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Ecclesiastes (1) Vanity of vanities

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posted on Sep, 4 2020 @ 05:01 PM
The book of Ecclesiastes tends to be neglected.
I must admit that I’ve been neglecting it myself.
So I come to this book with no preconceptions, except that a book found in the Old Testament must be intended to have a spiritual meaning. The people who compiled the canon were not in the business of collecting an anthology of “Hebrew literature”.

Chapter 1 vv1-11

The opening verses of the book set the tone, but the bulk of those verses, examined closely, are simply objective statements about the world without any value judgements.

They are variants on the theme that the natural world is always the same, and that changes take place only in the form of repetitive natural cycles. The permanent existence of the cycles is part of the fact that the world remains the same.

“A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains for ever.”
“The sun rises and goes down… The wind blows to the south and to the north… and on its circuits the wind returns.”
“All streams run to the sea… to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.”

As long as he is talking about the natural world, the statement that “nothing is new” is just another way of saying that the cycles continue, without change;
Vv9-10 “What has been is what will be… and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said ‘See, this is new”? It has been already, in the ages before us.”

V11; “There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things… among those who come after.”

This is a consequence of the fact that there are no new things in the natural world. If there are no new things, then there is nothing to be remembered.
Someone may say- What about the natural disasters? What about the volcanoes and the earthquakes and the floods? But these things, too, are part of the cycle of natural events, with the result that individual examples of them are not remembered very long. Unless they achieve written fame, like the eruption that destroyed Pompeii. There was an earthquake in England in Shakespeare’s time- who would remember it now, if he had not written it into Romeo and Juliet? Who now remembers the great Lisbon earthquake of 1755?

V8 “All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.”

Here is a value-judgement, certainly. This is the complaint that is being explained by the comments about the absence of novelty. The human mind looks for new things. The eye wants new things to see and does not get them, the ear wants new things to hear and does not get them, so the eye and the ear are not satisfied. They are left empty.
There is no pleasure in looking at the same things, unchangingly, so the result is weariness.

V3 “What does a man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?”

This looks like the conclusion being drawn from all of the above, a conclusion placed at the beginning.
I’m not sure that “toil” is the right word. Later on, the speaker talks about “toil” in the context of pursuing pleasure, so perhaps “effort” would be a better rendering.
A man puts his energies into the various activities of life- does he gain anything out of them?

The moral of the next eight verses , which I’ve examined already, seems to be that he puts his energies into hoping to see new things, and is frustrated because there are no new things to be seen. So in that particular example, he gains nothing.

(That’s a more plausible answer than my first impression, that he was hoping to change the cycles of the natural world, and getting nowhere.)

V2 “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”

This is, again, a conclusion placed at the beginning; this time, presumably, the conclusion to be drawn from the book as a whole. We would need to get to the end of the book to assess it properly.

Preliminary thoughts;
The English word “vanity” is derived from “emptiness”. The Hebrew word suggests a wind or vapour. This conclusion resembles the modern idea that life is empty and meaningless.

Because of remarks like this, the speaker is often called a sceptic. In countries that can’t spell, he gets called a skeptic. But I think we will find that he’s being sceptical about life being lived without reference to God, just as modern ideas about life being meaningless are tacitly disregarding the existence of God. The modern philosophy is unconsciously proving his point.

It is life lived “under the sun”, independently of God, that deserves the judgement “vanity of vanities”.

edit on 4-9-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 4 2020 @ 06:01 PM
On my first read through the Old Testament, I did not look forward to Ecclesiastes, but I'm not sure why. Maybe I thought it would turn me into a cynic...

posted on Sep, 4 2020 @ 06:04 PM
a reply to: Lazarus Short
I've certainly read it in the past, more than once, as part of a general read-through, but I haven't actually studied it in detail. So I'm now engaged in the business of finding out what it says.

posted on Sep, 4 2020 @ 06:20 PM
For anyone interested, this link provides a great sermon on this topic by my favorite preacher. I rarely disagree with Pastor Lawson, and he always boldly delivers what most of us modern Christians need to hear.

Hope you enjoy! Also, check out his hell fire sermon from 8 years ago. Will leave many unsaved shaking! God Bless All! 🙏

posted on Sep, 4 2020 @ 06:22 PM
a reply to: Illumimasontruth
Thank you for providing that link.

edit on 4-9-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 4 2020 @ 08:25 PM
My favorite book in bible by far is Ecclesiastes , " Vanity Vanity all is Vanity " .

King Solomon was awash with Wisdom , so taken aback by his simple request for wisdom was God that he gave Solomon the True Wisdom of the Lord .

But such Wisdom and Understanding was not meant for the Minds of Mortals , it drove King Solomon into depression gave him a Cold view of everything as there was nothing he could not fully see through.

The Bible says in the end Solomon returned to the God's Love, but I think that is a fairy tale I doubt if he ever recovered from such a depth of mind it drove him mad.

posted on Sep, 4 2020 @ 11:41 PM

originally posted by: Illumimasontruth
Also, check out his hell fire sermon from 8 years ago. Will leave many unsaved shaking! God Bless All! 🙏

"God Bless All!"? How can He bless ALL if he made hell for SOME? It makes no sense. I have concluded after considerable research, that Hell is a 404. For starters, God claims to have created the heavens and the earth, but He never once claimed to have created Hell. For "enders," the Bible states that God will become All in all - but how can that happen is anyone is still dead and/or in Hell?

