Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Ecclesiastes-Chapter 3

Ecc 3.1-22 elaborates on the major theme of the book about what profit a man has for all his labor under the sun (the natural world). The sun symbolizes “time” which is regulated by the rising and setting of the sun. Man has no control and he cannot change the fixed order of these cycles, he can only witness them. Ecc 3.1-11 tells us about 28 cycles of periods of life. These cycles correspond to the waxing and waning of the moon. Fourteen days of waxing brighter and then fourteen days of waning in brightness. Matt 1.17 alludes to this concept where from Abraham to David was fourteen generations (getting brighter to a full moon). Then from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations (lost its light). Then from the exile to Messiah fourteen generations( got brighter to a full moon) This is a picture of the believer. Psa 31.15 has 28 letters in the verse and it says, “My times (life) are in your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those whom persecute me.” These verses in Ecc 3.1-11 tell us about God’s timing and it alludes to the phrase that fits all occasion, “This too shall pass.”

v 1…There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event (purpose) under heaven (follow a fixed order)-

v 2…A time to give birth (bear), and a time to die (Deut 28.6); a time to plant (in a time of peace), and a time to uproot what is planted (in war or harvest time, etc).

v 3…A time to kill (in war, legal executions, self defense, etc), and a time to heal; a time to tear down (in war, demolition), and a time to build up (like Nehemiah and Zerubabbel did).

v 4…A time to weep (Psa 126.5), and a time to laugh (Psa 126.6); a time to mourn (funeral, any loss, etc), and a time to dance (weddings and festive events).

v 5…A time to cast away stones (like when clearing the ground or the destruction of the Temple), and a time to gather stones (in building-Isa 28.16; Zech 9.16); a time to embrace (to show affection), and a time to refrain from embracing (during times of ritual uncleanliness, etc) .

v 6…A time to get (possessions), and a time to lose (give up as lost); a time to keep (literally “guard” something like the Torah), and a time to throw away (discard).

v 7…A time to tear apart (garments over bad news, etc), and a time to sew together (new clothes, etc); a time to be silent, and a time to speak (when the truth is needed).

v 8…A time to love (God, the Torah, a neighbor, sinners), and time to hate (love less what you loved before salvation, hate what God hates); a time for war (a nation to defend itself or to go to war at the direction of God), and a time of peace (like the Messianic Kingdom).

v 9…What profit is there to the worker (to be engaged in the above activities) in that in which he labors (if there is no lasting benefit in this life)?

v 10…I have seen the task (how man makes a living) which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves (the hardship of it all).

v 11…He has made everything appropriate (beautiful) in its time (each is suited for its time). He also set eternity in their heart (a sense of it), yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end (the full flow and purposes of his 7000 year plan).

v 12… I know (Kohelet will now tell what he knows about man’s happiness) that there is nothing better for them (mankind) than to rejoice and do good in one’s lifetime (do good for himself and others with the blessings God has given).

v 13…Moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor-it is the gift of God (so it should be received and enjoyed with that in mind)

v 14…I know that everything God does will remain forever (unlike man’s works); there is nothing to add to it (they are complete) and there is nothing to take from it (can’t diminish it).

v 15…That which has been already, and that which will be has already been (in the natural order of things there is nothing new), for God seeks what has passed by (in eschatology this verse is similar to Ecc 1.9. History repeats itself because God is in control and this one of the keys to understanding Bible prophecy. Certain events have multiple fulfillments).

v 16…Furthermore, I have seen under the sun (everywhere) that in place of (the) justice (Torah) there isw (the) wickedness (as defined by the Torah-Solomon looked around and saw much injustice and wickedness in the corrupt practices of man and animals).

v 17…I said to myself (in my heart), “God will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man,” for a time for every matter (purpose) and for every deed is there (his conclusion refers to the judgment after death; people may do what they want now but not forever).

v 18…I said to myself (in my heart) concerning the sons of men (natural men), “God (Elohim) has surely tested them in order for them to to see that they are but beasts” (God has shown man that he is not as superior as he thinks. even the elite kings, princes and rulers are as selfish and limited in their physical life as any animal).

v 19…For the fate of all the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath (ruach) and there is no advantage for man over beast (as far as physical life is concerned); for all is vanity (empty, worthless).

v 20…All go to the same place (the dust, grave). All came from dust, and all return to the dust (Gen 1.24; 3.19).

v 21…Who knows (perceives) that the breath (ruach) of man ascends (rises) upward and the breath (ruach) of the beast descends downward to the earth (without the word of God, nobody can tell the difference between the death of a human and the death of an animal).

v 22…And I have seen (perceived) that nothing is better than that man should be happy in his activities (enjoy what God has given him; takes a delight in what he is doing), for that is his lot (he has no more than what he needs, and what he leaves behind is not his but will belong to another). For who will bring him to see what will occur after him (for once he is dead he can’t see what happens to all his works and labors or how it is used, by then it doesn’t matter).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

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