Nothing New Under the Sun

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 1:1-18
Lesson: 2
Solomon reigned over a time of peace and prosperity, but from this he learned that everything in life is "vanity."
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Good morning, Happy Sabbath. We have a lot of visitors joining us here at central. And of course, I want to welcome you who are joining us from across the country and around the world on this beautiful Sabbath morning, from watching live on the internet this morning at, listening on the radio, or watching 3 weeks delayed on the various television networks. We are so glad that you are tuning in. And this morning we have a special treat for you, so I know you're going to enjoy that. We have some gentlemen visiting us from fiji. And they are the vocal brothers.

You can see them. And they're going to be singing two songs for us this morning, which will be special Numbers. They're not in the hymnal. But I want to thank those of you that did send in your Christmas requests. If we didn't get to them, I'm very sorry, but we tried.

And make sure you get them in early for next year. And hopefully we did sing your favorite song. But if not, you have next year. Get them in. This morning, the first song that they'll be singing for us is "my days are numbered.

" And then "watching and waiting." [Music] In my days of darkness God turned on the light and joy he promises and fills me with delight with every day of my life I will stand by his side to honor up his calling serving here with all of my might my days are numbered I know that it's true the days of atonment and jugement is due upholding his wishes obeying his commands come all ye faithful his works are well done [Music] Cast mercy on me, Lord strenght is the heart thy wishes are foremost entrusted in my heart if I have not strength, Lord who sow thy field? Cleanse me in the blood of whom you love so dear my days are numbered I know that it's true the days of atonment and judgment is due upholding his wishes obeying his commands come all ye faithful his works are well done this is my will this will I seek show me thy wish, Lord, I am weak deliver me from evil one until my final hour this is my will this will I seek show me thy wish, Lord, I am weak deliver me from evil one until my final hour deliver me from evil one until my final hour [Music] Ooh ooh-ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh-ooh ooh-ooh ooh-ooh ooh-ooh ooh ooh [Music] Watching and waiting of how things would be feeling hoplessly like you the closeness we had here has withered away oh how much we miss it today oh and [inaudible] changes has threatened our lives the quenchful power our essence subsides love is a balance of-- our destiny lies in our hands and mine are lift up our eyes to see your love to tell all the world what it's like to have the creator mend a broken heart with love and compassion to draw us together forever, ooh ooh forever the answer is not found in precious promises the missing pieces are within ourselves Christian brothers and circle of friends let's live forgiving each other and keep loving again loving again [Singing in native language] Oh Lord, lift up our eyes to see your love to tell all the world what it's like to have the creator mend a broken heart with love and compassion to draw us together forever, ooh ooh forever, ooh forever ooh ooh ooh forever ooh ooh-ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh-ooh ooh-ooh ooh-ooh ooh-ooh ooh ooh Wasn't that beautiful? Thank you, vocal brothers from fiji. You can come back any time you want to. At this time, let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you so much for the gift of music. Thank you so much for our fijian friends that can be with us this morning to share with us.

And father, I am just so excited. I want to hear them sing on the streets of gold in heaven one day. And I pray that we will each be there. Father, we thank you so much for the Sabbath that you've blessed us with again. And at this time, it's time for our lesson study.

And I just pray that you will be with our speaker and each person that's here and those that aren't, that are joining us from all over this planet. I pray that you'll be with them in a special way, that you will speak to our hearts this morning as Pastor Doug shares. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study will be brought to us by our senior pastor here at Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Amen.

Thank you so much. Wasn't that a blessing? For our friends who are watching, Sacramento central church is something of an international church. Just here in our church family each week we have a spanish group that meets, a fijian group, a vietnamese group, a romanian group. We're talking now about developing a russian group. A brazilian group is already meeting.

So it's very exciting. And all these people come together through common love and worship, to worship God and to study His Word. Today we are beginning to delve into the book of Ecclesiastes. Last week was something of an introduction. And today we're on lesson number 2 in the book written by Solomon, Ecclesiastes.

And lesson 2 is gonna deal with chapter 1. And I'm looking forward to this. This is a deep study. And it's going to stir up your pure minds to think. We have a memory verse.

