The Hearing Ear and the Seeing Eye



(Note to the reader, this study should be viewed as a cross-reference to another post, Isaiah Chapter 29: “A Book that is Sealed” https://bereansearching.com/2018/02/16/isaiah-chapter-29-a-book-that-is-sealed/)

In Proverbs 20:12 we are told something that is extremely important. “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them.

If a person is not physically deaf or physically blind at birth, or later by disease or accident, does not everyone have ears that hear and eyes that see? So what is the point of this verse?

The answer is that God is not talking about physical ears and physical eyes. God is talking about spiritual ears and spiritual eyes, which are not innate capabilities that are part of any natural human being’s anatomy. They have to be bestowed on a person by the grace of God (the Lord) alone, as part of the new birth when a person is “born again” through the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit. The abilities to spiritually hear and spiritually see are solely the gift of God to whomever God chooses. And we know from Matthew 22:14, that Jesus clearly said, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” This means that there are going to be only a relatively few who have such spiritual ears and spiritual eyes.

Moreover, In Mark 4:11+12 we read, “And he (Jesus Christ speaking to His disciples) said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all [these] things are done in parables:  That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and [their] sins should be forgiven them.” One has to wonder how this can be, when God states so very clearly how He uses parables to veil the mystery of the kingdom of God from unbelievers. And moreover, Jesus, even explains one of the parables that anyone can read. The answer to this conundrum is that even if it the parable is clearly explained, the unbeliever whom God does not intend to “hear” or “see” or “perceive” or “understand” the meaning…it will still remain veiled to that person. On the other hand, if God so chooses to save a person, then that person will be given the spiritual ears and spiritual eyes. We also know that salvation through Jesus Christ is through the “hearing” of His Word (Romans 10:17, “So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.“) that they might all know Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.

Note that later in Mark 4:23 we read where Jesus explicitly said, “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” which is repeated again in Mark 7:16, “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

Remember when Moses was lecturing Israel for its unbelief even though the Israelites had seen many miracles in Egypt and in the wilderness with their physical eyes in Deuteronomy 29:4…”Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.”

Isaiah 6:8-10…”Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.”

Isaiah 29:9-14“Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.”

Isaiah 42:7...“To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”

Jeremiah 5:2…”Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not

Ezekiel 12:2…”Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.”

Matthew 13:13-17…“Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”

John 8:43…“Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

John 12:38-41…“That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.”

Acts 26:18 …”To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Acts 28:24-28…”And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.”

Romans 11:7-8…“What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.”

And note that having an ear to hear is mentioned 7 times in the book of Revelation with respect to what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

  1. Revelation 2:7He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God“.
  2. Revelation 2:11He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death“.
  3. Revelation 2:17He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
  4. Revelation 2:29 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
  5. Revelation 3:6 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
  6. Revelation 3:13 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
  7. Revelation 3:22 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

And please let us all not forget Psalm 119:18, where we are instructed to say to God, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous (pale) things out of thy law.” And we know that Jesus is “Wonderful” from Isaiah 9:6 (H6382 פֶּלֶא peleʼ, peh’-leh; which is derived from H6381 פָּלָא pâlâʼ; a miracle:—marvellous thing, wonder(-ful, -fully).

We need God to give us the spiritual eyes to see Jesus in the Old Testament.

And finally in Revelation 14: 9…”If any man have an ear, let him hear.”

Explore posts in the same categories: Bible Studies

2 Comments on “The Hearing Ear and the Seeing Eye”

  1. sclark333 Says:

    Yes. A true description of the milieu God established for this first earth so that it would be a very good field for the sending forth of the work of Christ, the lamb of God who would rescue the elect for His glory and praise.

    Is. 64:4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

    1 Cor. 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

    This reality is built into this first earth so that it would be impossible to obviate the mercy of God. From the beginning, the first day, the prevailing condition has been darkness.

    2 Cor. 4:6 “But” God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

    2 Cor. 4:3-4 Bur if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not. lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

    1 Pet. 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

    Lk. 24:45 Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

    Indeed, “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them.”

    We all come into this world as the man born blind of John chapter 9.


    • Thank you so much for those additional insights, as they provide excellent support. May all who come to this post be blessed by the Wisdom that God has so graciously provided from His Word! And isn’t it interesting that God offers this uplifting insight from His Word relating to the ear and eye first in the Old Testament in Isaiah 64:4, “For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.” and then in the New Testament where Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: