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Bible Study Notes | 1991 | R. B. Thieme, Jr.

Posted on 12/14/2011 7:50:23 PM PST by Cvengr

  1. Background and Introduction.
    1. The dispensation of Israel began with the Exodus in B.C. 1441 and concluded with the birth of our Lord in 4 B.C.
    2. Therefore, most of the Old Testament Canon is devoted to the study of Jewish client nations. There were five Jewish client nations in the dispensation of Israel.
      1. The Theocratic Kingdom from the Exodus to the time of Samuel, B.C. 1441 - 1020.
      2. The United Kingdom from Saul to Rehoboam.,B.C.1020-926.
      3. The Northern Kingdom from Jeroboam to Hoshea, B.C.926-721. The fifth cycle of discipline was administered to the Northern Kingdom by Assyria, commanded by Sargon II.
      4. The Southern Kingdom from Rehoboam to Zedekiah, B.C. 926 - 586. The fifth cycle of discipline was administered to the Southern Kingdom in 586 by the Chaldeans, commanded by Nebuchadnezzar. Seventy years of captivity or slavery extended from B.C. 586 - 516.
      5. The restored nation of Judea from Zerubbabel in B.C. 536 - A.D. 70. The fifth cycle of discipline was administered to Judea by the Romans, first under the command of Vespasian and then by his son, Titus.
    3. With the fall of Jerusalem in August of 70 A.D., there are no more Jewish client nations until the Second Advent.
    4. In the meantime, we live in the times of the Gentiles. That means only a Gentile client nation can so function before God today.
    5. At the present time, we the people of the United States are a Gentile client nation to God.

