1 John Chapter 5 Sunday, Aug 14 2016 

5.1believe. The New Testament is clear on what it means to believe. Believing brings action. It is never passive, but it is always active. To believe on Jesus Christ brings action. It means repenting, being baptized and receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2, 8, 10, and 19). When a person has biblically believed by being born again of water and spirit (Jn 3.1-7), he is born of God.

5.2-3 love. Love is also an active entity. John exhorts that when we love God we do something. Love produces action. We keep His commandments. This is the love of God that we keep His commandments. His commandments are not grievous (burdensome). Love and obedience are inseparable.

5.4-5 overcome. Jesus Christ overcame the world. When someone is born of God they also overcome (subdue) the world. This is the natural process of believing. It should be natural for a child of God to overcome the world. Believing produces victory through obedience.

5.6-8 witness. John is presenting his witness for Jesus Christ. He presents water and blood as sure witnesses. He declares there are three that bear record in heaven, and these witnesses are sure. He declares The witnesses on earth as well. Heaven and earth, the water and the blood all agree Jesus Christ is the savior of the world.

5.9-10 ibid. The witnesses John presented are true. The witness of men is true, the witness of God is greater. God himself witnesses of Jesus Christ. There is no more powerful voice of truth than the Father himself. The Gnostics had no witnesses for their damnable doctrine. John presents witnesses from heaven and earth, and then the star witness, God himself. If this array of witnesses is not believed, that person is a liar. To deny the biblical witness of Christ is to reject God himself.

5.11-12 life. This is the record. God hath given us eternal life and that life is in Jesus Christ. The simple fact is if you have Jesus Christ you have life. If you do not have the Son of God you do not have life. Your believing requires action to be valid.

5.13-15 name. The assurance of a believer is not based on feeling, but on the principals of God’s Word. These principals include obedience, believing, and loving the brethren. These things bring an inner witness of the Spirit of God. It is this assurance that leads to confidence in prayer. We know we have the petitions we ask of God.

5.16-21 sin. These final words are written to encourage the believers about what John has written in this epistle. The sin unto death is not believing in Jesus Christ. Anyone not believing in Jesus Christ will be lost. The sin not unto death are sins that do not mark deliberate and persistent rebellion against God. All believers must use caution to not fall into these sins. These sins are not apostasy from biblical truth or failure to trust in Christ. Living in faith and obedience puts the believer beyond the touch of Satan. John issues a final note of assurance. We are of God and the whole world lieth in wickedness. Believers have believed in the true God, Jesus Christ. The final charge is to keep yourself from idols. The love and devotion of believers is to be toward Jesus Christ only. Any other love equates to worshipping idols.

Thanks for reading today….

1 John Chapter 4 Saturday, Aug 13 2016 

Chapter 4

4.1-3 spirits. John continues to expound on the source of sin and evil. The results were easily seen in the attacks the church were experiencing. By revealing the source of the evil as spirits, the battle can be engaged and won. To battle the actions without cutting off the intent will only prolong the carnage. The source of sin and evil is spiritual. The test of what spirit is at the root of any action is, does that spirit confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh? This is a direct attack on the spirit of Gnosticism. John singles out the spirit of Gnosticism as the spirit of antichrist.

4.3-6 spirt of truth and error. John clearly points out both truth and error are fueled by spirits. It is the intent behind each of these spirits that reveal their source. True believers have the spirit of Jesus Christ while false believers have the spirit of antichrist. Possibly there was some frustration that these false believers were not hearing John’s admonitions. He again raises the intent issue. If their intent is to hear truth they will hear him. If their intent is wrong they will not hear him. The spirit of truth and the spirit of error are defined by the intent of the believer. If a believer hears John’s instruction, then they are of the spirit of truth. If they discard John’s instruction, they are of the spirit of error. John’s style of contrasting two ideas is bold and decisive and leaves no room for gray, obscure areas. They are plain words but they are easily understood.

4.7-11 love. The outward demonstration of love shows the believer has the same intent as Jesus Christ. If love is not manifest from the heart of the believer, the believer does not know God. The mark of loving your neighbor as yourself grows out of being born of God. If a person does not love, they do not know God. God showed His intent by love. God so loved the world he gave His only begotten Son. Love gives so others are bettered. Because God loved, God gave, because God gave, we live. Love is not proved because we love God. Love is proved because God loved us. This is the pattern for the believer. Love others. Do not wait until they love you. Follow the intent of God by loving others first. We ought (to be under obligation, to owe), also to love one another.

4.12-14 love in action. The action of love shows the world the God they cannot see. No man hath seen God, but men can see the intent of God through acts of love to other people. Love is a language all it’s own. Love needs no words. Love needs no interpretation. Love never needs explaining. Love is the purest example of God man can display. God loved us. We see this by His sacrifice of His son. To love one another is to perfect the love of God in ourself.