I am not trying to derail this thread, btw.

posted on Sep, 5 2020 @ 12:51 AM
a reply to: asabuvsobelow
I rather think the Lord would have rationed it out, just as he gives information to the prophets. What Solomon actually needed and asked for was a clear understanding of right and wrong for judging purposes.

posted on Sep, 5 2020 @ 01:34 AM
a reply to: DISRAELI

The desires of an earthly person:

All earthy things are just vanity and vexation - it's why nihilism and hedonism are so big in the secular sphere: if you remove spiritualism then nothing has any real meaning or lasting value - even the legacy of Genghis Khan cannot last for all time.

posted on Sep, 5 2020 @ 02:00 AM
a reply to: Bleeeeep
Yes, that's where I think this book is heading.

posted on Sep, 5 2020 @ 09:05 AM
It is a book of worldy wisdom which avails nothing to a man and his condition. In the end see chapter 12 one goes to his long home.

the question always is which long home will you go to heaven with Christ? Or to Hell?

posted on Sep, 5 2020 @ 10:11 AM

originally posted by: ChesterJohn
It is a book of worldy wisdom which avails nothing to a man and his condition. In the end see chapter 12 one goes to his long home.

the question always is which long home will you go to heaven with Christ? Or to Hell?

I see no such metaphysical places as heaven or hell, to one of which we zip off to when we die. What your Bible offers, if you are willing to peek around your church's doctrines, is the rule of God being established here on the earth, just as it is in the heavenly places. Hell is a 404, a boogeyman to keep pews and offering plates full. It's not about the "long home," but about the long green, as churches are organized as a business.

posted on Sep, 5 2020 @ 10:16 AM
His blessings fall on all but in the end his perfect justice is balanced. a reply to: Lazarus Short

posted on Sep, 5 2020 @ 12:32 PM
a reply to: Illumimasontruth

For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. Romans 11:32, KJV

posted on Sep, 5 2020 @ 03:39 PM
I conclude from old testament scripture that for now hell is inside the present Earth. While alive, God's blessings fall like rain on all. Of course he also blesses and curses individuals at will. Something our enemy can also deceptively do. In the end, after judgement, all will be made right and Almighty eternal justice will be balanced.

I really don't study hell much, as spiritual warfare is my focus. I believe it is very real though. Biblical prophets have described scenes. Jesus preached a descriptive hell fire sermon on the Mount of Olives. I put my salvation and eternity on Jesus. The worst part of hell is being eternally separated from our creator, Almighty God. This is it, we either get it right or we don't.

I always love discussing these topics and I listen well and test with KJV scripture. a reply to: Lazarus Short

posted on Sep, 6 2020 @ 09:30 AM
a reply to: Lazarus Short

Eccl 12:5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:
The Bible is clear on there being a place man shall go after deathm it is either Heaven or Hell. Your unbleif means nothing to God.

Roms 3:3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?

posted on Sep, 7 2020 @ 05:05 PM
So, you want to make me out as an unbeliever because I read the same Bible, but come to some different conclusions?

Your quote from Ecclesiastes about " goeth to his long home..." only means that he goes to sheol, used throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, but dishonestly translated as "hell" about half the time. The KJV translators rendered it as "grave" or "pit" about half the time, usually when context made it clear that the location was this earth. OTOH, they rendered it as "hell" almost always when context allowed. Why? I can think of no reason except to establish a doctrine which was foreign to the Scriptures, just as the word "hell" was foreign to Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.

I don't connect the "dots" like others do, and that is why I do not identify with a denomination. I have a different take on things, such that I don't believe we go zipping off to "heaven" or "hell" when we die. Yes, our spirits return to God, since He gave it in the first place. Our bodies return to dust. Our souls, in my view, are us - living and breathing. That part just goes poof. Later, we all get resurrected. Those whose names are written in the Book of Life enter Paradise, not Heaven, for that is God's domain. The rest go to the Lake of Fire, never ID'd as "hell" in the Scriptures, and knowing that God is a refiner of men, I know that they get refined there. Dross, tares, chaff, wood, hay and stubble are burned away. I assume they enter Paradise later, otherwise God can not become "All in all." That's the short version.

I checked EVERY verse in the KJV to come to these conclusions, so why do you think you can debunk me with two verses? I can play proof-text ping pong all day and all night.

posted on Sep, 7 2020 @ 05:08 PM
"The worst part of hell is being eternally separated from our creator, Almighty God." - Illumimasontruth

If hell is forever and involves eternal separation, how does God ever become All in all? Yet, the Scriptures say He will.

posted on Sep, 7 2020 @ 05:11 PM
a reply to: Lazarus Short

Being in hell it will be dark, you will be alone from everyone, you will be screaming and crying, you will be on fire, a worm will be eating you, you will only hear your unsaved parents, siblings, spouses and children screaming in torment too. You will look up and see billions in heaven enjoying themselves with Jesus. But they wont see you. You will be crying out asking God to forgive you and he wont hear you and then you will curse him for all eternity as you pay for your sins because you rejected Jesus Christ payment for you.

edit on 9/7/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 7 2020 @ 05:24 PM
a reply to: Lazarus Short

Jesus said in Luke 16 that there were two places people go after death. One was Called Torments and the other is Abrahams bosom

Luke 16:22-24And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
Jesus told the thief next to him on the cross he would be with him in paradise that is another name for Abraham's bosom.

Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
but after the ascension of Christ paradise was said to be where God was, which is heaven.

2Cor 12:4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Rev 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
This paradise is called the third heaven or the abode of God. When Jesus went into heaven he led captivity captive, that is he took those in the compartment of Sheol called Abraham's bosom into heaven with him.

Ps 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, [for] the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell [among them].
Eph 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

So what we learn when we put it all together is this: there are two long homes a man goes when he dies, one has torments and the other is paradise. If you go to the Greek or Hebrew to change the English then you are just trying to ease your own mind but it doesn't change God's Truth.

edit on 9/7/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

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