JUDGMENT DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN PUNISHMENT
"This is the end of the matter; all hath been heard; fear. God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man" Eccles. 12:13
With verse nine of the previous chapter the final division of this book begins. It stands in direct and intended contrast to all that has preceded it. That contrast is immediately seen when verses eight and nine in chapter eleven are compared. Both call upon man to rejoice, but the motive is entirely different. The voice of worldly wisdom says: rejoice because all the future is dark and vanity. Now the higher wisdom speaks, and it says: rejoice, by remembering, that God brings men into judgment as to the exercise of all their natural powers. Let it be remembered that JUDGMENT DOES NOT MEAN PUNISHMENT, unless and until men abuse those natural powers. Remember we have been living under the judgment of God placed on this earth at Babel. Wisdom says: life is to be full of joy, and the way to find joy is to order it under the judgment, that is under the government of God. This is urged in all that follows, until in these words everything is summarized. I cannot refrain from saying that this statement has suffered incalculably from the introduction by translators of the word duty. The word does not occur in the Hebrew text. Leave it out, and the statement is: "This is the whole of man." This at once emphasizes the outlook of all that has gone before. The outlook of the Debater has not been the whole of man. Life in its wholeness takes in the things ABOVE THE SUN, the spiritual facts and forces; it begins with the fear of God, and brings that fear to bear upon all the lower facts and forces; by walking in His commandments. No man who lives a whole life forever says that "all is vanity." He, first finding God, finds also the joy and fullness of life in every aspect. To him life becomes a song and gladness; it is full and glorious.