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Volume 10 - Page 35 of 162 Index | Zoom | |
So the apostle says:--
"If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it
me if the dead rise not? LET US EAT AND DRINK FOR TOMORROW WE DIE."
Few would be found who would pick out this verse from its context, and then try to
show that the apostle was untrustworthy or that he was a cynic, or a sceptic, or any other
of the names heaped upon Koheleth; yet what Ecclesiastes has spread over a book Paul
has condensed into a verse. Koheleth wishes to impress the fact of vanity, Paul of
triumph. Yet where they touch upon the same thing they speak with the same words.
All is vanity, even Paul teaches that, apart from the risen Christ. We shall find that
Koheleth, too, teaches the same thing in his own way. Does this resurrection chapter
continue the refrain, "What advantageth it me? What profit is there in labour?" No. Let
us hear the last word on the matter:--
"O death, where is thy sting? O grave (the sheol of Ecclesiastes), where is thy
victory? .....thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus
Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the
work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that YOUR LABOUR IN NOT IN VAIN in
the Lord" (I Cor. 15: 55-58).
#4. Koheleth's Key to the Riddle.--The LIFE TO COME.
(Eccles. 7: 11).
pp. 165 - 168
In our last paper we sought to show that Koheleth was justified in his pessimism by
the fact that ONE EVENT happens to all men, whether they be wise or foolish, good or
bad, pious or profane, and that all go to ONE PLACE, in short, that death and the grave
have the last word in the affairs of man "under the sun". Ecclesiastes is a black
background solemnly true. Ecclesiastes' conclusion that all labour was vanity, is
enforced by the converse statement that the believer's labour is not in vain "in the Lord".
If the one word death represents "the sore evil" with which the writer saw the whole
of man's activities blasted, we should expect to find by the law of correspondence and the
testimony of I Cor. 15: that life, that is resurrection life, would be "the good" which
could alone solve the riddle and justify the experiences of this life.
After having entered the arena and made his challenge (1: 1-3), the writer conducts us
along the line of his first investigation (1: 4 - 2: 17), and tells us that as a result he "hated
life", and he "hated his labour" (2: 18-26). His second method is to consider the bearing
of time, season and the age upon the affairs of men (3: 1-21). His conclusion is more
sober than the former, as he perceives that there is nothing better than to enjoy the
present, "for who shall bring him back to see what shall be after him?" (3: 22).