Useful Bible Studies > Ecclesiastes Commentary > chapter 9

What happens to wicked people after death?

Ecclesiastes 9:5-6

Life is full of opportunities. However, many people waste the opportunities that God has given to them. They use their lives to satisfy their own evil desires. Or they use their lives to earn profits that can only benefit them in this world. They do nothing to prepare themselves for the time when, after their deaths, God will be their judge.

At death, a personís spirit separates from the body. The body returns to the earth, from which it came. The spirit returns to God, who is the judge of all people (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

For the person who trusts God completely, that is a wonderful promise (Philippians 1:23). When God forgives someoneís evil deeds, that person receives a right relationship with him. At death, God as judge saves that person from all their troubles in this world. God gives his people a home in heaven, where they will never again know pain, sad feelings or death (Revelation 21:1-4). But they will not be without knowledge there. In fact, God will make their knowledge complete (1 Corinthians 13:12).

But it is different for wicked people. The author of Ecclesiastes reduces all their knowledge to the most important fact in life: that all people must die. That fact, and that fact alone, is all that matters to a wicked person.

Wicked people have no knowledge of God (Psalm 53:1). They have no knowledge of his wisdom (Proverbs 2:6). They know only that they must die. And after they die, they will not even know that.

But of course they will know that God is their judge. Of course they will know the punishment that they must suffer. It is their knowledge of this world that ends at death. Ecclesiastes 9:6 explains that. Their opportunity to have any part in the affairs of this world has ended.

People will not have any friends in hell. At death, their opportunity to show love ended. Nobody will control another person in hell. At death, the opportunity to show hate ended, too. Even the evil desires that control wicked peopleís lives end at death. When people cannot still own anything, they cannot desire someone elseís property. All these emotions, which seem so powerful in this world, mean nothing in hell.

These facts should give us a strong desire to avoid hell. We cannot save ourselves, but God wants to save us. That is why he sent Jesus to suffer death instead of us (John 3:16). And that is why God urges us to confess our evil deeds to him, and to invite him into our lives.

Next part: How people waste their opportunity to know God (Ecclesiastes 9:7-10)


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© 2019, Keith Simons.