In human terms, an advocate is usually one of two things. An advocate may be a person who promotes a cause or policy for an organisation. He or she may be a person who represents the interests of another individual. In the UK, one of the most recognised types of advocate might be a barrister, representing a client in a court of law.
There are other types of advocate, some of which might not be recognised or called as such. A public relations officer, spokesperson or communications director all fit the dictionary definition of advocate for example, representing the views of a company or perhaps political party. Their job is to put across to a wider audience, the public perhaps or company shareholders, a position or proposals for the future. It might be to justify previous actions.
When Jesus said that an advocate was coming, it is assumed he referred to the Holy Spirit. I assume the same and am not aware of anything to contradict this assumption. In terms of human understanding, might this be some of the most literal words in the Bible? It seems to me that the Holy Spirit in terms of advocacy fulfils our human definition.
There are of course major differences in the advocacy provided by the Holy Spirit. Human advocates are, on the whole, paid for their services whether representing an individual or organisation. Human advocates perform their duties as a job, or career. They do not need to believe in who or what they are representing. They fulfil a contract.
The Holy Spirit is not paid in any monetary form. Perhaps the best description of the Spirit’s actions on our behalf and God’s is a vocation, perhaps almost its raison d’être.
The Holy Spirit presents our human case to God, representing us both individually and collectively. That same Spirit promotes, and explains, if we take the trouble to listen and understand, God’s plans and policies to us us for the future of the world and the human race. The spirit acts both for us and with us, helping us to come closer to God.