2012: The End of Time?
We’re well on our way to December 21,2012, the date, that many believe, marks the end of time. This belief is based on the assumption that the ancient Maya recorded and predicted this date (as the end of time) on their Long Count calendar more than 2,200 years ago. The History Channel reported the following: “The Maya who developed the Long Count calendar believed the end of one cycle would simply signal the beginning of another. According to this logic, a new Grand Cycle will start on December 22, 2012. However, some people in the U.S. and Europe have come to believe that the calendar will not reset itself. Instead, they say, the end of the cycle will bring the end of the world. Some of these doomsayers claim that there is a scientific explanation for their prediction: On December 21, they say, the winter solstice and the Milky Way’s equator will align; the sun will align with the Milky Way’s Galaxy in an incredible phenomenon that occurs only once every 26,000 years” (History.com).
As Christians, what are we supposed to think about such outlandish predictions? Since it has to do with the end of time, which is to happen when the Lord returns (2 Peter 3:10), it makes sense to see what the Bible says. Let’s start with a passage from Matthew 24:36 which clearly states that “no one knows, not even the angels of heaven” when the Lord will return. Furthermore, the fact is stated by Jesus, Paul, and Peter that this day will come “like a thief in the night” (Matthew 24:43, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4, 2 Peter 3:10). So it’s clear that no one knows when the world is going to end, and since that is a fact stated clearly in the Bible, no one can accurately predict when that day will come. In fact, we are warned to stay away from those who attempt to do so (Luke 17:23).
In addition, neither historians nor astronomers put much credence in these predictions connected the Mayan Long Count Calender. Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer, wrote, “In fact, according to archaeologists, it wasn’t the Mayans who linked the end of the 13th b’ak’tun with the end of the world. According to Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, when Judeo-Christians began to decipher Mayan writings, their preconceived notions of apocalypse and the end of the world led them to link Mayan calendar cycles with doomsday” (LiveScience.com). Let me insert a side note: the “Judeo-Christians” mentioned here apparently did not have a clear understanding of what the Bible teaches on this topic, otherwise, they wouldn’t have even attempted to make such connections. Nonetheless, scholars say that even modern Mayan communities call the end-of-the-world stories “gringo inventions.”
Furthermore, to make these predictions even more bizarre, some have linked these predictions to an alien take over. Again, the History Channel included the following in their article concerning these predictions. “Other prognosticators have more outlandish theories. Some believe that the Maya were following extraterrestrial instructions when they developed their calendar while others fear that aliens will use the Long Count calendar to time their takeover of our planet” (History.com). It seems that so many are engrossed with the idea that aliens are going to somehow be involved with our demise.
So what should our response be to the “2012 Doomsday” predictions? As already pointed out, no one can accurately predict when the world will end. It could very well happen December 21, 2012. It could even happen tomorrow or in the next few minutes. We simply cannot know when that day will come. That’s why the Bible consistently warns us to always be ready for the Second Coming of Jesus (i.e. the end of time). Jesus said, “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will” (Matthew 24:44). Peter echoed this sentiment when he wrote “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God…” (2 Peter 3:10-12).