“No man hath seen God at any time” (John 1:18) because no man can see Him and live (Ex.33:20). This could be be-cause the sight of a mere angel made tough Roman soldiers faint (Mt.28:4), and the sight of God might kill a man! The power of His glory may be too much (ITim.6: 16). Or perhaps we haven’t seen Him because He knows we are idolatrous, and so refuses to even let men see a “similitude” of Him (De.4:12) lest we make an image of it (v.15,16).
But what does John mean when he says Christ is “in the bosom of the Father” (John 1:18)? Well, when Israel com-plained to Moses, he asked God why he had to carry them in his bosom (Num.11:4,12). He equates his bosom as a place where “a nursing father” might suckle a baby. (It is not well known that men can breastfeed). This lets us know that in Scripture, the bosom was the place of the most intimate relationship imaginable, and that is what John is telling us Christ has with the Father.
It is interesting that it is John who tells us this, for he leaned on the Lord’s bosom at the last supper (John 13:23). As close as he felt to the Lord that night, to where he could actually hear and feel His heartbeat, that’s how close Christ is to the Father. And if you are saved and in Christ, that’s how close you are to the Father. Also, did you ever wonder why Paradise is also called Abraham’s bosom? In Paradise, men have the same intimacy with the Father, with Abraham and all Bible saints, and with their loved ones.
But getting back to the Lord—do you think someone with that kind of intimacy with God is in a good position to “declare” Him to us? (John 1:18). See John’s point?
One definition of “declare” is “to state with authority,” as when we declare war. But another is “to make known,” as when the border guard asks if you have anything to declare. Combined, John is saying that the Lord makes the Father known in an official and authoritative way.
This explains why while no man hath seen God, Jacob did
(Gen.32:30), as did Manoah (Jud.13:22). They saw Christ! Christ declared the Father in the Old Testament, and even more so in the New Testament. The Greek word for “de-clare” is exegeomai, from which we get exegesis, the ex-pounding of Scripture. Christ is an exposition of the Father.
“Record” (John 1:19) is another official word, as when men say “I’m going on record” or “off the record” or “it’s a matter of public record.” John is using official language because a king is being introduced! Israel will never be able to say they didn’t recognize their King because He wasn’t given a proper introduction.
Since John denied being Christ (John 1:19,20), and Malachi predicted Elijah would come before Christ, they asked John if he were Elijah (v.21). Of course! John showed up right where Elijah disappeared, near the Jordan! When he denied being Elijah, they asked if he were “that prophet,” a reference to Deuteronomy 18:15-19. But this passage speaks of Christ! We know because Moses calls this prophet a prophet “like unto me,” and Moses was a type of Christ in many ways. We also know it speaks of Christ because Peter says so (Acts 3:19-23). But if John already denied being Christ, why did they ask John if he were “that prophet” if that prophet were Christ? Ah, because of the threat of Deuter-onomy 18:19, which Peter interprets as destruction (Acts 3:23). The Jews couldn’t imagine their Messiah would harm them, so they didn’t know “that prophet” was Christ. But when they rejected Him, they left Him no choice. If you’re not saved, don’t make the same mistake! Don’t think that your Savior will not harm you. If you reject Him, you will leave Him no choice.
These messengers weren’t leaving without an answer, though (John 1:22). Nothing happened in Israel without her religious leaders’ approval, and John’s baptism was not an officially sanctioned event! They demanded answers! Not that John was doing anything wrong. His father was a priest (Luke 1), so we know he too was a Levite, and didn’t need their sanction. He got his training from God Himself, in the desert, studying the Word (Luke 1:80). If you’ll just spend time with God’s Word, you too can be used of Him.