We go on to Ecclesiastes 1:8-11
v8: Full of labour: Wearisome. Tiresome. When Solomon looks at things from a human perspective nothing comforts him.
- Man cannot express it: The more man learns about things the less he seems to know. As humans we can never completely come to a conclusion about anything. There is always more to learn and discover. This learning never comes to an end.
- The eye is not satisfied with seeing: When we see something it leads us to want to discover more.
- Nor the ear filled with hearing: We hear something, and we want to hear more about it. We never seem to come to the end of knowledge or the conclusion of a matter. There’s always more. Solomon finds this futile, a “vanity”. Nature doesn’t lead us to a conclusion, but nature will come to an end. It is going to be transformed.
Note: To understand this book of Ecclesiastes we need to understand that there is a Kingdom coming. It’s only in that Kingdom, that we are going to find satisfaction and arrive at a proper understanding of things. The Kingdom of G-d gives us a perspective for understanding this world. It helps us to realize that we want to come out of this world (John 15:19). We’re not called to be a success in this world from a worldly standpoint. We are not called to know everything about this world. We want to know and focus in on the Kingdom of G-d (Matt 6:33).
v9: That which is done is what will be done: Solomon is focussing on these cycles and how things repeat themselves.
- Nothing new: The word ‘new’ is a Kingdom word (2 Cor 5:17, Col 3:9-10 etc). Solomon is looking at this world and doesn’t see any evidence of anything new; meaning he doesn’t see any evidence of the Kingdom of G-d here in nature. For the most part that’s true. Creation/Nature confirms to us that there is a Creator (Roms 1:20) and that this Creator is a G-d of order [He put order into this world through His Word (Gen 1:3..then G-d said…). Sin has disrupted this order and that is why we now see disorder and a world stained with sin) It is only through G-d’s revelation, His Word (not through nature), that we can derive that there’s going to be a new work – a work of the Kingdom of G-d. If we look to nature as a source of revelation, we are going to become very frustrated and will live without hope. We will not find a solution to all the problems that plague mankind by studying the earth or creation. The more we study it the less we will realise we understand.
- Under the sun: A humanistic point of view.
v10: Although we are seeing new ways of doing things invented, we are not seeing new things. For example: Although the smartphone may be a new way/method of communication it still remains a form of communication – which mankind has been doing in various ways and forms since the beginning of time. We have invented new ways to achieve the same old goals.
v11: No remembrance of former things: Previous generations (peoples) are forgotten.
- Things that are to come: (If Yeshua tarries for very much longer) Those who are in our generation will also reach a point in history where they too are no longer remembered. In the end everyone is going to be forgotten – even those who did incredible things (Ex 1:8 – at one time Joseph had been the saviour of Egypt – in a time of devastation and destruction). There is only one important place our names need to be – inscribed in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
In the Hebrew Bible there is an unusual space between v11 and v12. This space does not appear between the other verses. This space informs us that we are transitioning into a new thought or section.