The memory verse comes to us from Ecclesiastes 1:9. In your lesson it's the new king James version. And why don't you say that with me? Ecclesiastes 1:9. Are you ready? "That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun." There's a lot there we're going to talk about. "Nothing new under the sun.

" Have you heard that expression before? "Nothing new--" how many times people have quoted that? I think I first heard that before I'd ever read the Bible. I didn't know what they were talking about. "Nothing new under the sun." And we'll delve into that a little, but you know, one of my frustrations in teaching the Sabbath school lesson i--the idea is that at the same time over a 5-year period, these lessons are designed that so over a 5-year period you theoretically get through the whole Bible, sometimes there's so much in the lesson that all we get is a few verses or a section. And so today, I'm going to see if I can overcome that, because we're going to read Ecclesiastes 1, just gonna read verses 1 right through 18. So why don't you read along with me? Or you don't have to read out loud, but follow along.

And I'll start with verse 1. Ecclesiastes 1:1, "the words of the preacher, The Son of David, king in Jerusalem. 'Vanity of vanities,' says the preacher; 'vanity of vanities, all is vanity.' What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun? One generation passes away, and another generation comes; but the earth abides forever. The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it arose. The wind goes towards the south, and turns around to the north; the wind whirls about continually, and comes again on its circuit.

All the rivers run into the sea, and yet the sea is not full; to the place from which the rivers come, there they return again. All things are full of labor; man cannot express it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, 'see, this is new?' It has already been in ancient times before us.

There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those who will come after. I, the preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I set my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this is a grievous task God has given to The Sons of man, by which they may be exercised. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind. What is crooked cannot be," straight, "made straight, and what is lacking cannot be numbered.

I communed with my heart, saying, 'look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge.' And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for wind. For in much wisdom is much grief. And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

" All right, that's the focus for our study this morning. And now we're gonna dive right into it. We talked in our last lesson a little bit about the history of Solomon, the rise and fall of Solomon and discovered that Solomon really represented the fulfillment of God's promises for literal Israel. From the time that God called Abraham, the only time in the history of earthly, literal Israel was during the reign of Solomon when they really reached the apex of their glory. All of their enemies were subdued.

They had literally inherited the territory that had been deeded to them by God. They were at peace on all sides. The Son of David, king of Jerusalem was on the throne. Christ, of course, is the fulfillment of that. From the time that Solomon-- and I showed you that the first years of his reign on the way up, when he reaches the zenith of his glory, he begins to go after women and their Gods.

Keep in mind, that's the big story in Revelation. And then he starts downward. Towards the end of his life, he comes to his senses. A prophet comes to visit him, tells him the Kingdom is going to be torn away from his son. And so he begins to effect repentance.

It doesn't come immediately, but it's more gradual. Ecclesiastes is somewhat a report of the vanity of his trying to find fulfillment in the things of the world. When you think about the church, think about two versions of the church. You've got the earthly and the Spiritual. There are people who are on the books here on earth, that are not on the books in heaven.

And there are people who are on God's books in heaven that are not on the books here. There is a literal Israel. There is spiritual Israel. From the time of Solomon, literal Israel never really succeeded in fulfilling their purpose. Then Christ came and he began as The Son of David to develop-- he was the King in Israel.

He was full of wisdom, full of the Spirit. You could see a lot of parallels between Solomon and Jesus, except Solomon fell and Jesus did not. So, with that in mind, when Solomon is talking about the vanity of life and the futility of life, keep in mind, he's thinking about the earthly kingdom. Now some people when they read Ecclesiastes, they say--this is very important, friends, if there's anything, put this on record. Right this down.

Remember this. If there's anything you're going to remember about these presentations on Ecclesiastes, there are some scholars--you could even find footnotes in the scofield Bible that I respectfully disagree with-- where they say, do not take the things that Solomon says literally. He was depressed. I even have seen some allusions to that in our commentaries. I don't believe that's true.

You can't say, "don't take the Word of God seriously," because someone's depressed. I mean, it's either inspired or it's not. And I believe it's inspired. It must be taken in context. What is he talking about? We'll get to that in a little bit when it talks about, "there's nothing new under the sun.

" Well, wait a second, since the days of Solomon, they came out with a new variety of dish soap, that's new." I mean, it's not what it's talking about, new products, it's not what he was talking about. He was talking about new principles. And well, I'll get to that in a little bit. All right, let's start with verse number 1. Ecclesiastes 1:1, someone read that for me, just one verse.

