1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)
However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love Him—
Our Verse of the Day has profound significance for the prophetic word concerning the Gospel and the work of salvation for which Jesus was sent by the Father into this world to rescue us … to redeem us … to save us! When I look at the world around me, I am encouraged by the hope of the Gospel and the promises of God. In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul affords us some context into why he quotes Isaiah 64:4. So I would like to take a look at what the prophet heard from God and then see how Paul applies it to our faith in Christ….
Isaiah 64:1-9 (NIV)
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you! As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you! For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you. Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him. You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways. But when we continued to sin against your ways, you were angry. How then can we be saved? All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and have given us over to our sins. Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay and you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. (Cf. Ephesians 2:10) Do not be angry beyond measure, Lord; do not remember our sins forever. Oh, look on us, we pray, for we are all your people.
As I read this portion of Scripture, I realized that more context was needed, so I went back and read Isaiah 62 and Isaiah 63 to understand more of the plea before God to make His presence known. Isaiah presents a picture of the coming wrath of God, His Day of Vengeance, and the reason for His indignation; but then he shifts focus to reflect on the redemption and salvation of those who are called by His name. He speaks of the vindication of God’s people and the coming Savior (Messiah) who will accomplish it. There are allusions to the rebuilding and restoration of Jerusalem … the dwelling place of God among His people. This certainly provided more context as I approached our Verse of the Day because I believe Isaiah was trying to emphasize how God works on behalf of His people … even when they are not always able to comprehend what He is doing for them.
In Isaiah 62:5, the prophet could foresee a restored relationship between God and His people. He described it as a marriage: “As a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you; and as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” This imagery made me think of Christ and His bride – the Church. Jesus would use this same metaphor to describe the intimate nature of His relationship with believers. (Cf. Matthew 9:14-15; Mark 2:18-20; Luke 5:34-35) And Jesus uses it as well to speak about His future coming (when the bridegroom who was taken from them returns) in the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Cf. Matthew 25:1-13).
In addition, Paul applied this same metaphor to express the relationship of believers with the Lord Jesus. In Ephesians 5:25-32, Paul admonished: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy; cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church (a glorious bride), without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of His body. “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” (Citing Genesis 2:24) This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the Church.
And therein lies what I believe is the connection to our Verse of the Day. The mystery of Christ and His Church … the relationship between the Son of God and His Bride. It is no longer a mystery! God has revealed this wisdom and insight to the hearts of believers through His Holy Spirit. I love how Paul articulates the mystery:
1 Corinthians 2:6-16 (NIV)
We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” (Citing Isaiah 64:4) — the things God has prepared for those who love Him— these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct Him?” (Citing Isaiah 40:13) But we have the mind of Christ.
When those who place their faith in Christ Jesus are born of God, they receive the Holy Spirit as an indwelling part of their being … the seal of their redemption. And the Spirit instills the life and mind of Christ within us! As Jesus taught: “When He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that He will receive what He will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me that which He will make known to you.” (Cf. John 16:13-15)
When Paul asserted that “we have the mind of Christ,” I believe he is referencing the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit; likewise, no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. Yet, God has given us His Spirit to know these things … yes, the deep things of God! He enables us to understand His will … the Gospel … the life purpose of Christ Jesus … His plan of redemption and salvation … His great mercy and love … His gift of eternal life. All these things are understood through the Spirit and cannot be discerned without Him. This is why the Scriptures … the Word of God … becomes alive in us as the Spirit guides us into all the truth!
When Isaiah prophesied: Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him, I think his vision was set upon the coming Messiah and the fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan! If you turn back one more chapter and read Isaiah 61, I think you will agree. Jesus quoted its first three verses when He began His public ministry as a declaration of His identity … as the One whom the Father has sent to the world to fulfill this prophetic word. Indeed, the Gospel has been hidden from ancient times, but God revealed it to the Prophet Isaiah beforehand … and it has been fulfilled through the life of our Lord Jesus! “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Cf. 1 Timothy 1:17)
My friends, we have been empowered to understand the deep things of God … the know the things that God has freely given us … namely the experience of redemption and eternal life within His Son. Indeed, no one can truly appreciate and embrace what God has given us except that the Holy Spirit makes it known to them. He is the One who shares the mind and thoughts of our Savior with us; and those thoughts are expressed in His Word! I believe it is imperative that we study the Word of God in order to know His thoughts … to receive His wisdom … to understand His passionate love for us. It is His Spirit that makes us aware of His presence within us … which is truly the greatest mystery for us to ultimately conceive! Oh, Father, thank you for revealing what no mind could have ever conceived: the mystery of Yeshua Hamashiach – Your Only Begotten Son! He was the Word from the beginning (Cf. John 1:1) … the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world! (Cf. Revelation 13:8) … the faithful bridegroom coming for His bride. (Cf. Revelation 19:7) Lord Jesus be exalted forevermore! Amen.
So Now You Know…
Have a Blessed Day!
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” (Cf. Isaiah 65:17) for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. ~ Revelation 21:1-3