Ecclesiastes 12:1-7 “The Evil Days Will Come When We Will Say We Have No Pleasure In Them”

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Ecc 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
Ecc 12:2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:
Ecc 12:3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,
Ecc 12:4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;
Ecc 12:5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:
Ecc 12:6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
Ecc 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Introduction

The phrase which King Solomon has immortalized throughout this book is the words with which this book begins and with which it concludes. Here is this phrase as it appears in the first chapter of this book and as it appears here in this last chapter:

Ecc 1:2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
Ecc 12:8 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.

The fact that King Solomon confesses from time to time that it is beneficial to remember that there is a just God with whom we must contend, demonstrates the conflicted and tormented mind of an apostatized King who is not following his own advice, as he serves the pagan gods of his one thousand pagan wives:

Ecc 1:13 I applied my heart to inquiring and exploring by wisdom concerning all that is done under the heavens: it is an experience of evil Elohim has given to the sons of humanity to humble them by it.
Ecc 3:10 I see the experience that Elohim gives To the sons of humanity to humble them by it.
Ecc 3:16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.
Ecc 3:17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.
Ecc 11:9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.

Solomon, as an apostatized king, is the type and shadow of our own condition when we “lose our first love” and endure the ‘healing of the deadly wound’ of our own beastly nature as we place the cares of this world above the rewards of dying to those cares.
It is in a tortured and tormented state that King Solomon, who repeatedly tells us that life is nothing more than “vanity and a vexation of spirit” and now tells us that God will judge us even for our youthful sins.
Therefore he warns us:

Ecc 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

There are no chapter breaks in the Hebrew, and this verse is a continuation of the previous two verses, which are the last two verses of chapter eleven. Let’s put them all together to get the force of the message we are being given:

Ecc 11:9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.
Ecc 11:10 Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.
Ecc 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

This admonition here in Ecclesiastes to be aware of the judgment of God while we are young is consistent with what Solomon had already advised us earlier in the book of Proverbs:

Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

As parents we are gods to our children, and as such we are in a position to have lasting influence on the lives of our children. Actions which are aligned with our words are essential to being a godly parent. Christ is our Father, and He too, must train us up in the way we should go, knowing all the while we will “leave [ our] first love”, and we will deny Him before we come back and “depart not from it”.
Here is what happens when “the evil days come”:

Ecc 12:2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:

There is a very good reason why our carnal minds are referred to as “the old man”.

Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
Eph 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
Col 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

In the natural realm our physical bodies unavoidably become old and decrepit, as the story of King David stanch ally Barzillai demonstrates for us:

2Sa 19:31 And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim, and went over Jordan with the king, to conduct him over Jordan.
2Sa 19:32 Now Barzillai was a very aged man, even fourscore years old: and he had provided the king of sustenance while he lay at Mahanaim; for he was a very great man.
2Sa 19:33 And the king said unto Barzillai, Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee with me in Jerusalem.
2Sa 19:34 And Barzillai said unto the king, How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king unto Jerusalem?
2Sa 19:35 I am this day fourscore years old: and can I discern between good and evil? can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king?
2Sa 19:36 Thy servant will go a little way over Jordan with the king: and why should the king recompense it me with such a reward?
2Sa 19:37 Let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again, that I may die in mine own city, and be buried by the grave of my father and of my mother. But behold thy servant Chimham; let him go over with my lord the king; and do to him what shall seem good unto thee.

This is the description of the physical effects of aging upon an outwardly great and righteous man.
Isaac was also an outwardly righteous man, and yet this is what we are told of Isaac in his old age:

Gen 27:1 And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I.

Old age just naturally takes from us “the light [ of the] sun”. All of the effects of physical aging will be healed when we are given “the redemption of the purchased possession” in our new resurrected spiritual bodies:

Isa 30:26 Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.
Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Eph 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

On the other hand, the positive application of the phrase “old man”, has to do with obedience to God attended by many years of life as a type of “life eternal”, which is symbolized by the “old man” described in these verses:

1Sa 17:12 Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehemjudah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul.

King David’s Father, Jesse, was an old man whose reputation was that of a righteous man who had always obeyed God and had always treated his fellow Israelites with love and respect, and he was worthy of, and was given great honor in the land of Israel.
The same was true of Abraham and Jacob, who both died in righteousness, as opposed to King Solomon. So we are told of Abraham and Jacob:

Gen 25:8 Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.
Gen 43:27 And he [ Joseph] asked them [ his brothers] of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?

