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The History of Ecclesiastes Who wrote it? –Seventh-day Adventists have always accepted the conservative view that it was written by Solomon as a senior.

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Presentation on theme: "The History of Ecclesiastes Who wrote it? –Seventh-day Adventists have always accepted the conservative view that it was written by Solomon as a senior."— Presentation transcript:

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2 The History of Ecclesiastes Who wrote it? –Seventh-day Adventists have always accepted the conservative view that it was written by Solomon as a senior citizen reflecting on his past life and lifestyle. – “[Solomon] fully proved that all the pleasures earth is able to give are empty and unsatisfying.” – Ellen White. Seventh ‑ day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, p

3 The History of Ecclesiastes Who is “Qoheleth?” –This is the way the writer identifies himself. The word means “a convener of a meeting.” –It has been translated “speaker,” “preacher,” “teacher,” “philosopher,” etc.

4 The History of Ecclesiastes Who is “Qoheleth?” –“The author of Ecclesiastes thus becomes both a personage who makes a speech and the embodiment of the content of the speech — a purveyor of a living message that surpasses information and contains philosophical, psychological and spiritual insights of eternal value to the hearer or reader.”

5 The Structure of Ecclesiastes Ecclesiastes is a collection of observations, thoughts and philosophical statements. It has no systematic structure as such. Often repeats the same thoughts, sometimes with a different “twist.”

6 The Theology of Ecclesiastes The book is a collection of Solomon’s thoughts, observations, and advice based on his own experience. FaithfulUnfaithfulRevival

7 The Structure of Ecclesiastes The only structure it has is: “Here’s my thought about...” “Here’s what the Lord says...” “Here’s what I did (but shouldn’t have)...” “Here’s my advice...”

8 The Theology of Ecclesiastes It’s a pessimistic narrative revealing Solomon’s frustration with his own bad choices over a significant period of his reign. In Ecclesiastes Solomon is saying “This is what I tried ― and it didn’t work.”

9 Today’s Qoheleth Solomon would probably be considered a “secular” Adventist. Is this true?

10 The Theology of Ecclesiastes Ecclesiastes is also a testimony to the power of God to revive anyone who will listen and act.

11 The Theology of Ecclesiastes Solomon never relinquished his theological beliefs, but he backslid experientially. In other words, he didn’t do what he knew to be right.

12 The Issues Raised in the Book Two key phrases 1.“Under the sun.” 1.“Under the sun.” A figure of speech for what happens on earth. 2.“Vanity.” 2.“Vanity.” Hebrew “hebel.” Ecclesiastes uses it 38 times of the 73 times it occurs in the Old Testament. 3.Meaning: void, nothingness, a “shadow,” 4.In Ecclesiastes hebel gives the idea of worthlessness.

13 Hebel in Ecclesiastes o“All things are wearisome, more than one can say (Eccl. 1:8) o“Utterly meaningless!” (Eccl. 1:2). o“As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them” (Eccl. 9:12). o“Righteous men who get what the wicked deserve, and wicked men who get what the righteous deserve.” (Eccl. 8:14).

14 The Theology of Ecclesiastes oGood news in Ecclesiastes “He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil--this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.” Eccl. 3:11-14

15 The Issues Raised in the Book Hedonism, its elements and consequences. –What’s hedonism? The idea that the main goal of life is pleasure. “Natural evil.” –Why storms, earthquakes, etc. where good and bad people share equal fates.

16 The Issues Raised in the Book Restlessness – “never enough.” Is life just an endless cycle with no end in sight? Material prosperity Music Fatalism – “What will be, will be.” The enigma of “time for...”

17 The Issues Raised in the Book The situation of the oppressed. The relative value of materialism to a person “alone.” Envy of one’s neighbor. The purpose of work. Issues of community and fellowship. Wallet control (stewardship)

18 The Issues Raised in the Book Solomon’s real view and concept of God. Wealth and poverty. If a person cannot “see” and experience “goodness,” what good is life? What does it mean to be “overrighteous” or “overwicked?”

19 The Issues Raised in the Book What is the difference between wisdom and knowledge? Personal spiritual discipline. Do the wicked get away with it? Why is there a common density for humans and animals? The destiny of the wicked and the state of the dead.

20 The Issues Raised in the Book How to get along with the government. Taming the tongue. Dealing with “enemies.” The final perspective of life.

21 Ecclesiastes 1 “I, the Philosopher” V. 12. “ I, the Philosopher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. “I determined that I would examine and study all the things that are done in this world.”

22 Ecclesiastes 1 “I, the Philosopher” V. 14. “I have seen everything done in this world, and I tell you, it is all useless.” “You can’t, in his view, see any end from the beginning. If you do see an end, it’s just the beginning of a new cycle and really not a new beginning at all.”

23 The Biblical View “In the beginning God …” Gal. 4:4 “But when the right time finally came, God sent his own Son.” John 14:3. “I will come back and take you to myself…” Eden Lost Eden Restored

24 Ecclesiastes 1 Nothing New Under the Sun useless, uselessTEV “It is useless, useless, said the Philosopher. Life is useless, all useless.” KJV “Vanity” NIV “Meaningless” NEB “Emptiness” LB “In my opinion, nothing is worthwhile; everything is futile.” JB “Sheer futility, Qoheleth says. Sheer futility: everything is futile!”

