“Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate [Helper / Comforter] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7)
Yeshua (Jesus) told His disciples that once He left to be with the Father, He would send a Helper.
We have often heard that this Helper is the Ruach Ha-Kodesh, the Holy Spirit of God, but this is only part of a much larger truth.
Here, we’ll see how God Himself is the source of all our Help. He is our Advocate, Comforter, and Intercessor, sometimes helping us through Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) and through His Spirit.
The word for helper in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament), which was written in Koine Greek, is often parakletos (masculine) or paraklesis (feminine).
Let’s take a closer look at how these Greek words apply to us today and in the lives of people in the Bible.
What Is Parakletos?
In the Greek literature at the time of Yeshua, parakletos was an advocate in a legal sense (like a lawyer), referring to one who represents someone in the presence of another.
Praklit (פרקליט) is a Rabbinical term adopted from the Greek word. In modern Hebrew, praklit means solicitor or legal counsel. Praklit ha-mechoz means district attorney, and praklit ha-medina is the Israeli solicitor general.
In Scripture, we find that God is both Advocate and Judge in His own court of law.
God Is Our Advocate
We don’t usually see the word “advocate” when we read the Old Testament (Tanakh) in English.
However, in the story of Job we find God Himself testifying and advocating for Job, a righteous man who lost ten children, his wealth, and his health.
In response to his tragic circumstances, Job’s wife told him to curse God, while his friends told him to repent of his sins.
Yet Job knew he had done nothing wrong, and he pointed to God as the only one who could testify of his innocence.
“Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and He who testifies for me [sahadi – שָׂהֲדִי] is on high.” (Job 16:19)
In other Bible translations, we might read “my Advocate” or “He who vouches for me.”
Whatever English words are used, the Hebrew Sahadi is very personal. It means the one who testifies or advocates on my behalf.
While others accused Job, saying, “There is no end to your iniquities” (Job 22:5), Job pointed to God on His throne as the only one who truly understood him, who knew the actual facts of why this calamity came upon him. No earthly friend or lawyer could adequately know all of this.
Because God sees and knows all, He is the only true Advocate (and Judge) we have, as well.
When people misunderstand our intentions or our words, or when they condemn us for something that we did not do, we have an advocate with our Father in heaven. He will come to our defense if we ask Him, just as He did with Job.
God saw Job’s faith in Him, while his friends wanted Job to curse his Father in heaven. After 42 chapters, God finally declared Job innocent and restored his fortunes two-fold.
But His friends were not so fortunate. God penalized them for not speaking correctly about Him:
“My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends; for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” (Job 42:7)
But that was not the end of Job’s friends. God has always made a way to reconcile us back into good standing with Him.
“Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly.” (Job 42:8)
Messiah Is Our Advocate
Like Job’s friends, we too have a sin problem which cuts us off from God, and there is a price to be paid for it.
But God not only became our judge in our own court case, He sent another Advocate to pay our fine.
The wages of sin is death.
That’s the deal. To be set free from the penalty of death, God’s law required that all sacrificial offerings be without defect (Leviticus 1:3, 22:17–33) and the High Priest be purified (Leviticus 16:4, 20–28).
So, God revealed His essence as Yeshua (Jesus) to meet the sacrificial requirements of the Torah (Law) regarding the sin offerings. By doing so, He forever redeemed us from our eternal death sentence.
Messiah Yeshua “emptied Himself, taking on the nature of a servant, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on the execution stake.” (Philippians 2:5–8)
As a man, Yeshua had “been made perfect forever.” (Hebrews 7:28)
In His perfection, we were redeemed “with the precious blood of Messiah, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.” (1 Peter 1:17–21)
This kind of perfection that met every requirement of the Law was only possible because Yeshua was not merely a man.
He was one with God even from the very beginning (John 1:1–2).
We Are Advocates
God not only required a sacrifice from Job’s friends, He gave Job the responsibility of now praying for them, interceding on their behalf for the false accusation they spoke against him and against God.
In this way, Job became their parakletos, their advocate, helping them to be reconciled back to God.
Reconciliation is always in God’s heart. And we, too, are to become a parakletos for others, just as “God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them.”
