Ecclesiastes 12:8-14 “Fear God and Keep His Commandments, For This Is The Whole Man”

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Ecc 12:8 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.
Ecc 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.
Ecc 12:10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.
Ecc 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.
Ecc 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.
Ecc 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.
Ecc 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Introduction

This study will conclude our studies in the book of Ecclesiastes. King Solomon has been honest in telling us that he has given himself over to “madness and folly”, and while he believes he retained his wisdom, he makes no pretense of being converted. He is attempting to conduct a mental experiment to see if it is possible to give oneself over to the follies of the flesh while still retaining one’s wisdom.

Ecc 1:16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.
Ecc 1:17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.

While his experiment might well have proved that he maintained and increased his knowledge, King Solomon also proved, by marrying a thousand pagan wives who seduced him to forsake his own God, that it is impossible to give oneself to “madness and folly” and still remain wise. King Solomon is a perfect example of what the apostle meant by this statement:

2Ti 3:7 Ever learning [increasing knowledge], and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

What he admits was “madness and folly”, in the end, succeeded in making a fool of what was once a very humble and wise and righteous king.

Here is the end result of a wise and righteous King giving himself to “madness and folly”:

1Ki 11:1 But king Solomon [ in “folly”, foolishly] loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;
1Ki 11:2 Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon [ foolishly] clave unto these in love.
1Ki 11:3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.
1Ki 11:4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.
1Ki 11:5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
1Ki 11:6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.
1Ki 11:7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.
1Ki 11:8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.
1Ki 11:9 And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,
1Ki 11:10 And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he [ foolishly] kept not that which the LORD commanded.
1Ki 11:11 Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.

King Solomon built a high place “for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods”. He was a very ecumenical king. The only thing King Solomon’s mental experiment demonstrated is that ecumenism is not of God, and that we cannot serve two masters:

Mat 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

The Old Testament language, in type and shadow, admonished all Israel using these words:

1Ki 11:2 Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.

And the anti-type of the symbolism of that verse are these New Testament admonitions:

1Co 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
1Co 5:2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
1Co 5:3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
1Co 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Co 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
1Co 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

1Co 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
1Co 5:12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
1Co 5:13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Tit 3:10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
Tit 3:11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

“Being condemned of himself” is the same as “I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant”. It is the same because we are all beasts who ought to be subservient to Christ within us. Our foolish disobedience automatically places us back under the authority of those passions within us whose energies ought to be our servants. When we return to the ways of our carnal, rebellious, old man, the kingdom of God within us is rent from us and is given to our servant.

Joh 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

King Solomon has in type become “the servant of sin”, and is now serving the gods of his wives, and has denied and despised his own God.

1Ki 11:7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.
1Ki 11:8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.

There is no peace of mind in any double- minded man. We all know when we are directly ignoring our Lord’s commandments. Oh, yes, we will rationalize away our rebellion. King Solomon still thinks he has “retain[ ed] his wisdom”. But the fact is that “his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel”, and as his conflicted words have demonstrated, he has no peace of mind, and he is a conflicted and tormented King who actually feels like this:

Ecc 12:8 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.

Yet just like us when we have “turned our hearts” from our God to serve our flesh, we see that we still have not yet lost our physical health, and we still have our physical possessions. Because judgment is delayed, we reason within ourselves…

Ecc 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.
Ecc 12:10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.

“Acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth” are the fiery, truthful words of God, in the mouths of “the sinners and hypocrites in Zion” (Isa 33:14-15). In the New Testament this phenomenon is described in these words:

Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Rev 13:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

Here is a story of a prophet who both prophesied in the name of God and also figuratively called down fire from heaven in the sight of men, and was yet a false prophet:

1Ki 13:1 And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.
1Ki 13:2 And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee.
1Ki 13:3 And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.
1Ki 13:4 And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.
1Ki 13:5 The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD.
1Ki 13:6 And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king’s hand was restored him again, and became as it was before.
1Ki 13:7 And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward.
1Ki 13:8 And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place:
1Ki 13:9 For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest.
1Ki 13:10 So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel.
1Ki 13:11 Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.
1Ki 13:12 And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah.
1Ki 13:13 And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon,
1Ki 13:14 And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am.
1Ki 13:15 Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread.
1Ki 13:16 And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place:
1Ki 13:17 For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest.
1Ki 13:18 He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.
1Ki 13:19 So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water.
1Ki 13:20 And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back:
1Ki 13:21 And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee,
1Ki 13:22 But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.
1Ki 13:23 And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back.
1Ki 13:24 And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase.
1Ki 13:25 And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt.
1Ki 13:26 And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the LORD: therefore the LORD hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake unto him.
1Ki 13:27 And he spake to his sons, saying, Saddle me the ass. And they saddled him.
1Ki 13:28 And he went and found his carcase cast in the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the carcase: the lion had not eaten the carcase, nor torn the ass.
1Ki 13:29 And the prophet took up the carcase of the man of God, and laid it upon the ass, and brought it back: and the old prophet came to the city, to mourn and to bury him.
1Ki 13:30 And he laid his carcase in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother!
1Ki 13:31 And it came to pass, after he had buried him, that he spake to his sons, saying, When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones:
1Ki 13:32 For the saying which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.

