Introduction To Ecclesiastes

Purpose: To answer the oldest question ever: What is the meaning of life?

Themes: Need for Meaning / Justice / Work / Leisure / Success / Wealth / Good & Evil

Authorship: The Case for Solomon as ‘The Qoheleth’: A Singular Persona. Solomon’s Leading of the ‘Assembly’ at the dedication of the Temple makes him and only him qualified to have the title of ‘The Qoheleth’. He was singularly gifted with Wisdom beyond any man…nothing approaching God’s wisdom!

Original Audience: Observant Jews (Weight based on credibility of Author)

Place in Scripture: Never questioned for 2300 years (Bollhagen dates it 735BC) Reformers like Luther wanted to have it removed from the Cannon. Date and Authorship questioned by ‘Modern Scholars’.

How WE read it in light of Christ: Together within the whole picture of Scripture we can see how it points out the clear futility of existence without a relationship with God.

Pt. 1 The Preacher’s Thesis

Chapter 1

1 These are the words of the Teacher, King David’s son, who ruled in Jerusalem. 2 “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!” 3 What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? 4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes.

  • The Author: No dispute among the Jews forever, No dispute for 2300 yrs…
  • Title of the Author… Hebrew Word: ‘Qoheleth’ Greek Word: Ekklisiastís
  • THE THESIS IS: It all seems to be meaningless…
  • People come and go without purpose or meaning

5 The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. 6 The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. 7 Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea.

  • Nature; observed without a Creator appears to be futile (Religion of ‘Evolution’)
  • Cyclical Nature of Nature…Who’s control is it under?
  • Is it random, do we have a role?

8 Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content. 9 History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.

  • The nature and character of humankind is discontent & futility
  • We repeat the mistakes of history, our nature is: ‘Consistently Corruptible’
  • We have become addicted to ‘New’, it is the Idol we worship…but that’s not new
  • Why does God say: ‘Here on Earth…It’s All Been Done’

10 Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. 11 We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.

  • How much value do we place on things being ‘New’?
  • Materially / Emotionally / Philosophically / Spiritually
  • Is something’s value based on just ‘Newness’ or on it being more valuable?
  • How well do you know ‘Accurate History’?
  • Wikipedia IS NOT ‘Accurate History’
  • We are definitive regarding what is good, productive, wise…how do we know?

12 I, the Teacher, was king of Israel, and I lived in Jerusalem. 13 I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done under heaven. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race. 14 I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind. 15 What is wrong cannot be made right. What is missing cannot be recovered.

  • This Title can only work for King Solomon, as The Dedicator of God’s Temple
  • He was the ‘Leader of The Assembly of God’ @ the apex of the People of Israel
  • The search for understand & wisdom, if confined to what is ‘Under Heaven’
  • This is ‘Looking in The Wrong Place’. Only looking under the sun, here on earth
  • From this perspective it is all devoid of any meaning! It is screwed up and can’t be fixed

This is US without Christ! The beginning our surrender to Christ is the recognition of the futility of this life, separate from The One who Created US. And we can’t make that separation end. But God can end it, In Christ Jesus He does end it. We get the privileged of surrendering to Our Creator’s will for us: United in Christ!

16 I said to myself, “Look, I am wiser than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem before me. I have greater wisdom and knowledge than any of them.” 17 So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind. 18 The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.

  • Remember Melchizedek?
  • He doesn’t compare himself to the Kings to follow because that will be known
  • It is a summary statement of what he is going to share in greater detail
  • Firsthand / Inside Scoop
  • The Result (Spoiler Alert) Life is meaningless apart from Our Creator God

Realizing that we need our Creator God to give life meaning is a great starting place. From there it’s a short journey to repentance & surrender: Our Privilege!

Application Questions:

How does our world make you ‘Feel Think and Act’ as though life is meaningless?

Where do you search for wisdom; in what’s New or The Lessons of History? Why?

1 to 10, rate yourself as being knowledgable & wise. What is your rating based on?

Can knowing ‘too much’, make you jaded & cynical? How do you fight that attitude?