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John 1:18

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

No man hath seen God at any time - Moses and others heard his voice, and saw the cloud and the fire, which were the symbols of his presence; but such a manifestation of God as had now taken place, in the person of Jesus Christ, had never before been exhibited to the world. It is likely that the word seen, here, is put for known, as in John 3:32; 1 John 3:2, 1 John 3:6, and 3 John 1:11; and this sense the latter clause of the verse seems to require: - No man, how highly soever favored, hath fully known God, at any time, in any nation or age; the only begotten Son, (see on John 1:14; (note)), who is in the bosom of the Father, who was intimately acquainted with all the counsels of the Most High, he hath declared him, εξηγησατο, hath announced the Divine oracles unto men; for in this sense the word is used by the best Greek writers. See Kypke in loco.

Lying in the bosom, is spoken of in reference to the Asiatic custom of reclining while at meals; the person who was next the other was said to lie in his bosom; and he who had this place in reference to the master of the feast was supposed to share his peculiar regards, and so be in a state of the utmost favor and intimacy with him.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

No man hath seen God at any time - This declaration is probably made to show the superiority of the revelation of Jesus above that of any previous dispensation. It is said, therefore, that Jesus “had an intimate knowledge of God,” which neither Moses nor any of the ancient prophets had possessed. God is invisible: no human eyes have seen him; but Christ had a knowledge of God which might be expressed to our apprehension by saying that he saw him. He knew him intimately and completely, and was therefore fitted to make a fuller manifestation of him. See John 5:37; John 6:46; 1 John 4:12; Exodus 33:20; John 14:9. This passage is not meant to deny that men had witnessed “manifestations” of God, as when he appeared to Moses and the prophets (compare Numbers 12:8; Isaiah 6:1-13); but it is meant that no one has seen the essence of God, or has “fully known God.” The prophets delivered what they “heard” God speak; Jesus what he knew of God as his equal, and as understanding fully nature.

The only-begotten Son - See the notes at John 1:14. This verse shows John‘s sense of the meaning of that phrase, as denoting an intimate and full knowledge of God.

In the bosom of the Father - This expression is taken from the custom among the Orientals of reclining at their meals. See the notes at Matthew 23:6. It denotes intimacy, friendship, affection. Here it means that Jesus had a knowledge of God such as one friend has of another - knowledge of his character, designs, and nature which no other one possesses, and which renders him, therefore, qualified above all others to make him known.

Hath declared him - Hath fully revealed him or made him known. Compare Hebrews 1:1, Hebrews 1:4. This verse proves that Jesus had a knowledge of God above that which any of the ancient prophets had, and that the fullest revelations of his character are to be expected in the gospel. By his Word and Spirit he can enlighten and guide us, and lead us to the true knowledge of God; and there is no true and full knowledge of God which is not obtained through his Son. Compare John 14:6; 1 John 2:22-23.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
As to the order of time and entrance on his work, Christ came after John, but in every other way he was before him. The expression clearly shows that Jesus had existence before he appeared on earth as man. All fulness dwells in him, from which alone fallen sinners have, and shall receive, by faith, all that renders them wise, strong, holy, useful, and happy. Our receivings by Christ are all summed up in this one word, grace; we have received "even grace," a gift so great, so rich, so invaluable; the good will of God towards us, and the good work of God in us. The law of God is holy, just, and good; and we should make the proper use of it. But we cannot derive from it pardon, righteousness, or strength. It teaches us to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour, but it cannot supply the place of that doctrine. As no mercy comes from God to sinners but through Jesus Christ, no man can come to the Father but by him; no man can know God, except as he is made known in the only begotten and beloved Son.
Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 464

By one who listened to these words, they were long afterward re-echoed in that sublime passage, “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not.” “That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” John 1:4, 5, R. V., 9. And long after Jesus had ascended to heaven, Peter also, writing under the illumination of the divine Spirit, recalled the symbol Christ had used: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the daystar arise in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19. DA 464.1

In the manifestation of God to His people, light had ever been a symbol of His presence. At the creative word in the beginning, light had shone out of darkness. Light had been enshrouded in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, leading the vast armies of Israel. Light blazed with awful grandeur about the Lord on Mount Sinai. Light rested over the mercy seat in the tabernacle. Light filled the temple of Solomon at its dedication. Light shone on the hills of Bethlehem when the angels brought the message of redemption to the watching shepherds. DA 464.2

