All That Is Done Under The Sun

Working day to day to make ends meet, what would life be like if money and power were not an issue? We could do whatever we liked. We could buy houses, yachts, cars, travel, you name it. Or we could devote our time to studying, gaining knowledge, filling our hearts with wisdom, or folly. We could plant vineyards, have large organic farms, build parks and gardens. We could be the ruler of a nation. But then what? Would we be satisfied? Would it really change anything? Ultimately, no. My guess is, however, you would volunteer to give it your best shot.

There was someone who had all this. He had absolute authority. Nothing of this Earth that he wanted was denied him. He was famous, and is to this day. And he lived in a time of peace. For what more could anyone ask? Yet the sum of all his experience is as follows.

“I have seen all the works that are done under the Sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow. I got servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were before me.

“I gathered me also silver and gold, And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the Sun.

“Then said I in my heart, As it happens to the fool, so it happens even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity. For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how died the wise man? as the fool. Yes, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the Sun: because I should leave it to the man that shall be after me.”

However, as we'll see, there is one great treasure in this life we can have that even death cannot take from us, nor is it left to anyone else. [Do You Have The Right Stuff?].

All that we accumulate, all that we do disappears out of our grasp, taken by death, whether we are the most powerful, richest man on Earth or the poorest, the wisest or the greatest fool. [See Gal. 6:8]. In the end, neither has priority over the other. It is the same for both. We go back to the dirt from which these mortal bodies came.

And for those of you working furiously, though in vain, to build your one world globalist empire, not considering the evil you do, the death and destruction you reap, you, too, labour in vain under the Sun, for God brings every work into judgement. We read in Micah, "Woe to those who devise iniquity, and work out evil on their beds! At morning light they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand. They covet fields and take them by violence, also houses, and seize them. So they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance. Therefore thus says the LORD: 'Behold, against this family I am devising evil from which you cannot remove your necks; for shall you walk haughtily, for this is an evil time.'" [Micah 2:1-3].

The Genesis Birthright covenant sold to your brother Israel has its ultimate fulfillment in the kingdom of God, on a new Earth, and not in the works of this Earth under the Sun. In the end, for all your life's effort, and those of the generations before you, Babylon the Great is numbered at 42 months before it disappears forever. It, too, is vanity. And you have been deceived on a grander scale than that which you have done. How ironic it is, then, that your kingdom is the ultimate manifestation of chasing vanity, blowing in the wind. [Read the entire chapter, Rev. 18; also the Feature article, Obadiah And The Prophetic Parable Of The Tares].

By now, you probably realize the fellow who experienced all this vanity and vexation of spirit was King Solomon, the son of David, who ruled as king in Jerusalem as recorded for us in the Book of Ecclesiastes. And even Solomon’s crowning achievement, the temple in Jerusalem, was sacked and left in ruins by the Babylonians only a few hundred years later.

The second temple, the Herodian temple, and Jerusalem itself, was totally destroyed in 70 CE by the Roman army. As the first century historian Josephus wrote, “The Romans, though it was a terrible struggle to collect the timber, raised their platforms in twenty-one days. As described before, the whole area was stripped in a circle round the city to a distance of ten miles. The countryside, like the city, was a pitiful sight. For where there once had been a lovely vista of woods and parks, there was nothing but desert and stumps of trees. No one, not even a foreigner who had seen the Old Judea and the glorious suburbs of the city, and now set eyes on her present desolation, could have helped sighing and groaning at so terrible a change. Every trace of beauty had been blotted out by war. And nobody who had known it in the past, and came upon it suddenly, would have recognized the place. For when he was on site [of Jerusalem], he still would have been looking for the city.” Books of the History of the Jewish War Against the Romans, Flavius Josephus, c. 75-78 CE. [See the updated Feature article, Damascus A Heap Of Ruins].

Vanity as used by Solomon is the Hebrew word, hebel. It refers to breathing, breath, a gentle breeze, a vapour that disappears. It commonly was used to denote that which is transitory, not lasting. As Job said in 7:16, “ … my days are a breath….” However, we are promised something that is not transitory. And it all goes back to the plan of God, from before the beginning of time, which itself is transitory. [See the Sneakers article, Past The Future].

The question before us, then, is if God allowed both the first and second temples, works of this earth, to be destroyed, and even our fleshly temples, our bodies, are destroyed at death, what isn’t vanity under the Sun? Is this life just one big futile experience? Are we puffs of air that were destined to be trodden minions suffering through our time on Earth?

“So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the Sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.” [Ecc 4:1].

