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If Solomon claimed that All is vanity in this earth in the Book of Ecclesiastes, what's our purpose of living our lives on this earth?

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closed as off-topic by Nathaniel, curiousdannii, ThaddeusB, Mr. Bultitude, Flimzy Nov 25 '15 at 7:01

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Are you looking specifically for answers from within the book of Ecclesiastes, or from the rest of the Bible? I think the book of Ecclesiastes is very deliberate in what it does, and it's not meant to be simply countered with other Bible verses... – curiousdannii Mar 24 '14 at 1:41

If Solomon claimed that All is vanity in this earth in the Book of Ecclesiastes, what's our purpose of living our lives on this earth?

That's what he tells you at the end of the book:

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NKJV

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.

The idea in Ecclesiastes is that Solomon, being the richest man on earth at the time, tried every pursuit that people might seek for happiness and contentment in and found them all lacking, all vanity, all worthless, except for serving God.

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I don't think he is saying that all the pursuits on earth can't provide happiness and contentment, but that even that happiness and contentment is still a vanity... – curiousdannii Mar 24 '14 at 1:42
@david brainerd you started out good but not the happiness and contentment part, like curiousdannii said. – WelcomeNewUsers Mar 24 '14 at 23:14
Maybe instead of "except" I should have said "without also" – david brainerd Mar 24 '14 at 23:21

I was just thinking about that. Then I remembered I Corinthians 7:19 NET

Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Instead, keeping God's commandments is what counts.

Here Paul was talking about people having an OT vs Christ battle. But Paul reminds them that since the begging God wanted us to obey him. People were complaining about the OT laws and burnt offerings but the Blood of Christ got away with that so it only remains to obey God. That is all that matters - to obey God. Who else can believe in me (besides my mom).

Like Solomon and Paul said what's the difference between having and not having, Philippians 4:12 NET

I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing.

I hope i answered your question...

... what matters is who we are for each other

... it's not about what you have. it's about who you have.

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In addition to the answers above I would like to add, that once we are saved we have a job assigned to us by Christ, which is known as the great commission.

Mar 16:15 through 18 King James translation

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Jesus did not intend that we just live out the rest of our lives on Earth enjoying, his grace and his creation. We are commissioned to gather as many souls into the Kingdom as we can, whether it be only one or thousands as Billy Graham has done. and if we do that we can expect to say:

Matthew 25:21 KJV

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

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All is vanity means than nothing in this world can give real pleasure. Solomon wrote that he tasted all can be tasted and found that all this is vanity. He wrote this to warn us not to follow all this vanity. Our main task on this earth is to found God.

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I think you've got the right idea, but can you edit your answer to add some quotes from the book of Ecclesiastes that show that our main task is to find/follow God? Or can you give some quotes from other Christian teachers who support this idea? – curiousdannii Mar 24 '14 at 1:32

There are many times that I walk around my house saying, "Stupid, Stupid, its all so stupid". My wife may think I am depressed until she hears the real quest I am pursuing - "Where have I put my car keys?"

For a thousand years or so we have misunderstood Kohelet (the writer of Ecclesiastes) for although he opens with "Futile, completely futile, all (that we do) is futile" he then states his theme question (which he repeats throughout the text) - "What lasting benefit can we gain from all our hard work upon this earth?" This is his one and only purpose for writing his book. Kohelet has given us a theology of work that is framed within the context of a world that God has twisted and broken to drive humans back to Himself. God said "by the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread" but mankind refused to accept God's design and said "No, by the sweat of my brow I will get ahead!" Mankind pursues wealth, education, politics, justice and even wisdom in an effort to get ahead. Kohelet explores all those avenues and comes back to tell us that all of those pursuits is truly as futile as chasing after the wind for God has ordained that none of these human activities can provide any lasting gain.

Strangely enough, these exact same things can be a great blessing in our day to day enjoyment of God's creation. This is why Kohelet will tells us that when he pursued wisdom he discovered there was always more to know, that wisdom brought sorrow and ultimately that even the wise die - "when I made it my goal to be wise, wisdom eluded me." He points out that the pursuit of wisdom cannot provide a lasting gain but goes on to tell us that as a gift on our journey, "the wise can see where they are going" and "wisdom preserves the lives of those who possess it."

It is this contrast between pursuing something as an end in itself and enjoying it as a daily gift that we often miss in Kohelet. It is a very eastern view of like, like Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof" where "this hand" is contrasted with "on the other hand".

Kohelet has a great deal to teach us about living in God's creation and his conclusions are full of joy. Unfortunately, many centuries of incorrect interpretation and flawed traditions have all but buried his work. Ecclesiastes truly has become the "lost book of the Bible."

I have been studying Kohelet for the past 30 years and have recently finished a new translation, memorized it and now travel to perform wherever there are those who want to understand the incredible wisdom of Kohelet. People are finding that for a book that is over 2000 years old, what he wrote is still “honest and true.”

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