God is light; and in the words, “I am the light of the world,” Christ declared His oneness with God, and His relation to the whole human family. It was He who at the beginning had caused “the light to shine out of darkness.” 2 Corinthians 4:6. He is the light of sun and moon and star. He was the spiritual light that in symbol and type and prophecy had shone upon Israel. But not to the Jewish nation alone was the light given. As the sunbeams penetrate to the remotest corners of the earth, so does the light of the Sun of Righteousness shine upon every soul. DA 464.3

“That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” The world has had its great teachers, men of giant intellect and wonderful research, men whose utterances have stimulated thought, and opened to view vast fields of knowledge; and these men have been honored as guides and benefactors of their race. But there is One who stands higher than they. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.” “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” John 1:12, 18. We can trace the line of the world's great teachers as far back as human records extend; but the Light was before them. As the moon and the stars of the solar system shine by the reflected light of the sun, so, as far as their teaching is true, do the world's great thinkers reflect the rays of the Sun of Righteousness. Every gem of thought, every flash of the intellect, is from the Light of the world. In these days we hear much about “higher education.” The true “higher education” is that imparted by Him “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” Colossians 2:3; John 1:4. “He that followeth Me,” said Jesus, “shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” DA 464.4

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 483

Through all our trials we have a never-failing Helper. He does not leave us alone to struggle with temptation, to battle with evil, and be finally crushed with burdens and sorrow. Though now He is hidden from mortal sight, the ear of faith can hear His voice saying, Fear not; I am with you. “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore.” Revelation 1:18. I have endured your sorrows, experienced your struggles, encountered your temptations. I know your tears; I also have wept. The griefs that lie too deep to be breathed into any human ear, I know. Think not that you are desolate and forsaken. Though your pain touch no responsive chord in any heart on earth, look unto Me, and live. “The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” Isaiah 54:10. DA 483.1

However much a shepherd may love his sheep, he loves his sons and daughters more. Jesus is not only our shepherd; He is our “everlasting Father.” And He says, “I know Mine own, and Mine own know Me, even as the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father.” John 10:14, 15, R. V. What a statement is this!—the only-begotten Son, He who is in the bosom of the Father, He whom God has declared to be “the Man that is My fellow” (Zechariah 13:7),—the communion between Him and the eternal God is taken to represent the communion between Christ and His children on the earth! DA 483.2

Because we are the gift of His Father, and the reward of His work, Jesus loves us. He loves us as His children. Reader, He loves you. Heaven itself can bestow nothing greater, nothing better. Therefore trust. DA 483.3

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Ellen G. White
Gospel Workers 1915, 50

*****

“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” [John 1:9.] The world has had its great teachers, men of giant intellect and wonderful research, men whose utterances have stimulated thought and opened to view vast fields of knowledge; and these men have been honored as guides and benefactors of their race. But there is One who stands higher than they. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.” “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” [John 1:12, 18.] GW 50.1

We can trace the line of the world's great teachers as far back as human records extend; but the Light was before them. As the moon and the stars of the solar system shine by the reflected light of the sun, so, as far as their teaching is true, do the world's great thinkers reflect the rays of the Sun of Righteousness. Every gem of thought, every flash of the intellect, is from the Light of the World. GW 50.2

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Ellen G. White
In Heavenly Places, 250.2

Only by knowing God here can we prepare to meet Him at His coming.... In His lessons and His mighty works Christ is a perfect revelation of God. This Christ declares through the inspired evangelist. “No man hath seen God at any time,” He says; “the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18). “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” These words show the importance of studying Christ's character. Only by knowing Christ can we know God. HP 250.2

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Ellen G. White
Maranatha, 76.5

Christ is a perfect revelation of God. “No man hath seen God at any time,” He says; “the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” Only by knowing Christ can we know God. And as we behold Him, we shall be changed into His image, prepared to meet Him at His coming.... Mar 76.5

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Ellen G. White
The Ministry of Healing, 419

Christ, the Light of the world, veiled the dazzling splendor of His divinity and came to live as a man among men, that they might, without being consumed, become acquainted with their Creator. Since sin brought separation between man and his Maker, no man has seen God at any time, except as He is manifested through Christ. MH 419.1

“I and My Father are one,” Christ declared. “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” John 10:30; Matthew 11:27. MH 419.2

Christ came to teach human beings what God desires them to know. In the heavens above, in the earth, in the broad waters of the ocean, we see the handiwork of God. All created things testify to His power, His wisdom, His love. Yet not from the stars or the ocean or the cataract can we learn of the personality of God as it was revealed in Christ. MH 419.3

