What Is the Significance of the Title “Advocate”?
The imagery of a judicial system is often invoked when the Last Judgment is mentioned in scriptures. Man goes before the “judgment bar” (2 Nephi 33:15), there to be “arraigned” (Alma 11:44) and face God, “the Judge of all” (Hebrews 12:23). As part of that imagery, Jesus is called the Advocate (paraclaytos). In the King James Version of the New Testament, Jesus is called the “advocate” only once (1 John 2:1). The same word (paraclaytos) is used for the Holy Ghost, although it is translated “Comforter” (John 14:16). Thus, Jesus is one Paraclete, or Comforter, and the Holy Ghost is called “another Comforter” (John 14:16). The Greek word comes from para, to the side of, and kalayo, to summon. “Hence, originally, one who is called to another’s side to aid him, as an advocate in a court of justice” (Vincent, Word Studies, 1:486).
In the terminology of today’s legal system, an advocate is a lawyer who pleads another’s cause in a court of law, or in other words, an attorney for the defense. Usually, the attorney for the defense pleads the cause on the basis that the client is innocent; or if guilty, that extenuating circumstances should be considered and mercy extended. At the time of eternal judgment, we will stand before the bar of God accused of being imperfect and unworthy to enter God’s presence, “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). At that time we have an Advocate with the Father. He will stand beside us to plead our cause before the Great Judge; however, He does not plead our case by pointing to our lack of guilt; rather, it is His own sinlessness to which He calls God’s attention (see D&C 45:4). His perfection and His suffering pay the price to satisfy justice for those of His “brethren that believe on my name” (v. 5). Imagine the indescribable sorrow of standing before the judgment bar with no one to step forward, no one to speak for you. How tragic that some will not come to Him in true faith and repentance so that He can take their guilt upon Him and become their advocate with the Father.
“It is of great significance to me, that I may at any moment and in any circumstance approach through prayer the throne of grace, that my Heavenly Father will hear my petition, that my Advocate, him who did no sin, whose blood was shed, will plead my cause.” D. Todd Christofferson, “I Know in Whom I Have Trusted,” May 1993, 83.
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 with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
For thee ever do I plead.
I have loved thee as thy friend,
With a love that cannot end.
Be obedient, I implore,
Prayerful, watchful evermore,
And be constant unto me,
That thy Savior I may be.
2014/07/the-divine-mission-of- jesus-christ-advocate?lang= eng#footnote2-10907_000_006