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John 16:11

King James Version (KJV)
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Of judgment - Of the false judgment of the Jews in condemning the Lord Jesus, who, as some think, is intended here by the ruler of this world: see John 14:30. Others think that Satan is meant whose usurped power over the world was now to be greatly restrained, and by and by totally destroyed: see John 12:31; Colossians 2:15; Revelation 11:15; Revelation 12:10, Revelation 12:11. Perhaps our Lord's meaning is, that as a most astonishing judgement, or punishment, was now about to fall upon the Jews, in consequence of their obstinate infidelity, the Holy Ghost, by the ministry of the apostles, should demonstrate that this judgment, severe as it might seem, was amply merited by this worst of all people; and may we not say that their continuance in the same crime sufficiently vindicates the judgment of God, not only in its being poured out upon them at first, but in continuing to pursue them?

It is necessary to observe that it was one office of the Spirit to convince of a judgment to come; and this he did particularly by the apostles, in declaring that God had appointed a day in which he would judge the world by him whom he had appointed for that purpose: Acts 17:31. And we find that while Peter was asserting this doctrine at Caesarea, Acts 10:42, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Jews and the Gentiles which were present, Acts 10:44, etc., and many were converted unto the Lord.

One general exposition may be given of these three verses. The Holy Spirit will convince the world of sin committed, and guilt and condemnation thereby incurred. Of righteousness - of the necessity of being pardoned, and made righteous through the blood of the Lamb, who, after being offered up for sin, went to the Father, ever to appear in his presence as our intercessor: and of judgment - of the great day thereof, when none shall be able to stand but those whose sins are pardoned, and whose souls are made righteous. In all that our Lord says here, there seems to be an allusion to the office of an advocate in a cause, in a court of justice; who, by producing witnesses, and pleading upon the proof, convicts the opposite party of sin, demonstrates the righteousness of his client, and shows the necessity of passing judgment upon the accuser.

The faith of the Gospel discovers unto us three different states of man: it shows him:

  1. Under sin, in which there is nothing but infidelity towards God, because there is no faith in Jesus Christ.
  • Under grace, in which sin is pardoned, and righteousness acquired by faith in Christ; who is gone to the Father to carry on, by his intercession, the great work of redemption.
  • In the peace and glory of heaven, where Christ will reign with his members; the devil, with his angels and servants, being banished into hell by the last judgment.
  • Thus, in the Christian revelation, we are made acquainted with three grand truths, which contain the sum and substance of all true religion.

    The first is the general corruption of human nature, and the reign of sin till the coming of Christ.

    The second is the reparation of our nature by the Lord Jesus, and the reign of righteousness by his grace: Romans 5:21.

    The third is the condemnation of sinners, and the total destruction of the kingdom of sin, and of all the power of the devil, by the last judgment.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    Of judgment - That God is just, and will execute judgment. This is proved by what he immediately states.

    The prince of this world - Satan. See the notes at John 12:31. The death of Christ was a judgment or a condemnation of Satan. In this struggle Jesus gained the victory and subdued the great enemy of man. This proves that God will execute judgment or justice on all his foes. If he vanquished his great enemy who had so long triumphed in this world, he will subdue all others in due time. All sinners in like manner may expect to be condemned. Of this great truth Jesus says the Holy Spirit will convince men. God showed himself to be just in subduing his great enemy. He showed that he was resolved to vanquish his foes, and that all his enemies in like manner must be subdued. This is deeply felt by the convicted sinner. He knows that he is guilty. He learns that God is just. He fears that he will condemn him, and trembles in the apprehension of approaching condemnation. From this state of alarm there is no refuge but to flee to Him who subdued the great enemy of man, and who is able to deliver him from the vengeance due to his sins. Convinced, then, of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and of his ability and willingness to save him, he flees to his cross, and seeks in him a refuge from the coming storm of wrath.

    In these verses we have a condensed and most striking view of the work of the Holy Spirit. These three things comprise the whole of his agency in the conversion of sinful men; and in the accomplishment of this work he still awakens, convinces, and renews. He attends the preaching of the gospel, and blesses the means of grace, and manifests his power in revivals of religion. He thus imparts to man the blessings purchased by the death of Jesus, carries forward and extends the same plan of mercy, and will yet apply it to all the kingdoms and tribes of men. Have we ever felt his power, and been brought by his influence to mourn over our sins, and seek the mercy of a dying Saviour?

