Ecclesiastes 8:1-8 “Where The Word of A King Is, There Is Power”

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Ecc 8:1 Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? a man’s wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed.
Ecc 8:2 I counsel thee to keep the king’s commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.
Ecc 8:3 Be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not in an evil thing; for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him.
Ecc 8:4 Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?
Ecc 8:5 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.
Ecc 8:6 Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him.
Ecc 8:7 For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?
Ecc 8:8 There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.

Introduction

In this chapter King Solomon, typical of who we are “under the sun”, returns to his obsession with the future and his inability to control what will come after him:

Ecc 6:12 For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

Like Solomon we think of ourselves as wise men who have or have not made wise choices and extraordinary efforts, in and of ourselves:

1Ki 4:30 And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.
1Ki 4:31 For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about.

As with all gifts men have been given, those gifts were given to mankind by God. Too often we assume the work of God to ourselves and forget this ever present Truth:

Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

We tend to think of this verse as it applies only to how we are granted to be obedient to Him and His commandments, but if indeed God is working all things after the counsel of His own will, then this verse of scripture is to be applied to all things done by all men, and not just to those rare times when some few are granted to be obedient to God’s commandments.

Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

“All things” means that most things are evil things which God is working after the counsel of His own will, and that fact is plainly stated to be the case:

Pro 16:1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue [ Good or evil], is from the LORD.

Lest there be any doubt as to what the Lord means by this first verse, He certainly clears the air with this verse:

Pro 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

It is the fact that God has given so few men to know His mind, to fear Him and to be obedient to Him that those who do so stand out like a city built upon a hill and as a light in a dark night.

Mat 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

If we are given to be “the light of the world”, it is only because we have been given the wisdom of our Lord to see and hear and obey the things He says. That gift has been given to very few:

Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Luk 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Doing “the will of My Father” is far more inclusive than we have ever thought it to be because it includes “every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God [ and] the thing written there in”:

Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Rev 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

A deep faith in the sovereign hand of God was and is an essential part of the wisdom of all the men of God of the Old Testament, and it is the same in the New Testament:

Job 23:13 But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.
Job 23:14 For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.
Isa 63:17 O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.
Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

We begin our study with these words:

Ecc 8:1 Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? a man’s wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed.

“Who is as the wise man?” Here is the answer to this question from the apostle Paul.

1Co 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
1Co 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
1Co 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
1Co 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

Even when we give the Biblical, spiritual interpretation of the words of scripture it is still “hidden wisdom” which cannot be received by the wise of this world:

1Co 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

“Who knows the interpretation of a thing?” It is the mind of God as it is expressed in His Word that gives us the interpretation of anything:

Gen 40:8 And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.

Scripture itself must be interpreted only by scripture (2Pe 1:20). When you hear a supposed ‘man of God’ tell you that the ten horns on the beast of Rev 13, are ten nations in Europe or anywhere else, then you need to demand of that man the scripture which defines those ten horns as ten European nations. But not one man in a thousand will make that demand. When you are told that the flying roll of Zechariah five is the symbol of a modern television satellite, you must demand of that man the scripture which defines that flying roll as a television satellite.

Rev 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
Zec 5:1 Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll.
Zec 5:2 And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits.

The Truth is that a wise man will know that the beast of Rev 13 is the same beast throughout scripture that we find in this verse in the Old Testament:

Ecc 3:18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

That is why the last verse of Rev 13 is properly translated as “the number of mankind“, making this prophecy applicable to all men:

Rev 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has a mind calculate the number of the wild beast, for it is the number of mankind, and its number is six hundred sixty- six.

As for the “flying roll” of Zec 5, we are told that a roll is a book with writing in it:

Jer 36:2 Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.

This “roll” and the things written in it are associated with an ephah (35 liters or 9.3 U. S. gallons), with a woman in its midst, which woman then becomes two women, as Israel became two nations. These two women carry the ephah with a lead lid into the “land of Shinar”, which where Babylon, the figure of the great whore of Rev 17-18, was located. The message being that this “flying roll” represents the writings and doctrines for which Babylon is known. The men who tell us this flying roll represents their television satellite, when we consider all the heresies being broadcast on those satellites, are being judged out of their own mouths by the very next verse of Zechariah five:

Zec 5:3 Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it.
Zec 5:10 Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these [ two women] bear the ephah?
Zec 5:11 And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar [ Babylon]: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.

That is the very reason why God’s people are commanded to come out of Babylon:

Rev 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. [“The plague that goes forth over the face of the whole earth”]

In light of how easy it is to misinterpret the symbolism of God’s Word we need to pay close attention to this next verse:

Ecc 8:2 I counsel thee to keep the king’s commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.

Here is one of “the King’s commandment[ s], and… the oath of God” that come with this commandment:

Exo 15:26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.

The last thing our old man wants to do is to be told what to do, and that is why the admonition to “the wise man” continues:

Ecc 8:3 Be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not in an evil thing; for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him.

