I John 1:1-4 Bearing Witness.
There is always a beginning when the topic of history comes up. It has to do with time, which we know from the scriptures, was created by God, from the ‘beginning’ (Gen. 1:1, 16-18). In this case here, “from the beginning” means from the beginning of the presence of the incarnate Son of God on earth (v. 1a). However, John also noted that “in the beginning” also refers to the beginning of time, that the Word who has always been, was the one through whom time and history were created (Jn. 1:1-4, 14). John is here concerned with what they had heard, seen, and handled-“concerning the Word of life” (v. 1b). “The Life was manifested,” meaning that the Life always has been, but now this “Life” was manifested in the flesh (Cf. Lk. 24:39). They heard Jesus speak, they saw Him with their own eyes, looked upon, and they handled him with their own hands (Cf. II Pet. 1:16).
In John’s mind this qualified them to “bear witness,” and it also was part of them being qualified to “declare…the eternal Life which was with the Father and was manifested to us” (v. 2 Cf. Jn. Jn. 16:28; 21:24; Rom. 16:26). “That which we have seen and heard we declare” (v. 3a). The Life was with the Father from all eternity, and they had fellowship together (Jn. 1:18; I Cor. 1:9). John and the other witnesses also had fellowship with the Father and the Son, and one of the reasons for them declaring to their hearers and readers, was that they also might share in this fellowship (v. 3). John was also writing his letter that those who shared in this fellowship might have their joy made ‘full’ (v. 4 Cf. Jn. 15:11; 16:24). For John it is not only important to know that the truth was witnessed to in history, but that those who believe would be full of joy!