4.15-19. perfect love. To confess (to assent, to covenant) that Jesus is the son of God proves the believer is of God. The inner intent reveals the action. The believer follows the pattern and example God sets of love others first. This is to dwell in God, for God is love. He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God. The simplicity of this is profound. Countless people have sought to know how to dwell in God. The answer is simple yet profound. John uses simple words to reveal this profound truth. To dwell in God, love others. This is when love is made perfect and God lives in the believer. This intent produces boldness (confidence) in the day of judgment, because as He is, so are we in this world. The pattern is set. We love Him because He first loved us. We must love first, and never wait for others to love us first. The epitome of hypocrisy is the claim to love God while withholding love from others. 

4.20-21 hate. John closes this line of thought with a final contrast to illuminate true love. John holds up hate. The image is stark and ugly. Coming on the heels of the last illumination of true love and the power of God’s love, hate is revealed as the scourge it is. Into the light of brilliant love and hope, John holds up the antithesis and the image is etched forever in the mind of the believer. This moment ties all of love together. To love is to be of God. To hate is to be a liar. Love and hate, light and darkness, truth and liar, the seen and the unseen, the intent and the action, the illumination is stellar.

Thanks for reading today….

1 John Chapter 3 Friday, Aug 12 2016 

Chapter 3

3.1-2 bestowed. When a person is born again that process of sonship continues. This is a prolonged form of the verb here meaning bestowed. Believers are the sons of God and continue to be without interruption. John reaffirms believers are now the sons of God and we will follow Christ’s pattern when Christ returns. Believers will become what Christ is. All true believers are in the process of becoming like Christ. This comes from abiding in Christ as John referred to in the previous chapter. Why God should have made us His children is incomprehensible. It shows forth the riches of His grace. John says behold, calling attention as to some wonderful exhibition. What surpassing excellence is this divine love. It is this divine love that will transform believers into the similitude of Christ at Christ’s return.

3.3 purifieth. To purify is to make clean. If the believer will make himself clean, God’s love will bestow divine purity on the believer.

3.4-6 sin. John turns from divine purity and divine love to the consequence of sin. Jesus was manifested to take away sin. The commission of sin denies Christ the purpose of His mission on earth. The believer who abides in Christ does not sin, for light and darkness, good and evil cannot coexist. To abide in Christ is to be the vine while he is the branch. Life comes from him. Sin is the admission that the believer is false and has not experienced Christ as the branch. Christ the branch provides light, life, grace, holiness, wisdom, strength, joy, peace and comfort.

3.7-8 the devil. John strongly states the cause and effect of sin. Sin is of the devil. Christ came to destroy the works of the devil. Actions and manner of living prove allegiance. Those who sin declare an allegiance to the devil. Those who live righteous lives declare allegiance to Christ.

3.9-10 manifest. John does not teach sinless perfection. John is speaking of habitual and known sinful acts. A true believer will conform his character to Christ, this will be reflected in his behavior. Actions declare who is a child of God and who is a child of the devil. Who a believer imitates, whose will the believer does, these declare who the father is.

3.11-12 love. The chiefest action of proof is love toward one another. John again illustrates by the contrast. To illustrate true love he holds up the opposite, Cain. Cain’s actions revealed who his father was. Cain was of that wicked one, the devil. Cain showed the disposition and influence of the devil when he killed his brother.
3.13-15 contrast. John again contrasts the opposites of love and hate. John uses this technique more effectively than any Bible author. He uses life and death to show the polar opposites of love and hate. He likens hate to murder and the absence of eternal life. This is classic John. Simple, direct words speaking profound meanings. This is a powerful passage to show disposition is more important than the act itself. Without the rancor, the act would never happen. John is reaching for the fountain head of sin rather than just the acts of committed sin.

3.16-18 intent. John presents the example of Jesus giving His life. This was the intent of God before the foundation of the world. If a believer will have the correct intent, the correct actions will flow as a natural effect. We are admonished to love and have compassion. If these are matters of intent before we encounter the needs of others, our actions will reflect the love of God. If intent is absent, then our actions may be sensual or carnal. Prayer and fasting prepare us to have Christian intent. Jesus prepared himself for forty days and nights before beginning his actions of ministry. This time of wilderness preparation postured Jesus to always act correctly. Our deeds reveal the intent of our heart.

3.19-24 hearts. Our intent produces the actions that assure us before God. Right actions reveal truth on the inside. When our heart does not condemn (find fault with) us, we have confidence (assurance) toward God. Condemnation is always about self. Our confidence toward God rests in following the two greatest commandments of loving God, and loving our fellow man. Our confidence is strong when we ask things of God because we are absent of self motive. Our intent is pure. Doing whatever God wants us to do is easy and helping others becomes a joy. If you have the right intent, submission to God is never an issue.