  2. Definition of the Five Cycles of Discipline.
    1. There are five cycles of discipline administered to a client nation, Jewish or Gentile.
      1. To the Jewish client nations during the dispensation of Israel, the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union, and the first forty years of the Church Age, the five cycles did function.
      2. To the Gentile client nations beginning with S.P.Q.R. in 70 A.D. and continuing to the present with the U.S.A., these five cycles are still operational.
    2. Outline of the Five Cycles of Discipline.
      1. The first cycle of discipline, Lev 26:14-17.
      2. The second cycle of discipline, Lev 26:18-20.
      3. The third cycle of discipline, Lev 26:21-22.
      4. The fourth cycle of discipline, Lev 26:23-26.
      5. The fifth cycle of discipline, Lev 26:27-38, amplified in Deut 28:49-67.
    3. The cycles of discipline are based on the principle that Jesus Christ controls history directly, indirectly, and permissively.
      1. He controls history directly through the function of His own divine essence.
      2. He controls history indirectly through the function of the laws of divine establishment.
      3. He controls history permissively through permitting nations to use their own volition to destroy themselves. For no nation is ever destroyed by an outside power before it is first destroyed from within by its own individual and collective bad decisions. Therefore, no nation is ever destroyed by another nation until it first destroys itself through negative volition.
    4. Jesus Christ permits the policy of the angelic conflict (the function of free will) to continue and conclude in human history. Therefore, Satan's policy of good and evil must exist in every generation; there must be a challenge to your attitude toward doctrine.
    5. Because Jesus Christ is righteous and holy, He must judge the nations with cycles of discipline.
    6. These cycles of discipline are punitive measures against apostasy, reversionism and evil.
  3. The First Cycle of Discipline, Lev 26:14-17.
    1. Lev 26:14, "But if you do not obey Me and do not carry out all of these mandates,"
      1. Obedience in Israel meant the execution of God's plan for their dispensation. It meant the execution of the three categories of the Mosaic Law. It meant perception of doctrine as it was revealed at that time, first through the Torah and then through the prophets.
      2. The mandates refer to the three parts of the Mosaic Law. They are explained further in verse 15.
    2. Lev 26:15, "If instead you reject My statutes and your soul despises My ordinances, and you fail to carry out all my commands so breaking My covenant," The Mosaic Law is divided into three parts.
      1. The first part of the Mosaic Law is the decalogue, the freedom code made up of ten commandments. These commandments define freedom in terms of morality, privacy, property, and authority. Freedom without authority is anarchy; authority without freedom is tyranny. The ten commandments also define freedom in terms of relationship with God.
      2. The second part is called the ordinances, the spiritual code. It graphically presents soteriology and Christology through the various articles of furniture in the Tabernacle and temples, through the modus operandi of the levitical priesthood, through the function of the holy days, and through the levitical sacrifices. This spiritual code presents the Gospel and Jesus Christ as the God of Israel.
      3. The third part is the judgments, an establishment code. It includes explanations related to freedom, privacy, marriage, criminal law, taxation (tithing), military policy and freedom through military victory, diet, health, sanitation, quarantine, free enterprise, and profit motivation. It outlaws violence, terrorism, civil disobedience, and revolution.
    3. Lev 26:16, "Then I will do this to you: I will bring upon you sudden terror [terrorism], epidemic diseases, and fever will destroy your sight and drain your life; also, you will plant your seed in vain because your enemies will devour it."
      1. "Sudden terror" is the function of terrorism as it existed in the ancient world. It is also a reference to violence, unrestrained criminality, and hostility from other nations.
      2. Many epidemics have been the beginning of the end of great nations or empires.
      3. The last phrase refers to economic disaster and depression. The illustration used refers to an agricultural economy. In our industrial economy, this refers to inability to compete with foreign markets.
    4. Lev 26:17, "I will set My face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; consequently, those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee when no one is pursuing you."
      1. In the first cycle, such defeat by enemies refers to only preliminary wars. But before the other cycles of discipline are administered, there is already loss in warfare. (Our loss in warfare began with Korea and Vietnam.)
      2. The Hebrew word for hate here means hate based on envy. The Jews were the recipients of such fantastic blessings from God that they were envied and then hated.
      3. "You will flee when no one is pursuing you" is an idiom saying that the general population becomes cowardly, afraid of war. They have no motivation from patriotism or the spiritual life. Therefore, the population will do anything to avoid a war, even surrendering whatever advantage it has in national and international activity.
  4. The Second Cycle of Discipline, Lev 26:18-20.
    1. Lev 26:18, "If after all these things you will not listen to Me, then I will punish you on an intensified basis seven more times for your sins."
      1. a. The first phrase implies that some wake up as a result of the first cycle of discipline.
      2. Everything in the first cycle is intensified in the second cycle by seven.
    2. Lev 26:19, "Then I will also break down [destroy] the arrogance of your power; I will make your sky like iron and your earth like bronze."
      1. Notice that once the first cycle of discipline is administered and it does not turn around the nation, arrogance sets in. Arrogance is a whole complex of sins and evil.
      2. Today we have the greatest arrogance in places of power. God actually punishes such arrogance among those in power without the humility to use their power properly.
      3. The sky like iron and the earth like bronze refers to a drought. Drought means economic disaster, resulting in economic depression.
    3. Lev 26:20, "Then your strength will be spent uselessly, for your land will not yield its produce, nor will the trees of the land bear their fruit."
      1. No matter how hard you work, you cannot produce food.
      2. The Bible should be interpreted in the time in which it was written. This was written in during an agricultural economy before the industrial revolution.
    4. So the second cycle of discipline is a depression, bad social life, no national pride, and people work hard for nothing (inflation).
  5. Third Cycle of Discipline, Lev 26:21-22.
    1. Lev 26:21, "If therefore you remain hostile to Me [negative volition toward Bible doctrine], and you are not willing to hear Me, I will multiply your epidemics seven times more as your sins deserve."
      1. God did not speak directly to them but indirectly through His communicators, which at that time were the prophets.
      2. In the third cycle, there is the intensification of epidemics and illnesses in the land. In our day, AIDs will break this country if the trend continues, for it is a very serious problem, and may rival the bubonic plague of the Middle Ages.
    2. Lev 26:22, "I will send wild animals [criminals] against you and they will rob you of your children; they will destroy your cattle and so reduce your population that your roads will be deserted." With the end of civilization, violence overflows from both animals and people.
    3. In the third cycle, the population is thinned out by violence. Crime gets out of control; commerce is stopped; there are natural disasters.
