Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Day 23 - The Seven Comforters

It is not a coincidence that the Holy Spirit of God would be depicted as a dove. It's a wonderful picture - gentle in descent - cooing. God's Spirit gently comes on us - He is not forceful, but "lights" on us. His "cooing" is not a blaring noise or a scream - but a gentle coo - a still small voice, which works in our hearts to woo us to Christ. Thoughts like these bring great comfort to me. They still my troubled spirit and create in me a calmness. We can be in the midst of the most tumultuous storm in our lives but the Spirit brings us comfort, reminding us that God is in control of even the worst of storms. God is not the author of confusion - He does not have to resort to such measures to get our attention. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1 Cor 14:33) Instead, He has left us with the Holy Spirit to draw us to Him. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. (Jam 4:8a)

The Holy Spirit is called the Comforter. Oh joy! God's Word doesn't coincidentally portray Him as such. God meant to show us that although He is a Judge, He is also our Saviour and our Comforter! As I searched for the word comforter, I discovered that it was conveniently used seven times in the King James Bible! The joys that come from God's Word when we but only search through it. How blessed we are!

(1) So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter. (Ecc 4:1) Solomon, the wisest except for Christ, said that he observed all those who were oppressed and they had no comforter. We are no longer over powered by the devil and sin. We are no longer over burdened with the load of sin. We have freedom through Christ Jesus! We have the Comforter, given to us at the time of salvation and we are, therefore, sealed unto the day of redemption! And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Eph 4:30) The first mention of the word comforter is applied to mankind being separated from God. There is no comfort outside of God, my friend. Only He can provide a comfort which is lasting - nothing else can bring this kind of comfort to the soul. The Hebrew word for comforter here is:

H5162
נחם
nâcham
naw-kham'
A primitive root; properly to sigh, that is, breathe strongly; by implication to be sorry, that is, (in a favorable sense) to pity, console or (reflexively) rue; or (unfavorably) to avenge (oneself): - comfort (self), ease [one’s self], repent (-er, -ing, self).

It is not a coincidence that these definitions describe the Holy Spirit's ministry. I also thought of the verse where Christ breathed upon His disciples so they could receive the Holy Spirit. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: (Joh 20:22) Jesus said and did this right after He told them "Peace be unto you" in the previous verse. The Holy Spirit definitely brings peace to the believer - what a Comforter He is!

(2) Her filthiness is in her skirts; she remembereth not her last end; therefore she came down wonderfully: she had no comforter. O LORD, behold my affliction: for the enemy hath magnified himself. (Lam 1:9) The unsaved do not have this wonderful Comforter as we do. The enemy reigns in their lives and sin rules their bodies. Jeremiah weeped because Zion had defiled the things of God. They did not have the Comforter convicting them of sin as we have Him today.

This is the second appearance of the word comforter. The number two, symbolizing "witness or separation," is evidenced in why the Comforter was not with Zion. They had defiled the things of God - they were no longer separated and a peculiar people unto God! The heathen could not see anything different about God's people.

(3) For these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me: my children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed. (Lam 1:16) Our Blessed Comforter relieves our soul from eternal damnation - from an eternity of burning in hell's fire - from eternal separation from the Saviour! Praise the Lord for the wonderful work of the Holy Spirit who woos us to Christ and brings us to the saving power of the Cross! There is salvation only through God. The number three symbolizes the Godhead. How appropriate that we find this beautiful Triune God in (1 Jo 5:7) For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. The Holy Spirit testifies of Christ, draws us to Him and brings to memory what His Word teaches (John 15:26).

(4) And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (Joh 14:16) I lost my father in 1993 and I grieved so deeply for him. How I missed his presence and his teasing! When my mother passed away, I felt like an orphan, even though I was almost 50 years old at the time. It is not so with our Heavenly Father! He has left us His Spirit, our Comforter, who promises to abide with us forever! Jesus Himself promised us this! What a glorious promise it is indeed! I am not an orphan at all! I was born into God's family on April 1st, 1980, and His Comforter was given to me to be with me forever! Oh Glory!! This is the I fourth mention of the Comforter. The number four symbolizes "earth, creation, and world." Despite the fact that earth shall pass away, our Comforter is with us forever. He will never leave us (Heb. 13:5b) ... for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

(5) But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (Joh 14:26) This same Comforter is not only with us forever, but He also is our Teacher! He wrote the Word of God. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Pe 1:21) Who better to interpret the Word to us than the One Who wrote it? We don't need someone to interpret God's Word for us. If we are diligently seeking the Lord's will in our lives through His Word, He will show us what He desires for us. I did not go to church for three months after I was first saved. During those three months, I was very studious and read my Bible at least three hours a day and soaked it in like a sponge. When I heard my first message preached three months later, everything that the preacher said had been taught to me by the Comforter Himself! I definitely was comforted and elated at that very moment. I knew that God had taught me during my readings and He was the one that had taken care of me spiritually so I would not be drawn to false doctrine! What a blessing this was to me! This was my first experience knowing that I was His child and He would care for me!