Thanks for reading today….

1 John Chapter 2 Wednesday, Aug 10 2016 

Chapter 2

2.1 advocate. An advocate is an attorney who represents a client in a court of law. This is the ministry of Christ today. He speaks in behalf of his children when they sin. It is natural for a parent to defend their children. Here Christ uses His blood and righteousness to defend the believer’s failures and sins. The goal of a believer should be to overcome, not simply confess. We are admonished to sin not. The Greek word for advocate has a twofold meaning. It means intercession and consoles. While Christ intercedes to the Father, He simultaneously consoles the child of God. This word also holds a connotation of comforter. Christ comforts a believer who has failed. His advocacy is directed to the Father and also to the believer.

2.2 propitiation. This means to expiate or atone. Expiate is to extinguish the guilt incurred by the sin. It also means to put an end to. This ministry of Christ is exemplary in that He removes all guilt to sins we commit and then puts an end to it. Christ is the advocate and the propitiation for our sins. 

2.3 obedience. John says we can and should “know” Christ. This Greek word ginosko, is a prolonged form of a verb and is used in a variety of applications. If a believer truly knows Christ, the believer will be obedient. This is the signature mark of truly knowing Christ.

2.4 liar. John boldly declares anyone who claims to know Christ and is disobedient is living a falsehood. Light and darkness cannot coexist, neither can truth and error. One of these will ultimately drive out the other.

2.5 perfection. One of the major teachings of Jesus was obedience. The end of obedience is perfection. The believer cannot reach perfection on their own, but the act of simple obedience brings perfection. Perfection in this context means accomplish or consummate or finish. 

2.6 walk. To abide or stay in Christ requires that the believer walks as Christ walked. The basic call of Christianity was simply to take up the cross and follow me. To follow Christ and walk and abide in Him requires to walk as he walked. This does not bring perfection, it is the result of obedience.

2.7-11 love and hate. John illuminates the issue of love verses hate. He does so by using the powerful image of light and darkness. This is not a new commandment. This was introduced as a new commandment by Jesus in the upper room on the night of the last supper, Jn 13.34. John returns to this commandment now. John calls this an old commandment. One definition of old here is worn out. No doubt over the last sixty years since Jesus introduced it, this commandment had been worn out in keeping peace in the body of Christ. Love and light are interlinked. Hate and darkness are bound together. To hate is to be in darkness, and walk in darkness. Hate (miseo), is to detest or to love less. The warning here is that when in this state of darkness, a believer cannot see where he is walking. Hate blinds a believer to walk in the light. The effort to walk and follow Christ becomes obscure.

2.12-14 age groups. John addresses different age groups to reassure them of their security in the faith. This distinction of various age groups may be literal age or it may refer to levels of spiritual maturity. New Christians may be referred to as children.

2.15-17 love not the world. Light and darkness cannot coexist, love and hate are opposites. A believer cannot love God and love the world at the same time. World here does not denote last humanity, for we should love sinners and unsaved people. The connotation here is to not love the world system that will pass away. The lust of the eye, the pride of life, and especially the lust of the flesh will all pass away. These are the gateways into our spiritual man and can eventually cause us to be lost if we do not hate them. Idolatry can take many forms in different ages and societies. This overarching principal is universal and must be applied to each locality and worldly temptations. Each person is tempted in different ways according to their individual weaknesses. Temptations do follow a general pattern for all believers. The temptation will use one of these three gateways to tempt believers to sin. Our key weapon against these temptations is the word of God. This is the weapon Jesus used in His hour of supreme temptation. Modern day temptations of Hollywood movies (lust of the eye), professional sports venues (lust of the flesh), and fellowship with unbelievers (pride of life), are examples of temptations from this world that must be hated and not loved. Early Christians did not attend the Roman games and gladiator contests. The early church was aware they were citizens of another country, and they were just passing through this world on their destination of a heavenly city. This mind set must be formed in a child of God to insure the believer does not love the world, neither the things that are in the world. To love the world is to have the love of the father absent in our spiritual temples. The lusts and temptations of this world are passing away, and this leads to the conclusion that it is the last time and antichrist is appearing soon.

2.18 antichrist. Antichrist appears only here and in verse 22, 4.3, and 2 Jn 7. Antichrist is the ultimate opponent of God, God’s plans and God’s people. The prevalence and abundance of false teaching causes John to remind believers they are in the last days and the spirit of antichrist is among the true believers. These are former believers who were once part of the assembly. Their leaving and refuting their faith proves they were never truly part of the true church. Their fruits prove what tree they are of.

