Bible Topics In The Christian Library
Chapter 1
What to Expect From Life
Solomon's Test

What is the meaning and purpose of life? What is good and what is evil? What is the nature of the world? We have all wondered about such things. Indeed, these are great issues that thoughtful men have puzzled over for thousands of years. Inspired by the spirit of God, Solomon, too, sought the answers to these great questions, both for himself and for us.

I the preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven… (Ecclesiastes 1:12, 13; KJV).

I said to myself, "I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has great experience of wisdom and knowledge." And I applied my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly (Ecclesiastes 1:16, 17: RSV).

And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king! even that which hath been already done (Ecclesiastes 2:12; KJV).

I turned my mind to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the sum of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness which is madness (Ecclesiastes 7:25; RSV).

All this I observed while applying my mind to all that is done under the sun… (Ecclesiastes 8:9; RSV).

Wisdom having been my careful study, I came to observe the business that goes on here on earth (Ecclesiastes 8:16; JB).

Solomon experimented with his own life. He tried every kind of pleasure—the best food and drink, the best music and entertainment, the finest material goods, the most beautiful women. He took on great challenges, and tried to improve everything around him. Solomon pursued happiness in every conceivable way. I said to myself, "Come now, I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself."…I searched with my mind how to cheer my body with wine—my mind still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven during the few days of their life (RSV). I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruit: I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: I got me servants and maidens and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me (KJV): I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces; I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, man's delight (RSV). So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour (Ecclesiastes 2:1, 3-10; KJV). Solomon, it seems, pursued happiness with as much zest, gusto, and vigor as any man. Certainly if any man was ever both wise enough and wealthy enough to succeed, it was Solomon. The Bible states that Solomon's glory—his riches, possessions, and honor—was unexcelled. [God said]…wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like (2 Chronicles 1:12; RSV).

So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me (Ecclesiastes 2:9; RSV).


No king has ever had more personal resources for the pursuit of happiness than Solomon. Yet he failed. He discovered that neither pleasure, nor possessions, nor anything else would bring lasting happiness.

But this too was vain. Mirth is madness, I reflected, and what is the good of pleasure? (Ecclesiastes 2:2; MOFFATT).

Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun (Ecclesiastes 2:11; KJV).

He pursued happiness but found frustration, disappointment, and emptiness. Ironically, his great quest lead him to hate life. Then I said to myself, "What befalls the fool will befall me also; why then have I been so very wise?" And I said to myself that this also is vanity. For of the wise man as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise man dies just like the fool! So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me; for all is vanity and a striving after wind.

I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me; and who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will be master of all which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes a man who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by a man who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. What has a man from all the toil and strain with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of pain, and his work is a vexation; even in the night his mind does not rest. This also is vanity (Ecclesiastes 2:15-23; RSV).

In sum: Solomon discovered that every avenue in his pursuit of happiness led only to frustration and disillusionment.
Incurable Vanity

Solomon's failure to find lasting happiness was not a personal one. He failed because of the very nature of life. Alas! Vanity, Solomon discovered, is the nature of this world. It is a divided cosmos at war with itself. It is a world of order and disorder in continuous conflict, and there is no sure defense against its evils. Its best promises are only good probabilities; there are no absolute guarantees; all its rules have exceptions.

I saw all the things which were done under the sun and truly, all is worthlessness and chasing of wind. What is crooked cannot be straightened, and what is lacking cannot be counted (Ecclesiastes 1:14, 15; MLB). Solomon gave many examples to illustrate the vanity of life; examples of cruelty from without and within; of the failure of riches, wisdom, even righteousness; of its pervasive injustice, evil, and folly.

He saw hopeless oppressions.

Again I saw the oppressions that are practiced under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them (RSV). Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive. Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun (KJV) (Ecclesiastes ·1:1-3).

one man tyrannizes over another to his hurt (Ecclesiastes 8:9; NAB).

He even saw self-imposed oppression. Again, I saw vanity under the sun: a person who has no one, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, "For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?" This also is vanity and an unhappy business (Ecclesiastes 4:7, 8; RSV). He saw the failure of riches. There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, and those riches were lost in a bad venture; and he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. As he came from his mother's womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil, which he may carry away in his hand. This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go; and what gain has he that he toiled for the wind, and spent all his days in darkness and grief, in much vexation and sickness and resentment? (Ecclesiastes 5:13-17; RSV).

There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy upon men: a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them; this is vanity; it is a sore affliction. If a man begets a hundred children, and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but he does not enjoy life's good things, and also has no burial, I say that an untimely birth is better off than he. For it comes into vanity and goes into darkness, and into darkness its name is covered; moreover it has not seen the sun or known anything; yet it finds rest rather than he. Even though he should live a thousand years twice told, yet enjoy no good—do not all go to the one place? (Ecclesiastes 6:1-6; RSV).

