So by all accounts the earth is still spinning on its axis and evil has not prevailed. You would think that evil had triumphed by looking at the headlines, but evil is just having its heyday. As I wrote earlier, Satan knows his time is short and he is emptying out hell. But his time is short, nevertheless. Solomon wrote of evil’s fullness and finality:
“For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God. People know neither love nor hatred by anything they see before them. All things come alike to all: One event happens to the righteous and the wicked; to the good, the clean, and the unclean; to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As is the good, so is the sinner; he who takes an oath as he who fears an oath. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: that one thing happens to all. Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.” (Ecclesiastes 9:1-3)
So is Solomon saying there is no difference between good and evil? No, he’s saying it may seem like it at times, but in the end evil people, “the sons of men,” will die just as the good, but they know it not, or live as though they do not. But in reality, the most precious thing they own is their last breath.
We who are in Christ know that Jesus has defeated death, so while we may not desire it, we do not fear it. I know that I desire to be with Christ, but also that as long as He has me on earth I am to do His will and share the good news about Him. The good tidings the angels brought to the shepherds were of a Savior being born who would once and for all bring peace on earth. And though it has been over two thousand years since His birth, Jesus is the victor!
“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For ‘He has put all things under His feet.’ But when He says ‘all things are put under Him,’ it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:20-28)
Do you see that nugget of astounding news tucked in the middle of the passage? “The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.”
If you continue reading in Ecclesiastes 9 you see this in verse 5, which is illuminated by our passage from 1 Corinthians 15:
“For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten.”
We who are alive in Christ know that when we die we begin eternal life. Those who reject Christ do not know this, reject any idea of the afterlife, and even openly mock God by their sin. I know sometimes studying about the afterlife and man’s knowledge, especially in the light of Scripture, may not always be clear. Ecclesiastes 9:1-3 seems on the surface as though it is bad news for all, but this is why extensive study of God’s Word is necessary. In it we find that in the end there is a difference between good and evil. Matthew Henry explains:
We are not to think our searching into the word or works of God useless, because we cannot explain all difficulties. We may learn many things good for ourselves and useful to others. But man cannot always decide who are objects of God’s special love, or under His wrath; and God will certainly put a difference between the precious and the vile, in the other world. The difference as to present happiness, arises from the inward supports and consolations the righteous enjoy, and the benefit they derive from varied trials and mercies. As far as the sons of men are left to themselves, their hearts are full of evil; and prosperity in sin, causes them even to set God at defiance by daring wickedness. Though, on this side death, the righteous and the wicked may often to seem to fare alike, on the other side there will be a vast difference between them.
The precious children of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut are still being buried. The grief and anguish of those families is so real and terrible. But the good news is those precious ones are on the other side; there is a vast difference in where they are today than there is where the vile reside, or even their short lives here on earth.
This is the message of Christmas. The angels brought “good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” It is good news to those who accept the Gift of Christmas, the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. This was God’s greatest act for His greatest glory, so that we may know “on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”
My family’s prayer for each of you is that you have a very blessed Christmas. That you know the fullness of life in understanding there is more than just this life. That if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, that this Christmas you receive the greatest Gift of all, eternal life.
My family and I wish you Jesus.
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Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers