"And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor 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 14:16-17)

Here Jesus, continuing his discussion with his closest disciples, indicates one of the results of them following his teachings.

This is indicated by the word "And," which is being translated from the Greek word κἀγώ (kagō), which means, according to the lexicon, "and I," "I also," "I as well," "I likewise," or "in like manner I." In other words, this statement of Jesus is connected to his previous statement.

And what was Jesus' previous statement? As we corrected its translation, he said:
"If you love me you will follow my teachings." (John 14:15)
In other words, should they carefully follow Jesus' teachings, Jesus and the Supreme Being will reciprocate by giving them "another Counselor."

Who is this "Counselor"? The Greek word being translated to "Counselor" is παράκλητος (paraklētos), which means, according to the lexicon, "one who pleads another's cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate" or "in the widest sense, a helper, succourer, aider, assistant."

The question that must be asked is whether this "Counselor" is a person, or whether Jesus is using the term allegorically - or metaphorically.

Consider Jesus' other uses of the same term, παράκλητος (paraklētos), shortly after this statement:
"But the Counselor, 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)
and
"When the Counselor 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)
and
"But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you." (John 16:7)
We can understand more about the "Counselor" by these further statements by Jesus, including understanding that:

- from the word παράκλητος (paraklētos) that the Counselor is an advocate and helper.
- Jesus requests the Counselor from God be sent to his disciples should they follow his teachings.
- God sends the Counselor in Jesus' name. Using the correct Greek conversation usage, this is equivalent to Jesus requesting God send the Counselor.
- The Counselor is the "Spirit of Truth."
- The Counselor "goes out from" - or comes from - God.
- The Counselor will "testify" about Jesus - which means He confirms Jesus' teachings.
- The Counselor will come to them only if Jesus leaves them.
- The Counselor is the "Holy Spirit."

The New International Version - along with most of the other Bible versions, utilizes the term "Holy Spirit" instead of "Holy Ghost." The Old King James Version used the term "Holy Ghost," but then the New King James version has also shifted to "Holy Spirit." The translation is derived from the Greek words ἅγιος (hagios) - which means "holy" or "sacred" - and πνεῦμα (pneuma) - which means "spirit" according to the lexicon. Besides, the concept of a "ghost" typically indicates being haunted.

So the "Holy Spirit" being described here as the Counselor is the same "Holy Spirit" discussed by Jesus when he told his disciples:
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son [servant or devotee of God] and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:20)
and
"Anyone who speaks a word against the son of man [servant of humanity] will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come." (Matt. 12:32)
We can see also that the Holy Spirit is not specific to Jesus. David also mentions the Holy Spirit in Psalm 51, as he is addressing God:

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me." (Psalm 51:10-11)

Isaiah also spoke of the Holy Spirit, as he indicated its being brought to Moses' students by Moses:
Then his people recalled the days of old, the days of Moses and his people--where is he who brought them through the sea, with the shepherd of his flock? Where is he who set his Holy Spirit among them (Isaiah 63:11)
We can see from these statements that the Holy Spirit comes from God but is facilitated by God's representative.

It is also clear that following the instructions of God's representative brings the Holy Spirit to us.

So what is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is the Supreme Being's communication facility - able to reach out to us and guide us.

Let's consider how broadcasting works today. Today a person can buy a radio with an antenna and be able to listen to a radio show being broadcast from hundreds - sometimes even thousands - of miles away. Another person with a radio can do the same thing. In fact, as long as they have a radio receiver with the right antenna, thousands, even millions of people can listen to the same radio show even though they are in different locations. How does this happen?

Through broadcasting. The signal from the radio station is being broadcast through the air to be picked up by any antenna that can pick up that frequency. The electromagnetic wave pulses picked up by the antenna are then converted to sound within the electronics of the radio. This allows the listener to hear the words being broadcast from the radio station.

However, without the right radio equipment, the person could not hear the station. And unless the person tunes in their radio to the right frequency, they also would not be able to hear the station.

Now we might consider this technology of a station broadcasting very advanced, but it is not so different from the process of hearing with our ears. Our ears are designed with the right organs to pick up certain broadcast frequencies. This is how we communicate with each other.

