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Ecclesiastes (9) The new gets old

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posted on Oct, 30 2020 @ 06:01 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.

The main theme of the early chapters has been that natural life and human life in the natural world do not go beyond a series of cycles of alternating events. Any apparent changes are discovered to be stages within these cycles, while the overall system itself does not change.

It is “vanity” for humans to look for anything beyond these things in the natural world, trying to transcend the system on their own. It is better, and the gift of God, for them to find their enjoyment in the world as it is, maintaining themselves in the way which God has provided.

Nevertheless, God has “put eternity into man’s mind”, in such a way that eternity cannot be known completely. Thus man is made aware of something greater than himself. “God has made it so, in order that men should fear before him.”

It seems that this nearly completes the central message of the book. Much of what follows looks like an assortment of “footnotes” under the general heading “other flaws noticeable in human life when God is disregarded”.

Ch4 vv13-16

I haven’t been looking at commentaries for this book. But in this case, the contrast between a “poor and wise youth” and an “old and foolish king” looked so pointed that I thought it best to check whether anyone had tried to identify them as specific individuals. The answer was that many rabbis and scholars had made suggestions over the centuries, without producing any agreed answers. In fact, on closer inspection, the passage is probably making a general point after all.

V13. The “old and foolish king who will no longer take advice”.
This can be a generic description. That’s what happens when kings get old. They get stubborn, convinced that their experience covers everything, and stop listening to what anybody else tells them.

V14. The poor and wise youth, who becomes king in his place, is better, even if he has a humble origin like coming out of prison or being born poor.
This choice of humble origins seems to rebut the idea that the writer is thinking of a specific pair of individuals. It is a generic situation. The old king has a young successor, whom everybody prefers.

The next verse offers a picture of the new king ruling happily “all the living who move about under the sun”.
V16. “There is no end of all the people; he was over all of them.”

“Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him.”
Why not?
It depends on what is meant by “later”.

At a later stage in the new king’s life, he ceases to be the new king. First he becomes “the current king”, then he gradually develops into “the old king”. People think he is foolish, and complain that he no longer listens to advice.

There is a “second youth”, ready to “stand in his place”, already intruding into the picture of v15. I think this must be his expected heir. It is an old story, that the people “turn their eyes from the setting to the rising sun” . This is why Elizabeth I stubbornly refused to name her successor.

There’s an even more apposite illustration in modern England. Why is Prince William so celebrated? Is he not young, vigorous, good-looking, the idol of young and old women? That is why people prefer him to his old, cranky, fuddy-duddy father Prince Charles. Yet there was a time, if you examine the newspaper files, when Prince Charles was the one who was young, vigorous, good-looking, the idol of young and old women. He was the bright hope of the future. But those who come later do not rejoice in him. He is no longer the “young” option.

Then, if “later” means “after his death”, people do not rejoice in the king because they have forgotten who he was. If popularity survives the aging process, it does not survive disappearance from the scene; “the good is oft interred with their bones”. Surely one of the reasons why so many classic films are being remade is that the people who starred in the original versions are no longer celebrities to the younger generations, who expect to see celebrities of their own. Who now remembers sporting heroes like Stanley Matthews, Denis Compton, or even Stirling Moss? Who now reads the novels of Ouida or the poetry of Tupper?

In “Scipio’s dream”, a piece by Cicero, the philosopher explains that the quest for fame is a waste of energy, because the world in which you become famous is replaced by a new world, inheriting no knowledge of the old world, at fixed intervals of time. (This conclusion rather depressed me when I was translating it at school). In practice, the passage of the generations achieves a similar effect. Only a tiny minority of our ancestors have names which will be recognised by people who don’t read books.

We learned even in the first chapter that looking for new things in the world was “vanity”. We now learn that it is “vanity and a striving after wind” to look for any lasting benefit in being the new thing in the world for other people.

edit on 30-10-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 30 2020 @ 06:02 PM
The psychology of fame

It seems that everybody wants to be famous.
Yet the vast majority will remain in obscurity;
“Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air”- (“Elegy written in a country churchyard”, Thomas Gray)

Andy Warhol told us that “in the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes”. This prediction has been fulfilled, but both halves of it have been fulfilled. The internet makes everyone famous, but only for fifteen minutes. So it all evens out, and we are back where we started.

What is so desirable about fame?