Got a hand right here. Pancho, whoever is close. And when we give you the mic, we're assuming you've got the verse, okay. "The words of the preacher, The Son of David, king in Jerusalem." Alright, thank you. In the book of Ecclesiastes, does it ever say that Solomon wrote the book? No.

Who wrote the book? Solomon. How do we know that? Well, a little detective work. First of all, he calls himself "The Son of David." Well, there was many sons of David. Even David had ten sons, not mentioning grandsons. But then it says, "king of Jerusalem.

" Well, that narrows it down. David had only one son that was the established king. Adonijah tried to make himself king, so did absalom, but this isn't written by them. "King in Jerusalem." And it goes on to say here, someone read for me Ecclesiastes 1:16. Got a hand here.

Here jason, why don't you hand him the microphone. Ecclesiastes 1:16. "I communed with mine own heart, saying, 'lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem. Yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.'" Alright, is there any question about which of The Sons of David was known to have the greatest wisdom and knowledge? Which one was that? I mean, you know some people brag about how much they know and they may not know anything. But Solomon is one who could say that, "I had more wisdom than any before me," because God said, "there have been none before you and nor will there be any after you that have the wisdom I'm gonna give you.

" And of course, the only exception to that would be Jesus. But Jesus was not just 100% man, he was the God-man. So there's no question, king in Jerusalem, son of David, wisest of all men, who this is; this is Solomon. Also of course, all the ancient Hebrew rabbis agree that this was a product of Solomon, that he wrote towards the end of his life. And you read through the context of the book.

And it talks about the folly of his apostasy, the folly of his looking for happiness in the things of the world through riches, because Solomon tried all that. And that's in there. He refers to himself as the preacher in verse 1. And that word preacher, it'll say there in your Bible, qohelet, it's really qoheleth is the Hebrew word. And it means "the assembler.

" And that doesn't mean he's someone who gathers people together externally. It means by his speaking, people would assemble to listen. And so it's more like the lecturer, the philosopher. Solomon is a different kind of king. The characters of David, David is a very unique character study, in that you'll find nobody in the world I don't think that had the personality combinations of David, Solomon's father.

And I think I touched on this in our last study. Somebody who in one way is a, he's an architect, he's a poet, he is an administrator, which are typically the gifts you find in someone who is more choleric. He is a warrior. Just the complexity of David's personality, he's just a little bit of everything. Solomon is a little more of a bookworm.

Do you ever hear or read Solomon anywhere going into battle? No record of him picking up a sword or a sling. Wisdom, great wisdom, administrator, tremendous. He had the Spiritual side of David too, the melancholy, because he was a poet. He was a student. And Solomon was one of these-- have you met people that you know they're 80 years old and they're still in school working on a degree? Their whole lives, they're perpetual, professional students.

Solomon was a professional student. He was always studying and analyzing everything. He was a little bit like thomas edison and Benjamin franklin in that anything he saw he wanted to study and understand it. And he did understand a lot. That's why he wrote all those Proverbs.

So people would assemble to listen to His Words of wisdom. That's why the book is called "the preacher or the assembler." The 3,000 Proverbs were probably transcribed by others, but people would come and listen to him speak. Did the queen of sheba come to listen to his wisdom? And the Bible says it took her breath away when she saw his wisdom. All right, and so that's where the introducting verse is telling us about that. Now, Solomon who knows did he have a nickname? What was Solomon's other name? You can read that when he is first named, he's called Solomon by David, but God told nathan, through nathan he's called jedediah.

Jedediah was another name for Solomon. So he's called qoheleth, "the assembler," Solomon, "son of peace," and jedediah, which means, "yahweh's darling," God's darling. Now think about this. David had two sons through bathsheba. One of those sons was cursed.

I know it's not the baby's fault, but you all know the story. A curse, quite literally a curse, a pronouncement came against that baby and it died. Not that the baby did anything wrong, but the baby was cursed because of David and bathsheba's sin. One was cursed. The next son, same parents, blessed, because God had grace and he forgave.

