25 “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father.
John 16:25-33 closes the upper room discourse of Jesus. These verses set forth privileges believers were to have in the coming new economy. This passage relieved the apostles’ apprehension about Jesus leaving them.
25 “These things
“These things” refer to verses 19-24 and not to all of Jesus’ teaching.
I have spoken to you in figurative language;
Jesus acknowledged that at times He used symbolism in His communication with the apostles. The Greek word for “figurative language” covers a range of parabolic and allegorical discourse. The central idea is obscurity. The apostles had some understanding of what Jesus taught, but it was dim. They did not have a clear perspective on His leaving or the coming new order of things. Again, not everything that Jesus spoke was enigmatic, but some of it was.
Jesus could not communicate clearly with the apostles yet because they did not know the future; the future was enigmatic to them. They did not know about the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. Neither were they fully aware of the coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell the church; they were not even clear about what the church would be.
but [emphatic] the time [hour] is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language,
The new era of the church would receive a climatic and complete canon of Scripture (the New Testament) whereby the people of God would understand more clearly about the change in economy. The coming era of the Spirit would make many things clear to the apostles. After the resurrection Jesus would speak clearly about the meaning of the crucifixion and the coming new order.
but I will tell you plainly about the Father.
Jesus would speak plainly about the Father in His post-resurrection teaching (Ac 1:3). He would communicate in plain language as opposed to enigmatic communication. There is a big difference between the teaching of the gospels and the epistles of the New Testament. The epistles would be more propositional, more didactic.
Clear understanding of Scripture is important for transformation of life.
The Bible is a dark book to some people. If that is true, then God’s revelation is a closed issue to them. However, Jesus is willing to communicate “plainly” to His followers.