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Lowell Brueckner

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Ecclesiastes 10


Chapter 10

1. Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment give off a stench; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
2. A wise man’s heart inclines him to the right, but a fool’s heart to the left.
3. Even when the fool walks on the road, he lacks sense, and he say to everyone that he is a fool.
4. If the anger of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your place, for calmness will lay great offenses to rest.
5. There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, as it were an error proceeding from the ruler:
6. folly is set in many high places, and the rich sit in a low place.
7. I have seen slaves on horses, and princes walking on the ground like slaves.
8. He who digs a pit will fall into it, and a serpent will bite him who breaks through a wall.
9. He who quarries stones is hurt by them, and he who splits logs is endangered by them.
10. If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps on to succeed.
11. If the serpent bites before it is charmed, there is no advantage to the charmer.
12. The words of a wise man’s mouth win him favor, but the lips of a fool consume him.
13. The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness, and the end of his talk is evil madness.
14. A fool multiplies words, though no man knows what is to be, and who can tell him what will be after him?
15. The toil of a fool wearies him, for he does not know the way to the city.
16. Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes feast in the morning!
17. Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of the nobility, and your princes feast at the proper time, for strength, and not for drunkenness!
18. Through sloth the roof sinks in, and through indolence the house leaks.
19. Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything.
20. Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king, nor in your bedroom curse the rich, for a bird of the air will carry your voice, or some winged creature tell the matter.

The consequences of errors in leadership

Here we have a list of proverbial sayings by the composer of hundreds of proverbs, these relating particularly to life under the sun. He begins with one that links to the last verse of the previous chapter: “One sinner destroys much good.” In this verse, he immediately gives us the meaning, concerning flies in the ointment: It doesn’t take much foolishness to destroy a pleasant situation (v.1). It is true in an individual life, as well as in the body of society. This world is filled with disappointment, because a person’s honor falls easily to one act of stupidity or one careless moment.

Revelation 2:1-7


General considerations concerning the churches

Before we begin the study of the individual churches in chapter 2 and 3, I want to give an overview of these seven churches in Asia Minor. John is the apostle, who has outlived all the others and the only one to die a natural death. The Holy Spirit is intricately involved in all the circumstances, surrounding the Revelation, in order to carry out perfectly the eternal plan of God. With this book, the total canon of inspired Scripture is complete and blessed are all those, who have the privilege of prayerfully studying its pages. Consider this: eleven apostles did not have this privilege, including the apostle Paul.

The Gospel of John is considered to be the most spiritual of the four Gospels and, when we pore over it, sometimes we find spiritual truth inserted in a rather subtle form among the events that he recorded. That is one reason, that he is the most suited of the apostles to write the Revelation. His age and experience are also to be taken into consideration, as well as the timing of the book, almost at the end of the first century, decades after all the other New Testament books have been completed. The apostle John is watching the unfolding of the second generation of Christianity.

The Revelation is a fitting end to the canon, because it continues the accounts of the principles and prophecies of the entire Bible. As I have tried to show, it also completes the revelation of Jesus Christ, beyond what is revealed in the Gospels. I want to say with some care, that the book carries many symbols. Whereas that is true, we still want to take it as literally, as possible. It is especially true in this book that the Holy Spirit fulfills the role, which Christ said of Him, of showing things to come (Jn.16:13). There will be no more Scripture written, but the prophetic Scriptures will continue to live, as their predictions are fulfilled.

Ecclesiastes 9


Chapter 9

1. But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him.
2. It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath.
3. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
4. But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
5. For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten.
6. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun.

The hope of the living

I will remind you again that we must think within the sphere that the preacher is presenting. He has a charge and he is faithfully discharging it in writing. We will be in serious trouble, if we form spiritual doctrine around the literal interpretation of some of these earthly observations. Solomon’s purpose is to awaken the reader to the vanity of living for anything that is offered under the sun.

The king speaks transparently from his own experience and he is in a position to do it with authority. Probably no one was ever better equipped to deliver this message. The opening statement is to be taken into consideration, before anything else is added. We give all that we cannot see under the sun into the hand of God, because our human focus is only on the limited understanding of what we see and know. We learned in the last chapter that the calamity into which man falls, is not necessary a sign of God’s hatred for him; nor are his prosperity and health a sign of God’s love. What then is the lesson? We must live the life of faith, trusting God and laying our lives and future totally in His hand (v.1).

Ecclesiastes 8


Chapter 8

Things that we have no power to control

1. Who is like the wise? And who knows the interpretation of a thing? A man’s wisdom makes his face shine and the hardness of his face is changed.
2. I say: Keep the king’s command, because of God’s oath to him.
3. Be not hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases.
4. For the word of the king is supreme, and who may say to him, “What are you doing?”
5. Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way.
6. For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him.
7. For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be?
8. No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it.
9. All this I observed while applying my heart to all that is done under the sun, when man had power over man to his hurt.