Those two sons of David and bathsheba represent the two destinies. We could all be cursed or blessed, depending on whether or not we receive grace. When David repented of his sins and he was forgiven, the next son was blessed. It's very interesting study. So Solomon is Solomon, jedediah, and qoheleth.

"The preacher," "yahweh's darling--" oh by the way, you know what David's name means, it's very similar to Solomon's. David's name means "favorite" or "beloved." So Solomon is "yahweh's darling," son of "the beloved." It's kind of interesting when you think about it. Now I want to read something to you from "Prophets and Kings" page 78. "In penance, Solomon began to trace his steps towards the exalted plain." This is after the prophet visited him and told him that judgment was coming on his house. He "began to trace his steps towards the exalted plain of purity and holiness from whence he had fallen so far.

By retracing his steps, it may have been like his fall at least somewhat gradual for all along the way--" for somewhere he also tried to kill jeraboam after realizing he was God's chosen successor. So little by little, when he heard the judgment that was coming, he began to find his way back to God. And does wisdom guarantee that a person cannot sin? Does the devil have wisdom? Was lucifer smart? Are there a lot of highly educated atheists. Yeah. And so somebody might be an intellectual.

They might be brilliant. They might have a quick mind and they might be thoroughly lost. And then of course the Lord has shown us that he can take simple fisherman and they can be thoroughly saved. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of true wisdom. Solomon, while he was wise, he lost his common sense because what is wisdom without salvation? Education without salvation only makes intelligent sinners.

Is that right? Education, in some schools it started as Christian schools, they begin to shift the emphasis--this is an important thought. Stay with me, friends. Some schools that started out as Christian schools, they begin to put the emphasis more on the importance of education intellectually, so that they're sophisticated intellectually so they can compete in the real world. And they forget about the priority of the Spiritual education. And those institutions end up becoming atheistic, secular institutions that put out good academics.

Harvard was started as a school for pastors. Now you go and start preaching at harvard, they will mock you, because the emphasis shifted from the Spiritual education to the worldly variety. Well, Solomon was still wise, but he was worldly wise. All right, next verse. Who wants to read verse 2 for me, Ecclesiastes 1:2.

"'Vanity of vanities,' sayeth the preacher; 'vanity of vanities, all is vanity.'" All right, now not that we've heard that word before. "Vanity of vanities." Now in order to even take this to the next step, we need to know what does that mean? The word, vanity, in Hebrew there means habel. "It means emptiness or vanity, something that is transitory and unsatisfactory." It's unsatisfying. "Primarily it means breath or light wind, something without substance." It denotes what? "One, passes away more or less quickly and completely." Vanity, it passes away. "Two, it leaves no result or adequate result behind.

And therefore, three, it fails to satisfy the mind of man which naturally craves for something that is permanent and progressive. As it applies to four, idols, as contrasted with the living eternal God and the things of man and this world." This "vanity of vanities" is primarily connected with trying to find satisfaction through the things of the world and sin. Vanity of vanity. He is looking back on his life of trying to find fulfillment. After he reached the apex, he began to try to find fulfillment through sin, satisfying every curiosity and every temporal, physical desire, looking for fulfillment.

And he tells you in the book. He said, "I did everything." And what's his conclusion, in trying to find happiness through the world's things? Vanity of vanity. You see the man? Friends, I'll tell ya, Pastor Doug knows what he's talking about. I have been on the other side. And I've come back to tell you, vanity of vanities.

I have lived in mansions and I have been in other people's mansions where they've got every toy that their heart might set upon. They got money just falling out of the vaults in their bank. They got every kind of delicacy on their shelves. They've got servants, lands, and houses all decorated to the hilt. And they're miserable.

Vanity. And yet the bulk of the world has been programmed, hypnotized into thinking that the goal of the world is the fame, the fortune, the physical satisfaction and pleasure. And if you can have these things, you can say, "I've arrived." But most of the people that get there, pretty soon are saying, "vanity of vanities." It doesn't satisfy. It's a vapor. You know why? Job had the right understanding.

Was job a rich man? You know the Bible says, "it's harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven than a camel to go through the eye of a needle." Don't forget Solomon. Solomon was not only rich, he was thoroughly saved and spiritual, but riches ultimately destroyed him. Because he could have anything he set his eyes on. He could have anyone he set his eyes on. And that kind of power corrupts.

