|Volume 23 Number 11 November 2021
“But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him’” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV). We cannot find this complete sentence in the Old Testament but the expression, “But as it is written” means that the thought is to be found in the Holy Scriptures. We read in Isaiah 64:4, “For since the beginning of the world Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, Nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him.”
The apostle Paul took this passage for the basis of his inspired message in 1 Corinthians 2:9. To understand this verse, we must read carefully the context in which it is found. When the apostle Paul came to Corinth, he found that members of the church were following the wisdom of the Greek philosophers. He wanted the Corinthians to know that he was “determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Paul’s preaching was with the “demonstration of the Spirit and power” and not the wisdom of men (1 Corinthians 2:4). Notice carefully verses 7-8. “But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” So, the “secret and hidden wisdom of God” that He decreed (predetermined) before the ages referred to the time when Jesus Christ had been crucified by the rulers in ignorance, not believing that He was God in the flesh! Paul described the “secret and hidden wisdom of God” in verse 9, “But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
That which eye had not seen, ear had not known and had not “entered the heart of man” was made known by the Holy Spirit to certain inspired men because verse 10 states, “But God revealed them to us [apostles and prophets] through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes the deep things of God.” “A manifest proof that the apostle speaks here of the glories of the Gospel, and not of the glories of the future world” (Clarke). It was the Spirit who communicated to men a description of the Gospel age found in verse 9, which included the incarnation of the promised Messiah, the redemption by the blood of Jesus Christ, the establishment of the church of our Lord and the peace, joy, hope and the inclusion of all people in His body. That which has been revealed is no longer a mystery or a secret in the plans of God. Please observe that we are speaking of verse 9 in the light of the context in 1 Corinthians 2:7-10. However, it is to be understood that what is written in verse 9 could be said of what God has prepared for the saved in Heaven.
One passage among others that helps us to understand that Paul was referring to the new age of Jesus Christ and His kingdom is Ephesians 3:8-12.
To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.
Gill, in his comments summarizes verse 9 in this manner.
The things which God hath prepared for them that love him; in the original text it is, “for him that waiteth for him”; the sense is the same, for such as hope in the Lord and wait for him, are lovers of him; and the meaning is, that God has prepared and laid up in his own breast, in his counsels and covenant, in the types, shadows, and sacrifices of the old law, in the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament, such doctrines and mysteries of grace as were not so seen, heard, known, and understood by the Old Testament prophets and saints; and has reserved for his people under the Gospel dispensation, the times of the Messiah. (Gill)
[Editor’s Note: The foregoing provides an invaluable lesson, especially to all preachers and teachers in light of James 3:1, that proper biblical interpretation requires the careful examination of the context in which any verse of Scripture appears. Anything else is not “rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV) or “rightly dividing the word of truth” (NKJV), for which especially preachers and teachers “need to be ashamed” (2 Timothy 2:15). ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
Clarke, Adam. Clarke’s Commentary. Electronic Database. Seattle: Biblesoft, 2005.
Gill, John. Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible. Electronic Database. Seattle: Amazon, 2012.
Take a Stand
A characteristic of a real hero is that he or she blossoms when things get bad. Just when it seems there might be no hope of correcting or living through a bad situation, a true hero comes to the front and tackles the situation. In other words, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” We probably don’t see this played out any better than in our extreme military situations. Soldiers will risk (and often sacrifice) their lives to do whatever it takes to save a fellow soldier or others who are in danger of hurt or death. They stand up for each other.
Another instance of the bravado of others is when their children are in danger. Just about any of us would give our lives to save the lives of our children. We stand up for those we love. An amazing story is that of Abraham to whom God gave a son in his old age. Abraham had lived 100 years without being blessed with a son who would be his seed through Sarah. We know that Abraham loved Isaac greatly after waiting all those years for his arrival. God spoke to Abraham about this and told him, “…Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (Genesis 22:2 NKJV). Abraham went about to obediently do as God instructed him, but God intervened after seeing Abraham’s faith. Abraham had taken a stand for God, and through faith, he was willing to do whatever God told him to do.
Christians must always take a stand for God with an even greater degree of strength than would be exercised in saving our own lives or those of others. We often sing a song entitled, “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus.” The second stanza says, “Stand up for Jesus! The trumpet call obey; forth to the mighty conflict in this His glorious day. Ye that are men now serve Him against unnumbered foes. Let courage rise with danger and strength to strength oppose.” The number of foes who are against God and truth is always much greater than those who are His followers. That sometimes makes it seem like an impossible task. Yet, when things seem impossible, think of Abraham’s faith and the stand he took to be obedient to God. A part of the last stanza of the song says, “To him that overcomes a crown of life shall be.” Eternal life is the reward the faithful will receive at the Judgment.
We’ve all heard the old adage that “those who stand for nothing will fall for anything.” Christians have many things for which to take a stand. First of all, the faithful must “stand in awe of Him [God]” (Psalm 33:8). After all, He is the great Creator and the One to be feared when we disobey Him. The psalmist said, “My heart stands in awe of Your word” (Psalm 119:161). It is God’s Word that tells us what we must do to be acceptable to Him. Christians must stand in the Lord’s grace. “This is the true grace of God in which you stand” (1 Peter 5:12).
Christians are advised, “by faith you stand” (2 Corinthians 1:24). Paul said to “stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free” (Galatians 5:1) from the bondage and result of sin. He also said to “stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). Satan is crafty and knows how to hit you where it hurts! Further, in verse 14, Paul told them to “Stand… having put on the breastplate of righteousness.” The faithful must “stand fast in the faith” (1 Corinthians 16:13) and “stand fast in the Lord” (Philippians 4:1).
To be pleasing to God, Christians must take a stand on many things. Every soul will make a stand at the Judgment Seat of God to “give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). Resolve to make that final stand one where you will hear “…Enter into the joy of your Lord” (Matthew 25:21)!