The Destiny of Man’s Physical Body
By Arthur J Licursi
I realize the text of Ecclesiastes 12:3-7 (below) is not a pleasant subject to consider. However, it serves to demonstrate the destruction caused by sin that has infected the entire human race as the offspring of Adam. Being written about 2,500 years ago, the text also demonstrates how articulate God’s word, the Bible, is in expressing the creator’s knowledge of the physical body and how each of its living functions degrade with aging unto death due to sin.
“… sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” James 1:15
Thankfully, we as grace believers of today's age of “the dispensation of the grace of God” are not forever ‘physical body people.’ For, we who have believed unto salvation and eternal life are regenerated with the resurrected “Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” as our new and eternal life. Now as eternal ‘spirit beings,’ we are equipped to dwell “eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor 5:1) serving our Lord. Thus, we can agree with the wisdom and sentiment of the Apostle Paul who says until then;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 (KJV)
20 For our
conversation [Old English for ‘our citizenship’] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile [corruptible physical] body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body [resurrected spirit-body], according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. Philippians 3:20-21
Ought we not then to adjust our ‘sight’ to note and heed those things that pertain to the eternal, and not so much this temporal realm. We find those things to heed in His written word by the hand of Paul as “the Apostle to the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:13).
The Ecclesiastes 12:3-7 text below demonstrates God’s knowledge and wisdom in the matter of the aging and dying of the human physical temporal body. He knows our weak human frame and has better for us in store… in eternal glory.
The question: “Where are the dead?” causes us to think of these seemingly strange words recorded in Ecclesiastes 12:3-7, speaking of the physical body in its normal course of aging, and dying. (The [parenthesis] I’ve inserted below interpret the preceding phrases.)
“3In the day when the keepers of the house [man’s physical body] shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves [legs become feeble], and the grinders cease because they are few [teethe are being lost], and those that look out of the windows be darkened [eyesight is diminishing],
4And the door shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding [chewing food] is low [The doors or lips are shut to hinder the food in chewing from dropping out; as the teeth, which prevented that before, are now lost], and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird [that causes sleeplessness] and all the daughters of music shall be brought low [yet hearing is diminished];
5Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way [fear they have not strength to repel danger], and the almond tree shall flourish [white almond flowers are "like an old man with his white locks"], and the grasshopper shall be a burden [man becomes unable to deal with a small issue] and desire shall fail [desire for food now fails] [all this speaks of old age and dying]; because Man Goeth to His Long Home, and the mourners go about the streets;
6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed [Refers to the medulla oblongata or spinal marrow, from which all the nerves proceed, as itself does from the brain. This is termed a cord, from its exact similitude to one; and a silver cord, from its colour, as it strikingly exhibits the silver gray; and from its preciousness.],
or the golden bowl be broken, [The brain contained in the cranium, or skull, and enveloped with the membranes called the dura and pia mater; here called a bowl, from its resemblance to such a vessel, the container being put for the contained; and golden because of its colour, and because of its exceeding preciousness,]
or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, [The vena cava, which brings back the blood to the right ventricle of the heart, here called the fountain, the spring whence the water gushes up; properly applied here to the heart,]
or the wheel broken at the cistern, [The great aorta, which receives the blood from the cistern, the left ventricle of the heart, and distributes it to the different parts of the system.]
Then [upon death] shall the dust [of the decayed body] return to the earth as it was;
[The whole mass becomes decomposed, and in process of time is reduced to dust, from which it was originally made.]
and The Spirit [of Man Gen 1:26, 2:7, Zech. 12:1] Return unto God Who Gave It.
[The spirit, Heb., ‘ruach,’ is that spirit which God at first ‘breathed into the nostrils of Adam. He then thereby became a LIVING SOUL, an intelligent, rational, discoursing animal, whose ‘spirit,’ with death, ‘returned to God who gave it.’]”
Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity [no longer having any function].”
Commentary in [parenthesis] drawn from: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/ecclesiastes/12-3.html