Ecclesiastes Open Study Discussion

Hi all,
This open study discussion will be from the book of Ecclesiastes.  Your participation is always welcome!
Ecc. 1:2 — Solomon says, “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.”  The NIV translates this as “Meaningless! Utterly meaningless!  Everything is meaningless.”  What do you think he meant by that?  Do you agree with him?  Why or why not?
1:18 — In what way does growing in wisdom bring sorrow and why would increasing in knowledge add more grief?
2:13 — Is it contradictory for Solomon to claim that wisdom brings sorrow, and then say “wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness”?  Support your reasoning.
2:15-16 — Since the fate of  the wise man and the fool are the same, in that both must eventually die, what does a person gain by being wise?
3:10-14 — How do you interpret these verses?  What is the burden God has laid on men, which Solomon references in verse 10?
5:18-20 and 8:15 have a similar message; one which appears to be opposed to the statement in 7:2-4.  How would you reconcile these passages?  How can a sad face be good for the heart?
7:8 — Why is the end of a matter better than its beginning?  How is patience better than pride?
Like the sun which rises and sets only to hurry back to where it rises, and the streams which return to the sea from whence they came, Solomon concludes the book back where he began it — with the observation that all is vanity. (1:2 and 12:8)  What was the main point of chapters 1-12?  What do you think he wanted his audience to understand?  If someone asked you what the meaning of life is, what would your answer be?
I look forward to hearing from you!  As always, I will make it a point to reply back to all responses!
Regards,
Adam

Why did Jesus have to die?

Why did Jesus have to die for our sins?  Because of the Holiness of God.  Death is God’s ultimate condemnation of sin; His pronouncement that sin cannot be allowed to continue.  This is made self-evident by the fact that the individual who has died ceases to sin.  But God did not create man to exist but for a fleeting moment, only to fade from memory upon death.  No, He desires for us to live forever; to be with Him for all eternity.  Yet if our Lord had not willingly sacrificed himself, the resurrection of man would have been rendered impossible because then the penalty for sin would not have been fully paid.  A sacrifice that costs little or nothing cannot truly be regarded as a sacrifice.  If an individual’s death was only temporary, and all men were to be eventually resurrected with no other sacrifice required, God would be merely winking at sin.  Death would be a token punishment — like giving a time-out to a murderer.  The fact that God’s only begotten Son had to die illustrates how seriously God condemns sin, and highlights His holy character.

 

By virtue of his sinless life, Jesus was without guilt.  Consider the offering he made by his willingness to die.  To offer means to present for acceptance or rejection.  When he offered himself unblemished to God and died upon the cross, our Lord was requesting that all guilt for sin be transferred onto himself, and petitioning that God would accept his death on our behalf as full payment for sin.  His sacrifice was and is the only perfect offering that exists; the only one God could accept — all others would, of necessity, be rejected.  If it were not so, the judgement against sin would be incomplete, imperfect and inconsistent with God’s character.  When He resurrected His Son, the Father showed that Jesus’s sacrifice was pleasing and acceptable to Him.  Because of this, men and women everywhere can have complete confidence that the way to eternal life now stands open for all who desire to be a part of God’s family.

 

Let all God’s children praise His Wisdom and Holiness; comprehend the full magnitude of what our Messiah did for us; and give thanks to the Father and His Son forever and ever!