Ecclesiastes 12:8-14

Ecclesiastes 12:8

Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.


After all the examinations of the things in this world, Solomon can only finalize his findings that this world is nothing but vanity because for the believer it holds no permanent home and is permeated with sin making it a hostile environment for the redeemed of God.  Even those who have immense wealth will never live long enough to enjoy it and one day this world, with all its wealth, will be destroyed and that is when the rich, unsaved men of this world will howl.  And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,  (Revelation 18:9)


Ecclesiastes 12:9

And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.


Even though in the light of the fact that all the world is vanity, yet the preacher who had wisdom above all still did not hesitate to teach the people knowledge.  We must realize that even though the world is futile in light of eternity, we still live here for a period of years and it would be to our advantage to live those years in wisdom rather than foolishness.  Solomon gave good heed which means he examined things in depth and gave his final analysis according to truth and did not skew his findings.  When he found something out, he did not hide it instead he made them public by means of writing down many parables which instill wisdom in people who heeded his findings.  He wrote three thousand proverbs.  And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.  (1 Kings 4:32)  This is a principle we must learn as Christians.  Whenever we study our Bibles and come to a conclusion on a subject and that conclusion contradicts what we have been taught, then we are to reject that teaching and follow what the Bible teaches.  Let me give a quick example.  When I first became a Christian I adopted pre-tribulationalism and one of the tenets of it was a pre-wrath rapture.  I had started studying the Bible more deeply and found that the Bible plainly teaches in 6 places in John that the rapture of the Saints is on the last day simultaneously with resurrection of both the Saints and unbelievers.  So I have totally rejected the false teaching of a pre-trib rapture.


Ecclesiastes 12:10

The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.


Then the preacher had sought out the proper way to deliver his findings and what he came up with was acceptable words which were words of pleasure or pleasant to the hearing.  Then he states that these words were not meant to appease someone but to deliver the truth as to what he wrote.  He wrote that which was upright which was honorable or righteous and he made sure that he tells his readers that the words were the truth.  Truth can be delivered either by pleasantry or by rudeness.  Solomon chose pleasantry without compromise.


Ecclesiastes 12:11

The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.


Then Solomon gives the reality about the words of the wise which are the words of truth.  They are as goads and a goad is something which is used to spur on an animal by pricking their thick skin.  It is like a spur used to force a horse to run faster.  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?  (Acts 2:37)  In Acts 2:37 we read that when people heard the preaching of Peter, they were pricked in their heart as if it had been stabbed with the truth and that is what the truth does.  A nail fastened is a nail which a master craftsman uses to assemble a piece of furniture or even a house and that nail will hold the furniture or house together strongly by binding two separate pieces together.  This is what truth does.  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  (John 8:32)  The truth binds us to the Lord Jesus Christ and while truth binds, it makes us free.  The shepherd in view is the Lord Jesus Christ.  And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.  (Ezekiel 37:24)  Just as air cannot get in between two bound pieces, the truth binds us to him as it excludes all false teachings and teachers.  The true gospel no matter how it is presented, by pleasantry or rudeness, is a pricking instrument to the heart of the unsaved.


Ecclesiastes 12:12

And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.


Solomon admonishes his son to heed the words of truth and he is to understand that there are many people out there who have different opinions and studies and have different understandings.  Many of them publish books and all one has to do is go to a book store like Barnes and Noble or even Amazon on line and you will see there are thousands of books on many subjects and the problem is that each author will come up with their own conclusions meaning there will be massive confusion within each discipline.  Take Christianity for example, you have pre-trib prophecy books and Amillennial prophecy books.  You have Preterism and Post-tribulationalism.  You have Calvinism and Arminianism.  Then Solomon states that in much study is weariness of the flesh and when you look at the contrasting studies in theology, you could literally wear yourself out physically by reading all the books and studying them, to try and come to your own conclusion.  The problem is that too many Christians place their beliefs in man’s books rather than the Bible where they can get all the knowledge and wisdom they need.  Then of course if someone is studying to be a doctor, accountant, lawyer, or something like that they must read and study books according to their chosen field which continues on after graduation because they have to stay up to date on new laws and treatments.  So studying and learning is really a lifelong venture.


Ecclesiastes 12:13

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.


After the long journey Solomon took us on, it all boils down to one major principle.  After coming to the conclusion, the same which he started out with, that all is vanity and the only thing a person can benefit from in this world is his labor and the things he can buy with it because the grave is the inevitable destination of all people.  Solomon admonishes his people to fear God and keep his commandments.  This is done in two ways:  First, the unbeliever fears God so he will not be the recipient of God’s wrath in the area of taking his material goods or not giving him a good crop.  Then he keeps his commandments so he will not incur the earthly penalties such as being stoned for adultery or going to jail if they steal something or executed for committing murder.  Secondly, the true born again believer fears God not as a despot but as a loving heavenly father who will chastise his children to keep them on the straight and narrow.  They keep the Lord’s commandments because they love him and want to be obedient to him plus being in Christ means that he has kept all the righteous demands of God’s holy law and that was imputed to the true believer as if they had done it themselves.  The whole duty of man is to obey God and keep his commandments from both vantage points which would make this world a safer and more pleasant place to live.


Ecclesiastes 12:14

For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.


Every human being on earth shall come into judgment for their actions.  There is no escape from being accountable for God.  All works, whether they be evil or good shall be brought to light on Judgment Day and each will give an account for their actions.  Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.  (1 Corinthians 3:13)  This is not just an Old Testament teaching but is further detailed in 1 Corinthians 3:13 that “every man’s work” shall come into judgment and that includes the people on this earth who have been responsible for starting wars, raping the finances of people, causing calamities, etc.  The super wealthy think they will get away with these things just as the very poor person will not get away with stealing something and then using their poverty as an excuse.


Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.  (Jeremiah 23:24)


Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?  (Isaiah 29:15)


Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.  (Hebrews 4:13)


One of the biggest misconceptions is that when people are involved in secret conspiracies such as Jekyll Island where the illegal Federal Reserve was created is that nothing is secret to the LORD as we read in the three verses above.  This is why Solomon states that we should fear God because he will judge us and keep his commandments so we do not get into trouble both on earth and in judgment.  The problem with the unbeliever is that there is no fear of God because they are spiritually dead.  There is no fear of God before their eyes.  (Romans 3:18)