It may be seen as a way of achieving a kind of immortality. That’s what makes it so frustrating that fame does not last.

“The elders of the internet”

But perhaps it is even deeper than that.
Are we trying to recover that sense we had in babyhood of being at the centre of the world?
“The elders of the internet know who I am!?” Not necessarily to be the centre. Perhaps, rather, to be known by the centre (or the exact emphasis may depend on the baby).

Hence the desire to be recognised, known by everyone;

For some people, as in that last example, there is a tolerable substitute in being well-known on a smaller scale;
“Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood.” (Thomas Gray again)

Because of the desirability of “being known by”, being associated with fame, even in some tenuous way, may be nearly as good as fame itself. I was struck by a remarkable example of this when I briefly worked in a catering establishment. Some television celebrity visited the place, and a young colleague came into the staffroom exclaiming “I’m famous- I’ve got ---‘s autograph.”
(This is the same place, I’ve just remembered, where a visiting member of the regional management got miffed because I did not know him by sight.)

In modern times, there’s also a lot of scope for the reflected glory of having known or met somebody “before they were famous”. I think I can manage a couple of examples of that myself. Let me see.

For seven years I was sharing classrooms with the future English novelist John Harding, author of “What we did on our holiday”. I can report that his schoolfriends called him “Gilbert”, after a television celebrity of the time.

For nearly twenty-four hours, I shared college rooms with Melvyn Bragg, the future novelist and broadcaster, now Lord Bragg. He was back in town for a college reunion night. I can report that the next morning he called out from his bedroom to ask the time, and said “Oh, God”. Twice.

Or, for a little theological name-dropping, the genial young graduate student Tom Wright, beardless then, once gave me a lift home from my place of work, a small publishing company which might be publishing his first book. I can report that he was disconcerted, as well he might be, by my employer’s cost-cutting suggestion that Tom should be directly involved in the printing process.

In fact theology offers the true solution to the psychological need. For the gospel makes it clear that God knows all of us, in detail; “Even the hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew ch10 v30). Catholic teaching wants to supply us with “intercessors”, to draw God’s attention to the fact that we exist as individuals, and to motivate him to help us. But we don’t need intercessors, because we are “known by” God already. Through the Holy Spirit, we are in direct contact with the centre of the world.

So the only ambition left is the still closer acquaintance that Paul hopes for; “Then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood” (1 Corinthians ch12 v13).

edit on 30-10-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 1 2020 @ 06:58 AM
a reply to: DISRAELI
Now other than missing the whole point of the section, I must say you did an excellent job of getting an idea that has absolutely nothing to do with the point at hand. A great expose on worldly people might be nice in a world history book Opinion piece. But no meat of God's word no council from God. Except to make it look spiritual by adding a scripture from Paul that had nothing to do with the section and more to do with you. Isn't that odd?

Eccl 4:13-16Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished. For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor. I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead. There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.
There is no need to identify the poor wise child and the old foolish king, to do so is to add confusion and not clarity. In the end the same thing happens to them all. Or have you all ready forgotten the context of what Solomon has been ideally telling us about the condition of men in the Pre-cross Israeli Kingdom? And that is the fate of all men is death in this world. Without God in his life a man (generic) in this world can only have joy in his work, his food and his possessions. Before God all are bare and needy and all their righteousness is as filthy rags. So wasting time trying to identify a fictional person used to make a point, and not to try and give the readers a spiritual application that applies to their lives today is a waste. You missed the spiritual application of verse 14 because the RSV made a change to the scriptures and thereby gave another meaning to the text and lost that which had been there for thousands of years.

I am not surprised you talk about the Queen, Cicero, and Prince William. Those of the world have no understanding. Elizabeth's refusal to name a successor, or Cicero the worldly Philosopher have no grounds or words that equal God's yet you make them relevant to the Scriptures? Yet you missed the clear application for peoples lives today. Why should I even be surprised.

Today life is not vanity, no emptiness unless we choose to live that way. IN Christ is the fulness of life and nothing is empty or worthless if we are in him. to be poor in Christ's Kingdom is better than rich in this world. Better to be in Christ and un-noticed than to have fame and fortune in this world. The KJV gives a much better reading and application than the version you are using. Why ignore the fulness of God's words in this section as they are found in the KJV and settle for the watered down version that leaves men wanting and you needing to talk about worldly people and their faulty lives.