The Supreme Being has access to all frequencies and all broadcasting facilities. He can communicate through any means. And as Jesus and others are indicating here, the Supreme Being can guide us via this facility being referred to as the Holy Spirit.

We can easily compare this method of communication with broadcasting. As the words ἅγιος (hagios) and πνεῦμα (pneuma) indicate the essence ("spirit") of the Supreme Being, the question is how the Supreme Being's essence - being offered by Jesus - can simultaneously guide all of Jesus' disciples and others at the same time?

First of all, the Supreme Being is outside our range of physical sense perception. He is also outside the range of the mind - especially since the mind is a collection of information brought in by the physical senses. Therefore, we cannot physically perceive the technology of the Supreme Being.

However, we can understand that the Supreme Being can be with countless people simultaneously as we consider broadcasting technology. But even this is insufficient, because it is not like the Supreme Being is sending exactly the same message to each person. He is communicating directly with each of us in a unique manner - simultaneously. The Supreme Being thus utilizes a technology that is far beyond our scope. While we can perceive that such a method is not out of the range of possibility as we consider broadcasting, how the Supreme Being operates within the spiritual realm and physical realm simultaneously is outside of our scope.

The bottom line is that each of us has the ability to connect with the Supreme Being through the Holy Spirit. However, as it is made clear by Jesus and other representatives of God, connecting with the Holy Spirit is not something accomplished using our own resources.

Connecting with the Supreme Being via the Holy Spirit is accomplished, as Jesus clarifies, by following his teachings: Following the teachings of God's representative, in other words.

How do we know this? Consider Matthew 28:20 above, when Jesus is instructing his disciples to baptize others, inclusive of the Holy Spirit. This is indicating that by passing on his teachings to others, his disciples can also be giving others access to the Holy Spirit. In other words, as confirmed in Isaiah and Psalms, connection to the Holy Spirit is not exclusive to Jesus. But it is exclusive to those who are teaching what Jesus taught. How does this work?

Again we might compare this to the radio broadcasting. The only way a person can receive the radio broadcast is if they have a radio with the right type of antenna. In the same way, the only way a person can receive the communications of the Holy Spirit - the Counselor - is if we are properly equipped - and tuned into the right frequency - in other words, if our hearts are sincerely devoted to Him.

Being tuned in in this sense means having established a heartfelt connection with the Supreme Being, and maintaining a humble attitude towards maintaining such a connection.

This is where God's representative comes in. It is a practical matter. The representative of God teaches the student who the Supreme Being is, and how they can come to know Him, love Him and please Him. The representative of God teaches the student how to do God's will. This means service, and humility. The teacher also shows the student by example how they can learn to please the Supreme Being.

Should the student follow these teachings, the student will gain access to the Supreme Being through the Supreme Being's facility called the Holy Spirit. After the student has left the physical presence of the teacher, the Supreme Being will continue to guide the student as the student seeks to serve and please the Supreme Being by following God's representative's teachings.

This is confirmed by Jesus in this statement has he says: "The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him." The "world" here is referring to those of us who are mesmerized by our self-centered desires to enjoy life within the physical world. Those of us who are captivated by the things of this world neither "see" nor "know" the Holy Spirit because we are distracted. We may even have the right equipment (in the form of access to the teachings), but we are not tuned to the right frequency because we do not have an attitude of loving service.

But Jesus can say to his disciples: "But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you" because his disciples have been following his instructions. It is not as though we can take this last sentence out of context with the previous ones, and say that anyone can connect up with the Holy Spirit. There is a prerequisite: Following Jesus' teachings.

And what is the fundamental of Jesus' teachings? Love. Pleasing God is connected to serving God, and serving God is connected to loving God. God's representative is teaching us to love God, and learn to serve and please God. Only this will make us happy. Only this will fulfill us. This is communicated with Jesus' and Moses' most important teaching:
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38 and Deut. 6:5)


(For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Gospel of John without sectarian institutional influence, see the Devotional Translation  - translated from the original Greek texts.)