  6. The Fourth Cycle of Discipline, Lev 26:23-26.
    1. So far nothing but grace warnings have been given. Now God will really judge the nation. There will be great uncontrollable crime, military invasion and partial defeat, disease from overcrowding, a shortage of food causing starvation, and even greater natural disasters. Examples can be found by studying Israel in 68 A.D., 586 B.C., and 721 B.C.
    2. Lev 26:23, "And if by these things you will not be corrected by Me, but will continue to be hostile toward Me [negative volition from cosmic involvement in the stages of reversionism],"
    3. Lev 26:24, "Then I will go into opposition toward you [literally: act with hostility toward you], and I will strike you seven times more for your sins." Again, there is the intensification of the characteristics of all the cycles, with something more added, as stated in verse 25.
    4. Lev 26:25, "I will bring the sword upon you to avenge the breaking of the covenant, and when you retreat into your cities I will send a plague [epidemic] among you, so that you will be delivered into the hands of your enemies."
      1. One of the great signs of loss of freedom, and replacing it with both moral and immoral degeneracy, is when you see the breakdown of the military establishment. The entire book of Numbers is devoted to setting up a mobilization plan for the military.
      2. The part of the covenant that was broken was the military part. There was military disaster as a result. Why did the Jews have to retreat into their cities? Because their cities were fortified, and their armies could not win in the field. Once there are overcrowded cities, disease becomes rampant (as illustrated by the Romans when fleeing from Hannibal).
    5. Lev 26:26, "When I cut off your food supply, ten women will bake your bread in one oven, and they will dole out your bread by weight, so that you will eat and never be satisfied."
      1. When an army begins to lose a war on its own soil, the first thing to go is food supply. People start to starve, as the south did in the last year of the War between the States. So one of the inevitable results of the fourth cycle of discipline is the beginning of starvation.
      2. Ten women baking bread in one oven means there is food rationing. Therefore, after eating a small piece of bread, you are just as hungry as you were before, and even more so.
  7. The Fifth Cycle of Discipline, Lev 26:27-38.
    1. Now there is nothing to eat. Enemies have taken over the country. People are put into slavery. People are afraid of everything. Everyone has become a coward.
    2. Lev 26:27, "If, in spite of this, you do not listen to Me but continue to be hostile toward Me [toward the message of Bible doctrine]," The only hope is Bible doctrine; there is no hope beyond Bible doctrine. The only hope for the nation is found in believers.
    3. Lev 26:28, "Then in My anger I will be hostile toward you [no more grace], and I will punish you seven times more for your sins."
    4. Lev 26:29, "Then you will eat the flesh of your sons, and you will eat the flesh of your daughters."
      1. No longer do you eat bread and rationed food, as in the fourth cycle; now you eat people! Cannibalism is the total malfunction of all establishment principles. One of the strongest of all establishment principles is the family and the love of parents for children. But in those days, parents will eat their children.
      2. This type of cannibalism actually occurred between 66 and 70 A.D. among Jews under the seige of Jerusalem by the Roman army. Josephus documented such things. Civilization suddenly departs in the fifth cycle of discipline.
    5. Lev 26:30, "Then I will destroy your high places and cut down your incense altars, and stack your corpses on the dumb corpses of your idols, for My soul will despise you." The high places are the meeting places of false doctrine and cults, especially the phallic cult.
    6. Lev 26:31, "I will turn your cities into ruins, and lay waste to your sanctuaries; I will take no delight in the fact that you suddenly start offering sacrifices."
    7. Lev 26:32-33, "I will make the land desolate so that your enemies will settle in it, and will be appalled by its condition. You, however, I will scatter among the nations, and I will draw out My sword and pursue you, and your cities will lie in ruins."
      1. The territory is occupied.
      2. Being scattered among nations means you go into slavery. This happened three times to the Jewish people.
    8. Lev 26:34, "Then the land will satisfy its Sabbaths . . . , while you are in the land of your enemies; consequently, the land will rest and be paid its Sabbaths." The Jews had ignored seventy Sabbatical years, and therefore the Southern Kingdom had seventy years under slavery.
    9. Lev 26:35, "All the days of its desolation [fifth cycle] it will observe the rest which it did not observe in your sabbatical years while you were living in the land."
    10. Lev 26:36, "As for those of you who survive [the fifth cycle], I will make their right lobes so afraid in the lands of their enemies that the sound of a wind-blown leaf will put them into flight. In fact, when no one is pursuing, they will run as though fleeing from an army, and they will fall even when no one is pursuing." People do die of fright.
    11. Lev 26:37, "Furthermore, they will fall over each other as if fleeing from the sword, although no one is pursuing them; consequently, you will have no strength." No strength means no military establishment for freedom, and no patriotic motivation. It's too late in the fifth cycle of discipline, because it takes a long time to train a military establishment.
    12. Lev 26:38, "But you will perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies will devour you." Enemies of the Jews were those like Assyria, Chaldea, and Rome.
    13. Deut 28:49-67 is another horrible description of the fifth cycle of discipline.
    14. Isaiah warned the Northern Kingdom and Jeremiah warned the Southern Kingdom during the first administration of the fifth cycle of discipline to each of these nations.
  8. Historical Examples of the Administration of the Fifth Cycle of Discipline to Jewish Client Nations.
    1. The fifth cycle of discipline was administered to Assyria, Ezek 31:3-14.
    2. The fifth cycle of discipline was administered to the Northern Kingdom, Hos 4:1-6, in 721 B.C. Elijah, Elisha, Amos and Hosea all prophesied the coming of the fifth cycle of discipline. 2 Kgs 17 gives the historical account. Isa 28:1-13 gives the prophetical account.
    3. The fifth cycle of discipline was administered to the Southern Kingdom in 586 B.C., Jer 50:17, 7:24-29, because they did not listen to the teaching of doctrine, Jer 15:5-6, 13:10-11,17, 17:27, 35:13.
      1. The overt manifestation of Jewish reversionism in the Southern Kingdom was idolatry, Jer 2:27-30, 3:9, 7:17-20, 13:10,17:1-4.
      2. The duration of the first fifth cycle of discipline to the Southern Kingdom was seventy years, all of their sabbatical years. Cf Ex 23:10-11;Lev 25:3-4, 26:33-36;2 Chr 36:20-21;Jer 25:11-12, 29:10; Dan 9:2, 24-27.
    4. The fifth cycle of discipline was administered to Judea in 70 A.D.
      1. This was prophesied by our Lord in Lk 21:20-24.
      2. They were also warned by the teaching of Paul. The gift of tongues was also a warning to Israel that they were about to lose their status as a priest nation to God.
      3. The dispensation of the Church and the completion of the Jewish Age both occur while Israel is out under the fifth cycle of discipline.
    5. Grace always precedes the fifth cycle of discipline by the warnings of the first four cycles. In the fifth cycle of discipline, you either are killed or become enslaved.
  9. The Fifth Cycle of Discipline to the Northern Kingdom.
    1. The Northern Kingdom was established as a result of a revolution, based on jealousy of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, 1 Chr 12:30; Ps 60:7; 2 Sam 19:40-43.
