Many Christian believe that history is circular. Empires rise and fall. Nations wax and wane. History repeats. Seasons come and go.
This view is not true. God has a purpose, so his approach to history is linear. History has a beginning and an end. And there are key transformational events along the way. The calling of Abraham, giving of the law to Moses, Jesus death resurrection and ascension, the destruction of Jerusalem are examples of transformational events leading to the fulfilment of God’s ultimate purpose.
God’s view of history is linear. Sin is circular. The circularity of sin can be seen in the history of Israel. When things were going well, the children of Israel would forget about God. Forgetfulness led to rebellion, which caused God to withdraw and disaster to follow. When disaster struck the people cried out to God for help. He is merciful so he came and rescued them. Blessings would follow, but the people would soon forget and return to the circle of sin once more.
God’s purpose is leading his people from blessing to blessing, but mostly they get stuck in the circle of sin. This is why history seems to be circular, but that is not God’s plan.
Christians should not assume that history is going round in circles. Rather we should be looking for the next transition even in God’s plan, and make sure we are working with him to get there.
Unfortunately, the church often gets stuck in this circle, too.