1 ¶ To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. 9 What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? 10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
There was a rhythm to life, as Solomon saw it, as he looked around at his kingdom and his world. Things which appear to be contradictions come about in their turn. Living and dying, planting and reaping, killing and healing, tearing down and building, weeping and laughing, mourning and rejoicing, etc. etc. all have their place under God’s direct or permissive will. There is nothing so sinister or evil on earth that God has not either permitted to happen or caused to happen for reasons most often unknown to us. If God did not permit evil to happen then He would not be God, but a weak figment of our imagination and desire for peace, comfort, and safety in our lives.
Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
He permits one to express that person’s evil, malicious, and wicked nature by committing violence on another. This will show, at the final judgment, that His judgment is perfect and just in an absolute sense. He permits the victim to defend themselves against the attack. He allows mankind to express his highest motives in acts of kindness, sacrifice, and charity and also permits that same mankind to be a vicious, nasty perpetrator of malice and spite.
What is the point of humanity’s efforts? God has given us all the work of all things that we may be proven by it and our true self revealed.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Every day has its share of pleasure and pain, joy and trouble.
Matthew 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Conservative Christians await the translation or rapture of the church to remove it from the world and often ask why, like every generation of Bible believers before them, why it has not happened yet. But, as God promised Abraham’s descendants a heritage of land He pointed out that something had to fill up before they could claim it.
Genesis 15:16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
As these things that Solomon mentioned circle and whirl around in a seemingly endless pattern, if you can call it a pattern from our perspective, and history repeats itself over and over, mankind is approaching the tipping point, the fill point, where the lid is off the boiling pot, which is what Revelation is, in a manner of speaking. The lid is coming off the pot to reveal the full extremity of what has been brewing. Prophecy lovers talk constantly about what has to happen before the end comes as they have been doing for a thousand years. But, all that has to happen is for God to declare that it is finished. No more. Mankind’s rebellion under Satan’s deception will have reached the end.
Solomon sees a world, a life, a system where everything has its place, good and bad. These verses do not, as some idiots say, justify killing, destruction, and bad behavior. They simply acknowledge that this is the way it is, as Solomon observes it.
Were God not completely in control of every event, either in its direct command or by His permission, allowing Satan, as in the Book of Job, to exercise his malice and hatred for us then things like the Sermon on the Mount would make no sense and neither would the letters Paul wrote to the churches. But, as it is, God calls His people to stand out from the crowd in acknowledging Him and His authority and sovereignty and, in obedience.
Christianity has been polluted with a platonic moral dualism throughout its history. Just as a dualist says that cold is merely the absence of heat or darkness the absence of light, the moral dualist will say that evil is the absence of God in spite of the verse quoted previously, Isaiah 45:7, and others like it. They will say that Hell is the absence of God in spite of the Bible’s clear statement;
Psalm 139:8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
Dualism has God as a bystander who witnesses a mugger, the Devil, attack one of His people and then He intervenes to protect His man or woman. This is nonsense. In the universe painted by the Bible God gives the Devil permission to attack and then stops Him when the attack has gone far enough or limits Him beforehand as to how far He may go, and the Devil must obey.
Dualism came into Judaism and Roman Catholic Christianity not only from Greek philosophy but from the Persian religion, Zoroastrianism, which talked about a good force and a bad force, a good god and a bad god, good angels and bad angels.(1) In this philosophy of Christian belief the absolute sovereignty of God in all matters is destroyed, as is the faith of many who do not understand why, in a world supposedly governed by their God, bad things happen to good people.
Verse 10 says again, “I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.”
Theological dualism is confusion and inconsistent with clear, Bible focused doctrine. It will destroy your faith if you practice it.
Solomon has seen the power and the glory of God in all matters, no matter how small or personal. Nothing he did could change any of it. He continues with the deepest theological treatise outside of Job, something that can help us all in our walk with an all-powerful God through the, “express image of his person,” who is Christ. (Hebrews 1:3)
(1) Mike Clegg, “Dualism Through the Lens of Perception,” Absolute Reconciliation Ministries, http://www.absolute-reconciliation.org/dualism_1.html (accessed 2.5.2015). E.P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus (New York: Penguin, 1995), Kindle Edition.