    2. Mental attitude sins like jealousy destroy capacity for love. The Northern Kingdom never had the basis to love God because it was founded on jealousy. A kingdom founded on emotional revolt of the soul will inevitably destroy itself. Being built up by emotional revolt, the actual incident that kicked off the revolution was human good when the people complained to Rehoboam with their grievance.
    3. The Northern Kingdom began with Jeroboam in 926 B.C. He was in emotional revolt of the soul.
    4. Even though the Northern Kingdom had such a bad start, God in His grace tried to stabilize the Northern Kingdom. God provided for the Northern Kingdom special prophets who warned the Northern Kingdom against apostasy and tried to communicate to them the principles of freedom. Four outstanding prophets were involved in this grace push by our Lord.
      1. Elijah, c.871-851 B.C.
      2. Elisha, c.845 B.C..
      3. Amos, 787 B.C.
      4. Hosea, c. 746 B.C.
    5. Amos warned the Northern Kingdom in 787 B.C. during the reign of Jeroboam II. Hosea warned the Northern Kingdom, c.746 B.C., during the fourth cycle of discipline when Tiglath-PileserIII was the Assyrian king. In addition, Isaiah provided some warning, as in the first part of Isa 28.
    6. The fifth cycle of discipline is described in two passages of the Old Testament, so that both the Northern Kingdom and Southern Kingdom had adequate warning about it; Lev 26:27-46; Deut 28:49-67.
    7. The historical account of the fifth cycle of discipline to the Northern Kingdom is found in 2 Kg 17:1-12.
    8. The prophetical account of the fifth cycle of discipline to the Northern Kingdom is found in Isa 28:1-13 and mentioned in Jer 3:8.
    9. Before judgment came to the Northern Kingdom, and during the two years in which the Assyrians were in the Northern Kingdom and even afterward, Jews of the Northern Kingdom fled to the Southern Kingdom and became citizens there, 1 Chr 9:3.
    10. Therefore, there is no such thing as the "ten lost tribes." The ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom, from the time of Elijah down to the time when Shalmanezer invaded, constantly fled south. So all the tribes were represented in the Southern Kingdom after the Northern Kingdom fell.
    11. The fifth cycle of discipline began in 721 B.C. with the fall of Samaria. The Assyrians' seige began under Shalmanezer V (who died), and ended when Sargon II defeated the Northern Kingdom in battle, Jer 50:17a.
  10. The Fifth Cycle of Discipline to the Southern Kingdom.
    1. Deut 28:49-67 was fulfilled.
    2. The first administration to the Southern Kingdom of the fifth cycle of discipline is called the Babylonian captivity, Jer 50:17b. The time was 586 B.C. The administrator was the Chaldean Empire under Nebuchadnezzar.
    3. The second administration to the Southern Kingdom is the present dispersion, Lk 21:40-25. Its time period is August 70 A.D. to the Second Advent. Its administrator was Rome under Vespasian and Titus.
    4. The reason for the fifth cycle of discipline was the rejection of Bible doctrine, Jer 7:24-29, 13:10,11,17, 15:5-6, 17:27, 35:13.
    5. The overt cause of the fifth cycle of discipline was apostasy and idolatry (which resulted in rejection of Bible doctrine), Jer 2:27-30, 3:9, 7:17-20, 13:10, 17:1-4.
    6. The length of the first administration of the fifth cycle of discipline was seventy years. This was determined on the basis of the Jews having rejected seven Sabbatical years over a period of 490 years, Jer 25:11-12, 29:10; Dan 9:2,24-27.
    7. During the present dispersion, there are two substitutes for the nation Israel.
      1. The Church Age, where every believer is a priest.
      2. The Tribulation, when 144,000 Jews represent the Lord, Rev 7 and 14.
  11. Why the cycles of discipline to client nations? Hosea 4:1-6.
    1. This passage is addressed to believers. For in the final analysis, it is the believers who are responsible for the rise or fall of a client nation.
    2. Hos 4:1, "Hear the word of the Lord, you citizens of Israel [Northern Kingdom] because the Lord has a case [indictment] against the inhabitants of the client nation, because nothing of doctrine is taught, nothing about grace is being applied; there is no knowledge of God in the land."
      1. Just as God had an indictment against the Jewish client nations, so today He has an indictment against a Gentile client nation, the United States of America.
      2. "Because nothing of doctrine is taught." There is no demand for Bible teaching in time of apostasy.
      3. As a result, "nothing of grace is being applied." Grace and doctrine go together. When they are both gone, that is one of the reasons for the five cycles of discipline.
    3. Hos 4:2, "Instead, there is lying [dishonesty], deception, homicide, stealing, rape, therefore blood touches blood [idiom for perpetual violence]."
    4. Hos 4:3, "Therefore, the land mourns, and all who live in it languish along with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air."
      1. "The land mourns" means the people are miserable under the cycles of discipline. No one is enjoying anything or having any fun. Social life, business life, and spiritual life are gone; there is nothing but abject misery.
      2. "All who live in it languish" means loss of national courage, patriotism, vitality, and strength.
      3. Animals suffer when people suffer. People are viciously cruel under the cycles of discipline.
    5. Hos 4:4, "Yet let no one find fault [as in evil activism]; let no one offer criticism, for your citizens are like those who contend with the priests [communicators of doctrine]."
      1. Activism is the last thing you need to get into when under the cycles of discipline.
      2. Criticism is blaming other groups. It is the believer who must take the responsibility for these things himself. It is negative volition and a shrinking pivot that brings these things.
    6. Hos 4:5, "Therefore, you have stumbled in the daylight, and even the prophet will stumble with you in the night darkness; and I will destroy your native country [motherland]."
      1. Stumbling in the daylight means cosmic involvement, including crusader arrogance. Daylight means becoming a loser by rejecting Bible doctrine after hearing it, or failing to metabolize gnosis doctrine into epignosis doctrine.
      2. "And even the prophet will stumble with you" means prophets become false prophets and they teach false doctrine.
      3. Today, hundreds of thousands of pulpits speak of "`peace, peace,' when there is no peace," just as they said in Jeremiah's day, Jer 6:14, 8:11; Ezek 13:10, 16. Today, pastors peddle false doctrine while the United States is declining for lack of pivot.
      4. There can be no pivot without the pastor-teacher communicating the mystery doctrine for the Church Age. There can be no pivot without the manufacture of invisible heroes.
    7. Hos 4:6, "My people are destroyed by lack of knowledge of doctrine. Because you have rejected the knowledge of doctrine, I will reject you from being My priest nation."
      1. A client nation to God is a priest nation in that it represents God under three factors. The freedom developed in the client nation means:
        1. Freedom for evangelism in the nation.
        2. Freedom to teach doctrine in the nation.
        3. Freedom to send missionaries to other countries to communicate the Gospel, and form the converts into indigenous local churches.
      2. Today, the United States is a priest nation. It may not be tomorrow. The only hope for this country resides in your soul. If there is negative volition, we will go down. If there is a surge in positive volition, it could form a large enough pivot to deliver this country.
      3. A nation without Bible doctrine is a nation without solutions.
      4. As goes the believer, so goes the client nation to God.
    8. This prophecy given in Hosea 4 was fulfilled to the Northern Kingdom. What happened to greater nations than we in the past can certainly happen to us tomorrow.

