|Volume 22 Number 2 February 2020||
Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 1:9-10, “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, ‘See, this is new?’ It has already been in ancient times before us.” Solomon further declared in Ecclesiastes 3:15, “That which is has already been, and what is to be has already been; and God requires an account of what is past.” Simply for contrast, the New Living Translation of Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 says, “History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, ‘Here is something new!’ But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.” Verse 15 reads, “What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.” [No endorsement of the New Living Translation is herein intended any more than a commentary to which one may turn. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
Denny Petrillo wrote the Truth for Today Commentary on Ecclesiastes. He made these observations on the fact that “there is nothing new under the sun.” “First, one might consider it proof of a hopeless monotony in life, seeing life as boring, unchanging, and wearisome. Second, one might find the concept that ‘there is nothing new’ to be a comforting, stabilizing truth. There are things we can count on.” He continued by putting forth several truths related to God that are not new.
The fact that there are things we can count on should give all of us who are God-fearing and who are God-serving people, hearts that are kept in perfect peace, knowing that we can rely on our Creator. He is sovereign LORD over all the earth, over all who are here and over all of what is here. He is the only true and living God, and He wants the entire world to know it. God determines what will happen in the days ahead.
The author of the commentary noted, though, some things unlike Ecclesiastes 1:9-10, which pertains to humankind. His thoughts on Ecclesiastes 3:15 bring God to the center. He points out, “With man alone, all is hopeless. With God there is security and hope. Solomon was talking about cycles. God keeps the cycles going. God’s watchfulness represents security and hope, especially for His people.”
For God, what has happened, is happening, and will happen is like a long, unending, gigantic rerun. The events of this world are the same song, just a different stanza with different players. The more things change, the more they stay the same. The unalterable difference in all of this is God will decide when time ends and eternity begins. The all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful, ever-present, infallible God has declared the end from the beginning. The sheer magnitude of that revelation of Who God is, moves beyond our power of thought! Isaiah 46:9-11b proclaims, “Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure…Indeed I have spoken it; I will bring it to pass. I have also purposed it; I will also do it.’” That forever settles it.
Some of the thoughts expressed in the Truth for Today Commentary, authored by Don Shackleford on Isaiah, show once again how God always was, always has been and always continues to be involved in the events of this world He created. Brother Shackleford asked the question, “Why study Isaiah?” He described just how relevant a study of Isaiah is in today’s world. Our blood pressure would go down significantly from a careful study of Isaiah alone.
The author of the commentary wrote, “Isaiah could be called the most Christian book of Old Testament prophecy. Isaiah 53, describing the Suffering Servant, provides vivid messianic images that have shaped our understanding of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Christians are reminded that Christ ‘was crushed for our iniquities,’ and ‘He Himself bore the sin of many’ (Is. 53:5, 12).”
The author continued, “However, the Book of Isaiah also had an immediate intent. The political, social, and religious atmosphere of Judah in the eighth century B.C. was dynamic, being influenced by many nations. Assyria dominated politically, while Egypt tried to maintain its important place in history. In the meantime, Babylon began its rise as a world power. Out of desperation, Judah shuffled from one alliance to another, attempting to maintain the little status that she had as a nation.”
The author concluded, “God’s message for His people was that He was their God and protector. If they would rid themselves of idolatry, immoral living and corrupt government, then He would provide security in the midst of frightening world politics…In a world that repeats many of the problems of the past we need to be reminded of who God is and who we are in His redemptive plan.”
Can we find our nation in that list of nations that was mentioned from Isaiah in the eight century B.C.? Can we see and understand that God has declared the end from the beginning and there is nothing new under the sun? Can we see that God raises up nations and brings them down? Can we see that God puts princes on the throne and deposes men and nations?
Isaiah 40:15, 17-18 forthrightly states that God does or allows whatever He pleases declaring His Lordship over His creation. “Behold the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales; Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing…All nations before Him are as nothing, and they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless. To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him?”
Scripture cannot be broken. There is nothing new under the sun because God controls everything and everybody to the praise of His distinction, honor and glory. [Yet, God does not interfere with mankind’s freewill. He uses and has used, through His providence, both sinners and saints to accomplish His plans. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]