These were Jesus' last words about the Holy Spirit:
- When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
William Branham took these words out of context and used them to point to himself. Branham inferred that the Holy Spirit was speaking through him to lead the church into the truth (and away from the plain teaching of scripture).
How do you tell which person is being led properly by the Holy Spirit? Or why would the Spirit lead people in completely opposite spiritual directions? The problem is that this interpretation is takes this scripture out of context.
What the Bible teaches
John 16:13 must be read in context. Jesus is speaking here to the disciples. Is the passage directed at all believers for all time? Or is it directed to the apostles, to whom the Holy Spirit would reveal all truth and who would then write this truth down to form the canon of scripture? This verse is one of the most widely used passages by cults to justify aberrant and false teaching.
As a result, John 16:13 is an important passage because it helps us avoid two common mistakes.
We cannot pit the Spirit against the Bible
The first mistake is to pit the Spirit against the Scriptures. Jesus’ promise has nothing to do with the Spirit’s telling me whom I should marry or what job I should take. That’s not what he has in mind when he says the Spirit “will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). Jesus is talking to the apostles (v. 12). They are the ones who will be led into “all truth.”
The “all truth” they would receive was not the truth about every bit of knowledge in the universe, from supernovas to DNA. The “truth” refers to the whole truth about everything bound up in Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life. The Spirit will illuminate the things that are to come (John 16:13), not in a predictive sense, but in so far as he will unpack the significance of the events yet to come, namely Jesus’ death, resurrection, and exaltation. The Spirit, speaking for the Father and the Son, will help the apostles remember what Jesus said and understand the true meaning of who Jesus is and what he accomplished (John 14:26).
This means that the Spirit is responsible for the truths the apostles preached and that in turn were written down in what we now call the New Testament. We trust the Bible because the apostles, and those under the umbrella of their authority, wrote it by means of the Spirit’s revelation. The Bible is the Spirit’s book. He inspired the Old Testament, as the apostles stated (Acts 4:25; 28:25; Heb. 3:7; 2 Pet. 1:21), and also the New Testament, as Jesus indirectly promised in John 16.
Therefore, we can yield no ground to those (like Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and followers of William Branham) who argue for ongoing revelation that adds to the doctrinal content of the New Testament. Nor can we tolerate the suggestion theological liberals often make that sticking meticulously to the Scriptures is somehow an insult to the Holy Spirit. Word and Spirit belong inseparably together. We hear from the Spirit when we search the Scriptures. And in searching the Scriptures, we must pray for the Spirit’s illumination.
We cannot pit the Spirit against Christ
The second error this passage can help us avoid is the mistake of pitting the Spirit against Christ. The Holy Spirit is a serving Spirit. He speaks only what he hears (John 16:13). He declares what he is given; his mission is to glorify another (v. 14).
In the divine economy the Son makes known the Father and the Spirit glorifies the Son. Yes, it is grievous to ignore the Holy Spirit and overlook the indispensable role he plays in our lives. But we must not think we can focus on Christ too much. The Spirit is not hurt when we fix our attention on Christ.
Exulting in Christ is evidence of the Spirit’s work! The focus of the church is not on the dove but on the cross, and that’s the way the Spirit would have it. As J. I. Packer puts it,
- '“The Spirit’s message to us is never, ‘Look at me; listen to me; come to me; get to know me,’ but always, ‘Look at him, and see his glory; listen to him, and hear his word; go to him, and have life; get to know him, and taste his gift of joy and peace.’”
William Branham Quotes
"When He the Holy Ghost has come, He will guide you into all truth and light, and will show you things to come." True? Those are quotations from the Scriptures of Jesus' own Words. Now, is it strange today, then, that the Words of Jesus would be fulfilled before our very eyes?
Send the Angel of God, Lord, the great Leader, the Holy Spirit, to guide Your Church into all truth tonight.
Look, the Holy Spirit, when He has come, He will lead and guide you into all Truth and will show you things to come. That's the sign of the church today. Watch where the Holy Spirit's a moving. Where the Holy Spirit's moving, you'll find love, and joy, and peace, and signs, and wonders, and the associated God. 
And how typical that is of our heavenly Father. When His children is born into the Kingdom, they're not given a bishop, neither are they given any earthly person, but God the Father has given the best tutor the Church could have, the Holy Spirit, as a raiser of the Church. "When He comes He will teach you and guide you into all truth," the Holy Spirit.
And now, when this duty of this teacher of raising the son, was to bring word to the father how he progressed. And his conduct determined his inheritance. If he was a good son, he would inherit all the father had. If he wasn't a good son, then he got nothing; he wasn't worthy, yet he was a son.
And God never did have, any time, a group of men to run His Church. It's always been the Holy Spirit. That's His duty. That's what He's here for. That's what God's sent Him for. He will teach you. He will guide you into all Truth, and will show you things to come, and reveal these things: "Take these sayings of Mine and reveal them to you." Not the seminary, as good as they are; not the church, as good as it is; But the Holy Spirit, that's the Teacher. And we've tried to adopt man to take the Holy Spirit's place. We've tried to adopt certain different offices in the church to take the offices of apostles, prophets, and so forth in the Church. But God set the gifts in the Church, and we've took men and made them gifts, instead of God's gifts. And that's what we're in today.
"He will guide you into all Truth, and reveal these things that I've talked to you about. He'll show you that. He'll tell you things that is to come," the true Guide. Don't go to the bishop; go to the Guide. Don't go to anyone but the Guide. He's the One that was sent to guide you. He's the One that'll do it. God has provided you a Guide. Take God's provided way.
It's too bad that we ever got away from the real Leader that God left us to lead the Church. He never sent state presbyters. He never sent a bishops, cardinals, priests, popes. He sent the Holy Ghost for the Church, to lead the Church. "When He the Holy Ghost is come, He will lead you into all Truth, reveal these things to you, that I have told you, bring them to your remembrance, and will show you things that is to come." The Holy Spirit was to do that. Now, the modern church hates That. They don't like It, so how could she be the Bride of Christ? The people of today is choosing a modern denomination. What it does, it only reflects their poor understanding of the Word.
The leadership is the Holy Spirit, friend. It leads you and guides you into all Truth, when He the Holy Ghost is come. Now think of that. Take the thinking man's Filter, that's the Bible. Not your creed, not your church; you'll be lost. Take the thinking man's Filter.
That's where that boy didn't think. He took the church filter. He become popular, a great man, "But in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment."
Now you take the thinking man's Filter, Jesus Christ, the Word, and you'll desire a holy person's taste, because It'll satisfy that. If you got the Holy Spirit in you, This satisfies it.
Again in John 16:13...
- "Howbeit when He the Spirit of Truth (Word) is come, He will guide you into all truth, (Thy Word is truth), and He shall not speak of Himself: but whatsoever He shall hear (Word of God), that shall He speak (Word): and He will show you things to come." (Spirit bringing the Word of Prophecy).
I want you to note very carefully that Jesus did not say that the evidence of being baptized with the Holy Ghost was speaking in tongues, interpreting, prophesying, or shouting and dancing. He said the evidence would be that you would be in the TRUTH; you would be in the Word of God for your age. Evidence has to do with receiving that Word.
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), John 16:13–15
- Kevin DeYoung, D. A. Carson, and Timothy Keller, The Holy Spirit (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011)
- Kevin DeYoung, D. A. Carson, and Timothy Keller, The Holy Spirit (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011)
- J. I. Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in Our Walk with God (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2005), 57.
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