No man hath seen God at any time
That is, God the Father, whose voice was never heard, nor his shape seen by angels or men; for though Jacob, Moses, the elders of Israel, Manoah, and his wife, are said to see God, and Job expected to see him with his bodily eyes, and the saints will see him as he is, in which will lie their great happiness; yet all seems to be understood of the second person, who frequently appeared to the Old Testament saints, in an human form, and will be seen by the saints in heaven, in his real human nature; or of God in and by him: for the essence of God is invisible, and not to be seen with the eyes of the body; nor indeed with the eyes of the understanding, so as to comprehend it; nor immediately, but through, and by certain means: God is seen in the works of creation and providence, in the promises, and in his ordinances; but above all, in Christ the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person: this may chiefly intend here, man's not knowing any thing of God in a spiritual and saving way, but in and by Christ; since it follows, the only begotten Son;
the word that was with God in the beginning. The Jerusalem Targum on ( Genesis 3:22 ) says almost the same of the word of the Lord, as here, where it introduces him saying,
``the word of the Lord God said, lo, the man whom I created, the only one in my world, even as I am, (ydyxy) , "the only one", (or, as the word is sometimes rendered, "the only begotten",) in the highest heavens.''And to the same purpose the Targum of Jonathan, and also Jarchi, on the same place. The Syriac version here renders it, "the only begotten, God which is in the bosom of the Father"; clearly showing, that he is the only begotten, as he is God: the phrase, which is in the bosom of the Father,
denotes unity of nature, and essence, in the Father and Son; their distinct personality; strong love, and affection between them; the Son's acquaintance with his Father's secrets; his being at that time, as the Son of God, in the bosom of his Father, when here on earth, as the son of man; and which qualified him to make the declaration of him: he hath declared him.
The Persic and Ethiopic versions further add, "to us"; he has clearly and fully declared his nature, perfections, purposes, promises, counsels, covenant, word, and works; his thoughts and schemes of grace; his love and favour to the sons of men; his mind and will concerning the salvation of his people: he has made, and delivered a fuller revelation of these things, than ever was yet; and to which no other revelation in the present state of things will be added. Somewhat like this the Jews F14 say of the Messiah;
``there is none that can declare the name of his Father, and that knows him; but this is hid from the eyes of the multitude, until he comes, (whdygyw) , "and he shall declare him".''He is come, and has declared him: so Philo speaks of the "Logos", or word, as the interpreter of the mind of God, and a teacher of men F15.
F14 R. Moses Haddarsan in Psal. 85. 11. apud Galatin. de Arcan, Cathol. ver. l. 8. c. 2.
F15 De nominum mutat. p. 1047.