The Seasons of Life

Key Verse: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
—Ecclesiastes 3:1

Selected Scripture:
Ecclesiastes 3:1-22

THE WISE MAN, King Solomon, wrote that there is a time for every event mankind has encountered in his life upon earth. His experiences are contrasting one to another. As we read of man’s experience we conclude that God had in mind that they should experience these contrasts, and that these would be beneficial to man.

The list of contrasts in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 could be summed up by God saying to man, there is a time for learning the exceeding sinfulness of sin and how it leads to death. The seasons of life, as expressed in these verses, are to give mankind experience with sin and its consequences.

God’s plan was to set aside a time for the demonstration of sin and its consequences. He wants all of his intelligent creation to learn this lesson. Man is learning by actual experience. The angels are learning by observation. It is to be a lasting lesson, and ample time is being devoted to it. We can be sure of one thing in this time, that is the absence of justice and judgment. As Solomon wrote, “I have seen the burden God has laid on men.” (vs. 10, New International Version) Then, after briefly telling how man struggles to get some satisfaction out of this present life, he says, “I saw something else under the sun: In the place of judgment—wickedness was there, in the place of justice—wickedness was there. I thought in my heart, ‘God will bring to judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time for every deed.’”—vss. 16,17, NIV

Solomon realized that the present experiences are to test man. He says, “I also thought, ‘As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows [who can prove] if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” (vss. 18-21, NIV) In the latter statement Solomon exposes the popular belief that man has an immortal soul which goes to heaven, whereas animals die and go back to dust.

He then says, “I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?”—vs. 22, NIV

God has, however, revealed in his Holy Word that there is to be a resurrection of the dead. (John 5:28,29) During the kingdom they will then be directed up the highway of holiness to learn righteousness. (Isa. 35:8) This is the time that God will judge the righteous and the wicked. The lessons learned in this time of experience with sin and death will come to mind. Man will then be able to make an intelligent choice, and will choose good and live.

God recommended to Israel that they choose good and live. (Deut. 30:19) They couldn’t do this because no man could keep God’s Law perfectly. It wasn’t until Jesus came, born under the Law, and removed the curse of the Law, enabling them to do this.—Gal. 3:13

Dawn Bible Students Association
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