This “man of God” had heard the voice of God and had seen God fulfill His own words in a miraculous way, just as we all experience when we are called to His service. Yet he took the word of a stranger who claimed that he was also a prophet, instead of obeying the words which he himself had been given and which he knew to have come to him directly from God. This is a great lesson for all of us, warning us that we are never to “think above that which is written”. “That which is written” is what we ourselves receive directly from God.

Here is another example of how jealous of our obedience to His voice is our Lord:

Deu 13:1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
Deu 13:2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
Deu 13:3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deu 13:4 Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
Deu 13:5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.
Deu 13:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
Deu 13:7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;
Deu 13:8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:
Deu 13:9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.
Deu 13:10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
Deu 13:11 And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.

“Let us serve other gods… namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you… you shall not consent unto him”, But we are told this because, just like King Solomon and just like the ‘man of God’ who disobeyed God, we all do first “consent unto him” and like King Solomon and like the disobedient ‘man of God’, we all fall prey to the voice of a stranger and to the doctrines of “the people around us” before we die to that rebellious, old prophet within us all.

This is all us. Like King Solomon and like this “man of God”, even as we are given to live a lie, the words of God continue to do their fiery work of destroying the rebellious old man within all of us:

Ecc 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.

There is nothing as powerful as the Truth in the mouth of those who are true to the Word. The lies of a false prophet will be used to destroy the rebellious old man within us. But the words of the “one Shepherd are also “fire in [the] mouths of those in whom the “one Shepherd”, the true Shepherd dwells.

Rev 13:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

Mar 1:22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

As His Christ, we too, must speak with authority, as for example in these verses:

1Jn 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
1Jn 4:5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
1Jn 4:6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

These are not the words “the scribes” of yesterday or today want to hear. But these words are fire in the mouths of Christ’s Christ.

Here is the ‘fire which is in the mouth’ of God’s true witnesses, and this is what that fire does to us:

Jer 5:14 Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.

The “them” in “it shall devour them” is “the old man… any man’s work” which must be burned up within us all. It is the “wood, hay, and stubble” that is the life’s blood of our old “first man Adam”.

1Co 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
1Co 3:13 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.
1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

Here are some very fiery words which must be fulfilled before it can be said of any of us, “ye are the temple of God”:

Rev 15:7 And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.
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.

Those are fiery words, and the same fiery Word of God is the fire that comes out of the mouths of God’s witnesses.

Rev 11:4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
Rev 11:5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

As we have twice seen in the case of the “prophet or a dreamer of dreams”, in Deu 13 and in the case of the “old prophet” who lied to the man of God, in 1 Kings 13, false prophets are used by God to call down fire from heaven to prove then, and now to us, and to burn up anything within us which would have us to “think above that which is written”. “Fire from heaven” is the true Words of God but in the mouth of a false prophet, or in the mouth of “that old serpent the devil” himself in the Garden of Eden. So it is with this apostatized old King Solomon. He too, is used of God to admonish us:

Ecc 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.

This apostatized King is an example of these words. To put what King Solomon is telling us in this verse into New Testament words, here is the message of this verse:

2Ti 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Let us never forget that this happened to King Solomon, and it is written down “for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages have come”. (1Co 10:11). King Solomon thought he could live a life of folly and retain his wisdom, as a type of how we all rationalize our own time of “turning the grace of God into lasciviousness”. “Much study is weariness of the flesh” is especially true when we are “never able to come to a knowledge of the truth” while under the very heavy burden of our own lascivious sins.

Mat 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Mat 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Mat 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

“Much study is weariness of the flesh” is “Ye that labor and are heavy laden”. Here is the alternative of coming to Christ and bearing His burden, which is His cross:

Act 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

“It is hard for you to kick against the pricks”. Remember verse 11 which we have just read:

Ecc 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.

It is instructive to know that the Greek word for “pricks” is defined as ‘goads’.

G2759

κεÌντÏον
kentron
ken’- tron

From κεντεÌω kenteoÌ (to prick); a point (“centre”), that is, a sting (figuratively poison) or goad (figuratively divine impulse): – prick, sting.

As the entire book of Job graphically demonstrates, it is futile to contend with, reprove and condemn our own Potter – our own Maker.

Therefore even an apostate King can see that even in his conflicted position of having forsaken his God for the many gods of his one thousand wives, it is far better to fear God and keep his commandments than to continue to “kick against the pricks”. It was this same king who in his younger and wiser days told us this:

Pro 13:15 Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.