This fifth (five symbolizing grace, cross, atonement, life) appearance of the Comforter shows us that the Holy Spirit will bring to mind and teach us from His Word all that we need to know regarding Christ and how to live the Christian life. Coincidence? I doubt it! Can this beautiful pattern of God's numbering be duplicated in any other version than the King James? Nope! Just for the fun of it, I looked up the word in a few other versions and some had more and some had less. God means for us to be blessed by His Words. He means for us to find golden nuggets within the pages of our Kings James Bible, my friend. All we need to do is search them out. Bless His Holy Name!

(6) But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: (Joh 15:26) Our Comforter is also the One who will reveal Christ to us. He woos us to Christ, He pricks our heart and convicts us of our sin so we see the need of Christ, then He molds us to be like Christ. As He teaches us the truths from the Word, He testifies of Christ and glorifies Him through our yielded lives. What a beautiful portrait! This is the sixth appearance of the word Comforter - six symbolizes man. Man cannot gain entrance to Heaven without Christ. Man is lost and on his way to hell without Christ. How wonderful that God would place the sixth appearance of the Comforter in this light - showing man his need of salvation through the work of the Comforter!

(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. (Joh 16:7) Our Saviour did not leave us empty handed upon His departure. He left us in good hands. He left us His Spirit to dwell within us. This Comforter was sent to us by the Good Shepherd who knew exactly what we needed to complete our mission here on earth! Bless God! Glory to the Highest! Our comfort is complete because of the work of the Holy Spirit, our Comforter! God's perfect love for us is shown by leaving His Spirit with us! Perfection, again, in the Trinity is shown here by the seventh use of this blessed word comforter!

Brother Jerry Bouey added these insights - what a blessing!

"First of all, we have the promise of the Comforter. The word 'Comforter' is interesting. It is used to translate a Greek word, Parakletos, which is a compound word meaning, one who comes to the side of another, that is a helper in time of need. In the First Epistle of John (chap. 2:1) we have 'Advocate,' which is exactly the same word in the original.

There is a sweetness and preciousness about that word 'Comforter' that appeals to the heart. After all, we cannot use any other word in our language that would so adequately represent the Greek word, for the Paraklete is in very truth the Comforter. Our English word 'Comforter' is also a compound. 'Comforter' comes from two Latin words - con, and fortis, the one meaning 'to be in company with,' and the other 'to strengthen,' so that actually the Comforter is one who strengthens by companionship. That is one of the great ministries of the Holy Spirit. The Paraclete is one who comes to your side to help, to give aid, and so the word is properly used. An attorney-at-law, or an advocate, is one who comes to help you in your legal difficulties, and the Holy Spirit is all this. He has come from heaven, as promised by our blessed Lord, to assist us in every crisis, in every time of difficulty that may arise in our Christian lives - He strengthens by His companionship." (Quoted from Addresses On The Gospel Of John by H.A. Ironside, pages 622-623)

Jerry's added comment:

A trace of the root words behind Parakletos gives us this definition: "One who is called alongside." With these two definitions (ie. Ironside's and Strong's) taken together, we arrive at the conclusion that the Comforter is "one who comes alongside to strengthen" - in this case, strengthening from the inside. That is a wonderful picture. A believer can come alongside and strengthen someone else with their words of comfort, but the Holy Spirit does His special work of comfort from the inside, using the Word of God as His means of comforting.

This series has truly proven to be quite a blessing! Never did I imagine that we could glean so many "groupings and numbers" in God's Word! The joy that I have received is more than I can contain!

The Comforter

I remember that day like it was yesterday.
I realized I was doomed, pretty hopeless I'll say.
But the Comforter entered and brought me such peace.
I knew I was different, that burden released.

Those tears just kept coming, His Love could it be?
How precious and sacred that time was to me!
He washed me and saved me from sin and despair.
I was heading for hell, it seemed no one cared.

But my Heavenly Father loved a wretch such as me.
That He sent His Dear Son to shed blood on a tree.
He took upon Him all my sin and my shame.
That some day with Him I would be able to reign.

Praise my Wonderful Lord from Whom all Blessings Flow.
How wonderful these words, how they bless my soul.
How wondrous for me is this Act of Great Love.
Provided by my Father from Heaven Above!

Thank you Lord for saving my soul!


Devotional and poem by Kate Plourde

60 Day Devotional Series: Numbers In The Bible

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