I have come by a verse from Gospel of John as:

John 14:16 "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever--"

I looked into its explanations and asked questions from different Christians that who is meant by "Advocate" and they told me that in this verse "Advocate" means Holy Spirit.

Now here is the question: If advocate means "Holy Spirit" then as Jesus said That He will ask the Father for another advocate it becomes clear that the Holy Spirit of today and of the time of Jesus are two different beings. The "another" word refers to different Holy Spirit from the previous one. So Trinity gets cancelled and Quadrinity comes into being according to which there should be one God in four persons as:

  1. Father
  2. Jesus
  3. Holy Spirit of past
  4. Holy Spirit of present

And if the word "advocate" doesn't refer to Holy Spirit then whom does it refer to?

  • 4
    There's no reason the first advocate and helper he's referring to couldn't be himself. This would make sense in calling the Holy Spirit "another" advocate, especially after Jesus was implying how he could "help" the disciples in verse 14: "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."
    – LCIII
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 15:03
  • 1
    The scriptures never speak of a "trinity" so there is nothing to cancel except for the dogma and dogma are not subject to reason.
    – user10231
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 9:21
  • @WoundedEgo You are right but still..... :) We have to know about things and even dogmas need to be verified in a sense. Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 12:50

4 Answers 4


No, John 14:16 cannot be used to "cancel" the Trinity and posit a Quaternity (or whatever), and specifically not "Spirits" of past and present.

  • In the understanding of later Christian tradition, the Christian Bible depicts God as outside time in any case: see, e.g. Psalm 90:2 or 1 Timothy 1:17. That is why the "past" and "present" Spirits are nonsensical.
  • In John 14:16 Jesus tells his listeners (the Twelve disciples at this point in John's narrative) that he will send "another paraclete" (ἄλλον παράκλητον). (The word paraclete = παράκλητος is the one translated as "Advocate" in the Question, above.) Two things to be noted here: (1) the word for "another" (allos = ἄλλος) is often glossed as "another (of the same kind)", in distinction from another Greek word for "another", heteros (ἕτερος) which means "another (of a different kind)". (2) The implication in announcing this "other" paraclete, distinct from Jesus but otherwise like him, is that Jesus himself is a paraclete, too -- just as John puts it in his first letter, 1 John 2:1:

    ...if anyone sins, we have a paraclete with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous...

  • I fail to see how either Ps 90:2 or 1 Tim. 1:17 has anything remotely to do with the Nicene dogma of the trinity.
    – fdb
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 21:15
  • 2
    @fdb I well understand how my original formulation could be understood as anachronistic. I've qualified that point in a way that I hope meets the concern. Of course, I suppose I could list a set of creeds and confessions to support this kind of proof-texting, but I don't think it's necessary to do this for such a basic claim.
    – Dɑvïd
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 7:30
  • @fdb The Council of Nicea did not "invent" or create doctrine-they merely clarified what the Church Fathers had taught; and repudiated the many "false" doctrines of the Gnostics that were circulating at the time.
    – Tau
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 1:08
  • David I am clicking again and again the +100 bounty option to your answer but it tells me to wait for at least 23 hours. :( I don't need more answers. Yours is the perfect. Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 12:58
  • 1
    @RehanUllah: No one is allowed to immediately award a bounty. Simply return in 24 hours and it will allow you to award it then. :) As far as other answers, even if you select a best answer (which you already have with David's), other people may still come along in the future and post their answers. There's no need for you to do anything, although you could upvote or downvote future answers, and you may even change your best answer (although I doubt that would happen). Welcome to the site.
    – user862
    Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 19:17

The Greek word translated here as Advocate is παράκλητος (paraklētos).

I believe you are quoting from the NIV. In other versions, παράκλητος is translated as "Helper" (NKJV, ESV), "Comforter" (KJV), and "Counselor". The Douay-Rheims uses the word "Paraclete", which is an English transliteration of the Latin "Paraclitus", which is in turn itself a transliteration of the Greek.

παράκλητος is a title given to the Holy Spirit that describes His role. The word is directly related to the verb καλεω, which means "call". A παράκλητος is something (or someone) that is called upon for help, hence the various translations.

The word "another" (ἄλλος) appears in conjunction with "paraclete" here because Christ Himself is also a παράκλητος:

1 John 2:1

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate [παράκλητον ἔχομεν] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous


When Jesus says "forever", it means that which, or rather Who will remain among the disciples will remain so just as He (qua the Son, who shares sovereignty with Father in a drastic difference from any of the even highest angelic hosts who are just servants /Hebrews 1:14/) remains forever (John 8:35) and just as His Father together with Him (John 14:23). The power of "forever" applies only to the Three, for "forever" puts Them beyond anything that can apply to creation: frailty (for even angels can - and did - fall), temporality, unsteadiness, contingency.

Thus, when Jesus says "another Comforter" ("Encourager", "Advocate", "Intercessor" whatever translation you may offer for the Παράκλητος, but "Comforter" is warmer and better), He implies Himself as the correlate for the "another", for He was comforting His disciples until He was with them, but now He is to go to Father; thus, as He was a Comforter for His disciples while being with them, so will be "the Spirit of Truth who proceeds from the Father" (John 14:16), asserting thus the Spirit's equality with Him, and given that He asserts His own equality with the Father (John 5:23), thus He also asserts the Spirit's equality with the Father. There can be nothing else and other to whom the "forever" can apply with the same power as this term applies to the Three.

As to your question of "quadrinity", the difficulty is solved by the traditional explanation that Holy Spirit is one, but the intensity of His presence with humans can be very different. Indeed, Prophets also had the presence of the Spirit, for the entire Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21), however they did not have that baptism in Holy Spirit (Matt 3:11), that is to say, that intensity of presence and inner transformative action of the same Spirit, that only Jesus' advent could bring to humans, granting them authority to be called "sons of God" (John 1:12) and, accordingly, call God - "Father" (Romans 8:15). To give an analogy: one thing is when a violin teacher teaches you how to store a violin so as not to damage it; how to hold it correctly; how to even tune the strings (cf. Old Testament presence of the Spirit); but another thing is to teach how to read scores and actually play Mozart or Mendelssohn, or even venture and play one's own creative compositions (cf. New Testament-esque intensity of presence of the Spirit's inner action in the baptized).


As David explains the “other” is of the same type and Jesus Himself is a paraclete.

Also Jesus says:

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:18 KJV)

So just as Jesus and the Father are one; Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one. They are both comforters.

The Comforter is also the Spirit of Truth:

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 (John 15:26 KJV)

The Spirit of Truth is the same in the present as in the past.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.