By Mark Harris

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Throughout history great nations and civilizations have risen and fallen. In 1943, Henning W. Prentis, Jr., president of the Armstrong Cork Company, at a mid-year Convocation of the General Alumni Society of the University of Pennsylvania made this statement,

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.”

(The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle, Vol. XLV, Numb. III, April 1943, pp. 272-73)

With few exceptions, the average age of the world's greatest nations has been 200 years. During those 200 years, nations observably progressed through a sequence:

  • From bondage to spiritual faith;
  • From spiritual faith to great courage;
  • From courage to liberty;
  • From liberty to abundance;
  • From abundance to complacency;
  • From complacency to apathy;
  • From apathy to dependence;
  • From dependence back into bondage.

The observable cycle is most often attributed to Sir Alex Fraser Tytler, a Scottish jurist and historian in this pictograph.

Is America Following the Cycle? 1

In the book of Judges, we have the recorded history of the Israelites, who followed this observable cycle seven times in just a 350-year time span. The pain they experienced each time they entered bondage was devastating and painful. They experienced the loss of wealth, the loss of many lives and the loss of hope as a nation.

I find it interesting when discussing the future of the United States that many Christians tell me that our demise as a nation is prophesied in the Bible. Their national apathy is justified spiritually in their minds when they explain that we are all headed for a one-world government and the United States does not seem to play a role in biblical prophesies. They go on to say they are praying for the quick return of Jesus as their way out of the pain of a collapsing nation because there is nothing they can do about it.

There is a big problem with that way of thinking. No one knows when Jesus will return. Paul thought Jesus would return in his lifetime. The point is, since we don’t know when Jesus will return, we should be working hard to preserve the good things about the nation in which we live and build on that foundation to provide a better future for our children – just in case Jesus doesn’t return when we hope.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, where the Apostle Paul is commending Christians to stand fast in the great apostasy he says, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.” Do you see that? Regardless of what is happening around us, we are to be established in every good word and work.

The great thing about America is that we don’t have to follow the cycle.  In our form of government “We the People” determine our destiny. If we choose to follow Jesus and live by His ways as a nation, we can expect to experience more of God’s blessings as a people. If we choose to ignore God’s ways, we can expect to follow the cycle of other great nations. Our greatest work may be to take responsibility for our future, get involved, and as Christians, become part of the solution.

We are, after all, called by God to be salt and light in our generation. If salt loses its flavor, it becomes good for nothing. Rather than salty, we become benign. Rather than leading our generation to reach our full potential, we become apathetic like the rest of the world and follow them straight into bondage.

4Tucson is calling Christians across the city to unite, to ask God for lasting positive solutions to the problems that face our city. If Christians get involved, the whole city will benefit and we will pass on a good legacy that our children can build upon.  We need to be about His work and as we work, pray that He comes quickly.  

4Tucson is made up of Christians who are working to break the cycle other nations have followed. We are committed to building a better future together. We cannot afford to be apathetic. Join 4Tucson today at and get involved.

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