What pleases God is to bring about the birth of “the new man” within us, and He is doing this through the death of our “old man”. “He does whatever pleases Him” to accomplish that goal within all of us. When our mind is His mind we certainly are “not hasty to go out of his sight”, and the closer to Him we are, the further we will be from “an evil thing”.
But God, “the King”, creates evil and uses evil to try the patience of His elect:

Psa 17:13 Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword:
Psa 18:4 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.
Pro 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

In Job chapters 1 and 2, Satan Himself is shown to be the Lord’s “hand” (Job 1:11-12, and 2:5-6).
Here is how all of this is to be applied outwardly in our daily lives in this present world:

Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Rom 13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
Rom 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

Therefore it behooves those in whom Christ dwells to recognize, both physically, and spiritually, this Truth:

Ecc 8:4 Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?

We are blessed above all men to know that our God is sovereign over all things. “Where the word of the King is, there is power, and who may say to Him, What do you?” This is the very spirit we all first have when we begin to know the extent of the sovereign power of God. Paul tells us the same thing:

Rom 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
Rom 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
Rom 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
Rom 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
Rom 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Rom 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

When we are finally granted to understand the meaning of “liv[ ing] by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God”, and we see that we are the “first Adam” before we become the “last Adam”, then, and not until then, can we understand that we are all earthy first, and that we must all first bear the earthy, and after the earthy is spiritually conquered and destroyed within us, then we will bear the heavenly, “the last Adam”.

1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1Co 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
1Co 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
1Co 15:48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
1Co 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

If we are given to see that we all first “bear the image of the earthy” before we are all given to “also bear the image of the heavenly”, then we can finally understand, that we are all Pharaoh’s Egypt before we become “the Israel of God” (Gal 6:15-16).
There is a time for every man of all time to bear the earthy and there is a time to bear the heavenly, and a wise man’s heart will know this:

Ecc 8:5 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.

“Feel no evil thing” does not mean that there is a way to somehow avoid “first… bearing the image of the earthy” and avoid first being Pharaoh who is raised up within us to be destroyed. These words apply to us only after we have come to the point of being able to “discern both time and judgment”. After all, it is judgment which teaches us righteousness. We do not just naturally know how to be and act righteously:

Isa 26:9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. [“Discern both time and judgment”]

This verse reveals when this judgment is for every man in every generation since Christ:

1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

The third chapter of this book reveals a Truth which the writer of this book was unable to receive, when he tells us:

Ecc 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

That includes a time for evil in the life of every man who has or ever will live on this earth. It is Solomon himself who has already revealed to us:

Pro 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Pro 16:5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
Pro 16:6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.

If we still think that “even the wicked for the day of evil” refers to anyone other than ourselves, then we are still “proud in heart [ and we are still] an abomination unto the Lord”, and we are still in need of being punished and judged until we “learn righteousness”, because:

Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Heb 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

“Chastening” and correction are God’s judgments upon the rebellious old man within us all. When we are chastened and scourged, it is done in “mercy and truth”, and it is “by mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord [ we] depart from evil.”
Solomon basically reiterates the point he made in chapter three:

Ecc 8:6 Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him.

The “misery of man” was not mentioned in chapter three, but the revelation of the severity of the judgment of God, is progressive, and we are made to understand it only as we are able to receive it. If there were no pain involved through the death of our old man, there would be no need for these our Lord’s words:

Joh 16:12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

The final revelation of the extent of the judgment of God upon the kingdom of “the first man, Adam”, is to be found in Rev 16, where the seven plagues of the seven angels is poured out upon the kingdom of that rebellious old man within us all:

Rev 15:1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

In Heb 12 we were told: “whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth”, and here in Rev 15 we are told:

Rev 15:8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

Every son who is received must be chastened and scourged, because no man is able to enter into the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels is fulfilled.
As we just read, “To every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him”.
King Solomon continues to lament the fact that God has not revealed the future to him. It is only natural to dread and fear death, but Christ delivers us from the fear of death:

Heb 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
Heb 2:15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Ecc 8:7 For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?

As is first true for the all of mankind, King Solomon is naturally minded and is not yet granted to understand or value spiritual things. Therefore he has no appreciation of things he cannot understand:

1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Just like each of us while in the bonds of sin, King Solomon hates the thought of death, and laments the fact that it is unavoidable. Solomon uses the wickedness of men, as if the wicked considered their wickedness to be the last hope against death.

Ecc 8:8 There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.

With this sad state of mind expressed by an apostatized king, these words of “a wise woman” of the Old Testament, and Paul in the New Testament, take on much more significance:

2Sa 14:14 For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him.
1Th 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
1Th 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

When Solomon says: “For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?” it is true that we cannot “tell when it shall come”, but unlike King Solomon, we have been given hope in the realm of the spirit, and we have been made to know “that which shall be” is “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive“.

Rom 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Rom 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
Rom 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
Rom 8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
Rom 8:25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

These are “the word of [ The] King”, and “where the word of a king is there is power”.
Next week, if the Lord wills, we will see that “there is a time wherein one man rules over another to his own hurt”.

Ecc 8:9 All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt.
Ecc 8:10 And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done: this is also vanity.
Ecc 8:11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
Ecc 8:12 Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him:
Ecc 8:13 But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.
Ecc 8:14 There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity.
Ecc 8:15 Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.
Ecc 8:16 When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:)
Ecc 8:17 Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.

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