Reality of the Cycles of Time

Ramon Arias | August 14, 2017

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (ESV)
 

The book of Ecclesiastes, for the most part, is attributed to King Solomon (died 931 BC). The name of the book means “The words of the preacher” as stated in 1:1. The philosophical approach to age-old questions and the meaning of the nature of human existence remains with every generation.  This book of Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s attempt to give his insight to God’s people rather than to those who have no knowledge of the God of the Bible or are in open rebellion to God’s moral absolutes.

The only way to understand what takes place “under heaven” is through the biblical lens. Whether this principle is accepted or rejected does not change the fact that it is the only means to understand human life and this world.

The statement: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (3:1), is related to the cycles of human and nature’s behavior. Historians call it cycles to recognize the time and season people are moving into the times they are approaching in life and culture.

Cycles are important because they shatter all speculations; they are based on historical facts that only those who twist them to fool others deny the undeniable. John Adams stated the following: “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

The time clock of cycles speaks to us to make us wiser to take the right actions to solve problems; otherwise, if the cycles go unchanged we should not be surprised by the outcome. You know we cannot turn the clock back, even though it is wishful thinking.  We use that expression because had we known what was unfolding we would have done something to change the bad results. In the scope of time when we apply the principles given by God, things can only go right. The opposite of that are his judgments. We all need good judgment provided by the knowledge of knowing the time that we labor under to make the right decisions.

The cycles of social instability lead to economic turmoil, revolutions, civil wars, and riots indicating the break down of the social order. When someone says timing in life is everything, they are stating an irrevocable truth. The internal social and international conflicts of the nation eventually lead to war.

The leading English historian of the twentieth century, Arnold Toynbee invested 40 years and wrote his masterpiece, A Study of History and stated the following:

"The Institute of war lies close to the heart of mankind… In our recent Western history, war has been following war in ascending order of intensity… If the series continues, the progression will indubitable be carried to even higher terms, until this process of intensifying the horrors of war is one day brought to an end by the self-annihilation of the war-making society."1

In Ecclesiastes 3:8b we read: “a time for war, and a time for peace.”

Can we ever expect to witness perfect peace on earth? It depends on how people respond in dealing with their personal feelings mentioned in verses 2 through 8a of chapter 3. It is out-of-control emotions that eat away at people internally and that causes them to react negatively. When we multiply that by billions of individuals dealing with the same internal psychological war, the outcome is predictable. War and peace reveal the social, political conditions of a nation.

Let's face the reality of the cycles throughout history; they reveal that all manifestations of social conflict are the outcome of human failure.  It indicts a society that has not been able to solve the problems with intelligence. No internal or external social confrontation appears overnight. How do we know a storm, or a hurricane, or tornado, or a tsunami is coming? The answer is obvious, and so should the outcome of human immorality, irrationality, stubbornness, and rebellion against God's ethics.

We will do well to heed what we read in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

All the cycles that accumulate in the nation can be stopped and changed for the good based on God's principles; it is up to us if we want to be wise.

What time is it in our national and international cycle?