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Some Enigmas
Eccl. 8:10 – 19
So many things we don’t understand and so many things we will never know as we live under the sun. We have to submit to authorities in order to avoid trouble is one of Solomon’s advice. In this life there will always be good and wicked ruler and sometimes even the law-abiding citizen suffers because of the abuse and oppression of the evil tyrants. We continue our lesson regarding the observations and findings of King Solomon.

I. Delayed punishment (Eccl. 8:10 – 13)
A. Solomon saw that not all wicked men are not punished immediately.
B. Evil men can go or enter the holy place which I would say is the temple.
C. They die, and at their funeral, were praised at the place where they had done their
wickedness before they are buried. Of course, after that, they were soon forgotten.
(Eccl. 8:10)
D. The problem here is that the wicked men can continue their evil deeds and live long
and prosperous life.
E. For those who live lawfully or righteously, this has been a stumbling block in their
F. For those crooks, this has been and will always be an encouragement. (Eccl. 8:11)
G. However, Solomon knew that their judgment will be fully executed eventually and it
shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: (Eccl. 8:12)
H. It shall not be well for the evil men for the length of days they will have here is just a
picture of the never-ending punishment they would endure in the afterlife (Eccl.
I. The punishment of the wicked are delayed because the Lord Jesus Christ is merciful.
He wants to give them a chance to repent. (2 Pet. 3:9)

Illustration 1: Stalin’s Terrible Death
Quoted in Newsweek is Svetlana Stalin’s description of her father’s death. We quote:
“My father died a difficult and terrible death… God grants an easy death only to the just…. At what
seemed the very last moment he suddenly opened his eyes and cast a glance over everyone in the room. It was a terrible glance, insane or perhaps angry and full of fear of death…
Then he lifted his left hand as though he were pointing to something above and bringing down a curse on us all. The gesture was full of menace…
The next moment… the spirit wrenched itself free of the flesh
Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.

Illustration 2: Heathen Vs Christian Funerals
Heathen funerals during Paul’s time were terrifying sights. The bereaved would refuse all comfort, crying their hearts out. Conversely, the catacombs under the city of Rome buried an estimated 3,000,000 Christians during the Roman persecution. Inscriptions found there read: “In peace,” “In sleep,” “Thou livest in God.” There is HOPE for Christians. “Sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” (1 Thess. 4:13)
Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.

II. Enigma (Eccl. 8:14)
A. Enigma is someone or something that is difficult to understand or explain. Enigma is
the synonym of mystery.
B. The resurrection from the dead of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is a mystery and
so is the darkness during His crucifixion. The Word of God is full of mysteries.
C. Solomon also noted that good men get what the evil men deserved and evil men
getting what the good men deserved. (Eccl. 8:14)
D. This is a contradiction to the principle of retribution and in the eyes of man, this is
mysterious or difficult to understand.
E. Why does Christ allow the righteous to suffer while the wicked prosper and enjoy a
comfortable life?
F. The prophet Jeremiah also faced the same enigma and made an inquiry to the Lord.
Jeremiah 12:1 Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk
with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper?
wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?
G. Job shared the same feeling in Job 12:6, and so is the Psalmist in Ps. 37:35, and Ps.
H. Nowadays, this question is no longer hard to answer. It is an accepted fact that the
wicked will all be punished, and the righteous will be rewarded. It’s just a matter of
I. I honestly think that the wicked men know that there is life after death and that
their evil ways will never go unpunished but they still choose to do bad things and
commit sins. They are foolish for they don’t fear God. They refuse to look at the
world to come where hell awaits them.
J. In the NT we can see that material prosperity is not necessarily a measure of God’s
approval. The Pharisees and the Sadducees were rich, famous, and well respected
but in the eyes of the Lord they are doomed.
J. This is the situation which we are living under the sun, a mystery still to a lot of
people but not so now for lots of faithful Christians.

Illustration: Why No Disciple at Sepulchre
It has always been a mystery to me why every disciple of Jesus Christ who was anywhere near Jerusalem, was not at the sepulchre on the morning of the third day after the crucifixion. Over and over again He told them that he would arise. But there is not one solitary passage that tells us that they had any expectation of His resurrection.
It seems as if His enemies had better memories than His friends. When Jesus’ body was laid away in the tomb, the Jews went to Pilate, and wanted him to make it secure because, they said, “We remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, after three days I will rise again” (Matthew 27:63).

III. Enjoy Life (Eccl. 8:15-17)
A. Delight in the fruits of your own labor
1. Eat, drink, and be merry.
2. I would add here that we need not worry about material things for we must seek
the kingdom of Christ first and all these things will be added unto you (Mt. 6:33),
and we have a mansion in heaven (Jn. 14:2)
3. We need not seek revenge upon the evil men for the Lord Jesus Christ clearly
told us in Romans 12:19 “Vengeance is mine; I will repay”, saith the Lord.
4. Christ is in charge, victory is His, and He will soon come to judge the wicked and
reward the righteous.
5. Knowing this we can still have joy in our life even in the midst of trial and
sufferings. (James 1:2)
B. Live wisely
1. We can never understand everything or know the works of God, but we can still
use the wisdom given to us by the Lord to exercise discernment in our decision
making and in facing the challenges of life.

Illustration: Examination Paper
William Phelps taught English literature at Yale for forty-one years until his retirement in 1933. Marking an examination paper shortly before Christmas one year, Phelps came across the note: “God only knows the answer to this question. Merry Christmas.” Phelps returned the paper with this note: “God gets an A. You get an F. Happy New Year.”

IV. Conclusion.
Punishment of the wicked is delayed because the Lord Jesus Christ wants them to repent
and be saved. So many mysteries we cannot explain and understand under the sun but
we can still live joyfully and enjoy the fruits of our labor.

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