A Question I Was Asked:

Can You Explain Ecclesiastes 7:1?

Can You Explain Ecclesiastes 7:1?

Why is the day of death better than the day of birth? Isn't a new birth something to be pleased about?

UK Apologetics Reply:

Okay, let us look at this:

A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth. (Ecclesiastes 7:1).

Yes, as you say, a new birth is something to be very pleased about, but that is not the point which the writer of this Bible text is making. Read the rest of that chapter. The whole topic of this Bible book is how hopeless life can be without God; laughter, joy, trials, tears, pain and death come to all, yet the day of death can certainly be said to be better than the day of birth for a Christian believer. At that time all the trials and difficulties of life are concluded; the first, physical life will have now served it's purpose, the life to come awaits us! We need to say, as Paul says in Philippians:

7. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9. and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10. I want to know Christ - yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11. and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. 12. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3: 7-14).

That is the attitude and approach which the believer should have. Ecclesiastes shows us that believing in God can have little affect on us in this present life; in general, all people go through the same things in the average life, the Christian is most set apart by their hope of the future and of the life to come. It is faith which sustains us and that too is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).

These are some of the last words of Paul the Apostle:

8. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. 9. He has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10. but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (2 Timothy 1:8-10).

And this, very possibly written just before his martyrdom:

6. For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

Robin A. Brace. October 14th, 2017.