Money is power. Power for good, but because our hearts are evil, it's often power for evil. And unless a person is thoroughly sanctified and their heart is humbled before God, money has a corrupting influence. Solomon began to trust in the things that it could acquire. Job, on the other hand, he had everything.

Somebody read for me, let me see here, job 1:21. Now, you didn't know I was going there. Job 1:21. So I'll give you a minute. When you find it--you got it, mike? "And said, 'naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither.

the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.'" Amen. All the things in this world that we could possibly possess, what's gonna last? I was having a talk with nathan, our 10-year-old, the other day, probably within the last weeks. And I may have mentioned this already, but it was a good, profound conversation to have with your son. And I said, "you know," I said, "daddy, has the most important job in the world." I believe that, friends. Sorry, don't mean to put down your profession, but I do.

I believe I've got the most important job in the world, which is why I do it, 'cause I want to do something that lasts, because everything else in the world is vanity of vanity. And so I was talking with nathan. I said, "what's going to heaven?" "What's going to heaven?" He had to think of it. "Dad, what are you talking about?" I said, "what is gonna be resurrected when Jesus comes?" He said, "saved people." I said, "that's right." I said, "is God going to resurrect their car?" "No." "Gonna resurrect their beautiful home?" "No." All of the stuff that we labor for in this world, what of the things that we labor for in this world--notice I said things-- is going to the Kingdom? Nothing. The only thing that's going are the people that we labor for.

It's the investment that we make in people. That's what's going to last. But the majority of "the world is laboring for that which perishes," these are the words of Jesus. And it's vanity of vanities. Of all the toys and the treasure and the fame, and that's why Solomon says later, you know, "who's gonna remember?" People say, "oh, but he was so famous.

" Do any of you know who the academy award winner was in 1928? I'll take your hand if you can tell me. I don't even know last year. But they were sure important that year, weren't they? I'm sure it was in the papers and all the gossip vanity magazines. Oh, by the way, that's why they call it "vanity fair." Vanity of vanities, the things of the world. What's gonna last? Verse 3, are you gonna read this over here? Go ahead, please.

"What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun?" What profit? Now when I say that word, "what profit" does that sound like Jesus quoting something there? Someone read for me, Matthew 16:26, Matthew 16:26. If you find that, hold your hand up. Got a hand here, kwamboka. Go ahead take her that microphone right away. Matthew 16:26.

"What is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" Anything other than souls being saved, moths will corrupt, thieves will break through and steal. It is all vanity of vanities. And yet, most of the world, even many in the church, spend the bulk of our energy laboring for that which perishes. That's why Jesus said, "do not labor for that which perishes." It's vanity. I mean, we all have to work.

But the labor of our heart, our real treasures should be in souls that will be saved. That's why Jesus said, "if you gain everything the world has to offer and lose your soul," is that a good deal? But if you win your soul and lose everything the world has to offer, that's a good deal. That's why Christ said, "whoever will seek to save his life," meaning for pleasure in this world, "will lose his life. But he who will lose his life," meaning letting go of the things of this world for the Kingdom's sake, he will save it. So when Solomon says, "vanity of vanity," he's talking about the trend of the world to find satisfaction in this world.

It's all vanity. And he knew what he was talking about. Anyone here got more than Solomon had? Solomon had more than bill gates. I don't know anyone that has more wives than he had. I mean, you know, his banquet table, the cafeteria--you know that a millionaire cannot eat much more than I can.

And he can't sleep as well as I can. And he can't wear anymore clothes than I can. You ever think about that? Paul puts it this way, I'm paraphrasing, "if you've got something to eat and drink and something to wear and shelter, be content." And so many people are frustrated, not they got something to wear, but it's not fashionable enough, or it's not the latest trend. So they're miserable. They got a place to live, but it's not upgraded like everyone else's place.

They got something to drive and they got food to eat, but it's not the delicacies that they want. And you know if we're satisfied with the basics, then everything else makes us even happier, if we learn to be content with the basics. Paul said, you know, "I've learned in whatever state I'm in to be content." And after that, everything else is an upgrade, right? You just count everything as a blessing. Job 8:9, "for we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon the earth are a shadow." Now in verse 3 that we just read, Solomon introduces a phrase that is sort of his signature phrase. Who knows what that is? Starts with the word, "under.

