8. Jesus addresses his own disciples
The last reason is really a re-emphasis of the first one. Do you notice how often Jesus addresses his own disciples when he speaks of the sphere of influence of the Comforter? “You know him ... he dwells with you ... he will be in you.” Quite clearly the disciples were to anticipate the coming of the Comforter as a spirit who would come to them just after Jesus had left them. No other interpretation can possibly be drawn from this text. Only wishful thinking makes the Muslims allege that Muhammad was foretold by Jesus, but a practical interpretation of the texts destroys this possibility.
Let us read how the Spirit came to Jesus: “The Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove.” (Luke 3:22) We read that the Spirit, the Comforter, came to the disciples in a similar way just after the ascension of Jesus (as Jesus told them he would): “And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:3-4) He was with the disciples in the person of Jesus while he was still with them, and he was in the disciples from the day of Pentecost. We thus see the prediction Jesus made in John 14:17 duly fulfilled in the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Within only ten days after the ascension of Jesus, the disciples duly received the Comforter as he was promised to them by Jesus. He had told them to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, should come (Acts 1:4-8) as indeed he did while they were all together praying for his advent in the city. Muhammad is right out of this picture.
Moving on now to John 16:7 (quoted earlier), the whole meaning of this verse also becomes clear from the statement of Jesus: “I have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” (John 16:12) Jesus also said: “It is to your advantage that I go away.” (John 16:7) The disciples could not bear his teaching now because they were ordinary men devoid of power to comprehend or apply what he said. The Spirit of Truth was indeed in Jesus, but was not yet in his disciples, so they were unable to follow the spiritual elements in his teaching. But after the ascension they received the Spirit and could now communicate and understand his teaching because the Spirit of Truth was in them as well. That is why Jesus said “it is to your advantage that I go away”. This is made equally clear elsewhere in the Bible:
Paul makes it plain that the Spirit had already been given and if it had not, it could not have been to any advantage to the disciples to be without Jesus once he had ascended to heaven.
So it is abundantly proved that Muhammad is not the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter, whose coming Jesus foretold. Who is the Comforter then? He is the very Spirit of the living God as can be seen from some of the quotations already given. On the day when the Comforter duly came upon the disciples, his coming was accompanied by a tremendous sound, “like the rush of a mighty wind” (Acts 2:2). When the Jews heard this, they rushed together to see what was happening. Peter declared to them all:
The Comforter, the Spirit of God, had come down on the disciples as Jesus had promised and was to be given to believing Christian men and women from every nation under the sun. But notice how Peter linked the coming of the Spirit with the ascension of Christ:
Clearly the coming of the Comforter was inseparably linked to the risen, ascended glory of Jesus in the highest place that heaven affords. The Comforter is also called “the Spirit of Christ” (Romans 8:9) and the reason is plain from what Jesus said:
- “He will glorify me.” (John 16:14)
- “He will bear witness to me.” (John 15:26)
- “He will convince the world concerning sin because they do not believe in me.” (John 16:8-9)
- “He will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:14)
- “He will bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
Quite obviously the great work of the Comforter is to bring people to Jesus, to make them see him as Savior and Lord, and to draw them to him. The Comforter was given so that the glory of Jesus might be revealed to men and in men. A beautiful example of this is given by the Apostle John:
Without the Spirit, they had no understanding, but when they received the Spirit after Jesus was glorified, then they remembered as Jesus said they would. John illustrates this in this passage as well:
As soon as Jesus was glorified the Spirit was given so that the glory of Jesus in heaven might become real to men here on earth. As Peter said (Acts 2:33), once Jesus was exalted at the right hand of God, the Spirit was freely given to his disciples.
Again Peter said: “The God of our fathers glorified Jesus.” (Acts 3:13) We cannot see or comprehend this glory of Jesus here on earth (and Jesus himself said, “I do not receive glory from men.” John 5:41), but he sent the Spirit so that we might behold this glory by the eye of faith. As Jesus himself said to his disciples of the Spirit:
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God and he is given to all true believers so that the glory of Jesus in heaven may become real to men on earth. John makes it plain how a man receives the Holy Spirit:
To receive the Comforter, the Spirit of God, one must believe in Jesus and surrender body and soul to him. Without the Spirit no one sees or believes in the glory of Christ, but for those who are his true followers and who are sanctified by the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:2), Peter says:
The distinction between those who have received the Spirit and those who have not, those who have beheld the glory of Christ and those who have not, comes out very clearly as Peter continues to speak to his fellow-believers:
(1 Peter 2:7)'''
The Bible says much about the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, but the great and most handsome work of the Spirit is summed up in Jesus' words:
Although the Spirit had been at work in the world before the advent of Jesus Christ, and had indeed filled many of the great prophets and men of old with a longing for the coming Christ, he only finally united himself to men, and men to God, and indeed true believers to one another after the resurrection and ascension of Christ to heaven.
Jesus Christ spoke to his OWN disciples of the coming of the Comforter because the Spirit was sent down to comfort and regenerate all true believers in Jesus. This is one of the most significant and consistent elements of the teaching of Jesus about the Comforter. The prime purpose of the coming of the Comforter - immediately after the ascension of Jesus - was to draw men to him so that those who are influenced by the work of the Comforter will therefore become followers of Jesus. It is further evidence against the theory that Muhammad was the Comforter for, whereas the Comforter would not speak of himself but only of Jesus, Muhammad drew attention away from Jesus to himself, describing himself as the ultimate apostle of God to be followed and obeyed. The Comforter was never to do a thing like this. Jesus made it plain that the Comforter would draw the attention and faith of all men to himself and would glorify him before the eyes of faith of true believers as the Lord of glory in heaven.
After Jesus Christ had ascended to heaven to be glorified at the right hand of God above all the angels and departed saints, the Comforter came immediately upon his disciples to make this glory real to them and through them to spread it all over the world. For Jesus Christ is the very image of the Father's glory. In him are all things united, whether in heaven or on earth. He is the climax of God's plan for the fullness of time. He is the beginning and the end of all God's gracious work in all ages - for all the salvation and glory that God has prepared for those who love him are vested in Jesus.
The Comforter came to give us a foretaste of this glory. He came to make the resplendent glory of Jesus real to those who follow him. As Moses encouraged his people to look forward to the prophet who would be like him, who would mediate a new covenant to save all who truly believe, so the Comforter encourages Christ's followers in this age to look up to the risen, ascended, Lord Jesus Christ who sits on the throne of God in eternal glory above the heavens.
Far from Muhammad being foretold in the Bible, every prophecy, every agent of God, every true prophet and spirit, looks upward towards the radiance of the Father's glory, the one who sits upon the throne, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ ascended to heaven - God took him to himself. For Jesus alone is the Redeemer of the world. He alone is able, as a man, to enter the holy presence of the Father's throne and fill it with his own glorious majesty. So likewise he is able to reconcile sinful men to God and will one day be seen again in all his splendor as he comes to call his own - those who eagerly awaited his coming before his time and all those who since his sojourn on this earth look forward to his return from heaven - to be with him where he is to behold with awe the glory which the Father gave him in his love for him before the foundation of the world.
Moses rejoiced to see his day when speaking of the prophet to come. The Comforter today still rejoices to reveal his glory and majesty to those in whom he dwells. The angels and departed saints await with longing for the day when he shall be revealed to all the universe in all his magnificence - when all men shall be raised from the dead to see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, a day when the Comforter's work will be finally completed, a day when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that it is Jesus Christ who is Lord - to the everlasting glory of God the Father - Amen!