Question: Jesus said to Philip in John 14: 9: “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” Was Jesus here saying that He and the Father are the same person?
Answer: When we consider God’s Word, reason, and facts, Jesus could not have here meant that He and His Father are one and the same person. He never claimed to be the Heavenly Father personally, but always taught that He was the Son of God. Rather, the thought is that the Lord Jesus fully and perfectly represented the Father. He was God manifested in the flesh (1 Timothy 3: 16). The Father’s wisdom, justice, love, and mercy were all manifest in the life and teachings of the Lord Jesus. Being the character image of the Father (Colossians 1: 15) (Hebrews 1: 3), Jesus could truly say that whoever had seen Him had seen the Father – in His character likeness, but of course not in His body.
In seeing and knowing Jesus intimately, Philip and the other Apostles were the ones who then could know the Father in the best, closest, and most absolute sense. This was evidently Jesus’ thought when he spoke these words, to disabuse Philip of the thought of Jesus’ showing to him and the other disciples God’s body, which Philip had requested Him to do (John 14: 8). It was impossible for the Lord’s followers to literally see God (1 Timothy 1: 17). Likewise, we cannot see God’s body or shape (John 5: 37), but we can see how He appears in character, by contemplating Jesus’ character and its manifestations as set forth in the Scriptures.
Perfect man is a perfect image of the invisible God. During the Millennial Age Kingdom, the Ancient and Youthful Worthies, perfected, will be the best representatives among men of the Heavenly Father, the Heavenly Son, and the Heavenly Bride. Likewise, at the end of the Mediatorial Reign of Christ, the restored world of mankind will have regained the image and likeness of God, lost by Father Adam through disobedience.