Thank you for the history lesson. I hope maybe you will take time to dig out the real treasure of this section that we might learn a spiritual truth that we can apply to our lives today.

Which Gospel are you speaking of by the way? Remember there are 6 W's and an H questions we are to ask when we give an exposition of the scriptures. Who, What, Why, When, Where, Which and How. But I will also ask these of your exposition as I do others.

Did you not see in verse 14 the cross reference to Jesus and Paul's teaching? Of course it is obvious when comparing KJV to the RSV we see that a subtraction and addition of the words loses the the spiritual application. Just one word change, subtraction or addition can change the whole subject and meaning then people don't get the whole council of God's words.

I can only pray you look and compare and then see what you lost. I really don't think you ever earnestly prayed over the things you share. Without the Holy Ghost in our lives we cannot understand the things of God (1Cor 2:9-16).

edit on 11/1/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 2 2020 @ 07:19 AM
Disraeli, I am not attacking you. I am sure you are a great person, it is the message I am criticizing and concerned about. That should be encouraging to you. If you accept that then it is iron sharpening iron. If not then dulling is all you will get.
edit on 11/2/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 2 2020 @ 02:54 PM

originally posted by: ChesterJohn
Disraeli, I am not attacking you. I am sure you are a great person,

This claim is undermined by the claims made in, and the general style of, most of your other posts, including the post previous to that one. If blessings and cursings come from the same tongue, which am I supposed to believe?

The chief symptom of hostility, as I see it, is one that I've pointed out on previous occasions- viz. that you don't have enough commitment to truthfulness in your criticisms. You spend much of your time misrepresenting what I have written, and attacking me for things I have not said. You've been doing this for ages ("He denies the godhead" was only the most extreme example, and the final straw at the time). If I draw your attention to any misunderstandings, you normally take no notice.

I keep hesitating between the two different explanations. Are you genuinely finding it difficult to grasp the real meaning of the written words you see in front of you? Or are you doing it deliberately, because you are only interested in finding statements that can be criticised, even if they have to be manufactured? It's very hard to tell which of those explanations is closer to the truth (and which one, for that matter, is the least uncharitable). My current theory is that both are partly true- you easily pick up the wrong end of the stick, especially when you read too quickly, but there are times when finding the right end is not one of your priorities and you don't try very hard.

If you want me to believe you are not attacking me, it is not enough just to say so. You need to stop doing it, and approach discussions once more in good faith and in good will.

I will add this. I will discuss the right interpretation of the scripture text, but there is still no mileage in expecting me to debate points based entirely on the principle "The AV says something different and the AV must be right". That line of agument is not iron. It is clay.

edit on 2-11-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 2 2020 @ 04:30 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Not in any post is it against you as a person. I am attacking the message and you know it.
edit on 11/2/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 3 2020 @ 08:24 AM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Look I understand the Book and this section you tell me I fail to grasp the "REAL" meaning of the written words. I have been studying the Bible for almost 27 years, the KJB 15 years of that time. Your choice of Bible Translation the RSV is your problem not mine. You missed the whole spiritual application of Vs 14 because the RSV changed it. All we can have for us today from this is the Historical Teaching(Past), the Doctrinal Teaching (for Israel then and in the future) and The spiritual Application (for the Church today). You have never even considered you are using an inferior translation and the fact that the RSV only used about 45 Text for its translation and most of them after 250AD seems to elude you.

Why would anyone want a translation that is incomplete or as Satan did to Eve CHANGE the words of God to say something it does not. Literally the RSV has made the word of God of none effect in vs 14 as a spiritual application for us today.

I 'd bet even if you read the KJB text, you would still not find the spiritual application of the text. The KJB text is the living text that is up to date and applicable today for the church. To teach a Bible and not have an application for the readers is a travesty. " "Food that does not nourish leaches the body of its vitality and strength" C Smith. "

I challenge you to read verse 14 in the KJB text, Pray the Holy Ghost give you understanding and show you the application of the text.