" "Under the sun." "Under the sun," times in Ecclesiastes. Solomon says, "under the sun." Nowhere else in the Bible does that phrase appear. Isn't that interesting? What does he mean by "under the sun." Well, it's sort of a comprehensive phrase. First of all, he means, "in this life." Now you've got to remember that, because when you get to Ecclesiastes 9:5, and it says, "whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for there's no knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you're going." He returns to his earth. He has no more a portion for anything that is done under the sun.

I was paraphrasing that. Speaking of those that die, nothing more under the sun. And some are saying, "see, Solomon was depressed there. He thought that that was it. When you die, you're dead.

" No, he was just saying in this life they have nothing more once they die. You gotta understand that. Under the sun means in this life. Furthermore, Solomon poetically looked at a day as a life. And that's not that far from the biblical precedent.

What did God say to adam when you sin? If you eat the forbidden fruit, what did God say will happen? "In the day, that you eat thereof, you will surely die." Now think about this. A day with the Lord is as, Peter 3:8, "a thousand years." "A thousand years is a day." Was there any man who lived on earth a thousand years? No, Enoch didn't live on earth. He's still alive. Enoch's still, Enoch never died, but he was translated. Everyone who lived on earth died before they got to the ,000 Mark.

If a day is as a thousand years, then they all died in the day. For God, compared to eternity, what is a millennium? What is 70 years? I heard that the last african American veteran of world war I passed away last week. Any of you hear that? ? ? . Our lives are pretty short now compared to those that live 900. Who's the long, oldest man that ever lived on earth? Methuselah, 969 years.

But he died in the day. See, they talked about our lives as a shadow. Look at this here. I just read you job. "Our days upon earth are like a shadow.

" Someone read psalm 102:11. And then someone else Ecclesiastes 6:12. Psalm 102:11. Got a hand, go ahead. Give roy that one.

Psalm 102:11. Maybe somebody over here. You'll have Ecclesiastes 6:12. Got a hand up front there. Ecclesiastes 6:12.

You're first, roy. Psalms 102:11, "my days are like a shadow that declineth, and I am withered like grass." One of the Bible writers talks about our lives being like the little grass that springs up with the dew in the morning. But by the afternoon, it withers. In one day, its lifespan. One day.

And you can understand what he means by "under the sun." Read please for me, Ecclesiastes 6:12. You ready? "For who knoweth what is good for a man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth is as a shadow? For who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?" All right, now that verse explains how Solomon uses the phrase, "under the sun." He's talking about our days, this life, in this world are like a shadow. And so it's sort of a poetic term that he uses in this book to describe: in this life. The whole book is an evaluation of what really is important in this life. And so he's using it in the context of "under the sun.

" Now, part of the attitude that I think Solomon is using as he introduces this book, when he says, "vanity of vanities," how many of you have ever thought, "it is a little depressing that I was born in this world with this natural propensity to sin?" I don't know about you, but sinning for me is sort of natural. I have to resist nature. We are born with these carnal desires. We have these fallen characters. And you're born basically as a casualty of war.

Isn't there a Great Controversy going on? Great Controversy between Christ and satan. And like some of these innocent victims in iraq that are getting blown up, that these fractions between the governments and the religions that are warring with each other. These people that just want to live their lives that happen to be on the street are getting killed day after day. It's not their fault for the anger and the things that are happening. They're just trying to open up their pottery shop and stay alive.

And they're just casualties of war. No one asked me, no one e-mailed or faxed me and said, "doug, how would you like to be born in the midst of this battlefield between Christ and satan? And not only will you be born in the midst of the battle, you'll be born with a bent to be part of the losing team, 'cause there's sin in your nature." Now, when I put it to you that way, is that a little depressing? But is it true? So what Solomon says is sort of depressing, but he says, "it's true." Without the grace of God intervening, without the goodness of God violently intervening, we've got a pretty dark, bleak existence here in this world. I mean, for someone who doesn't find the Lord, what are their days? Their days are vanity. They're just casualties of war. So he's talking about this.