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 1, 321

We may measure ourselves by ourselves, we may compare ourselves among ourselves, we may say we do as well as this one or that one, but the question to which the judgment will call for an answer is, Do we meet the claims of high heaven? Do we reach the divine standard? Are our hearts in harmony with the God of heaven? 1SM 321.1

The human family have all transgressed the law of God, and as transgressors of the law, man is hopelessly ruined; for he is the enemy of God, without strength to do any good thing. “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). Looking into the moral mirror—God's holy law—man sees himself a sinner, and is convicted of his state of evil, his hopeless doom under the just penalty of the law. But he has not been left in a state of hopeless distress in which sin has plunged him; for it was to save the transgressor from ruin that He who was equal with God offered up His life on Calvary. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). 1SM 321.2

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (EGW), 1131

Veiled Glory of Christ—Had Christ come in His divine form, humanity could not have endured the sight. The contrast would have been too painful, the glory too overwhelming. Humanity could not have endured the presence of one of the pure, bright angels from glory; therefore Christ took not on Him the nature of angels; He came in the likeness of men. 5BC 1131.1

But thirty years was all that the world could endure of its Redeemer. For thirty years He dwelt in a world all seared and marred with sin, doing the work that no other one ever had done or ever could do (The Signs of the Times, February 15, 1899). 5BC 1131.2

(Genesis 3:15; Matthew 8:17; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 1:19.) Perfect Sinlessness of Christ's Human Nature—In taking upon Himself man's nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin. He was subject to the infirmities and weaknesses by which man is encompassed, “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and was in all points tempted like as we are. And yet He “knew no sin.” He was the lamb “without blemish and without spot.” Could Satan in the least particular have tempted Christ to sin, he would have bruised the Saviour's head. As it was, he could only touch His heel. Had the head of Christ been touched, the hope of the human race would have perished. Divine wrath would have come upon Christ as it came upon Adam. Christ and the church would have been without hope. 5BC 1131.3

We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ. Our faith must be an intelligent faith, looking unto Jesus in perfect confidence, in full and entire faith in the atoning sacrifice (The Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898). 5BC 1131.4

16. See EGW on Colossians 2:9, 10. 5BC 1131.5

18. Manifestation of the Father—What speech is to thought, so is Christ to the invisible Father. He is the manifestation of the Father, and is called the Word of God. God sent His Son into the world, His divinity clothed with humanity, that man might bear the image of the invisible God. He made known in His words, His character, His power and majesty, the nature and attributes of God. Divinity flashed through humanity in softening, subduing light. He was the embodiment of the law of God, which is the transcript of His character (Manuscript 77, 1899). 5BC 1131.6

19-23. See EGW on Luke 1:76, 77. 5BC 1131.7

26, 27. See EGW on Luke 3:15, 16. 5BC 1131.8

29 (Leviticus 14:4-8; Revelation 7:14; see EGW on John 12:32). Washing and Ironing Time—Remember that just as you are in your family, so will you be in the church. Just as you treat your children, so will you treat Christ. If you cherish an un-Christlike spirit, you are dishonoring God.... Position does not make the man. It is Christ formed within that makes a man worthy of receiving the crown of life, that fadeth not away.... 5BC 1131.9

This is our washing and ironing time—the time when we are to cleanse our robes of character in the blood of the Lamb. John says, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” ... Shall we not let Him take them away? Shall we not let our sins go (The General Conference Bulletin, April 6, 1903, p. 89)? 5BC 1131.10

32, 33. See EGW on Matthew 3:13-17. 5BC 1131.11

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1101

17 (John 1:12, 13; 3:5-8). Grace Not Inherited—The old nature, born of blood and the will of the flesh, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. The old ways, the hereditary tendencies, the former habits, must be given up; for grace is not inherited. The new birth consists in having new motives, new tastes, new tendencies. Those who are begotten unto a new life by the Holy Spirit, have become partakers of the divine nature, and in all their habits and practices they will give evidence of their relationship to Christ. When men who claim to be Christians retain all their natural defects of character and disposition, in what does their position differ from that of the worldling? They do not appreciate the truth as a sanctifier, a refiner. They have not been born again (The Review and Herald, April 12, 1892). 6BC 1101.1

(1 John 2:6; Revelation 3:14-17.) Pure Religion an Imitation of Christ—Pure religion is an imitation of Christ. A religion that is built on self-confidence and selfishness is worthless. The true Christian is a follower of Christ. This following means walking in the light. The heart must be opened to receive the heavenly guest. As long as the heart is closed against His entrance, there can be in it no abiding peace. No sunshine can flood the chambers of the soul temple, breaking through the mist and cloud. 6BC 1101.2