But King Solomon, the type of our doomed “old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Eph 4:22). We are plainly told that in his old age he forsook his own God to serve the gods of his pagan wives whom he had placed above his own God. King Solomon was literally living out those words of Eph 4:22. His ‘deadly wound’ was, in type and shadow, healed and it was not restored in his physical life. He did not “return… [ in his] old” age as he admonishes us. He is in his own old age, the shadow of our “old man” who “cannot inherit the kingdom of God” and cannot appreciate “the Sun, or the light…”
Here is what the darkening of the sun and the moon reveal to us:

Eze 32:7 And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light.
Eze 32:8 All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord GOD.
2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

“The lights of the heaven” are the understanding and knowledge of the Truths of the doctrines of Christ, and His Father. “That man of sin” just naturally lives within us in the absence of “the light of the Sun”. It is the “brightness of the coming… of the Sun” which destroys our “old man” who is within us all.

2Th 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he [ the man of sin] might be revealed in his time.
2Th 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
2Th 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
2Th 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
2Th 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

It is when we “receive not the love of the Truth [ Christ]” that we are in “strong delusion”. When we are deceived, that deception is sent to us from God Himself (Eze 14:9). It is in this state of spiritual apostasy that we mourn the loss of our old man, and we fear the loss, through death, of all of his accomplishments.

Ecc 12:3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,
Ecc 12:4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;
Ecc 12:5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:

King David had committed adultery and murdered Uriah to cover his sin. But unlike King Solomon, King David repented of his sins before he died. Contrast these words of the apostate King Solomon as He faced death with these words of His repentant father, King David:

2Sa 23:1 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.

King Solomon dreads the return of the clouds, yet even King David could only see the light “shining after the rain”.
Notice the similarities between the description of death here is Ecc 12:3-5 which refer to the physical process of aging leading to death, with these words of the New Testament which describe the destruction of the great harlot within us:

Rev 18:22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;
Rev 18:23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.
Rev 18:24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

The fact is that in reality Ecclesiastes, Revelation, and also these verses in Job, are all speaking of one and the same thing. They are all describing the destruction of our “old man” with all of his false doctrines which have for so long bewitched all of us:

Job 21:17 How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft cometh their destruction upon them! God distributeth sorrows in his anger.
Job 21:18 They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carrieth away.
Job 21:19 God layeth up his iniquity for his children: he rewardeth him, and he shall know it.
Job 21:20 His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
Job 21:21 For what pleasure hath he in his house after him, when the number of his months is cut off in the midst?

Job and Solomon both typify our materialistic old man. King Solomon has already informed us of the fact that we are all, by nature, brute beasts which we are told were made to be destroyed:

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.
2Pe 2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;

If earlier, as newborn babes in Christ, we were granted to fear God more than the god of this world, we will face the loss of our clay vessels with the hope of a resurrection. If that gift is not given to us when we are brought to know our Creator, it certainly will not be there when we face the loss of this life.
That is the meaning of our next verse:

Ecc 12:6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.

Silver is connected with redemption in scripture, as the stories of Joseph and Christ demonstrate. The Hebrew word for silver is ‘keseph’. What is less commonly known is that the root of ‘keseph’, is the the Hebrew word ‘kasaph’.
Here are a few verses in which ‘kasaph’ appears. Keep in mind that this is the root from which the Hebrew word for silver is taken:

Job 14:14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.
Job 14:15 Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire [ Hebrew – kasaph – the root from which comes ‘keseph’ – ‘silver’] to the work of thine hands.
Gen 31:30 And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after [ Hebrew – kasaph] thy father’s house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?
Psa 84:2 My soul longeth [ Hebrew – kasaph], yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.

So it is clear that atonement and redemption are something for which Christ and His Father “have a desire… sore long after… and for which their “soul longs”. But it is not “flesh and blood… the first man Adam” that our heavenly Father ‘sorely longs after’. What He longs for is the “new vessel… the new man… the last Adam”, who He is even now is the process of creating:

1Co 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
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.
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;

With that in mind, our last verse gives us the fate of “the first man Adam”, our marred vessels of clay, which were never designed or intended to be any more than rebellious, stubborn and sinful “vessels of destruction” through whose death and destruction the new man, submissive, and obedient, “new man” would be born.

Ecc 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Job was not given to know the details of the risen spiritual Christ, “the new man”, but he was given to know this:

Job 14:14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.
Job 14:15 Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.

And this is true for every man who has ever lived. It is true for “all in Adam”.

1Co 15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Next week, if the Lord wills, we will finish our studies in this book of Ecclesiastes, and we will learn that “the conclusion of the whole matter is to fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole man”.

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.

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