Life under the terms of the old covenant was much different than under the terms of our new covenant. Solomon lived in a WYSIWYG world. What you see is what your get. There is no discussion of life after the death of the flesh, olam ha ba, in the law covenant, only olam ha ze, or this world under the Sun. This has changed since the bringing of the good news, the gospel. We have been told what is promised to us as children of the House of Israel. We have a glimpse of the eternal plan of God. [See the Feature article, Three Temple Ages Make A Plan]. And as promised, we now have a Comforter, not of this Earth under the Sun, but from our Father in heaven. 

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” [John 14:26; see the Feature article, Is That You, Big Brother?]. In Greek, the word Comforter used by the apostle John is paraklētos. It means one who pleads another's cause before a judge, which in this case is our Father in heaven through our mediator Jesus Christ.

It is during this Christian age only that those who have been called and chosen, ordained to eternal life have access to that which transcends the vanity of our Earthly lives. And it is not some vague, vain promise of “going to Heaven as our ultimate end.” The Spirit of God is real and tangible in our daily lives. It's all part of the fundamental basis of Christianity. This is why the Christian age is so special in human history. Yet the richest and most powerful men under the Sun on Earth cannot purchase it. They cannot control it. Neither can they comprehend it. They don’t even know where to look for it. They are too busy running to and fro, chasing after the wysiwyg vanity of life under the Sun.

This is why our Lord and Savior directs us, saying, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon Earth, where moth and rust do corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust do corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” [Mat. 6:19-21].

The only labour under the Sun that is not vanity is that which brings us closer to the kingdom of God through his Spirit. "And the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain [transitory] glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” [Gal. 5:22-26].

“For you were sometimes darkness, but now you are light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is acceptable to the Lord.” [Eph. 5:9, 10].

Paul’s advice to Christians goes to the six fundamental principles of Christianity. They are repentance, faith, baptism, laying on of hands, [for a new life in the Spirit of God, the Comforter, rather than with the spirit of man, which is the vanity of our mortal bodies], resurrections and eternal judgement. [See Heb. 6:1ff].

As mentioned in the two Heaven Can Wait Feature articles, we don’t go to Heaven as our ultimate dwelling nor do we go to the eternal burning fire of hell. Eternal judgement is a judgement at the great resurrection on all who have lived, great and small, rich and poor, weak and powerful. Judgement is to eternal life or eternal death, which is the second death. [See Rev. 20:12-15; Rev. 21:8]

When we choose the path of vanity with the things of this life, which all will perish, as will this Earth and the heavens, not only do we mortals set ourselves up for death of the flesh, but for eternal death, which is the ultimate vanity. Therefore, all that is vanity is not of the Spirit of God. When we receive the Spirit of God that gives life to our mortal bodies, it is the only "possession" not left to others at the death of the flesh. It's origin is not of this Earth under the Sun. And this is why we are admonished to seek first the power and authority of God that we might have eternal life. Everything of this Earth under the Sun is vanity. Everything. It is all going to vanish away. When we ponder the purpose of life, this key point of understanding is where we need to begin. 

This is why Solomon came to the conclusion, “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the Sun.” This is the vanity of life in this world under the Sun.

But with those judged to eternal life on the new Earth, “The Sun shall be no more your light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light to you: but the LORD shall be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory. Your Sun shall no more go down; neither shall your moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended.” [Isa. 60:19, 20].

This is the same as what we read in Revelation 21. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of Heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God … And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the Sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” [Rev. 20:1-3, 22. 23].

Solomon was right. All the works under the Sun are vanity. It is our labour in the Spirit of God, which seeks not those things of this life, but of the kingdom of God first that are of eternal value. They are not vanity. They are not hebel. For it is these things which shall be accounted to us for righteousness before God. It is the works of the Spirit of God that carry over into the kingdom of God. [See the Sneakers article, His Treasured Possession].

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgement, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” [Ecc. 12:13].

Therefore, let us labour in this life in those things which are of the Spirit of God that our life under the Sun on this Earth is not vexation of spirit, nor vanity before our Lord, but is our everlasting treasure as kings and priests in the kingdom of God. [Rev. 1:5, 6]. Let nothing of this life under the Sun steal us away from our crown, our promised royal standing as Christ's first fruits in the kingdom of God. [See the Feature article, The Relevance Of The Holy Days In The Plan Of God In The Last Days].

"Behold, I come quickly: hold fast that which you have, that no man take your crown." [Rev. 3:11].

Make some time to read the Book of Ecclesiastes, and reflect on all that you do under the Sun.

Italics, and [ ] are the author’s.

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