1Co 2:10; 13 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. . . . Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
Then post it in your thread. If you do that and it is even near the REAL Spiritual applicaiton of the Text I promise not to comment on your threads ever again.

edit on 11/3/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 4 2020 @ 08:28 PM
Disraeli, I challenge you to read the KJB Eccl 4:14 and if you post here the correct spiritual Application for the church I will never post on any of your threads again.

posted on Nov, 5 2020 @ 06:09 AM
a reply to: ChesterJohn
I Have never been interested in stopping you from posting.
If a change of heart can induce you to post honestly and without malice, that would do.
Please, look into your heart and listen to God, if you're not prepared to listen to anybody else.

posted on Nov, 5 2020 @ 08:18 AM
a reply to: DISRAELI

I have not been malicious. I have only questioned your MESSAGE and the BIBLE TRANSLATION you are using, but not you personally. Which is more than I can say for your attacks on me personally just because you disagree with me.

You mean you are unable to look a nothing but Scriptures as found in the KJB and bring out both the Historical understanding and the Spiritual application. Not to mention the Doctrinal meaning for Israel. No Holy Ghost no ability to rightly divide or as your inferior bible says "rightly handling the word of truth".

edit on 11/5/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 5 2020 @ 12:15 PM
a reply to: ChesterJohn
I keep drawing attention to the absence of honesty and truthfulness in your accounts of what I have written. That is the key symptom. It means the absence of good will (and also the absence of any input from God).

I say again- look into your heart. Think about where that dishonesty comes from. Think about where your resentment of scholars comes from. I think I can guess, but you need to work it out for yourself and sort out your emotions with God's halp.

That avatar of yours is clearly expressing hostility and aggression towards everybody in sight. It really does give you away.

edit on 5-11-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 6 2020 @ 07:27 AM

originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: ChesterJohn
I keep drawing attention to the absence of honesty and truthfulness in your accounts of what I have written.
Says the one who has openly admitted to plagiarism on ATS.

You have an opportunity to not have me ever again criticize any of your (sometime plagiarized) opinions on what YOUR BIBLE VERSION means or teaches. One maybe two verses (13 and 14) all you have to do is present the spiritual application. That should be rather easy for someone who has the HOLY GHOST indwelling them and one of your intelligence.

I did find it hilarious of you to take Ecclesiastes as Literal like you did here and not as figurative as you do passages that should be taken literal. Poetry is always figurative unless they can to be taken literally. There was absolutely no reason to bring up Queens, Kings and other unsaved people in this passage.

My Avatar in no wise reflect who I am it is done to offset the mind of he who sees it. Like it has yours.

edit on 11/6/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

edit on 11/6/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 6 2020 @ 07:37 AM
a reply to: ChesterJohn
There you are. One malicious interpretation. You prove my point, and I rest my case.

posted on Nov, 6 2020 @ 07:45 AM
a reply to: DISRAELI
Nothing malicious in my reply. go back a re-read it. Your interpretation of my reply, as usual, is wrong. False accusation as the norm for you.

You should even if you don't care whether I post or not desire to give your readers spiritual bread for their souls. But history lessons and opinions don't help anyone in any way except to fill their heads with worldly knowledge.
edit on 11/6/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 6 2020 @ 08:23 AM
a reply to: ChesterJohn
So why not write a few threads yourself? Give the membership the teaching you believe they need. You can show us that you're up to writing positive things, making a positive contribution to the work of presenting God to the world, and it would be a way of proving me wrong when I called you a "slothful servant".

posted on Nov, 6 2020 @ 10:14 AM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Great idea! However most of my messages are on my home computer here at work I only have a Bible which is where I post from most of the time. And of course my material is now under copyright and can'rtbe put on the internet except from by my publishers.

And if I do I already know you will be criticizing me for no other reason than because I have of you. Not an accusation just fact from your reactions to my replies.

I still challenge you to post the spiritual Application. This would let us, not just me, know if indeed you are sealed, filled and led by the Holy Ghost and qualified to teach God's words. Because the natural man . . . oh let me just use the scriptures

Cor 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Without the Spirit of God men can only give us worldly opinions of God's words and answers why some cannot understand or mock at the deeper things God has revealed in his word.

I have shared some of these deeper things and some laugh and call it error. but yet the word says they have not the spirit of God as to why they do not see the revealed things of God's words. The Holy Ghost tells us to study and rightly divide (not rightly handle) the word of Truth. The Holy Ghost compares spiritual with spiritual which is verses with verses. Isaiah tells us that the scriptures will not lack a mate so it is up to us to find them. Therefore in order to find them we either have to be familiar enough with the Bible or we have to use a Bible search program to find them. The problem using Bible program cross-references is that many are leaning toward as certain denominational teaching depending on which program and bible version they are using. I like using a program that is neutral like Power Bible.