In this vain world he even saw the failure of righteousness. Moreover I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness (Ecclesiastes 3:16; RSV).

In my vain life I have seen everything; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evil-doing (Ecclesiastes 7:15; RSV).

And so I have seen wicked men carried to the tomb and praised from the holy place and lauded in the city where they had acted thus. This too is vanity (Ecclesiastes 8:10; AAT).

Here also is a futility that goes on upon the earth: there are righteous men who fare as though they were wicked, and wicked men who fare as though they were righteous. I said that this also is vanity (Ecclesiastes 8:14; AMPLIFIED).

He found that the inevitable climax of every life is death. No matter how rich or poor, wise or foolish, good or bad, happy or miserable we may have been death is the ultimate "reward" for all our efforts. It is the supreme injustice, which itself encourages men to live selfish, desperate lives. Because to all there is one event, to the upright man and to the evil, to the clean and to the unclean, to him who makes an offering; as is the good so is the sinner; he who takes an oath is as he who has fear of it (BAS). There is no evil like this in the world, that all men have one fate; it makes men seethe with evil aims and mad desires during their life, and then they join the dead—not one is left (AMPLIFIED) (Ecclesiastes 9:2, 3). Solomon saw universal injustice in this evil world. Again I saw under the sun that the race is not won by the swift, nor the battle by the valiant, nor a livelihood by the wise, nor riches by the shrewd, nor favor by the experts; for a time of calamity comes to all alike (NAB). That man indeed no more knoweth his time than the fishes which are enclosed in an evil dredge, or than birds which are caught in a net. Like them the sons of men are drawn into an evil time when it cometh upon them suddenly (Ecclesiastes 9:11, 12;LXX). He saw the power of wisdom despised. Also I have seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great to me. There was a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it and besieged it, building great siege works against it. But there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no one remembered that poor man. But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heeded (Ecclesiastes 9:13-16; RSV). He even saw the spectacle of folly exalted to power. There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as it were an error which proceeds from the ruler: folly is set in great heights, and the rich sit in a low place. I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth (Ecclesiastes 10:5-7; ABPS). Solomon has revealed to us that the very best life in this material realm (under the sun) is very grievous compared with what life could be like in a paradise. It is a great tribulation, and we are hopelessly incapable of ever achieving contentment and fulfillment. The whole of our mental being, like the waves of the sea tossed about, is ever filled with conflicting thoughts of different kinds and intensities from which there is no escape even in sleep; and we can no more achieve lasting inner peace than the waters of the seas can remain still. Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness (Proverbs 14:13; KJV).

All things are full of weariness; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing (Ecclesiastes 1:8; ASV)

it is an unhappy business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with (Ecclesiastes 1:13; RSV).

the day of death [is better] than the day of one's birth (Ecclesiastes 7:1; KJV).

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof (Ecclesiastes 7:8; KJV).

And certainly the eyes of man never rest, day and night (Ecclesiastes 8:16; JB).

The hearts of men are full of evil; madness fills their hearts all through their lives, and after that they go down to join the dead (Ecclesiastes 9:3; NEB).

In my own personal observations, I have seen the same kind of evils today. Pleasure and escape from pain are brief fleeting experiences that this modern generation desperately tries to prolong with drugs and entertainment. The more pleasure we get, the harder it is to keep; and those who get too much degenerate and risk an early death. Pain and discomfort is the normal experience. We enter the world crying in protest, and we leave it surrounded by tears. All the babies I have known cry more than they laugh. As we mature, I suspect we only inhibit the expression, but the feeling remains. We suffer to pay many fold more than we get back in pleasure.

It is a general rule that suffering strengthens, whereas pleasure weakens. It is through "blood, toil, sweat and tears" that we grow strong and succeed, whereas relaxation and play deplete resources. There are countless evils that assail us as we live; evils from nature and evils from our fellow man. Injustice and frustration abound; and the innocent suffer as do the guilty. No time of life seems better than any other. Youth has strength and abundant energy, but lacks the money, power, and talent which the elderly have. But the elderly are cursed with worn-out bodies. And the years in between are filled with too many burdens and responsibilities to relax and play. The beauty, strength, and glory of our youth last for only a fraction of our lives; a score of years, more or less, out of the threescore and ten that we live. The more we live and perceive, the more disillusioned we tend to become. A vice of the young is naiveté; a vice of the old is cynicism. Whenever we think we have made it, that we have "arrived," then we must struggle to keep it. All our benefits—money, knowledge, beauty, strength, power, popularity—are slippery things that keep us busy just hanging on to them. And, of course, at the end everything is lost.

