LESSON 22 THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES
The Book gets its name from the Greek version. Their Old Testament word used for the title of this book was Ecclesiastes. The Original Hebrew title is Qoheleth which means "to convoke an assembly, to assembly." Thus, it means "one who addresses an assembly" or more simply put "preacher".
The author of this study shows us from his own personal experiences in life that power, popularity, prestige, pleasure - nothing can fill the God shaped void in the soul of man but God himself. The author of this book has many qualifications to make these statements about life. He identified himself not by name but rather by credentials on life (1:1) "son of David" a "King of Jerusalem (1:12). Moreover in the autobiographical section (1:12-2:26) he said that he was wiser "than anyone who had ruled over Jerusalem before him" (1:16); and that he possessed numerous slaves (2:7), incomparable herds of sheep and cattle (2:7), great wealth (2:8), and a large harem (2:8). In short he claimed to be greater than anyone who lived in Jerusalem (2:9). I believe that these scriptures and more indicate that Solomon was the author, although the style of this book is unlike his earlier writings.
CHRIST OF ECCLESIASTES: This Book emphatically and convincingly portrays the emptiness and perplexity of life without a relationship with the Lord. Each person has eternity in his heart (3:11), and only Christ can provide ultimate satisfaction, joy and wisdom. The best and highest good of man and life itself is only found in the "one shepherd" (12:11) who offers abundant life, Jesus.
St. John 10:9-10 _______________________________________________
SURVEY OF ECCLESIASTES
The key to understanding this book is to properly understand our key word, VANITY. This word appears thirty seven times in the Book of Ecclesiastes and means that everything apart from God is vain, meaningless and empty.
1 John 2:15-16_________________________________________________
THESIS: ALL IS VANITY (1:1-11)
PROOF: LIFE IS VAIN (1:12-6:12)
COUNSEL: FEAR GOD (7:1-12:14)
After a one verse introduction, the preacher states his theme: "Vanity of vanities; all is vanity." The natural eye can see this if we look at the meaningless cycles found in natural history. There are 10 vanities that still apply very much to us today.
1. Human wisdom - wise and foolish die alike (2:15-16)
2. Human labor - laboring and the rested die alike(2:19-21)
3. Human purpose - Purpose God disposes (2:26)
4. Envy - Success brings envy not joy (4:4)
5. Greed - Get more and remain empty (4:7)
6. Fame - One day popular and then forgotten (4:16)
7. Wealth - Money does not satisfy (5:10)
8. Coveting - Wanting begets more wanting (6:9)
9. Frivolity - Time wasted brings sad end (7:6)
10. Recognition - Bad are often honored by men (8:10 & 14)
In Chapter 7 we are counseled on how to live with these existing vanities in our society. Put the following passages in your own words:
The one lesson we should learn from this book is - That life lived for self and this world, without God, is vanity and that nothing "under the sun" can ever satisfy the human heart except the Lord Jesus, the son of God.
1. What is the key word in Ecclesiastes?
2. What is the outline of this Book?
3. What are the three main vanities in your life that you have the most trouble with?
4. What is the cure to all the vanities of life?