The book of Ecclesiastes is one of the Wisdom Books of the OT, along with Job, Psalms, Proverbs and the Song of Songs. The English Bible adopted the title of the book from that employed by the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, known as the Septuagint: Ecclesiastes. The Hebrew title is Qoheleth. The meaning of Qoheleth might be “Preacher” “Gatherer.”
Ecclesiastes is traditionally read in the Jewish synagogue on the third day of the Feast of Tabernacles (or, Booths, Sukkot) in late September or early October (15–21 Tishri). It is the time of the annual harvest festival recalling Israel’s wilderness experience (Lev 23:33–43). The fact that it is read during a festival of great joy (cf. Neh 8:9) should be a clue that the tone of the book is not considered by Judaism, at least, as pessimistic, but instructive and a no-nonsense account of the futility of seeking to find real meaning and purpose in life picture by pursuing the pleasures and sensual experiences in life under the sun, instead of acknowledgement and submission to The Living God. There is one word that is found repeatedly in this book to describe the person who is trying to find ultimate meaning and purpose in things under the sun. Vanity. The Hebrew word means, emptiness; something transitory and unsatisfactory
Ecclesiastes describes three problems that every single human being faces in this life:
(1) The uncertainty of time and chance.
Ec 9:11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. 12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them. These verses demonstrate that man is not sovereign. To a large extent, we have a very limited control of our circumstances. Life is somewhat of a mystery that is not always easy to understand. Life is seldom 2+2=4.
(2) The endemic and incurable nature of wickedness. Eccl. 7:20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. Eccl. 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions. These verses reveal the biblical doctrine of the depravity of man. As a result of the fall in the garden, man is not inherently good, and incapable of saving themselves in any way, shape or form.
(3) In earthly terms, death has the final word in any human enterprise. Eccl.12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. This verse, and many others in Ecclesiastes, proves that mankind is not immortal. The wages of sin is death. Man’s days are spent in labor in order to be able to eat and survive in this life, but in the end, his body returns to the dust from whence it was originally taken (Gen 3:19; cf.Eccl 12:7).
So, in light of these 3 problems or mysteries in life that each and every one of us has to deal with, what is the divine purpose and meaning in life that Ecclesiastes tells us to seek after? The book’s epilogue (12:13,14) is the answer and I will let it speak for itself. Eccl 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
The apostle John hears and then writes the heavenly purpose of our being created, Rev 4.11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. In other words, the true meaning and purpose in life is to know God, love God, obey God and serve Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.
We receive this glorious knowledge of God, in the face of The Lord Jesus Christ. It is only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ that we come into a living and loving relationship and fellowship with The Living God. Trust Christ for the salvation of your soul today my friend. Serve Him today with all of your being, beloved. Cling to the hem of His garment by faith. Do not allow the vanity of this world eclipse the substance that we have in Christ.