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    Christ's departure was necessary to the Comforter's coming. Sending the Spirit was to be the fruit of Christ's death, which was his going away. His bodily presence could be only in one place at one time, but his Spirit is every where, in all places, at all times, wherever two or three are gathered together in his name. See here the office of the Spirit, first to reprove, or to convince. Convincing work is the Spirit's work; he can do it effectually, and none but he. It is the method the Holy Spirit takes, first to convince, and then to comfort. The Spirit shall convince the world, of sin; not merely tell them of it. The Spirit convinces of the fact of sin; of the fault of sin; of the folly of sin; of the filth of sin, that by it we are become hateful to God; of the fountain of sin, the corrupt nature; and lastly, of the fruit of sin, that the end thereof is death. The Holy Spirit proves that all the world is guilty before God. He convinces the world of righteousness; that Jesus of Nazareth was Christ the righteous. Also, of Christ's righteousness, imparted to us for justification and salvation. He will show them where it is to be had, and how they may be accepted as righteous in God's sight. Christ's ascension proves the ransom was accepted, and the righteousness finished, through which believers were to be justified. Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. All will be well, when his power is broken, who made all the mischief. As Satan is subdued by Christ, this gives us confidence, for no other power can stand before him. And of the day of judgment. The coming of the Spirit would be of unspeakable advantage to the disciples. The Holy Spirit is our Guide, not only to show us the way, but to go with us by continued aids and influences. To be led into a truth is more than barely to know it; it is not only to have the notion of it in our heads, but the relish, and savour, and power of it in our hearts. He shall teach all truth, and keep back nothing profitable, for he will show things to come. All the gifts and graces of the Spirit, all the preaching, and all the writing of the apostles, under the influence of the Spirit, all the tongues, and miracles, were to glorify Christ. It behoves every one to ask, whether the Holy Spirit has begun a good work in his heart? Without clear discovery of our guilt and danger, we never shall understand the value of Christ's salvation; but when brought to know ourselves aright, we begin to see the value of the Redeemer. We should have fuller views of the Redeemer, and more lively affections to him, if we more prayed for, and depended on the Holy Spirit.
    Ellen G. White
    The Desire of Ages, 679

    Upon this word Jesus rested, and He gave Satan no advantage. When the last steps of Christ's humiliation were to be taken, when the deepest sorrow was closing about His soul, He said to His disciples, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.” “The prince of this world is judged.” Now shall he be cast out. John 14:30; 16:11; 12:31. With prophetic eye Christ traced the scenes to take place in His last great conflict. He knew that when He should exclaim, “It is finished,” all heaven would triumph. His ear caught the distant music and the shouts of victory in the heavenly courts. He knew that the knell of Satan's empire would then be sounded, and the name of Christ would be heralded from world to world throughout the universe. DA 679.1

    Christ rejoiced that He could do more for His followers than they could ask or think. He spoke with assurance, knowing that an almighty decree had been given before the world was made. He knew that truth, armed with the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit, would conquer in the contest with evil; and that the bloodstained banner would wave triumphantly over His followers. He knew that the life of His trusting disciples would be like His, a series of uninterrupted victories, not seen to be such here, but recognized as such in the great hereafter. DA 679.2

    “These things I have spoken unto you,” He said, “that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Christ did not fail, neither was He discouraged, and His followers are to manifest a faith of the same enduring nature. They are to live as He lived, and work as He worked, because they depend on Him as the great Master Worker. Courage, energy, and perseverance they must possess. Though apparent impossibilities obstruct their way, by His grace they are to go forward. Instead of deploring difficulties, they are called upon to surmount them. They are to despair of nothing, and to hope for everything. With the golden chain of His matchless love Christ has bound them to the throne of God. It is His purpose that the highest influence in the universe, emanating from the source of all power, shall be theirs. They are to have power to resist evil, power that neither earth, nor death, nor hell can master, power that will enable them to overcome as Christ overcame. DA 679.3

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    Ellen G. White
    This Day With God, 198.2

    The end is near, and we must be prepared for what we will have to meet. Our lives must be hid with Christ in God. We need the education of the Holy Spirit. TDG 198.2

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    Ellen G. White
    SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW), 980

    If the light of truth has been presented to you, revealing the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and showing that there is no foundation in the Word of God for Sunday observance, and yet you still cling to the false sabbath, refusing to keep holy the Sabbath which God calls “My holy day,” you receive the mark of the beast. When does this take place? When you obey the decree that commands you to cease from labor on Sunday and worship God, while you know that there is not a word in the Bible showing Sunday to be other than a common working day, you consent to receive the mark of the beast, and refuse the seal of God. 7BC 980.1

    If we receive this mark in our foreheads or in our hands, the judgments pronounced against the disobedient must fall upon us. But the seal of the living God is placed upon those who conscientiously keep the Sabbath of the Lord (The Review and Herald, July 13, 1897). 7BC 980.2

    A Life and Death Question—This message embraces the two preceding messages. It is represented as being given with a loud voice; that is, with the power of the Holy Spirit. Everything is now at stake. The third angel's message is to be regarded as of the highest importance. It is a life and death question. The impression made by this message will be proportionate to the earnestness and solemnity with which it is proclaimed (Manuscript 16, 1900). 7BC 980.3

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    Ellen G. White
    Reflecting Christ, 129

    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. John 14:26. RC 129.1

    That Christ should manifest Himself to them, and yet be invisible to the world, was a mystery to the disciples. They could not understand the words of Christ in their spiritual sense. They were thinking of the outward, visible manifestation. They could not take in the fact that they could have the presence of Christ with them, and yet He be unseen by the world. They did not understand the meaning of a spiritual manifestation. RC 129.2

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