Many Americans have the sense that the country is on an unstoppable nose-dive into chaos and crash.
In numerous recent speaking engagements and participation in broadcast talk shows across the United States, the same questions have come up again and again: Where are we? What’s happening to us? Where are we going?
“Nowhere,” answers the Nihilist. “Wherever,” replies the Stoic. There are many other variations on the replies in between, depending on the philosophical point of view.
There are, however, many who survey history from the perch of their own periods, and see broad themes cycling around the line of finite time. These range from the second century, BC, Greek philosopher Polybius, to classical historians of the modern age like Will Durant, Oswald Spengler, Arnold Toynbee, Alexander Tytler, Robert Strauss and Neil Howe—to name a few.
Historians immersed in the secular worldview don’t like historical cycles theory because such ideas imply something outside time (transcendent with respect to finite time) ranging from astrological alignments to God Himself.
The Bible, however, reveals a cyclical pattern based on interactions between the Lord and Old Testament Israel—a prototypical nation whose experience can instruct any and all nations in all historical periods.
As I’ve written previously in The Christian Post and elsewhere, here are the stages revealed in Israel’s history (these are my own alliterations, for the sake of easy memorization):
- Ratification All the consensus establishments (in contemporary America, The Entertainment Establishment, Information Establishment, Academic Establishment, Political Establishment, Corporate Establishment) and a critical mass of the general population agree that the God who has revealed Himself in time and space is the true God, the foundation of the nation, and the Being to whom both the leaders and the people are accountable.
- Relapse (of memory) In Israel’s experience this begins with the death of Joshua and his generation. Generally, the consensus establishments turn from their belief in God, and the critical mass of the population centering on the Lord begins to fade.
- Rebellion Turning away from God in behavior, ethics and moral value is the nature of this stage. Lawlessness abounds, along with apostasy. Will Durant described it accurately: “Conduct, deprived of its religious supports, deteriorates into epicurean chaos…”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Wallace Henley