believer.

John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

when he. Note that the Holy Spirit is “He,” not “it.” He is the third Person of the triune Godhead, not a spiritual influence of some kind. The Greek word (pneuma) is neuter, sometimes translated also as “wind” or “breath.” Consequently, the pronoun “it” has occasionally been used when referring to the Holy Spirit, even in the King James translation. This should be corrected to “He” or “Him” whenever that is the meaning. It is correctly translated thus in every case here in the Lord's message in John 14, 15 and 16.

reprove. Here “reprove” has the thrust of “convict” or “bring under conviction.” Thus, in addition to His personal ministry to each believer, the Holy Spirit also has a ministry to the ungodly world at large, speaking to each unbeliever regarding his need of salvation, and restraining general wickedness (see note on 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7).

John 16:9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;

believe not on me. Since Jesus died for the sin of the whole world (John 1:29), the only unforgivable sin is rejection of Jesus Christ and His offer of free salvation. It is this sin, therefore, which the convicting Spirit must stress. Those who seek to win others likewise must center their own witness on the vital necessity of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 16:10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;

righteousness. The Spirit, through those who would win others, must emphasize the gift of imputed righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), through faith in Christ. There is “none righteous” (Romans 3:10) in himself, but Jesus lived a sinless human life and thus can offer His own blood to the Father in sacrifice for sins.

John 16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

judgment. To those who remain unforgiven, because they reject Christ's righteousness, there remains only judgment (Hebrews 10:26-31). Satan, the prince of this world (see John 12:31) has been judged already because He rejected God, being irrevocably destined for the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10). Those who likewise reject Christ must share the same judgment (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:15).

John 16:12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

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.

into all truth. Christ had yet “many things to say” (John 16:12) to His disciples, but these would be revealed through the coming Spirit of truth. Not only would the Holy Spirit enable them to remember all Christ had said (John 14:26), but would eventually through divine inspiration by the Spirit reveal “all truth” needed for the future ministry of Christians in the world. These promises amount to Christ's promise of the continuation and completion of God's written Word. He had already on various occasions authenticated the Old Testament (e.g., Matthew 5:18; Luke 24:44; John 10:35); now He also authenticated the yet-to-be-written New Testament.

speak of himself. Christ is not saying here that the Holy Spirit will never speak about Himself (there is much in the New Testament about the Holy Spirit, all of which was inspired by Him), but rather, He will not speak independently of the Father and the Son. Thus, the words of the New Testament are authenticated by the triune God.

things to come. A prominent component of these future revelations would be—just as in the Old Testament—revelations about the future. In fact, every New Testament writer has included prophetic passages in his writings, most of all John himself, in the book of Revelation.

John 16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.

John 16:15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.

John 16:16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.

A little while. The striking repetition of the phrase “a little while” in these verses (occurring seven times in John 16:16-19) is best explained in terms of Christ's desire to emphasize His soon return. Two thousand years seems a long time in comparison to earthly life-spans, but is nothing in relation to the eternal joy we shall share when He returns (compare John 14:19). For “yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37). “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

John 16:17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father?

John 16:18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.

John 16:19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye inquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?

John 16:20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

John 16:21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.

hath sorrow. This universal experience of travail and sorrow by a woman delivering a child (and even pictured in the animal world—see note on Psalm 22:6) has resulted from the primeval curse pronounced when the first woman rejected God's Word (Genesis 3:16). Nevertheless, this suffering brings a new life into the world, and this is always an occasion for joy. Jesus here uses this common experience as an example of what God is doing with His whole creation, and what He Himself was accomplishing for His followers as He proceeded toward the cross. He would “see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11). He, “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). Furthermore, His travail will deliver a new world! “The [creation] itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:21-22).

John 16:22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

John 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

John 16:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

John 16:25 These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father.

John 16:26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:

John 16:27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

John 16:28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.

John 16:29 His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.

John 16:30 Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.

John 16:31 Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?

John 16:32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.