2.19 true believers. Some had gone out of the assembly of true believers and departed. This holds true today in Christianity. Many appear to be religious, but are not true believers. Jesus proclaimed in Matt 7.15-21 that there would be people who claimed to be His followers and would claim to have done many mighty works in His name. Jesus proclaims He never knew these that claimed to be His followers. Outwardly they appeared to be Christ’s, but they were imposters. Christ sends them away. John is here reminding the true church there will always be the spirit of antichrist in the world.

2.20 unction. Unction means anointing or unguent, or smearing. A true believer has this unction. They are covered or smeared with the Holy Ghost, and this comforter, the Holy Ghost teaches a believer all things, Jn 14.26.

2.21-22 liar. The liar here is the deceiver who claims to represent Christianity, but actually opposes it by their false doctrine. This is probably directed at the Gnostics of John’s day. These teachers denied Jesus His full deity and thus took away His full due as savior and as God manifest in a human body. This eternal truth and warning is relevant today. Anyone who denies Christ is less than divine and not God manifest in the flesh is a liar. This is the key identifying trait of antichrist, the opponent of the messiah. This title antichrist is only used by John. Some apply this term to the man of sin mentioned in Paul’s writing and the evil leader who arises in the last days described in the book of revelation. 

2.23 son. God has chosen to reveal Himself through Christ. It is impossible to know God without acknowledging Jesus Christ in the fullness of His power and purpose. To deny the son, is to deny the father.

2.24-25 abide. This powerful word speaks of a continuing life in Christianity. Believers are exhorted to stay, to continue, to endure, and to remain. The charge is to persevere in the face of false teaching. This is in contrast to those who had departed and fallen from grace. The reward for all who abide is eternal life. 

2.26 seduce. John boldly proclaims he writes because of error and false teachers invading the church.

2.27-29 anointing, abide. John provides the method for believers to abide. It is the anointing that provides the ability to discern false teaching. This anointing reveals false teaching. John is not saying a believer never needs teaching. John is affirming the anointing, which is the Spirit of God, will teach you all things about, and when, deception rises and tries to invade the church. False teaching does not agree with the true spirit of God the believer has abiding in their heart. The anointing will teach you when false teaching tries to gain a foothold in the assembly. This anointing will in turn cause the believer to abide until the coming of Jesus Christ. A true believer will meet Jesus Christ at Christ’s return with confidence and joy.

Thanks for reading today….

1 John Introduction and Chapter 1 Thursday, Aug 4 2016 

1 John 

Introduction. He lived in Ephesus. He was now an old man in his late eighties or early nineties. He was the last of the surviving apostles that Jesus had hand picked. He was also Jesus’ cousin. Over sixty years before he and his brother James had been standing by the fishing boat their father owned. Jesus had walked by and said come follow me and I will make you fishers of men. John left the boat and began a journey that was now over sixty years later.

The years had been incredible. For three years he had followed Jesus while the messiah taught and ministered to thousands. John had been selected by Jesus to hold a special place along with his brother James and Simon Peter. These three men were the inner circle to the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. On several occasions Jesus had taken these three men into confidential moments the other disciples did not share.

John had been there for the entire journey of Jesus earthly ministry. He was at the foot of the cross when Jesus died. John had been there through all the years of the New Testament church. John was right there on the first day of the church in Acts two. He was there when the lame man was healed. John was with Peter when they were cast into prison. He had been there when his brother was martyred by Pilate. John possibly accompanied Peter to the house of Cornelius in Acts chapter ten. John had lived through the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. John had been at the Jerusalem council when the decision was made for the Gentiles entrance into the church. The years were filled with memories of triumphs and tragedies. 

Now he was the last original surviving apostle. He was feeble and aged. Troubling news was being brought to him about false teachers who were teaching false doctrine. This was a growing epidemic in the church. Gnosticism had gained a foothold, and taught that Jesus never really had a human body. This false doctrine said the flesh was intrinsically evil, therefore Jesus would never have inhabited such a sinful abode.

No one on earth was better qualified to rise up and refute this false doctrine that threatened his beloved church. The old apostle picked up his quill and with shaking hand began, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled”. John was refuting Gnosticism directly. He was letting the churches of Asia and Europe know, I was there. I saw him. I touched him. I was his companion for three and a half years. John was proclaiming I saw it, and I bear witness, and show you eternal life.

Jesus was manifested to mankind. John was declaring that all men can have fellowship with Jesus Christ.

Thus begins the first general epistle of John the beloved. 

Date: approximately 90ad

Author: John

Chapter 1

1.1 eyewitness. John begins by assuring the churches of Asia and Europe he was an eyewitness of the ministry of Jesus Christ. John was offering his personal witness of the word of life, which is the proclamation of Jesus Christ, in whom is life. This parallels his statements in chapter 1 of his gospel, and gives weight to his authenticity. John is the most qualified witness on earth as he is the last remaining original apostle. All other original apostles are deceased, thus unable to raise their apostolic voice in dissension to false doctrines circulating in the church.