And then he asks this important question, "what profit has a man from all his labor that he toils for under the sun?" Now, we've touched on this a little bit. I'm still touching on verse 3. What is worth working for? What profit do you have from your labor? You know what I think the only attitude is that a Christian can have? Whatever your work is, now you may not be doing what you want to do full-time. Paul didn't necessarily want to make tents. But Paul made tents so he could do his real work.

What was Paul's real work? Preaching. There were times after Peter, James, John, andrew, after they met, followed Jesus, they went back to fishing. They went fishing, 'cause they were either hungry or they needed some money. But after following Jesus, their real job was fishing for men. But sometimes he might have had to resort to fishing just to pay the bills.

Every Christian, I think, should have the attitude that whatever your work is that pays the bills, it is simply to subsidize that which is going to last. Whatever your work is, your work might be sitting behind a desk, it might be working in a factory, it might be working in a warehouse, you might have some other profession. But if you're a Christian, that work is just a platform to share the Gospel, or it is to make money to subsidize your Gospel ministry. Because otherwise it's a waste. I got to be careful not to be too broad on that.

Sometimes by our very occupations, God is teaching us things, patience, and we develop character. And there's things that might happen in the workplace. But really, when you think about, suppose your job is you know soldering transistors, bless your heart. It may be an honorable work, but will you see any of those radios in heaven? Is that gonna last? You know what I'm saying? The only thing that's gonna last is souls that are saved. Someone read Ecclesiastes 1:4.

Who hasn't read yet? Right up front here. Hold your hand up so he can see you. Alright, lou's got it. Alright, go ahead. Ecclesiastes 1:4, "one generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abided forever.

" Alright. Our planet--now this is getting a little deep. Was our planet here before God started creating the heavens and the earth? Well, let me just get you to think about it. When God came and he first, Genesis begins, does it say, "God said, 'let there be matter.'" Or was the earth here, but only in a chaotic void state. It was here.

But it was chaotic and void. And when God makes a new heaven and a new earth, what does he make it out of? The old earth. Isn't that right? So how long has the earth been here? As a chaotic mass anyway, probably looked like the moon or something when God first started creating. We don't know. But it was chaotic and void.

A long time. See I think the Bible is recording when God first began creating and organizing and structuring our world. So the earth abides forever. But the people come and the people go. And got exciting news this week that the Lord has blessed our son Daniel and his wife with it looks like another baby is on the way.

And so we're excited about that. And I hope they don't mind my announcing this on international television, but and I see, you know my folks are all passed away. And so I see that one generation is coming up. They're growing up and I'm growing down, "but the earth abides forever." And so, you know, people kind of come and they go, but the Bible speaks of the everlasting hills. Alright, Ecclesiastes 1:5.

Got a volunteer? We read everything, over here, hold your hand up, clair. "The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose." Keep reading, read verse 6 and 7 too. We're running out of time. "The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it twirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.

" You know, this is a brilliant statement. Even though Solomon may not have understood all of the nuances of physics that cause these things to happen, he really was right. The winds do travel in a circuit around the planet. The sun does go around the earth and it hastens during the night back to the place where it first came up. Of course, your world is spinning, but from our prospective, that's how it looks.

But notice the things that he mentions here. The sun, the wind, the rivers. Can I rephrase that a little bit? Water, air, light. Now are all those symbols of the Holy Spirit? Water, the living water. The wind, Jesus says, "the wind blows where it will.

" It's like that breath of life. It's a symbol for the Spirit. And the light, the sun, the light of God who illuminates our spirit. This is, these are symbols for the Holy Spirit. And he's telling us that they are constantly in motion.

The sun is moving. The wind is moving. The water is moving. And you know what? God's Spirit is always moving, isn't it? It's telling us that God's Spirit is always moving in the hearts of men. Then verse 8, "all things are full of labor.

" You know, if you right now could have a super, powerful microscope, and you could look at the atoms, do atoms stand still? Or is there motion happening there between the electron and the neutron and the proton? There's constant motion. Even if you look at something, I think, I don't know if you freeze something absolute zero, maybe it stops. I know they slow down when they get cold, but they have to be real cold before they get to where even atoms stop moving. So matter is constantly moving. If you take a telescope and move it into the cosmos and you look at solar systems, are they moving? Universes, are they spirals that are moving? And now they say that the universes in the cosmos, they're constantly moving.