The apostle Paul was not setting a precedent, when he counselled the Romans to be subject to the civil authorities. The precedent was set in the Old Testament and it was not determined by the word of a powerful king, but it was a divine injunction. It is wisdom to abide by this rule for, as much as possible, there should be order on earth. Roman rule had its flaws and injustices, but in the center of its government, Paul commands the church to be orderly and submissive citizens.

Revelation 1:14-18


14. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire,
15. his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.
16. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
17. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,
18. and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”

The Glorified Christ

Purity is the first word that comes to mind, when I read, “His head and His hair were white, like white wool, like snow” (v.14).  It speaks of moral and spiritual character without blemish or flaw. Christ is the spotless Lamb of God.

Three qualities are related to purity. It is unpolluted, undiluted and unalloyed. Jesus came through earth’s trials morally unscathed. The presence of greedy tax collectors and filthy harlots never dropped a blotch on his pure spirit. While He physically walked among them, His character stood aloof. He never compromised, experimented, nor stooped to relate to their foul ways. He never met them on equal ground. He stood high above and lifted them out of their stench into the pure atmosphere of holiness. The devil never found a lodging place for his unclean thoughts and motives in Christ. Jesus said the devil had “nothing in me” (John 14:30). John Bunyan’s “Vanity Fair” offered no attractions to Jesus. The world could not touch the lofty level of His heart.

Ecclesiastes 7


Chapter 7

Sorrow versus laughter

1. A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth.
2. It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.
3. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
4. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5. It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools.
6. For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fools; this also is vanity.

Solomon has a fascinating mentality, but we need to remember that he is inspired by the Holy Spirit. He is seeing things from God’s perspective and that makes his thoughts profitable to our lives. However, the man, who will preach like this preacher will not be popular.

The writer begins this chapter with a statement about a good name and follows with a comparison between sorrow and laughter. I have to think that this is done with purpose, in order to show the attitudes toward life that are most likely to bring about a good name. Names in the Bible have meaning and refer to someone’s character. A person’s name was changed, when his character was changed. Therefore a good name means a good character which, he says, is better to wear, than precious ointment. It leaves a better scent behind it, than expensive perfume.

Revelation 1:12-13, 19-20


12. Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands,
13. and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest.
19. Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.
20. As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

The golden seven-fold candlestick

Before we begin to comment, we want to try to picture the scene that John saw, as he turns to face the One, whose voice was like a trumpet. He sees, first of all seven golden candlesticks and in the middle of these candlesticks, one like a son of man. He wears a long robe with a golden sash. His hair is like white wool or snow, and His eyes are like a flame of fire. His feet are like burnished, refined bronze, and His voice is like the roar of rushing water. He holds seven stars in His right hand and a sharp, two-edged sword comes from His mouth. His face shines like the sun on a clear midday.

This is not something easy to imagine, but we don’t need a vivid imagination, because what is important is the ability to catch the significance of John’s vision. We ask the Spirit of God, who opens the scene to John, to help us see the things that He is providing for all those, who delve into this book. Our first priority is to see Christ with the eyes of our heart, as He is depicted here, and also view the seven churches.

Ecclesiastes 6


Chapter 6

Wealth without joy and other lessons

1. There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind:
2. a man to who God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous evil.
3. If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life’s good things, and he also has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he.
4. For it comes in vanity and goes in darkness, and in darkness its name is covered.
5. Moreover, it has not seen the sun or known anything, yet it finds rest rather than he.
6. Even though he should live a thousand years twice over, yet enjoy no good… do not all go to the one place?
7. All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied.
8. For what advantage has the wise man over the fool? And what does the poor man have who knows how to conduct himself before the living?
9. Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite: this also is vanity and a striving after wind.
10. Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what man is, and that he is not able to dispute with one stronger than he.
11. The more words, the more vanity, and what is the advantage to man?
12. For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun?

Revelation 1:8-11


8. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
9. I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
10. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet
11. saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

The main purpose of Scripture

The Scriptures are about who God is; they are a revelation of His person. It is not primarily about the human race, and He is the one that His true people want to know. They have known Him personally from the beginning of their Christian experience, but they are continually looking into His word with hungry hearts, seeking to learn a little more of His personality.

In verse 8, God has given us something, upon which we can meditate. There are so many things, which can be used to describe Him and yet, we still must recognize the limitations of human language and everything known to man, to fully unveil His infinite essence and nature. The Greek alphabet becomes the tool in this text. Not only words, but letters, will help to open our understanding, and the Lord God uses the first and last Greek letters, Alpha and Omega. God is in every minute detail of written truth.