God makes no compromise with sin. A genuine conversion changes hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong. The religion of God is a firm fabric, composed of innumerable threads, and woven together with tact and skill. Only the wisdom which comes from God can make this fabric complete. There are a great many kinds of cloth which at first have a fine appearance, but they cannot endure the test. They wash out. The colors are not fast. Under the heat of summer they fade away and are lost. The cloth cannot endure rough handling. 6BC 1101.3

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Ellen G. White
Steps to Christ, 11

The Son of God came from heaven to make manifest the Father. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” John 1:18. “Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” Matthew 11:27. When one of the disciples made the request, “Show us the Father,” Jesus answered, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” John 14:8, 9. SC 11.1

In describing His earthly mission, Jesus said, The Lord “hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” Luke 4:18. This was His work. He went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by Satan. There were whole villages where there was not a moan of sickness in any house, for He had passed through them and healed all their sick. His work gave evidence of His divine anointing. Love, mercy, and compassion were revealed in every act of His life; His heart went out in tender sympathy to the children of men. He took man's nature, that He might reach man's wants. The poorest and humblest were not afraid to approach Him. Even little children were attracted to Him. They loved to climb upon His knees and gaze into the pensive face, benignant with love. SC 11.2

Jesus did not suppress one word of truth, but He uttered it always in love. He exercised the greatest tact and thoughtful, kind attention in His relationships with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He spoke the truth, but always in love. He denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity; but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes. He wept over Jerusalem, the city He loved, which refused to receive Him, the way, the truth, and the life. They had rejected Him, the Saviour, but He regarded them with pitying tenderness. His life was one of self-denial and thoughtful care for others. Every soul was precious in His eyes. While He ever bore Himself with divine dignity, He bowed with the tenderest regard to every member of the family of God. In all men He saw fallen souls whom it was His mission to save. SC 12.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 458

Paul was deeply anxious that the humiliation of Christ should be seen and realized. He was convinced that if the minds of men could be brought to comprehend the amazing sacrifice made by the Majesty of heaven, all selfishness would be banished from their hearts. He directs the mind first to the position which Christ occupied in heaven, in the bosom of His Father; he reveals Him afterward as laying off His glory, voluntarily subjecting Himself to all the humbling conditions of man's nature, assuming the responsibilities of a servant, and becoming obedient unto death, and that death the most ignominious and revolting, the most shameful, the most agonizing—the death of the cross. Can Christians contemplate this wonderful exhibition of the love of God to man without emotions of love and a realizing sense of the fact that we are not our own? Such a Master should not be served from grudging, covetous, selfish motives. 4T 458.1

“Ye know,” says Peter, “that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold.” Oh, had these been sufficient to purchase the salvation of man, how easily it might have been accomplished by Him who says: “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine.” But the transgressor of God's holy law could be redeemed only by the precious blood of the Son of God. Those who, failing to appreciate the wonderful sacrifice made for them, withhold their means and their physical, mental, and moral powers from the service of Christ, will perish in their selfishness. 4T 458.2

“Whosoever hath not [put to the best use his ability and means], from him shall be taken away even that he hath.” Those who are too indolent to realize their responsibilities and exercise their faculties will fail of receiving the blessing of God, and the ability which they had will be taken away and given to the active, zealous workers who increase their talents by constant use. “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” A person who diligently labors under the direction of the Spirit of God will possess power and influence, for all may see in him a spirit of untiring devotion to the cause of God in any department where duty calls him. 4T 458.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 265

As a personal being, God has revealed Himself in His Son. Jesus, the outshining of the Father's glory, “and the express image of His person” (Hebrews 1:3), was on earth found in fashion as a man. As a personal Saviour He came to the world. As a personal Saviour He ascended on high. As a personal Saviour He intercedes in the heavenly courts. Before the throne of God in our behalf ministers “One like unto the Son of man.” Revelation 1:13. 8T 265.1

Christ, the Light of the world, veiled the dazzling splendor of His divinity and came to live as a man among men, that they might, without being consumed, become acquainted with their Creator. No man has seen God at any time except as He is revealed through Christ. 8T 265.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 286

All that man needs to know or can know of God has been revealed in the life and character of His Son. 8T 286.1

“No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” John 1:18. 8T 286.2

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 38

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. John 1:18. TMK 38.1

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Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 334.5

Christ came to reveal to a fallen race the love of God. He, the Light of the world, veiled the dazzling splendor of the brightness of His divinity, and came to live on this earth as a man among men, that they might, without being consumed, become acquainted with their Creator. No man has seen God at any time, except as He is revealed through Christ. UL 334.5

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