It is a cruel system. The species may survive, but the individual never does. The individual is the perpetual and ultimate victim in this vain world. Life thrives on death, and death thrives on life. Eat-and-be-eaten is the nature of earthly life. Nature is a dog-eat-dog existence, a competitive survival of the fittest, and the individual never survives; each one ultimately succumbs. Every generation must face the same hopeless vanity, Solomon found, because it is the nature of the system, and the system never changes. It is a fixed order.

A generation goes, and a generation comes; but the earth remains for ever. The sun rises and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south, and goes round to the north; round and round goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns, All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again (Ecclesiastes 1:4-7; RSV). Change, it seems, is deceptive. Details and individuals always change, but the pattern remains. I am not the same today that I was yesterday. The chemicals that compose my body are ever changing. Everything is always new and different, if we look only at individual things. But the system never changes. It is a fixed order. The laws of nature are established and the world operates with or without this speck of dust or that, this drop of water or that, this individual or that. The system cycles around and around with or without you and me. If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be (Ecclesiastes 11:3: KJV). Each generation, it seems, believes that its evils are worse than those of the past. We as individuals come and go and do not live long enough to see the tiresome sameness of it all. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after (Ecclesiastes 1:11; KJV).

Do not say: How is it that former times were better than these? For it is not in wisdom that you ask about this (Ecclesiastes 7:10; NAB).

It is an incurably imperfect and vain cosmos. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered (Ecclesiastes 1:14, 15; KJV). Considered in itself life on earth, Solomon said, is a senseless exercise in futility; a conclusion he found to be inescapable. Throughout the world in every age, life is an unhappy, frustrating experience; and the evil system cannot be beaten no matter how we may live. 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 (Ecclesiastes 8:8; KJV). Solomon expressed this ultimate conclusion about our earthly existence in the opening words of the book of Ecclesiastes: The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? (Ecclesiastes 1:1-3; KJV). The wisdom of Solomon reveals the hopelessness of life here on earth. This is why the greater wisdom of Jesus is called the gospel (meaning "good news"). He said: In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33; KJV). True hope is for a better life - an eternal life - in a better world in another realm where justice reigns because God's will is done. But that is another story.

In sum: It is a mistake for a man to put all his hope in this life, for it is an incurably unjust and cruel system filled with disappointment and grief where even, the best and most successful survive only for a while.


Although Solomon was deeply disappointed by what he discovered about life, he still concluded that life is better than death. And, indeed, in spite of all our suffering, virtually everyone chooses life over death.

For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun (Ecclesiastes 9:4-6; KJV).

Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun: but ifs man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity (Ecclesiastes 11:7, 8; KJV).

Furthermore, God has given us compensations - joys to ease our sorrows. He has made the simple, common experiences of life the most reliable sources of happiness: the pleasure of our food and drink, our occupations, the material goods which enrich our lives, the comforts of married life. There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God; for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment (Ecclesiastes 2:24, 25; RSV).

I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God (Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13; KJV).

So I saw the best thing for man was to be happy in his work; that is what he gets out of life (Ecclesiastes 3:22; MOFFATT).

Behold, that which I have seen to be good and to be comely is for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy good in all his labor, wherein he laboreth under the sun, all the days of his life which God hath given him: for this is his portion (ASV). Any man to whom God gives riches and property, and grants power to partake of them, so that he receives his lot and finds joy in the fruits of his toil, has a gift from God. For he will hardly dwell on the shortness of his life, because God lets him busy himself with the joys of his heart (NAB) (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20).

And I commended enjoyment, for man has no good thing under the sun but to eat, drink, and enjoy himself, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of life which God gives him under the sun (Ecclesiastes 8:15; RSV).

Come, eat your food with joy and drink your wine with a glad heart, for to do this has God's approval. Wear white robes always, and spare not oil for your head (MOFFATT). Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun (KJV) (Ecclesiastes 9:7-9).

It is good, Solomon said, to partake of life and its activities, remembering that true survival comes from obedience to the Lord: It is good that you should take hold of this, and from that withhold not your hand; for he who fears God shall come forth from them all (Ecclesiastes 7:18; RSV). But he also advised accepting our lot, and avoiding excessive ambition, for the gains of this life are vanity. What advantage then in facing life has the wise man over the fool, or the poor man for all his experience? (NEB). Better aim at what lies in view than hanker after dreams. But indeed all is frustration, and labor lost (KNOX) (Ecclesiastes 6:8, 9). In sum: God desires that we enjoy the ordinary pleasures of life. They are the true sources of our earthly happiness.
Inextricable Mystery

Solomon went beyond the pursuit of happiness. He also pursued the explanation and meaning of life. He tried to understand the world and find the reasons for its vanity and injustice. But in this effort he also failed. The world is just too massive, too complicated, too deep and mysterious for anyone to understand no matter how wise he may become.

