I saw under the sun, v.16.Solomon desired that they might see:
The place of judgment, that wickedness was there. The most notable case of this in the Bible is the trial of Jesus. His betrayer declared that he was innocent, Matt 27:4. The governor’s wife declared him to be just, Matt 27:19. Pilate himself declared him to be innocent, Jn 19:4, 6. And Herod found nothing worthy of death in him, Lk 23:15.
To condemn Jesus to death, the chief priests sought false witnesses against him, Matt 26:60, but none of their witnesses agreed, Mk 14:55-59. Instead he was accused of blasphemy for confirming that he is the Son of God, Mk 14:60-64. Ultimately, Pilate succumbed to the pressure of the mob when he sentenced Jesus to die, Lk 23:23-24. Wickedness was there.
Naboth suffered a similar fate of injustice when Jezebel falsely accused him of blaspheming God and the king in order to have him executed so Ahab could take his vineyard, 1 Ki 21:7-14.
Throughout history, men and women have been judged and burned at the stake for believing Jesus and propagating his gospel. In the coming years, people will be judged guilty and martyred for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ, Rev 6:9, Rev 20:4. Wickedness in the place of judgment.
The place of righteousness, that iniquity was there. The chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees had turned the temple, God’s house of prayer, into a house of merchandise, Jn 2:14-16, and a den of thieves, Matt 21:12-13. They were just like Eli and his sons in Shiloh, 1 Sam 2:22, 29. Iniquity was there.
In 2 Thes 2:3-4 the man of sin, the son of perdition, shall be revealed and he will sit in the temple of God and shew himself that he is God. Oh, that they might see that iniquity is there.
God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, v.17. God judged that Able, 1 Jn 3:12; Noah, Gen 7:1; Abram, Gen 15:5; and Lot, for example, 1 Pet 2:7-8, were righteous. Whereas he judged that Cain, 1 Jn 3:12; the men of Noah’s generation, Gen 6:5; and the men of Sodom, Gen 13:13 were wicked.
The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them, Prov 11:6. The wicked shall fall by his own wickedness, Prov 11:5. That’s how it goes with men under the sun. Their wickedness may work for them for a while, but they can’t get away with it forever. God will judge them. Likewise, the righteous may suffer at the hands of the wicked for a while. But in due time, God will right the wrong against them. Oh, that they might see this and endure.
There is a time there for every purpose and for every work, v.17. God will allow the wicked to rise to power for a time. He did this in Pharaoh’s case, Rom 9:17. Likewise he did this in Nebuchadnezzar’s case, Jer 25:9. He used those men. One to demonstrate his power on the earth. The other to punish Israel for their idolatry and disobedience. Then, in due course, he disposed of them. One by a flood and the other by a nation.
God allowed Pilate to rise to power, knowing that a crowd could persuade him to miscarry justice. It was the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God that Jesus be crucified, Acts 2:23. While it looked horrible to his disciples, at the time, his crucifixion was a Godsend for our redemption. Oh, that they might see.
So, you and I have to understand that often God will accomplish his will in the rise of the wicked. And then in time he removes the wicked to establish the righteous in their place. God is smart.
That they themselves are beasts, v18. Have you noticed that all the world rulers in the Bible appear as beasts. See Dan 7:3-8, Jer 50:17, Ezek 29:3, Ezek 32:2, Rev 13, and so forth. Men are like dogs, Phil 3:2, 2 Pet 2:22. Women are like pigs, 2 Pet 2:22. Jesus called Herod a fox, Lk 13:32. Paul warned against wolves that would not spare the flock, Acts 20:29. Pharisees were vipers and serpents, Matt 23:33. Princes are roaring lions, Zech 3:3 and judges and false prophets are wolves, Zech 3:3, Matt 7:15. We are his sheep, 1 Pet 2:25, Matt 10:16. Oh, that they might see.
It should not surprise us, at all, to see men act like animals and propose theories that suggest we came from animals. For:
Man hath no preeminence above a beast, v.19-20. All die. All have one breath. This is called the breath of life, Gen 2:7, and Gen 7:21-23. Without this breath from God, we have no life.
The law of biogenesis is the greatest argument against the theory that our origin was by the science of natural processes. Without life first, there is no life. God breathed this life into every living creature. Oh, that they might see.
All go to the same place, to the dust, Gen 2:7, 1:24-25, 3:19. Because we were all made from the dust of the earth, we all return to the dust of the earth when we die. This is a universal truth. That’s life under the sun. But there is more, thank God.
The spirit of man goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast goeth downward to the earth, v.21. Our spirits go very different ways at death. The spirit of man goes back to God, Ecc 12:7. The spirit of the beast goes back to the earth. You’d never find this out studying by DNA and genetics.
You have to look above the sun and the heaven to see that there is life eternal with a living, eternal God. For a man’s soul to go with his spirit, in this age, he must be saved by Jesus Christ. Oh, that they might see.
Conclusion: Solomon desired that we might see and come to understand that wickedness is often in the place of judgment, and iniquity is often in the place of righteousness. That’s how it is under the sun. But God eventually judges the wicked and the righteous. So, be righteous despite the wickedness and iniquity that you see where it shouldn’t be.
We must realize that God often uses or allows that wickedness and iniquity to prevail in such places while he fulfills his purposes and his work. To resist these, like the Jews in Jerusalem resisted the occupation of the Chaldeans, is to resist God. Zedekiah and the Jews remaining after the initial captivity learned this the hard way. Be very careful to discern where God is in his purposes and work. Peter could have lost his life attempting to protect Jesus from the soldiers who came to arrest him. Remember Prov 16:4.
We must remember that men are no better than animals. We breathe by the same breath of life and we return to the same dust of the earth. So, don’t expect men to be better than the beasts of the earth. Rather, let them know that if they want their soul to rise with their spirit when they die, they must receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior now. Otherwise, their soul will descend into the earth like the spirit of the beast and they will live in hell till their souls are judged and cast into the lake of fire for all eternity.