As we have demonstrated before, many of King Solomon’s proverbs were nothing short of prophecies about himself, as a type of all of us. That is especially true of the very next verse of Pro 13:

Pro 13:16 Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.
Pro 13:17 A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.
Pro 13:18 Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.

We are all “fool[ish], wicked messenger[s, who] refuse instruction” before we are given to be “faithful ambassador[s]”.

2Co 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

A faithful ambassador is a good spiritual doctor, who “is health” to the spiritual body of Christ. A healthy body is a whole body, and that is what we are told:

Ecc 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.

The word ‘duty’ is added by the translators. It may well be implied, but it is not in the original Hebrew. The “fear of God” produces obedience to His commandments, and a healthy ‘fear of God’ and obedience to His commandments produces a whole and healthy spiritual child of God. This verse is really just another way of wording this verse of scripture:

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.

When we make the spiritual connection between the fear and obedience to God’s word, and how that makes for a spiritually healthy life, our understanding of all the verses of scripture dealing with our health and our healing in connection with God’s word become more meaningful and are given much more power.

Psa 107:19 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.
Psa 107:20 He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

Notice the contrast in type between the spiritual health of King David and King Solomon as both are coming face to face with the loss of these “vessels of clay”:

Here in this last chapter of Ecclesiastes are the words of an apostatized King who has forsaken his own true God to serve the gods of his one thousand pagan wives:

Ecc 12:8 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.

That is the phrase for which this book is best known. Such a mind and spirit do not make for a healthy physical or spiritual body,

Here by contrast, are the last words of King David:

2 Sa23:1 Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,
2Sa 23:2 The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.
2Sa 23:3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.
2Sa 23:4 And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.

What a difference between a spirit which is rejoicing that “the Lord spake by me, and His word was in my tongue”, even in his “last days”, and a spirit and mind and heart which is anxious about what the disposing of all the physical goods acquired in this world.

1:2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
Ecc 1:3 What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?

“All [the] labor” of serving the gods of his wives produces a desperate and empty and spiritually unhealthy mind, heart and spirit in our rebellious, apostate old man, whereas our new man is working diligently to be of service to his all-powerful, loving heavenly Father right up to his last days.

1Ch 23:27 For by the last words of David the Levites were numbered from twenty years old and above:
1Ch 23:28 Because their office was to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the LORD, in the courts, and in the chambers, and in the purifying of all holy things, and the work of the service of the house of God;

King David, in type, was a “whole man” even in his “last words” because he “feared God and kept His commandments”.

But all of this being so, how then do we make these two verses of scripture agree with each other?

Ecc 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.

1Jn 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

As with every word of scripture, there is both a positive and a negative application to this word ‘fear’. The fear of God is the positive application of this word ‘fear’. as these verses demonstrate:

Heb 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

1Pe 2:17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

Christ had as much love as any man who has ever lived, but did He fear His Father? We need not speculate.

Heb 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

Should we also “fear God”? Again we are given very clear instructions on this matter by none other than our Lord Himself:

Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

So the fear which is cast out by perfect love is not the fear of God, rather it is the fear of men, “Them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul”.

It was not a healthy fear of God which caused the apostle Peter to separate himself from the Gentiles in Antioch. It was his fear of what some Jews in Jerusalem might think of him. It was not a healthy fear of God that caused Judas to sell his Lord into the hands of those who hated Him. It was greed and the fact that God had sent Satan to enter into Judas to strengthen him to do his dastardly deed. Christ on the other hand was heard by His Father and was strengthened to endure His trial and was “saved from death… in that He feared [His Father] who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [Gehenna]”.

It is healthy to fear to be destroyed in Gehenna.

Ecc 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.

King Solomon tells us that the fear of God will cause us to keep his commandments. At the same time we are told that “the love of God… [ is to] keep His commandments:

1Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
1Jn 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

It is clear now that the fear of God and the love of God are very closely associated, and we fear to disobey our loving heavenly Father just as our Lord feared. Christ’s fear of His Father was rooted in His overwhelming desire to please His Father because He loved His Father more than this world or anyone or anything in this world. When that is the case, we will be able to come boldly to the throne of grace and be bold in the day of judgment, in which we are even now living.

Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

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?

It is when we are without the confidence that we have a high priest who is our advocate and comforter that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God:

Heb 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

When we give up on this life and count ourselves as dead to all it has to offer, then we are not afraid to lose this life:

Joh 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Rom 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Rom 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Rom 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

King Solomon is the type of our old man who cannot “reckon [Himself] to be dead… unto sin”, and instead when he was old, he was still serving the false gods of his pagan wives. Under such circumstances it had to be in great torment that he concludes this book with these words:

Ecc 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

For all in whom Christ dwells, this judgment is taking place now at the best possible time to make us God’s “very elect”, for whose election all the multitudes of mankind and all the hosts of Satan and his demons have been rejected.

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?

It is a very humbling calling because we all know that no man is worthy of himself to be given this great honor.

Rom 11:30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
Rom 11:31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

 

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