They're expanding. They're revolving. It's like the wheel within the wheel. All things are full of labor. Nothing stands still.

While you're sitting there and I began this paragraph, you grew older. You probably want me to stop talking if it could make time stand still, right? But it won't help. We could just sit here; you're going to be changing. You will be different in one minute than you were right now. Matter of fact, you can't really live in the present, 'cause as soon as you start thinking about the present, what you thought about is already passed.

Isn't that right? The present is a razor-thin line that passes so quickly; we hardly knew it was there. We're always moving towards the future. We're thinking about the past usually. You think about the future too. All things are full of labor.

All things are in motion. So since everything is in motion, you want to be on the right train, don't you? And that would be the train of salvation. I remember one time for my birthday, one of our daughters gave me a coffee cup, a mug. And it had a picture on it by this comic called "bob larson." Some of you have seen, he's got the far side comic. And I've got a warped sense of humor, so some of that appeals to me.

I apologize. But she sent me this one mug. And it showed some little boy. He had these big-rimmed glasses on the cup. And he doesn't look real bright.

And he's got his hand up for the teacher. And he said, you know, "mrs. Peabody, can you please, can I excuse myself? My brain is full." My brain is full. I think another one said, "I think my brain is gonna explode," if I learn anymore. But do our minds ever get full? Have you ever heard brain surgeons saying, "we operated on somebody and they stopped learning, 'cause their brains were full?" Have you ever heard of that condition? "They learned all that could be learned.

Their brain's maxed out." Isn't it amazing that God made the human brain with so much more capacity than we ever use? You know, we only use a fraction of our brains. For me, this is great evidence that evolution is absurd. Because according to evolution, things develop as they're needed. There is no explanation for why man would develop somewhere between 60% and 80% more gray matter than he ever uses, except we are evolving backwards. Or that God created us to live forever and you needed the extra hard drive space.

Isn't that right? But we're never full. All things are full of labor. I'm running out of time. "Nothing new," Ecclesiastes 9:1, or 1:9-10, "that which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which someone can say, 'see, this is new?' It's already been in ancient times before us.

" New and improved. I read a book one time called, "secrets of the lost races," by rene noorbergen. Any of you ever heard of that book? It's come back into print a few times. He went around the world, took pictures and did studies. And you know they're suggesting that even back in the ancient times in baghdad, they found what they think is a battery, an electric battery.

So maybe it wasn't Benjamin franklin who discovered electricity. And they say that in the tomb of king tutankhamen they had a glider that flew, a toy airplane made of wood. Have some of you heard these things? I think it was king tut's tomb. And he goes back and he says, "so many of the things that they built back then, we don't know how they built them." They may have actually had knowledge that we lost and are regaining. But I don't think it's saying there's never been a new product, 'cause I think there are new products.

I think what Solomon is saying is, every principle has been done before. A rocket ship is an explosion that is controlled. How long have there been explosions? Ever since there was popcorn, right? I mean, ever since rocks popped apart. The physics, the principles that you see in the world around you, what you think is new is really a new application of an old principle. Thomas edison had thousands of patents.

And they talked about all his new inventions. He says, "the only new thing I invented was the phonograph." He says, "everything else I did was already around and I just improved it." Are you aware of that? That's what he said. And so is there really anything new under the sun? How many times I thought, I'm reading the Bible and I'd say, "ah ha! I found something I don't think anyone has ever seen before." And I preach on it and I feel really good about myself. I put it in a book. And then one day on the internet I see that some scholar, years ago, said the same thing.

And I thought, "oh Lord," you know, I thought I discovered something new. Or I'll think of a line, a lyric for a song, and I'll find someone else had it. So anyway, we've run out of time. There's nothing new under the sun. That happens every week.

There's more. Some of what I did not cover here I think is gonna apply in our next study as well. For our friends who are watching, keep studying. There's a free offer that goes along with today. I failed to mention earlier.

It's called "the tips for resisting temptation," offer number 708. Just call the number you see on the screen, 866-788-3966. We'll be happy to send that to you free, simply by asking for offer number 708, "tips for resisting temptation." We're out of time now. God bless you, friends. Thank you for studying with us.

Tell your friends about this program and we'll get together again next Sabbath.

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