John 14: He that hath seen me hath seen the Father

In John 14 Philip makes a request of the Savior. In the narrative we read:

Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, 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, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works (John 14:8-10).

Jesus is making a very important statement. He is informing Philip that he is a perfect representation of the character, attributes, and perfections of his Heavenly Father. If we want to know how our Heavenly Father feels about his children, all we have to do is watch how Jesus Christ treats those around him. Jesus is an outward manifestation of the perfect love the father has for all his children.

Respecting the oneness of the attributes of the son to the father, Joseph F. Smith taught the following:

I do not apprehend that any intelligent person will construe these words to mean that Jesus and his Father are one person, but merely that they are one in knowledge, in truth, in wisdom, in understanding, and in purpose; just as the Lord Jesus himself admonished his disciples to be one with him, and to be in him, that he might be in them. It is in this sense that I understand this language, and not as it is construed by some people, that Christ and his Father are one person. I declare to you that they are not one person, but that they are two persons, two bodies, separate and apart, and as distinct as are any father and son.[The Father and the Son] are one—in attributes. They are one in love, one in knowledge, one in mercy, one in power, one in all things that make them united and powerful, glorious and great, because in them is perfected all truth, all virtue and all righteousness. 1

It is also reasonable to understand that Jesus was also teaching Philip that he looks like his father. He did say, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” Respecting the fact that the Savior Jesus Christ resembled his Heavenly Father, the Prophet Joseph Smith said:

The First VisionBelieving the word of God, I had confidence in the declaration of James—’If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.’ I retired to a secret place in a grove, and began to call upon the Lord; while fervently engaged in supplication, my mind was taken away from the objects with which I was surrounded, and I was enwrapped in a heavenly vision, and saw two glorious personages, who exactly resembled each other in features and likeness, surrounded with a brilliant light which eclipsed the sun at noon day. 2

Notes

1. In Brian H. Stuy, comp, Collected Discourses Delivered by President Wilford Woodruff, His Two Counselors, the Twelve Apostles, and Others, 5 vols. (1987–92), 4:66. See also Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, (1998), 352–61.

2. Joseph Smith, Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Alma P. Burton [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977], 274 – 275 emphasis added. See also: Elder Bruce R. Mcconkie, Conference Report, October 1966.

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About LDS Scripture Teachings

I write about ways scripture applies in our lives: LDSScriptureTeachings.org
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