The more words, the greater the vanity of it all; and what does man get from it? Who knows what is good for man in his lifetime, in those few days he lives so vainly, days that like a shadow he spends? Who can tell a man what will happen under the sun after his time (Ecclesiastes 6:11, 12; JB).

All this I have tested from the viewpoint of wisdom; I said, "I will be wise," and it was far beyond me. What exists is beyond reach and unfathomable; who can master it (Ecclesiastes 7:23, 24; MLB).

Behold, this is what I found, says the Preacher, adding one thing to another to find the sum, which my mind has sought repeatedly, but I have not found (Ecclesiastes 7:27, 28; RSV).

Wisdom having been my careful study, I came to observe the business that goes on here on earth. And certainly the eyes of man never rest, day and night (JB). Then I saw all God's work, that man is unable to discover the work which is done under the sun inasmuch as man may labor in its search, but he will not find it; and even if the wise man thinks that he is on the point of knowing it, he will be unable to find it (AAT) (Ecclesiastes 8:16, 17).

…a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him? (Ecclesiastes 10:14; KJV).

Solomon did discover that God created mankind to be a noble creature, but many have corrupted themselves. Here is all I have been able to discover: God made the race of men upright, but many a cunning wile they have contrived (Ecclesiastes 7:29; MOFFATT). Moreover, Solomon found that God knows precisely what he is doing with the world. He has his own lofty reasons for whatever happens, and he has limited our power to comprehend. I have seen the business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with (RSV). He has made everything to suit its time (NEB); but for the mind of man he has appointed mystery, that man may never fathom God's own purpose from beginning to end (MOFFATT) (Ecclesiastes 3:10, 11).

I know that whatever God does endures for ever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has made it so, in order that men should fear before him (Ecclesiastes 3:14; RSV).

Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider; God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him (Ecclesiastes 7:13, 14; RSV).

Just as you know not how the breath of life fashions the human frame in the mother's womb, so you know not the work of God which he is accomplishing in the universe (Ecclesiastes 11:5; NAB).

There is truly an underlying logic and purpose in the apparent senselessness of life. And every stage in the cycle of life-whether for construction or destruction, joy or sorrow, pleasure or pain—serves God's grand purpose. The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble (Proverbs 16:4; RSV).

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it (KJV). He has made everything to suit its time… (NEB) (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11).

I said to myself, "God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work." I said to myself, "For the sake of men God is testing them and causes them to see that in themselves they are but animals." For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other (MLB). They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity (RSV). All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man, whether it goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast, whether it goeth downward to the earth? (ASV) (Ecclesiastes 3:17-21).

For all this I laid to my heart, even to explore all this: that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God; whether it be love or hatred, man knoweth it not; all is before them (Ecclesiastes 9:1; ASV).

In sum: It is impossible for a man to understand the world, or even all that happens in his own life. It is enough to know that God has a purpose for it all, and those who trust him will prevail.

Therefore, it behooves us all to keep the future in mind as we live our lives. There is a modern song (lovely but melancholy) that tells the tale of a young man who chased pleasure until old age caught up with him, and payment became due. It is an old theme. Solomon warned the young to look ahead, and not forget that age catches up with us all. Do not live selfishly and for the moment, he said, because (although it cannot be seen) our spirit does go upward to be judged by how we have lived.

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your mind be glad in the days of your vigor, and walk in the ways of your mind and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment (AAT). Rid thy heart, then, of resentment, thy nature of ill humour; youth and pleasures, they are so quickly gone (KNOX) (Ecclesiastes 11:9, 10).

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come, and the years approach of which you will say, "I have no pleasure in them" (AAT). While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain (KJV): in the day when the legs tremble and the arms weaken, and the teeth chew no more because they are few, and the eyes are dimmed. And the ears shall be so dulled that the sound of women grinding at the mill is low, and a man shall rise up at the song of birds; and the sound of women singing shall be low (LAM); they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way: the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along and desire fails; because man goes to his eternal home, and the mourners go about in the streets; before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, says the preacher; all is vanity (RSV) (Ecclesiastes 12:1-8).

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; KJV).

In sum: Everyone will surely be held accountable to the Lord for how he has lived in this life.

Copyright 1997 by Walter L. Porter may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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