Ecclesiastes 3:16-22: Life After Death
Read: Ecclesiastes 3:16-22: Life After Death
The “Preacher” in Ecclesiastes had just spoken concerning the cyclical nature of life. He juxtaposes the cycles of life against the enduring and unending nature of God, saying that this is in place for the purpose for man to fear God. But to the Preacher, the there is another apparent discrepancy that he cannot find any resolution to, and that is the apparent indifference between the outcomes of the righteous and the wicked and also the man and beast. The Preacher looked at justice and judgment and saw wickedness there, and states that surely God will bring all to judgment to the righteous and the wicked in due time. The preacher does seem to feel confident in the judgment of God, but there is no indication that he is talking about judgment in eschatological terms. He seems ambivalent concerning the nature of the soul after death or where it goes. He just knows that animals and man alike came from the dust and to the dust they return when they die. He concludes the matter, thinking that the best thing to do is to enjoy one’s work, because this is one’s lot.
The nature of life after death was much debated among the Jews up to the time of death. The Sadducees did not believe in a resurrection but the Pharisees did. The Preacher and the Jewish scholars were like the Preacher in that they were not sure about life after death. Jesus came to the earth and taught concerning resurrection. He said that he was the resurrection and the life. He says that the one who believes in him, though he may die, will live (John 11:25). Jesus proved that resurrection was possible when he raised Lazarus from the dead in John 11. Paul thinks the implication of uncertainty concerning resurrection would lead him to believe the same thing the Preacher did (1 Corinthians 15:32). But in any case, what Paul is certain of is that the resurrection is something to be preferred because it will lead to one putting off the perishable and putting on the imperishable (1 Corinthians 35-56). Revelation 21 shows the final judgment of all things concerning deeds where one is judged. The Preacher does not seems to indicated that he believes in such a judgment, but in any case, a final judgment is made clear in scriptures: all will be raised, but some will be raised to eternal life and some to judgment.
Christians need to be wary of the fact that there is an ultimate judgment for all people. This judgment is no joke – it is real and coming and must be taken seriously. Jesus’ resurrection is the source of hope for Christians, but it is also the proof that resurrection is possible, and Jesus wasn’t joking when he talks about the future judgment. The work of man is to be enjoyed in life, but at the same time, Christ’s mission was to propagate the gospel to all creation, and this mission has been imparted to Christians (Matthew 28:19-20). Christians should make the mission of Christ a priority in they live and think. Facing judgment without Jesus as one’s advocate is a scary thought in any respect, and Jesus’ sacrifice is good news considering the reality of judgment!
Lord, Judgment is real! Help me to tell everyone I can about it!