    R. B. Thieme, Jr. Bible Ministries 5139 West Alabama, Houston, Texas 77056

    (c) 1991, by R. B. Thieme, Jr. All rights reserved.

TOPICS: Apologetics; Evangelical Christian; Theology
KEYWORDS: biblestudy; cycles; discipline; dispensational; doctrine

1 posted on 12/14/2011 7:50:25 PM PST by Cvengr
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To: Quix; F15Eagle; GiovannaNicoletta; Alamo-Girl; Amityschild; AngieGal; AnimalLover; Ann de IL; ...

Some Bible Study Notes for your notebooks.

Semper Fi

2 posted on 12/14/2011 7:57:30 PM PST by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: Cvengr


3 posted on 12/14/2011 7:58:50 PM PST by Captain Beyond (The Hammer of the gods! (Just a cool line from a Led Zep song))
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Looks like the 3rd cycle of discipline is coming on strong in the present day circumstances.

4 posted on 12/14/2011 8:45:41 PM PST by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open ( <o> ---)
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To: Cvengr; Joya

Thank you. I got about half way through it and look forward to finishing it tomorrow.

= = =

The Fifth Cycle of Discipline to the Northern Kingdom.

The Northern Kingdom was established as a result of a revolution, based on jealousy of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, 1 Chr 12:30; Ps 60:7; 2 Sam 19:40-43.

Mental attitude sins like jealousy destroy capacity for love. The Northern Kingdom never had the basis to love God because it was founded on jealousy. A kingdom founded on emotional revolt of the soul will inevitably destroy itself.

Being built up by emotional revolt, the actual incident that kicked off the revolution was human good when the people complained to Rehoboam with their grievance.

The Northern Kingdom began with Jeroboam in 926 B.C. He was in emotional revolt of the soul.

Even though the Northern Kingdom had such a bad start, God in His grace tried to stabilize the Northern Kingdom. God provided for the Northern Kingdom special prophets who warned the Northern Kingdom against apostasy and tried to communicate to them the principles of freedom. Four outstanding prophets were involved in this grace push by our Lord.

Elijah, c.871-851 B.C.
Elisha, c.845 B.C..
Amos, 787 B.C.
Hosea, c. 746 B.C.

5 posted on 12/14/2011 9:07:31 PM PST by Joya (
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To: Cvengr

Thanks for the ping!

6 posted on 12/14/2011 9:24:57 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Cvengr



7 posted on 12/14/2011 10:47:10 PM PST by Quix (Times are a changin' INSURE you have believed in your heart & confessed Jesus as Lord Come NtheFlesh)
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To: Cvengr
"Five cycles"

Hindu theory of World Cycles

In the Light of Modern Science

Traditional Hindu scriptures view history as cyclical in character, with vast repeating series of ages. Each age has its own particular qualities. Interestingly, this system seems to be taken literally by modern Yoga masters such as Swami Muktananda, Baba Hari Dass, Swami Vishnu Tirtha, and so on. As a Western devotee, I found myself wondering exactly what the full system of Hindu cycles is, and how it relates to the findings of modern science. Following is my attempt to explain what I found out.

Traditional Puranic Model

The Hindu Puranas describe a number of cycles within cycles. Discussions of these cycles can become confusing because different cycles are measured in different types of units. For example, the cycles are often described in units of deva years, each of which equals 360 human years.

The following description starts with the smaller cycles and works up to the larger ones. The length of each cycle is given in ordinary human (earth) years, as well other units where appropriate. Large numbers are described using the conventions of American English: thus, a million is a thousand thousand, a billion is a thousand million, a trillion is a thousand billion.

This description is based on numerous sources, which are given in the "References" section at the end of this document.

Maha Yugas

The smallest cycle is called a maha yuga. A maha yuga is 4,320,000 human years. Each maha yuga is subdivided into the following four ages, whose lengths follow a ratio of 4:3:2:1:

Satya Yuga (also called Krita Yuga)
This first age is 1,728,000 human years. Also known as the Golden Age or age of Truth. The qualities of this age are: virtue reigns supreme; human stature is 21 cubits; lifespan is a lakh of years, and death occurs only when willed.
Treta Yuga
This second age is 1,296,000 human years. Also known as the Silver Age. The qualities of this age are: the climate is three quarters virtue and one quarter sin; human stature is 14 cubits; lifespan is 10,000 years.
Dvapara Yuga
This third age is 864,000 human years. Also known as the Bronze Age. The qualities of this age are: the climate is one half virtue and one half sin; lifespan is 1,000 years.
Kali Yuga
The fourth and last age is 432,000 human years. Also known as the Iron Age. This is the age in which we are presently living. The qualities of this age are: the climate is one quarter virtue and three quarters sin; human stature is 3.5 cubits; lifespan is 100 or 120 years.

Toward the end of a Kali Yuga, various calamities cause a good deal of destruction. Baba Hari Dass states that creation disappears at the end of a Maha Yuga and remains in seed form inside Brahma. However, other sources do not suggest anything so drastic; it is possible that Hari Dass was really thinking of the end of Brahma's daytime or Brahma's life when he wrote this description.

Brahma Days (Kalpas)

A kalpa is a single daytime period in the life of Brahma, the creator god. Two kalpas are a day and a night of Brahma.

Each kalpa is composed of 1,000 maha yugas. A kalpa is thus equal to 4.32 billion human years.

At the end of Brahma's daytime period, the Three Worlds (Bhuloka, Bhuvarloka, Swarloka) and the seven underworlds (of the nagas) are temporarily dissolved (pralaya); that is, the same folks can be reincarnated when the next day of Brahma begins.

