Useful Bible Studies > Ecclesiastes Commentary > chapter 3

Life after death

Ecclesiastes 3:18-22

Life after death is one of the most important subjects that a person must think about. It is a hard subject to study, but it matters very much. If there is life after death, then nothing matters more than a personís relationship with God.

The author of Ecclesiastes has just proved that, in the future, God will be the judge of everybody (Ecclesiastes 3:17). Clearly, that does not happen during everyoneís life. That fact proved to Job that there must be life after death (Job 19:25-27). Job knew that God would rescue him from his troubles. If God did not do it during Jobís life, he must do it after Jobís death.

The author of Ecclesiastes thought that it was a hard test to believe these things. But God had arranged that test so that people could see their own weakness. In this life, death surrounds us. God made our bodies from dust (Genesis 2:7), and at death they return to the dust (Genesis 3:19). Until then, we must carry on our work in this world (Ecclesiastes 3:22).

It is clear that the bodies of people return to the earth at death. That happens to animals, and it happens to people in the same manner. But the author insists that the body is not everything. A living body has life, a dead body is without life. So a personís life must be something other than the body. Therefore, people must have a spirit, which the death of the body does not destroy. It is the spirit that is the real person.

But we still have not proved what happens to a personís spirit after the death of the body. The author of Ecclesiastes asks: who knows about such things? The answer, of course, is that God knows. People can only know when God shows it to them. This is not a matter of human wisdom. Only the wisdom that God gives can answer such questions. We study the Bible so that we can learn Godís wisdom.

Next part: The power of wealthy people (Ecclesiastes 4:1-3)

 

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© 2014, Keith Simons.