Many people consider the Book of Ecclesiastes hard to understand. But here, at the end of the book, is the authorís own explanation of what the book means (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Even if the reader has not understood the rest of the book, this statement is clear.
We can see that the Book of Ecclesiastes does not teach a different message from the rest of the Bible. And many of the things that people say about the Book of Ecclesiastes are untrue. The book does not deny the judgement of God. Its author did not have doubts about heaven and hell. He did not imagine that a right relationship with God has no purpose.
In fact, the author was teaching people that they must have a right relationship with God. They must respect God and they must be loyal to him. In particular, people must obey his commands.
You can read Godís commands in Deuteronomy 5:6-21. The most important command is that people should love God with their whole hearts (Deuteronomy 6:5; Mark 12:29). In other words, they should obey God because they love him. And they should give their lives to him completely.
That is what God wants most. He wants to change peopleís hearts and minds so that they will love his law (Hebrews 8:10-12). He wants to forgive people so that they do not have to suffer the punishment for their evil deeds.
If we try to obey the commands in order to gain a relationship with God, we will not succeed (Ecclesiastes 7:20; James 2:10). We need God to change our lives (John 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17). And that is why God sent Jesus (1 John 4:9-10). He suffered our punishment so that we can receive a right relationship with God (Isaiah 53:4-6; John 3:16-17; Galatians 3:10-14).
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© 2019, Keith Simons.