1.2 manifested. Manifested here means to render apparent, declare. The life of God was rendered apparent in the life of Jesus Christ. Jn 1.1 mirrors this, in the beginning was the word (logos), and the logos was with God and the logos was God. Jesus is the manifestation of God to mankind. 1 Tim 3.16 without controversy (by the consent of all), great is the mystery of godliness (gospel scheme). God (theos, the supreme deity, spoken of the only and true God), was rendered apparent. God lived in the human body of Jesus Christ and made Himself apparent to mankind.

1.3 fellowship. One important purpose of John’s personal witness is to provide fellowship for true believers. The most insidious way false doctrine invades the church is through men posing as sheep but are actually ravening wolves, Mt 7.15. Fellowship here means partnership, social intercourse, and communication. This is the root of what John is defending. Men posing as true believers were interacting with the church and bringing damnable doctrines with them. John is rooting out fellowshipping these false believers. John is firm: you are not to have close association or relationship with people who do not believe Jesus was God manifested in the flesh. The Apostle Paul also declared this in his writings. One important platform of fellowship is mutual acceptance, and submission, to the truths of the Christian Faith.

1.4 joy. The major purpose of this epistle is to defend the church against the false doctrines trying to invade the fellowship of believers. There is a secondary benefit in the joy (cheerfulness, calm delight), that comes with close fellowship with Christ and other believers. There is a deep satisfaction in knowing Christ and walking with him.

1.5 light and darkness. John relays the message he heard from Jesus personally as an eyewitness. This message he passes on to the fellowship of believers. John introduces the first of his comparative opposites, light verses darkness. This is a writing style of John. He uses simple words that have great meaning. John’s vocabulary is the vocabulary of a seven year old child. He uses roughly 600 words. A child learns 100 words a year on the average. The words John uses are few in number but pregnant with great meaning and impact. The clarity of his style is effective. For instance, where there is light there can be no darkness. This simple style is his signature trademark in the Holy Scriptures. God is light. There are only two things in the scriptures that say what God is. God is light and God is love. All other statements are about God’s attributes. In the beginning God said let there be light. God introduced himself into the darkness and creation began. It is the same pattern in a life. When God is introduced through the baptism of the Holy Ghost, light and illumination begins. The Holy Ghost will teach things, illuminate things, and bring things to a person’s remembrance. God is light and light illuminates and drives darkness away by it’s very presence and existence.

1.6 fellowship. Walking in darkness means walking in sin. People who claim to be a part of the fellowship of light but continue to walk in darkness (shadiness or obscurity), utter an untruth (lie). This type of lifestyle is simply impossible, for light will drive out darkness.

1.7 blood. John introduces another of his simple yet profound words, blood. If we walk in the light we have fellowship with one another, but more importantly we have the continual flow of the cleansing blood of Christ. The blood of our body flows without stop or rest. Our blood is the blueprint for the redeeming, cleansing blood of Christ. His blood flows continuously in our lives to keep us free from sin and death. To truly understand this revelation is to live above guilt and condemnation. While we live daily lives, Jesus blood continually flows in our life to keep us spiritually healthy. John now introduces the reason why this is important.

1.8 sin. We must acknowledge sin in our lives. If we deny we have sin, we live in deception, and truth is not in us. There were possibly some who were claiming to have no sin because of the life of Jesus now inside them by the Holy Ghost. John clearly instructs, all people sin. Jesus taught if you acknowledge your sin you can find forgiveness. He further instructed if you are blind to your sin you will remain there (Jn 9.41).

1.9 confess. To confess (assent, acknowledge) our sins, is to seek help from God to remove this death virus from our spiritual man. In God’s providence, when we acknowledge our sin, his continuously flowing blood removes our sins. He is faithful (trustworthy). As our blood continually removes metabolic waste and impurities from our body, so His blood does for the body of Christ. His blood goes even further by cleansing all unrighteousness (injustice, wrongfulness of character or life) of the body of Christ. This is one of the reasons the Apostle Paul stressed the importance of the church to not forsake the assembling together (Heb 10.25). There is cleansing for the spiritual body both individually and collectively when the church gathers together.

1.10 God. To deny one’s sinfulness or sins does not just deceive oneself, it makes God a liar by denying God’s word. Sin is universal. It was brought into the world by Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. It was finally conquered at Calvary by Jesus Christ. To be sin free is impossible. The answer is for the blood of Jesus Christ to continually flow in our lives daily, much as our natural blood does, to remove sin when it occurs. John will now introduce the amazing concepts of advocacy and propitiation.

