TODAY’S READING: ECCLESIASTES 1-4
Here we have the English, the Hebrew, and the Greek. It is from a transliteration of the Greek that we get the English title to the book. From the Greek, it is clear that Ekklesiastou, Preacher, is related to the ekklesia – the assembly or the congregation. So, Ekklesiastou, Preacher, Qoheleth, is one who speaks or teaches in the midst of the assembly or congregation.
Of course, Jesus is the teacher, the preacher, in the midst of the ekklesia, God’s assembly, God’s congregation. But, the word of Qoheleth and the meaning of Ecclesiastes seem so foreign to what Jesus preached in the New Testament.
So, how do we find Jesus in Ecclesiastes? Specifically, how do we find Jesus in Qoheleth, since Qoheleth, whoever he is, is the author of the book?
The Hebrew qoheleth only appears in the book of Ecclesiastes. It is found seven times in the book. The most significant and prominent meaning of the number seven is spiritual perfection.
While it is interesting that qoheleth is used seven times in the book, it is even more interesting to note where qoheleth shows up in the book. Qoheleth is used in verses
Do you notice anything familiar but the spacing of the uses of qoheleth? For that is very interesting arrangement of the uses of the word.
The first three uses are very close together. Then, fourth instance is separated from the first first three and the last three. Finally, the fifth, sixth, and seventh uses are clumped very close together.
What else in the Bible follows such a pattern?
The Feasts of Israel.
The feasts of passover, unleavend bread, and firstfruits all occur within an eight day period. Then, separated from those first three and last three feasts, somewhat all on its own, is the feast of pentecost. Finally, within two weeks of each other are the feasts of trumpets, atonement, and tabernacles.
Of course, the feasts of Israel are a prophecy of Jesus. The first three feasts prophesied of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. The fourth feast prophesied of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh, Jesus Christ within the heart of all mean. And, the final three feasts prophesy of Jesus’ second coming.
Surely the arrangement of the uses of qoheleth in Ecclesiastes mirroring the timing of the feasts of the Jewish calendar, which prophesy of Jesus, is not a coincidence.
What is the significance of this connection?
I do not know yet. But, I suspect it would help shed some light on the meaning of the book as it relates to Jesus.
Further meaning might come by seeing the connection between the feasts of Israel and the seven kingdom parables given by Jesus in Matthew 13. And, perhaps this would lead to a connection to the letters to the seven churches Jesus spoke to in Revelation. And, these might connect to the seven different churches that Paul wrote letters to.
The significance of these connections, and the revelation of Jesus in Ecclesiastes, will only come by the Spirit. A literal reading of the text will not suffice. Therefore, let us seek the wisdom of the Spirit to reveal the truth of Jesus in Ecclesiastes.