The Vishnu Purana states that at the end of the daytime period of Brahma, a dreadful drought occurs that lasts 100 years, and all the waters are dried up. The sun changes into seven suns, and the three worlds (Bhurloka or Earth, Bhuvarloka or the lowest heaven, and Svarloka or the next higher heaven) and the underworlds are burned bare of life. The inhabitants of Bhuvarloka and Svarkloka flee to the next higher heaven, Maharloka, to escape the heat; and then to the next higher heaven, Janaloka.

Then mighty clouds form and the three worlds are completely flooded with water. The lord Vishnu reposes on the waters in meditative rest for another whole kalpa (4.32 billion years) before renewing the creation.

The destruction that takes place at the end of a daytime of Brahma is referred to as naimittika, which is incidental or occasional. The characteristic of this destruction is that the three worlds continue to exist but are made uninhabitable. The souls of individuals also continue to exist to be reincarnated in the next daytime of Brahma.

Brahma Years

A year of Brahma is composed of 360 day/night cycles of Brahma, or 720 kalpas, or 8.64 billion human years.

Brahma Life

The lifespan of Brahma is 100 Brahma years, or 72,000 kalpas, or 311.04 trillion human years.

At the end of the life of Brahma, all worlds are completely dissolved (mahapralaya). No one is reincarnated from these worlds ever again.


Another cycle that overlaps the others is that of manvantaras. Each kalpa is reigned over by a succession of 14 Manus, and the reign of each Manu is called a manvantara. A single manvantara is approximately 71 maha yugas.

Coomaraswamy states: "Each Manvantara is followed by a Deluge, which destroys the existings continents and swallows up all living beings, except the few who are preserved for the repeopling of the earth."

Our Position in History

We are located in the fifty-first Brahma year of the life of our Brahma.

Within that Brahma year, we are in the first Brahma day, called the Varaha kalpa.

Within that Brahma day, we are in the seventh manvantara, and in the 28th maha yuga of that manvantara. This would place us at about the 454th maha yuga of the 1,000 maha yugas that comprise this day of Brahma.

Within this maha yuga, we are in Kali Yuga. The 5100th year of Kali Yuga will correspond to the year 2,000 A.D. That means that we are fairly early in Kali Yuga and this age will continue more than 426,000 more years.

Variant Interpretations of Hindu Chronology

The "Traditional Puranic Model" described above is agreed upon by most authors on Hinduism and Yoga. Six different authors, listed at the end of this paper, describe this model identically.

However, several other authors, some of them well-known Hindu teachers, have published descriptions of the cycle of ages that differ from the traditional Puranic model. These variant theories are described below.

Sri Yukteswar

In the introduction to his book The Holy Science, Sri Yukteswar describes an interesting variant of the Hindu theory of ages. According to him,

...the sun, with its planets and their moons, takes some star for its dual and revolves around it in about 24,000 years of our earth-a celestial phenomenon which causes the backward movement of the equinoctial points around the zodiac. The sun also has another motion by which it revolves round a grand center called Vishnunabhi, which is the seat of the creative power, Brahma, the universal magnetism. Brahma regulates dharma, the mental virtue of the internal world.

Yukteswar goes on to explain that the sun's 24,000 year revolution around its companion star takes the sun progressively closer, and then progressively further away from the mystic center Vishnunabhi. In his system, dharma increases as we approach Vishnunabhi and decreases as we draw away from it. The cycle of yugas takes place twice in each 24,000 year revolution. As the sun recedes from Vishnunabhi, the ages pass in the usual order: Satya, Treta, Dvapara, Kali. As the sun approaches Vishnunabhi, the ages pass in the opposite order: Kali, Dvapara, Treta, Satya.

The length of the yugas is: Satya Yuga, 4800 years; Treta Yuga, 3600 years; Dwapara Yuga, 2400 years; and Kali Yuga, 1200 years. The yugas during the approach to Vishnunabhi he calls 'ascending' yugas; those during the retreat from Vishnunabhi he calls 'descending' yugas. The most recent ascending Kali Yuga began in 499 A.D. Since 1599 A.D. we have been in the ascending Dwapara Yuga, with consequent advances in human culture and knowledge.

Yukteswar goes on to say that the Hindu almanacs, which correspond to the traditional Puranic model described previously, are in error. The error crept in during the dark years of Kali Yuga when scholars misinterpreted the scriptures. Regarding the conventional view that we are currently in Kali Yuga, Yukteswar says flatly that it is not true.

Yukteswar's model thus differs from the traditional in the following respects:

  • A cycle of four yugas takes 24,000 years instead of 4,320,000.
  • The yugas alternate between ascending and descending trends instead of always proceeding in the same order. This alternation becomes necessary once you posit that the ages result from our changing distance from Vishnunabhi, rather than a deliberate divine intervention at the end of Kali Yuga.
  • The greater cycles like kalpas, manvantars, and lifespan of Brahma go unmentioned.

Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda was a disciple of Sri Yukteswar and one of the best-known Hindu teachers ever to visit the West. He wrote the perrenial bestseller Autobiography of a Yogi.

In the latter book, Yogananda describes and endorses Yukteswar's theory of world cycles. However, in a footnote, Yogananda adds the following:

The Hindu scriptures place the present world-age as occurring within the Kali Yuga of a much longer universal cycle than the simple 24,000 year ecquinoctial cycle with which Sri Yukteswar was concerned. The universal cycle of the scriptures of 4,300,560,000 years in extent, and measures out a Day of Creation. This vast figure is based on the relationship between the length of the solar year and a multiple of pi (3.1416, the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle).

The life span for a whole universe, according to the ancient seers, is 314,159,000,000,000 solar years, or "One Age of Brahma."