Thanks for reading today…

Ecclesiastes 11~12 Tuesday, Aug 2 2016 

Chapter 11

11.1-6 employment. One of the arenas of life that hebel can rub a person the wrong way is their employment. As one person said, it is so daily. The daily grind of work can become hebel very quickly. In these verses, Solomon is instructing about the uncertainty of work. Four times Solomon says “thou knoweth not”. The encouragement here in reference to our life work is to not give in to the frustrations of hebel. The persistent work done daily will bring positive results even if there are moments or extended periods of frustration. The single blow of an ax will not topple an oak tree. The second or third blow, may seem pointless. If you continue to strike the oak, eventually it will fall. Solomon is saying keep sowing, ignore the clouds, forget about the wind, just keep working and good things will come to you. This is the formula to conquer hebel in your work. Cast your bread (finished product of work), not your seed, upon the waters (life), and somehow it returns in blessing.

11.7-10 light and darkness. Solomon is approaching the end of his thoughts on hebel. While finishing his thoughts on labor and work he speaks of light and darkness. This is more than light and darkness at face value. Light speaks of illumination and darkness speaks of misery. In the larger picture of hebel (vanity), Solomon here uses the imperative mood. He is commanding rather than suggesting. Solomon is strongly admonishing the youth to enjoy life before the onset of feeble years he will address in chapter 12. There will be many days of darkness. There will be days of calamity and defeat. The joy of life will at times not come easy. Solomon is instructing young men to wrestle joy and happiness from life. Hebel (vanity), never raises the white flag of surrender. It is work in another profound sense to remove sorrow (vexation, anger) from your heart and evil (adversity, grief, misery), from your flesh. The closing command is to keep working in your natural sense, while continuing to work on the inward hebel that would bring you down and destroy the joy of life. When a man is truly illuminated he will escape the darkness of inner misery. Illumination (light), is the deliverer from hebel.

Chapter 12

12.1-7 youth and old age. While describing old age, Solomon is addressing the youthful man. He is warning the young man of what is coming. The darkening of the celestial bodies speaks of declining energy and vitality. The approaching clouds speak of the storms of life and old age. The keepers of the house are the arms, they become feeble and weak. The strong men are the legs that become bowed and weak. The grinders are the teeth that are lost in old age. Those that look out of the window are the eyes and vision fades. Rising at the voice of the bird is loss of sleep. The daughters of music brought low is the loss of hearing. The almond tree is a reference to the white hair of old age. The grasshopper speaks of failed joints that hobble elderly people into painful gaits, limping through their final years. Death is visioned as the shattering of a golden bowl. The pitcher used to hold things from the well (deep things of life), is broken. This is possibly a reference to dementia and memory loss. Solomon paints a realistic picture of life as man approaches the golden years so called. Finally the man himself returns to the original state of dust from which he began. The final cycle of hebel has finished it’s rotation through life. Through all of this Solomon instructs the young man to always remember his creator, for your creator will be patiently waiting for you when you finish your course.

12.9-11 the writer. Solomon describes himself for all future generations. He is not a skeptic or a cynic. He is not an embittered old man. He is acknowledging life as it really is. It is hebel to the last day on this earth. He is giving wisdom and acceptable words to balance hebel. His words are words of truth. His words are as goads to prod men in life when they are tempted to stop. His proverbs and principals are nails fastened by masters of assemblies (collections of wisdom). This speaks of truths proven on many battlefields of life. These timeless lessons are from one shepherd, God himself. Ultimately these life lessons are from God. They are divine instruction on how to live life and enjoy the gift of life from God himself.

12.12-14 conclusion. God has not answered every problem of life. God has commanded man to live joyfully, responsibly, and wisely. The controlling essence of life should be the fear of God. Submit yourself to God and follow the principles he revealed here in Ecclesiastes. This is the best life man can live before the moment he faces God in judgment.

Thanks for reading today…

Ecclesiastes Chapter 10 Monday, Aug 1 2016 

10.1-4 folly. Folly and foolishness are the opposite of wisdom. A fly in your beverage results in the entire beverage being thrown away. So foolishness in the life of a wise man causes people to dismiss him, and discard him as a valuable man. People realize stupid actions reflect stupid thinking. It is obvious where his heart (desires) are. People say “there goes the fool”. All because of a fly. The text suggests anger is possibly the fly Solomon was mentally seeing. Solomon instructs a calm spirit will bring the best results to conflict. Intemperate people are not considered wise. We see a fly when we view them.

10.5-10 ibid. Folly blames failure and mistakes on the leader without investigating the cause. Folly is always immature in it’s conclusions. Folly places unproven people in elevated positions, while demoting the ones who should be promoted. Men are most often snared by the traps they set themselves. Poetic justice is seen throughout the scriptures. Solomon’s father David wrote in 2 Sam 22.27 with the froward thou wilt show thyself unsavory. Unsavory means to be twisted. Folly leads a man to be twisted and dishonest, and men who follow this path fall into their own pit they dig. Working with stones and forests can be hazardous, so use wisdom and be careful. A dull ax causes harder work. The investigator of hebel is advising to use you head and brains. Wisdom makes labor and life easier, folly defeats in every way.

