Cycles in Time – Origin of the Theory & Why It Was Ignored in Western Culture

QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong; Just about every culture outside of Christianity believed in the cyclical aspects of time and nature. Do you have any idea why Western Christian culture failed to incorporate cyclical theory?


ANSWER: If you actually read the Bible, you will find the very similar cyclical references and numbers. It just seems that the mainstream interpretation overlooked it post Dark Age. There is so much in there from the maxim that there is a time and place for everything to the Revelations that forecast the Devil will be cast into the abyss for 1,000 years and then it will begin again between the tribes of God and Magog. That describes a cycle. For some reason, the general religious teaching fails to point that aspect out. This seems to be rooted in the prejudice of the Dark Age for that is clearly a line of demarcation in every field of knowledge that was lost after the barbarian invasions.

Throughout the centuries, there has been an understanding of cycles that have come down to the present age through the corridors of time. There has been a knowledge that comes from the dim ages of past eras, that seems to emanate from all the races, as well as the different schools of thought. Just what is the origin of this basic understanding of cycles cannot be traced to some specific teaching by a single culture or person. There is unquestionably an unbroken direct line throughout the ages that extend further back than even the time of Greeks who the Romans viewed a knowledgeable. There are references to cycles that we find in many extracts that even go back to the ancient Egypt and Chaldea. These appear to have influenced the Pythagoras (about 500 bc) and Ancient Grecian arcane schools of philosophy. Where did they come from? The answer seems to stretch back to still more remote and arcane investigations of the universe and the heavens.

There are traces of cyclical theory in the arcane teachings in the records of Persia and Medea. The inspiration for the original philosophical teaching of Gautama, who was the founder of Buddhism, not religion, seems to originate from even older arcane sources. Traces are also to be found in the Hebrew teachings of the “Kabbalah” and the “Zohar.” The Greeks clearly relied upon the arcane teaching undoubtedly obtained directly from Egyptian sources through Pythagoras. The relation connection between the early Grecian teaching and philosophies with the even older school of ancient Egypt predating the Greeks by thousands of years. Pythagoras is known to have received instruction from Egyptian and Persian hierophants, who were priests in ancient that interpreted sacred mysteries or esoteric principles. Many believed that the origin was even yet an older understanding.

The origins of Western astronomy and astrology are interconnected and can be found in Mesopotamia. Here is a clay tablet from 164BC recording the observation of Haley’s Comet which moved through the heavens on a cyclical path. Cycles certainly were understood by merely observing the heavens. The Babylonians conducted a major investigation recording when events in the heavens took place, what were the effects on Earth. Obviously, Western efforts at the beginning of sciences are descendants in a direct line from the work of the late Babylonian astronomers, yet extend even further back to Sumerian astronomy. The earliest Babylonian star catalogues date back to about 1200 BC. Many star names appear in Sumerian, which implies that there is a continuity reaching into the Early Bronze Age.

Hipparchus of Nicaea (c. 190 – 120 bc) was a Greek astronomer, geographer, and mathematician who first discovered the cyclical nature of the universe being the Precession of the Equinoxes which is the journey of our solar system around the center of the universe taking 25,800 years. He is also known as the father of trigonometry, and he compiled a comprehensive star catalogue. He discovered the Precession of the Equinoxes by looking at the star charts of the Babylonians about 1,000 years before his time and noticed how the heavens had moved. The Maya also discovered the Precession of the Equinoxes and studied TIME, which I have written about – The Mayan Discovery of Time.

We have to understand that during the Dark Ages, there was a lot of superstition. Mathematics was seen as the work of pagans and thus the Devil. This meant that to guide a ship, a Christian could not engage in such calculations. This is why the Jews were captains of ships or navigators, as well as bankers. Fibonacci brought back math and numbers from the Arabs and this was acceptable for it was used in gambling. Much of the early mathematicians were clandestinely hired by royalty to win at gambling – the early card counters.

Bathing also was shunned in much of Europe during the  Middle Ages because Roman baths were generally public where mixed sexes attended and often they were frequented by prostitutes or frequent sex. During the 4th and 5th centuries, after the time of Constantine I the Great, Christian authorities allowed people to bathe for cleanliness and health. However, Christians routinely condemned attendance to public bathhouses for pleasure and condemned women going to bathhouses that had mixed facilities. Generally, over time, more restrictions appeared and finally, Christians were prohibited from bathing naked at all. The Church began to disapprove of any “excessive” indulgence in the habit of bathing. Over the course of time, this original association of a bathhouse with prostitution culminated in the Medieval Church authorities proclaiming that public bathing led to immorality, promiscuous sex, and diseases. You would never say you went to take a bath, it was implied you had sex.

Without question, knowledge evaporated during the Dark Ages and superstitions replaced much. Most of the old books had been lost by the invasions of various barbarian tribes. Much of the knowledge resurfaced from three primary sources. First, the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453 saw the scholars fled to Rome and began opening up schools. Secondly, much of the sources of ancient books were preserved by the Arabs and made their way back to Europe. The third source, some have called it How the Irish Saved Civilization. It may be called the Italian Renaissance, but it was the century when ancient Greek and Latin manuscripts preserved in Irish monasteries were discovered and read and discussed once again thus paving the way for the Renaissance. This was the rebirth of antiquity which, in synthesis with Christianity, produced a unique new awakened civilization. By the time of the American Revolution, the Founders were mesmerized by the writings of ancient Rome and sought to overthrow the monarchy as they did and formed a Republic.

Therefore, it is of no surprise that Christianity failed to comprehend the cyclical aspect that ran through the veins of ancient knowledge. Throughout the Bible, there are numerous references to cycles and measuring things in seven or multiples of seven from creating the world in seven days to a woman’s menstrual cycle lasting 7 days. There are seven notes on a piano. We just have not bothered to look at the cyclical nature preserved with Christianity because of the prejudices formed during the Dark Ages. Any hint of using math was seen as the Devil’s work. This is why you also see so many ancient statues that are beheaded because they assumed any statue was a pagan god. The Dark Age was a period of true ignorance.