So when I read a worldly opinion on these verses as you had, I have to wonder if you are led of the Holy Ghost or just your own spirit. And as a believer that is important.

I am often critical of messages that are worldly and off from what the Bible clearly is teaching. (realizing you think he hideth means only that he((Jesus)) hid the world ((that is the interpretation Jesus Gave)). But you missed the true teaching of he hideth in that had the Oh let me quote the scriptures

1 Cor 2:8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
that is why he hideth himself and why the KJB states it that way. Not an error but to a deeper understanding. Because Jesus never hid the world.

When I make remarks like that, that are not of the norm, I often get many say I am in error or they say, "I can't take the bible literally, I shouldn't spiritualize the verse or that the Bible all allegorical". But I know better as all scriptures is to be literally taken unless it can't be. In the case of the Parable of Jesus and the world is the treasure (according to Jesus interpretation of it) he didn't hide it. Allegories in Scriptures and most parables (parable=along side teaching based on real life to press a point) are clearly interpreted in Scriptures so in the case of the "he hideth" issue, while the finder of the treasure in the parable may indeed hide the treasure until he could purchase the land. But once we know literally the interpretation we see that Jesus did not hide the world until he purchased it with his blood, but on the other hand if he hid who he was as the man who findeth then the mate of the verse as found in 1Cor 2:8 is a deeper thing of God revealed.

I will give you an example of how people react when I make comments on some silly interpretations or understanding of the Bible. I replied to a comment that said, "the Bible is in error because it spoke of Satyrs". The claim was that they are Greek Mythology and the Bible stole things from the Greek Myths and put them into the Bible. Sounds legit until you STUDY the words of God. A satyr to the Greeks was a half man half goat or a Pan like creature. But to the Israelite's it was a wild woolly he-goat. So in the context of the verses that have satyr in them it is clear it was a wild animal and not some devilish half-breed of Greek Mythology. From statements like those I know if a person is really studying the Bible or just reacting to it in their own spirit.

Have nice day, Sir. That is if you are a sir. If not forgive me.

edit on 11/6/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 6 2020 @ 10:32 AM

originally posted by: ChesterJohn
Great idea! However most of my messages are on my home computer here at work I only have a Bible which is where I post from most of the time.

And if I do I already know you will be criticizing me for no other reason than because I have of you. Not an accusation just fact from your reactions to my replies.

Try it anyway. Do some positive stuff.

posted on Nov, 6 2020 @ 10:44 AM
a reply to: DISRAELI

It is positive stuff to criticize your OPINIONS. It is only you who sees and takes it negatively.

posted on Nov, 12 2020 @ 12:01 PM
Ok here is the spiritual understanding and application for Eccl 4:14.

First, let's look at the first part of verse 14.

Eccl 4:14a "For out of prison he cometh to reign;"
Jesus Christ died in man's place and went into prison i.e.Hell. that is where he preached unto those in prison

1Peter 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
When Jesus Rose on the third day he "out of prison", that prison was ours yet he went into it to redeem us who believe on him. Now while he has come forth to reign he is not reigning yet. He will reign when he comes back the second time as the KING of KINGS. So here we have a son, a child who cometh out of prison to reign over God's Kingdom and the Kingdom of Heaven, which is Israel. And he will.

Now let's look at the second part of verse 14.

Eccl 4:14b "whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.
We can see two great truths here. The one born in his Kingdom was Jesus Christ born into this world. It tells us he became poor

2Cor 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
and we can also see this apply to anyone who believes on Christ as he is born into his kingdom, that is born again. We too become poor spiritually when we don't rely on our own Righteousness to save us but the righteousness of Christ which was imputed to us. And as indicated in the verse in 1 Cor 8:9 if Christ became poor for our sake how much more we should become poor for our brethren's sake by giving out of our bounty, that is what is left over after paying our bills and responsibilities. There is a promise with this "as we sow, so shall we reap" So everything you give will be given back even more abundantly. We never lose when we are giving in the right way.

2Cor 6:10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and [yet] possessing all things.
2Co 9:6 ¶ But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

edit on 11/12/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

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