10.11-15 words. The bite of a serpent is quick and unprovoked. Life lived on Folly Lane will do the same. The babbler (master) is no better. Solomon introduces words verses wisdom. Words from a wise man are beautiful while the fool swallows (destroys) himself. Fools begin with nonsense and end up speaking madness (folly). Here the word folly is used and translated madness. Folly is truly madness. Solomon is cataloging the list of hebel produced by folly. It is the cause and effect of folly. A fool is full (multiplies) of words. It is as though the only way he could have said less is to talk more. Foolish talk makes everyone around them tired and the fool cannot find the city (protected place). Fools talk themselves right out of safety.

10.16-20 kings. An unlucky kingdom has a child for a King and this allows the princes to party all night. Solomon is illustrating the consequences of folly in kings. Blessed is the kingdom where the king is mature and princes (head people, rulers) do not live in folly. The contrast of wisdom and folly in throne rooms is presented. Solomon now leaves the forests and fields and enters the highest places of rulers and laws to show folly is like the spider, it enters King’s palaces at times. Verse 18 and 19 almost seem out of place if not viewed in light of the hebel of folly in lives of kings. Things put together (building) fall apart without wisdom. Kingdoms cannot rule themselves. A kingdom left unsupervised will decay. While illustrating folly and wisdom as opposites Solomon shows that partying and money are parts of a kingdom. One brings the joy of life and the other provides answers to life needs. Folly speaks against kings out of jealousy or simplicity. Solomon reiterates that the lips of a fool can swallow himself up. If the king hears of your folly (foolish speaking and criticism), the end of the fool is in sight. Folly is the king of hebel.

Thanks for reading today…

Ecclesiastes Chapter 9 Saturday, Jul 30 2016 

Chapter 9

9.1-6 death. Solomon addresses the hebel of death. Of all the musings and contemplations of Solomon, death is the greatest challenge. Death is unknown and knowledge after death is beyond wisdom to plumb it’s depth. There are none to discuss death who have been there and returned. There is a void and a chasm that cannot be crossed. Death is the truest of all hebels. The only solution Solomon offers is to stay alive. He surmises any life is better than death. Solomon illustrates this by saying a living dog (despised animal), is better than a dead lion (king of beasts). Ultimately the search for understanding of hebel ends with death. As long as there is life, there is new understanding, knowledge and reward. Life offers continued activity on earth. Life on earth is the only arena of opportunity to accomplish and earn rewards. The grave receives more than the natural body. It also receives dreams, love, hatred, and envy (6). These things also die with the physical body. Many noble but intangible things die with death. Death is the truest of hebels. There is no escape or defense from death. It eventually welcomes the righteous, the wise, the wicked, the good, the clean, the unclean, and all other men into it’s gaping mouth.

9.7-10 love. With the wisp of death hanging in the air, Solomon advises to love your wife. While peering into the unknown he is brought back to what he does have now, here. He returns to the God given answer for hebel. Live joyfully (with a raw appetite) with the wife of whom thou lovest. That is the portion, (the smoothness), of this life. Thy labor (worry, wearing effort of body and mind) is smoothed out by living life today. Solomon uses words like life, eat, drink, and live. These are actions every person can do. The gift of life God gave requires no wealth or wisdom. The simple man can do these things as well as the wise. God accepteth (is pleased), with these works (actions). God approves when we enjoy life. White garments and oil on the head speak of a more comfortable life in the torrid Middle East climate. These things symbolize the pure enjoyment of a well lived life, following the guidance of wisdom, and the fear of God.

9.11-18 value of wisdom. The tragedy of life is men are so busy seeking they never see. The value of wisdom is overlooked. Men are as fishes caught in a net, and as birds caught in a snare. The race, the battle, bread, and riches are unpredictable. Our reaction to these is the essence of hebel. We cannot control the variables of our lives, but with wisdom and the fear of God, hebel fades to insignificance. Solomon illustrates that Kings conquering cities is inferior to wisdom’s influence. Wisdom exceeds strength in value. Wisdom is better than weapons of war. The hebel of our life results when wisdom is not heard and followed. Death, love, and war, are battlefields of hebel. God’s victory to these battles is the gift of living life by wisdom, and the fear of God. The vanity of life disappears in the presence of a life of joy and religious celebration. 

Thanks for reading today…

Ecclesiastes Chapter 8 Friday, Jul 29 2016 

Chapter 8

8.1 inner happiness. Solomon was the wisest man to ever live. He has said he sought to know all things. After wasting many years in pursuit of knowledge, he wants to leave succeeding generations the wisdom to not over pursue anything. Enjoy life, and have balance. He concludes that wisdom gives an inner happiness that makes a man’s face to shine and his boldness and confidence will be noticeable.