25 V.3 “You spend your life working, labouring, and what do you have to show for it?” True? False? Sometimes! Maybe? Ecclesiastes 1 – Nothing New Under the Sun

26 One would think that Solomon’s “toil” wasn’t exactly the same as that of a person facing the everyday commute over traffic-clogged motorways, or “toiling” in a dead-end job trying to feed his or her family. Maybe trying to figure out how to keep a thousand wives and concubines happy, and how to manage an ever-expanding treasury could be considered “toil.” In any case, whatever Solomon did consider “toil,” he says it wasn’t worth it! He called it “meaninglessness Ecclesiastes 1 – Nothing New Under the Sun

27 Is it true that there is nothing new under the sun? Ecclesiastes 1 – Nothing New Under the Sun “Generations come and generations go, but the world stays just the same.”

28 “The sun still rises, and it still goes down, going wearily back to where it must start all over again. “The wind blows south, the wind blows north—round and round and back again. “Every river flows into the sea, but the sea is not yet full. “The water returns to where the rivers began, and starts all over again.” Ecclesiastes 1 – The Cycles of Life

29 “It may well be a little hard to grasp why Solomon, a man who had it all, would classify it as a lot of thin air! Most people would probably be overjoyed to have even a small piece of Solomon’s net worth. Nevertheless, something happened that made him realize that his priorities had gone astray.” Ecclesiastes 1 – The Cycles of Life a weariness too great for words “Everything leads to weariness— a weariness too great for words.”

30 Ecclesiastes 1 – The Cycles of Nature “The sun still rises, and it still goes down, going wearily back to where it must start all over again. “The wind blows south, the wind blows north— round and round and back again.”

31 Ecclesiastes 1 – The Cycles of Nature In Solomon's secularized view, observing nature will only wear you out. Is this true?

32 Ecclesiastes 1 – The Cycles of Nature In Solomon’s view, the regularity of the cycles of nature simply show that life has no meaning. Things just go along and there’s no exhilaration left. “All things are wearisome,” he says, “more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing”

33 Ecclesiastes 1 – The Cycles of Nature “If this is true, then history is a closed circuit. Neither circumstances ("what has been done") nor human endeavor ("what has been") can change; leading, of course, to the conclusion that life is ‘wearisome’ (Eccl. 1:8). In other words, it’s boring.”

34 Ecclesiastes 1 – The Cycles of Nature “Even today, some societies worship nature, either not knowing or not acknowledging that there is a God behind what they see and experience. “Some philosophers grapple with what they call ‘natural evil,’ or ‘excess evil’ in nature. Hurricanes, floods, droughts, earthquakes, lightening bolts, tornados, blizzards — why does all this happen to the human race anyway? “Even your insurance policy probably has a clause in it that talks about unexplained ‘Acts of God.’”

35 Ecclesiastes 1 – The Cycles of Nature What the Bible Says “ The other side of this coin, or course, is that extraordinary things we call miracles do happen in nature. “ Was it not a “new thing” when the sun stood still at Joshua’s command during a battle with the Amorites? (Joshua 10:12, 13). “Was it not a new thing when some ravens brought food to Elijah while he hid out beside a little stream? (1 Kings 17: 2, 3). In fact the Lord told Elijah, “I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.” “Solomon didn’t know about this event because it hadn’t happened yet, but it is certainly an assurance to us that there really are some things ‘new under the sun.’”

36 Ecclesiastes 1 – The Cycles of Nature What the Bible Says “ The other side of this coin, or course, is that extraordinary things we call miracles do happen in nature. “ Was it not a “new thing” when the sun stood still at Joshua’s command during a battle with the Amorites? (Joshua 10:12, 13). “Was it not a new thing when some ravens brought food to Elijah while he hid out beside a little stream? (1 Kings 17: 2, 3). In fact the Lord told Elijah, “I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.” “Solomon didn’t know about this event because it hadn’t happened yet, but it is certainly an assurance to us that there really are some things ‘new under the sun.’”

37 Ecclesiastes 1 – The Cycles of Nature God’s Weapons “The fact of the matter is that the forces of nature, while not always very friendly in human eyes, are the very ‘weapons’ God uses to fight in favor of His followers. ‘I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them (Canaanites) out before you--also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow’” (Joshua 24:12).

38 Ecclesiastes 1 – The Cycles of Nature What Solomon Missed! “In using the cycles of nature as an analogy to display his frustration of routine ‘sameness’ that ends in meaninglessness, Solomon overlooked that this very sameness may well have the hand of God behind it, bringing stability to what would otherwise be a chaotic world.”

39 Ecclesiastes 1 – The Cycles of Nature What Solomon Missed! “Clouds, storms, lightening, are all under the God's control (Job 38). He orders the summer and winter (Ps. 74:14), brings out the stars at night (Jer. 31:35), and makes the sun to rule the day (Ps. 136:7,8). Take God out of the equation and, of course, the stability and routine of nature does become ‘wearisome,’ because it has no point to it.”

40 Ecclesiastes 1 – Too Much of a Good Thing? Restlessness seems to be part of human nature. Solomon’s inner restlessness comes through loud and clear. “Whether he indulged in intellectual pursuits (‘Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body’) “Or psychological forays into the inner workings of the human mind, (‘Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly’) he still came up empty (‘I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind’).” “Our eyes can never see enough to be satisfied; our ears can never hear enough.” Eccl. 1:8

41 Ecclesiastes 1 – So What’s the Answer? Solomon: “God has laid a miserable fate upon us.” Paul: ““But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (Romans 8:25). Solomon: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men” (Eccl. 3:11).

42 Ecclesiastes 1 – So What’s the Answer? With the Blessed Hope before us, meaninglessness is banished from the life of the believer.


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