The Hindu scriptures declare that an earth such as ours is dissolved for one of two reasons: the inhabitants as a whole become either completely good or completely evil. The world mind thus generates a power that releases the captive atoms held together as an earth.

This statement seems at first to reconcile Yukteswar's theory with the traditional view, but in fact actually contradicts both.

Regarding Yukteswar's theory, in his own writing he clearly states that the traditional Hindu almanacs are in error and suggests how the error came about. He states that the length of the yugas, given in ordindary years in the scriptures, were misinterpreted by later scholars as being counted in units of "deva years" which are much longer. This method led the scholars to believe that the yugas are much longer than they really are. Yukteswar's theory is thus clearly intended to replace, not to supplement, the traditional interpretation.

Regarding the "much longer universal cycle" that Yogananda describes, he states that a Day of Creation is 4,300,560,000 years. This is close but not identical to the traditional number, which is 4,320,000,000 years. Similarly, Yogananda gives 314,159,000,000,000 years the the life of Brahma, whereas traditionally the number is slightly different: 311,040,000,000,000 years. It seems likely that Yogananda arrived at these different figures because he wanted to derive them from some multiple of the ratio pi. The exact manner in which pi enters into the calculation is, unfortunately, not explained in his footnote.

David Frawley

David Frawley is a Westerner who has become a scholar of Vedic scriptures, Jyotish (Indian astrology), and Ayurveda (Indian medicine). He has written a number of books on various aspects of Vedic culture and wisdom.

Like Yogananda, Frawley adopts Yukteswar's 24,000 year maha yuga and views it as a smaller cycle within the larger maha yugas described traditionally. Frawley likewise introduces some twists in the way he interprets both the smaller and the larger cycle.

With regard to the 24,000 year cycle, Frawley begins like Yukteswar by ascribing the cycle to the sun's revolution around a companion star. Frawley says that this revolution varies the amount of cosmic light we receive from the galactic center. Thus, he seems to have identified Yukteswar's Vishnunabhi with the center of the galaxy, which Yukteswar never explicitly does. Still, it is a plausible interpretation.

Unfortunately, a 24,000 year orbit would make only a negligible difference in our sun's distance from the galactic center, which is at a vast remove from us. Presumably because of this, Frawley abandons Yukteswar's notion that it is our varying distance from Vishnunabhi that causes the cycles of yugas. Instead, he posits that our companion star is a dark star, and when it passes between us and Vishnunabhi, tends to eclipse some of the cosmic light from that source, thus causing the decline into the less inspired ages like Kali Yuga.

In describing the greater cycle, Frawley states

The greater cycle consists of 8,640,000 years, and what it corresponds to astronomically is not now known. In this cycle we are in a dark or Iron age, whose duration is 432,000 years. Exactly when it began or when it will end are not clearly known either. (Some begin it at 3102 B.C. but this is just to confuse it with the beginning of the Bronze age or the dark half of the lesser cycle.)

In this passage, Frawley gives the traditional length for Kali yuga while giving double the traditional length for the cycle as a whole. Why? Presumably he considers that the greater cycle follows the same pattern as the lesser, with both ascending and descending yugas. Thus a full cycle would consist of Satya-Treta-Dvapara-Kali-Kali-Dvapara-Treta-Satya. Presumably also the whole cycle follows as a result of our overall revolution around some object more distant than the "companion star" or "dark star."

Alain Danielou

Alain Danielou has written a number of books on the spiritual traditions of India. In the book While the Gods Play, he quotes the Linga Purana and derives numbers from it much different than those in the traditional interpretation described previously. In this version, the life span of the gods is 4,320,000 human years. This period is divided into 71.42 manvantaras. Each manvantara is divided into the four yugas: Satya, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali. As a result, the length of these yugas is as follows:

  • Satya (or Krita) Yuga: 24,195 human years.
  • Treta Yuga: 18,146 human years.
  • Dvapara Yuga: 12,097 human years.
  • Kali Yuga: 6,048,72 human years.

By Danielou's reckoning, Kali Yuga began in 3012 B.C. and will end in 2442 A.D. By that point, the last traces of the present human race will have disappeared. We are supposed to be the seventh manifestation of the human race; the previous ones appeared in 419,964 B.C.; 359,477 B.C.; 298,990 B.C.; 238,503 B.C.; 178,016 B.C.; and 118,529 B.C. Our race appeared in 58,042 B.C., which according to Danielou corresponds to the advent of Cro-Magnon man. Danielou also suggests that Neanderthal man might be the race that precedes ours.

Danielou's version thus differs from the usual theory in the following ways:

  • He takes 4,320,000 as the lifespan of the gods, rather than the length of a maha yuga.
  • He divides the 4,320,000 period into 71.42 manvantaras, rather than dividing a kalpa into 14 manvantaras. His manvantaras are thus much shorter than in the usual version.
  • He states that each manvantara contains a single mahayuga, instead of the usual 71 maha yugas. His maha yugas are thus much shorter than in the usual version.

Danielou makes a couple of other comments worth mentioning. On the subject of why the scriptures portray a year as 360 days in length, he states

The number of days in a year is not constant. The rhythm of the earth's rotation varies over very long periods. A figure of 360 is considered to be the average.

In referring to the cyclical nature of the ages, Danielou also makes the following very interesting statement:

The circle is an illusion, for the cosmic mechanism is in reality always formed of spirals. Nothing ever returns to its point of departure. However, the circle does give us a simplified image.

Unfortunately, he does not expand on this concept any further.

Rishi Singh Gerwal

Rishi Singh Gerwal was the author and apparently also the publisher of a small pamphlet on ancient prophecies, published in Santa Barbara in the 1940s. The pamphlet contains translations of various prophetic portions of the Mahabharata.