8.2-4 kings. The value of wisdom is also on display when in the presence of a king. People were required to take an oath of loyalty to the King when in the King’s presence. Wisdom protects people in the presence of all powerful men who can issue harmful edicts. Daniel and Ezra are an excellent example of this.

8.5-8 time and judgment. Only the wise can discern time, for the tomorrow’s of life are unknown. Man cannot restrain the spirit, or control the day of death, or be released from war, or be free from wickedness, once it has a hold on him. These four areas of life document that man is limited in his dominion over life. Wisdom shines like a pearl on black velvet when placed next to the powerful entities of life. Without wisdom to teach time and judgment, life dissolves into hebel.

8.9-14 fear God. Solomon here defends the fear of God. He has observed that evil men receive honorable burials and are even praised at death. He observes that sometimes the fortunes of the righteous and the wicked seem to be reversed. The righteous get what the evil deserve, and the evil get what the righteous deserve. Solomon never surrenders to this dilemma. He maintains his strong position to believe in the fear of God. He knows it will go well with them that fear God (12). He knows it will not go well with the wicked (13). This and other passages show Solomon is not an old, bitter, frustrated man. He is clear eyed and has seen life in it’s fullness. He is seeing through the distortions of life and clearly seeing that no matter how it looks right now, no matter what evidence seems to point toward hebel, remember to fear God.

8.15-17 mirth. Mirth: exceeding gladness, joy, pleasure, rejoicing. Solomon commends mirth. Commend is to address in a loud tone, to glory, to praise. When faced with the dilemmas and contradictions of life, Solomon says mirth is the answer to confusion and disappointment. Man cannot find out the work done under the sun. Solomon proclaims you can spend a lifetime wondering why someone else is blessed, or you have not gotten your desires. This is futile. It is hebel to try and understand hebel. Solomon spent many sleepless nights trying to understand hebel (16). His conclusion is to scream with joy and gladness over the joy of today. The answer to the frustrations of life and hebel is to praise and glorify God with loud, exceeding, gladness. Mirth is the master of hebel. 

Thanks for reading today…

Ecclesiastes Chapter 7 Thursday, Jul 28 2016 

Chapter 7

7.1-10 good name. A good name proves the presence of wisdom. It is the principals of wisdom that give foundation to a good reputation. The day of death proves our legacy, while the day of birth proves nothing. The house of mourning reminds us of our appointment with God, while laughter makes us forget the present and past. Sorrow makes a man reflect on the brevity of life, therefore it is better. The house of mirth and the laughter of fools is like the crackling of thorns. Solomon is reiterating some of the concepts he wrote in Proverbs. The end of a matter is always better than the beginning. A patient spirit serves better than a proud spirit, for who knows the end of the matter. Anger is true hebel, and to live in the past throws today away. This is a violation of the principal of enjoy life and enjoy today. All yesterdays are gone, never to return, and steal today’s joy when brooded upon.

7.11-18 wisdom and life. It is wisdom that brings profit to an inheritance, not the money itself. Riches without wisdom is an evil or hebel in itself. With wisdom, money is a defense. Wisdom brings happiness in the day of prosperity and the in the day of adversity. The rise and fall of daily emotions can be trusted to wisdom. Wisdom reveals good days are set against bad days by God himself. Wisdom smoothes out life and gives stability to all seasons, high and low. Solomon muses over the just man who perishes in his righteousness, and the wicked man whose life is prolonged. Without wisdom these life conundrums are troublesome. Solomon advises to not be self righteous, or seek to be overly wise. This violates the enjoy life as a gift of God concept he is repeatedly presenting. Do not seek evil, but hold in check your wicked nature. The answer is to live, participate in life, while fearing God. This life formula will bring people through any circumstance.

7.19-29 wisdom and sin. Solomon does not overlook the nature of even good men sinning. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 3.23 all have sinned. This is reflected here in Solomon’s caveat. The inclusiveness of sin includes words spoken by a person, and spoken of a person, by others. Solomon readily admits he gave himself to seek wisdom and the reason of things. He searched for meaning in sin, folly, and madness. The revolving cycle brought him back to hebel, vanity. In his search he saw the bitterness of a woman’s snares. As he counted one by one, there was not one man in a thousand who did not sin. The only life worth living is the life of wisdom. Wisdom smoothes out life. Wisdom medicates life. Wisdom intensifies life and it’s joy. Wisdom mellows life. Wisdom is the greatest gift of God to make life enjoyable. The highest quality of life is delivered by wisdom. Fear God and embrace wisdom. This is the only alternative to hebel.

Thanks for reading today…

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