Likewise, God has entrusted us with “the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18–19)
If God can send Messiah Yeshua to be our Advocate, not counting our tresspasses against us, we can advocate for others, for we are “ambassadors for Messiah” and “God is making His appeal [parakaleo] through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)
God Is All Comfort
Not only is God our Parakletos (Advocate), He is also our Paraklesis, our Comforter in a very personal sense.
He is the “God of All Comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:6)
He comforts the downcast (2 Corinthians 7:6) and those who mourn (Matthew 5:4).
God has provided for our ultimate comfort in the world to come, but we also have access to this comfort while we are on earth. Paraklesis is the feminine form of parakletos; it is our holy urging — that exhortation, encouragement, or comfort we receive as God’s Spirit works in us through His Word or through His people to keep us under His authority and not the enemy’s.
That in itself is of great comfort.
For example, in Antioch, untrained men unsettled the souls of the congregation with their words, but when they read Paul’s letter to them, “they rejoiced because of its encouragement [and exhortation].” (Acts 15:31)
Paul’s writings set forth God’s truth that put the error of these men to rest.
Paul says that paraklesis is one of the many spiritual gifts that God gives to Believers when we are reborn in Him. Those who have it are to exercise it according to the amount they have been given:
“We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; … the exhorter (parakaleo), in exhortation (paraklesis).” (Romans 9:7–8)
Those who prophecy are supposed to do so to edify and to give paraklesis to the body of Messiah, as Paul did in his letters. (1 Corinthians 14:3)
Paul overflowed with this gift of paraklesis, which was sometimes expressed through prophesying and through writing. Two-thirds of the writing in the Brit Chadasha (New Testament) is the Spirit of God working through Paul’s gift of paraklesis for our encouragement, edification, exhortation, and comfort.
But not only Paul’s writings. He said that the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) was also “written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement (paraklesis) of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
That hope pointed to Messiah Yeshua.
While walking among us 2,000 years ago, people called out to Yeshua for comfort and encouragement. This calling out for relief and consolation can be expressed through the verb form of parakletos, which is parakaleo:
- A Roman centurion implored (parakaleo) Yeshua to heal his tormented, paralyzed servant (Matthew 8:5–6).
- A synagogue leader begged (parakaleo) Yeshua to heal his daughter (Mark 5:22–23).
We, too, can intercede for ourselves, imploring, begging, pleading with God for help, advocacy, reconciliation, relief. He is the source of it all and He will help us.
There were others, however, who felt more comforted not being in Yeshua’s presence. For instance, when demons begged (parakaleo) Yeshua to send them into a herd of pigs, a demon-possessed man was set free before the eyes of the town; yet, the people pleaded with Yeshua (parakaleo) to leave the region (Mark 5:11–17).
Imagine rejecting the personal, healing touch of Messiah Yeshua in your life. May it never be.
God Is Our Intercessor
When we need comfort, encouragement, exhortation, conviction of sin, and reconciliation with God, we can call out to our Advocate in Heaven for help.
There may be times when we come to God with one of these needs, not knowing exactly how to pray for it.
In these circumstances, we can seek the help of the Spirit of God (Holy Spirit) to intercede for us:
“The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit intercedes for us with wordless groans.” (Romans 8:26)
Other times, Yeshua will intercede for us as our High Priest and final sacrifice, nullifying the accusations of our adversary who is continuously trying to tell us that we are not worthy.
In these times, Paul reminds us to stop believing such lies and to remember the truth of the matter:
“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Messiah Yeshua is the one who died — more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Romans 8:33–34)
However, with salvation comes a responsibility to live out God’s will, His truth, and be the disciples He has called us to be. Then, we can become truly effective comforters, exhorters, and encouragers to others.
God did not leave us as orphans in this task.
He is our Parakletos and Paraklesis, our Redeemer, our Comforter, our Encourager, our Counselor, our Helper, and our Advocate working for us and in us through His Spirit and His Son, Messiah Yeshua.
It is up to us to call out to Him (parakaleo) for His help, advocacy, intercession, comfort—and wait for His answer.
“O God, You are awesome from Your sanctuary. The God of Israel Himself gives strength and power to the people. Blessed be God!” (Psalm 68:35)