In the Introduction, Gerwal gives the following numbers:

1 kalpa = 22 septillion, 394 sextillion, 880 quadtillion human years.

1 kalpa = 2 manvantaras (traditionally this would be 14 manvantaras)

1 manvantara = 71 maha yugas (this is the same as the traditional reckoning)

Gerwal goes on to give the traditional lengths for the Satya, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali Yugas. He then states that the present Kali yuga has 210,000 years to go. He also states that 22,394,880,000,000,000,000,000,000 years have already passed since the start of the kalpa. Since this number is the same one he gave as the length of a kalpa, we are presumably at the very end of this present kalpa.

Oddly enough, if you multiply maha yugas of 4,320,000 years times 71 to make a manvantara and then times 2 to make a kalpa, the result is only 613,440,000 years rather than the 22 septillion Gerwal states as his total.

The 22 septillion number is far greater than the traditional length of a kalpa, and the statement that 2 manvantaras make a kalpa is far fewer than the traditional number of 14.

Yugas and Science

If we restrict our attention to the traditional interpretation, we find that it makes a number of significant predictions that can be compared with the findings of modern science.

Great Culture Preceded Us

Beginning about 3,894,000 years ago, there is supposed to have been a great civilisation in which people were happier, taller, and much longer lived than they are today.

By contrast, scientists currently believe that homo sapiens evolved from more primitive forbears about 300,000 to 400,000 years ago. Humanity is supposed to have domesticated plants about 12,000 years ago, and animals shortly thereafter. Prior to that point, humans are thought to have been hunter-gatherers and possibly scavengers.

The scientific view is based on fossil evidence. The mystery is how an advanced civilization posited by the Hindu theory could have vanished without leaving any trace for us to find.

Cyclic Catastrophes

A number of periodic catastrophes are described in the Hindu scriptures:

  • At the end of each Kali Yuga, some type of destruction takes place. The most recent instance would be a bit under 4 million years ago. Other instances should be found every 4,320,000 years before that.
  • At the end of each manvantara, a great flood wipes out most life on earth. The most recent occurrence would be 120,534,000 years ago. Other instances would occur at intervals of 306,720,000 years.
  • At the end of the kalpa, all life on earth is destroyed. The most recent instance would be 2,267,574,000 years ago.
  • At the end of a life of Brahma, the entire universe and all its heavens and hells are destroyed. The current universe would have come into existence more than 150 billion years ago.

Interestingly, current scientific research does support the existence of occasional mass extinctions in earth's history. These include the following major extinctions:

  • At the Ordovician/Silurian transition, about 425 million years ago.
  • Near the Devonian/Carboniferous transition, about 345 million years ago.
  • At the Permian/Triassic transition, about 230 million years ago.
  • At the Triassic/Jurassic transition, about 180 million years ago.
  • At the Cretaceous/Tertiary transition, about 63 million years ago.

Additionally, some scientists have identified what they believe is a cycle of periodic mass extinctions occurring every 26 million years.

Unfortunately, none of these specified dates corresponds to the catastrophes called for by the Hindu theory.

Current scientific estimates of the age of the universe range from 7 billion to 20 billion years. By contrast, the Hindu theory calls for a universe more than 150 billion years old.

On the other hand, the dates ascribed by scientists to the various geologic periods have been revised a number of times on the basis of new evidence, and could possibly be revised again in the future. Further, cosmology could reasonably be described as an infant science, and the age it ascribes to the universe as a whole might also change on the basis of new theories and evidence.

Downward Trend

By far the greater divergence from modern science is in the overall pattern of the Hindu theory. The Hindu and scientific patterns differ in the following ways:

  • The main pattern in the Hindu theory is one of cycles.
  • In the Hindu theory, life follows a downward trend most of the time, from the finest age to the worst. At the end of the worst age, Kali Yuga, divine intervention rapidly destroys the wicked and restores everything to its pristine state.
  • In the Hindu theory, humanity is always present. The concept of evolution is confined to spiritual evolution; that is, each soul takes life in a series of lower to higher animal forms before finally incarnating as a human being.

8 posted on 12/15/2011 1:21:24 AM PST by Cronos (Nuke Mecca and Medina now..)
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To: Cvengr


9 posted on 12/15/2011 2:56:23 AM PST by Robert Drobot (Fiat voluntas tua)
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To: Cronos

Divine discipline is a different issue than Hindu myth. In this case it is observed in Israel recorded in the OT. It will occur when a client nation of God rebels from His Plan. In His grace warnings are usually given prior to the discipline.

FWIW, since the US is not explicitly mentioned in Prophecy, it might be the case that the US is removed from the scene as an act of grace to all other Gentile nations, as an example or as a warning of what is pending for the rest of the world in the Great Tribulation should they not return to Him.

It should also be noted that divine discipline, in general, does not apply to unbelievers, as they are already condemned and such would be double jeopardy. In His Perfect Justice, His divine discipline is applied to believers who fall out of fellowship and rebel from Him.

So if there are believers who condone homosexuality, extortion, liars, etc public politics, there may be cause for divine discipline.

This is particularly the case where the US had invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. If we failed to allow the Great Commission to be implemented or hindered its implementation, then our actions are parlayed into evil by the Adversary, no matter how much worldly good may have been intended or implemented. In such a case we would likely be subject to divine discipline should we fail to return to Him, by His protocols,..i.e. through faith in Christ.

10 posted on 12/15/2011 4:23:30 AM PST by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: Cvengr

Thank you.

11 posted on 12/15/2011 5:06:30 AM PST by sport
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To: Cvengr

Thank You.
12 posted on 12/15/2011 5:20:31 AM PST by Tainan (Cogito, ergo conservatus sum)
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