2012 is the most anticipated apocalyptic year of modern times, so it seems fitting that many of this year’s articles should focus on apocalyptic predictions from the bible. There has been so much attention paid to predictions that the world will either end or enter into a new age on the winter solstice of December 21, 2012, based mainly on the prophesies in the Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel and the timing of the ancient Mayan Long Count Calendar. The prophecies in the Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel deal mainly (and accurately) with the arrival of a new religion (Christianity) in the mid 16th century by Spanish missionaries, who were thought to be the return of the Mayan feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl.
The Long Count system is a count of days of a Great Cycle that starts on 22.214.171.124.0, which was first deciphered by an American journalist, Joseph T. Goodman in 1897. Later archeological study determined that the 126.96.36.199.0 date was the creation date for the Maya. This creation date led the German scholar Ernst Forstemann, during the turn of the century, to interpret the end of this Great Cycle as the destruction of the world. Then, in 1966 and through the mixing of Aztec mythology, American archaeologist Michael Coe, in his book The Maya, distorted this “world destruction” by linking it to Armageddon, as described in the biblical account in the Book of Revelation.
With the assumption that the 188.8.131.52.0 Long Count date is the date of creation for the Maya, scholars determined that the equivalent Gregorian calendar date was August 11, 3114 B.C. Given the Great Cycle spans 5,125 years, this creation date led to the next Long Count 184.108.40.206.0 date to occur on December 21, 2012 (“Apocalypse 2012“) in our current Gregorian calendar.
The Apocalypse 2012 pop culture phenomenon really began with the publication of The Mayan Factor by Jose Arguelles in 1987, part of a New Age movement at the time. This phenomenon has been gathering momentum ever since, capturing attention in the media, scientific community and even Christian communities!
- The broadcasting of TV documentaries, including 2012 Apocalypse on Discovery Channel and Mayan Doomsday Prophecy on History Channel
- The release of apocalyptic films, such as 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow
- A myriad of websites dedicated to Apocalypse 2012
- Scientific publications indicating significant changes on Earth during this year
- Evangelical Christian extremists promoting Armageddon to usher in the Rapture and the Messiah’s return
It is interesting to note that some authors who have published articles and books on Apocalypse 2012 had also previously published on apocalyptic dates that have since passed (such as Y2K)!
It is also worth noting that even the designs within and structure of The Great Pyramid, many of which have accurately aligned to significant (Judeo-Christian) events in history according to prominent researchers in the field, show no signs of December 21, 2012 being even a notable date of a future event. (This topic is one for later review.)
Society has an inherit interest in the end of the world. Whether we acknowledge it or not, there is a sense of wonder in anticipation of a possible end, so it is imperative to hold fast to the truth laid out in the holy scriptures of the Bible. The most disturbing factor with all this hype around Apocalypse 2012 is the anxiety and trepidation many people have/will have as we approach the December 21, 2012 date; some even believe the Mayan god Quetzalcoatl will make an appearance! Many will be on a heightened sense of alert and may act irrational—whether it be financially, physically, psychologically, emotionally, and/or spiritually—in expectation that their reality will drastically change on that day. The consequences for their personal lives could be grim post December 21, solely because they acted for the moment rather than planned for the remainder of their lives.
The same could be said of Christians who believe December 21, 2012 is the date when they will be Raptured and the Great Tribution period begins. A common practice among evangelical Christian extremists is to use the descriptions in the Book of Revelation to predict an imminent return of Christ by linking together the latest news broadcasts with pending fulfillment of biblical prophecies. This practice often requires searching out new material in an attempt to predict the next likely opportunity when Christ will return and the Great Tribulation will begin. With this interpretation of scripture, people are left wanting for a great event to begin the End Times: enter Apocalypse 2012.
Before getting carried away with the outrageous claims of Apocalypse 2012, we should consider what the Bible states regarding the end of the world. Prophecies permeate the books of the Bible, from the Book of Genesis through to the Book of Revelation. Many prophecies have already been fulfilled, especially those foretelling the arrival of the Messiah, Jesus Christ; many other prophecies have yet to be fulfilled and these deal with the end of this world. The end of time on Earth is one of the most prolific themes in the bible, spoken about by ancient prophets before Jesus’ birth, by Jesus Christ himself while He was on Earth, and even by the apostles after Jesus ascended. The purpose of this dominating theme is not to predict what will happen next, but to spiritually prepare believers for what is to come, demonstrate God’s all-knowing character, and, most importantly, impact believers with a sense of urgency to share the Gospel message while their time on Earth allows.
This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. Romans 13:11-12 (NLT)
The books of Daniel and Revelation are the most well-known prophetic books of the Bible because of their descriptions of specific details, cataclysms and final events that will conclude the end of this world. There are many other books of the Bible that prophecy the final events on Earth, written by many different authors over hundreds of years, and these books are in perfect alignment with the books of Daniel and Revelation, all providing an unmatched prophetic quality in holy scripture to mankind.
The events described in Daniel and Revelation are what many Christians refer to as “The End Times”. The definition of End Times and the events that will occur during these times are open to considerable debate on so many fronts (some of which will be discussed in later articles).
The End Times can be categorized into the following segments.
- The time span between Christ’s return to heaven and the arrival of the Antichrist (present time).
- The time span during which the Antichrist reigns on Earth (near future), commonly referred to as the Great Tribulation.
- The time span associated with the return of Christ to Earth and His millennial rule after He defeats the Antichrist.
According to the prophesies in the Bible, there are specific activities and events that must occur in each of these categories, with special details given in the books of Daniel and Revelation. These specific events are direct counter arguments to the Apocalypse 2012 phenomenon; only some of them will be introduced in this article (and expanded in subsequent articles). One must be careful to note that the prophecies of the Bible are meant to be specific enough that one can confirm their accuracy after the events occur, yet vague enough that one cannot predict the precise logistics and dates associated with each event.
The books of Daniel and Revelation describe the arrival and reign of the Antichrist (translated as “instead of Christ”) with specific details that have not yet transpired, but can reasonably be visualized considering the latest advancements in society today.
Some key global developments that are required to place the Antichrist in position include the following.
- The world will be divided into seven regions. (Revelation 17:9-10)
- There will be a group of ten rulers that will form one governing group. (Revelation 17:12)
- The ten rulers will relinquish some of their authority for a new ruler, the Antichrist. (Revelation 17:13)
- There will be a high-ranking false prophet who will deceptively lead people to the Antichrist. (Revelation 13:14)
- The Antichrist will be given authority over all people and nations—a welcomed dictatorship. (Revelation 13:3-4)
Once the Antichrist is in this position of authority, there will be major global changes to the world’s systems.
- The Antichrist will subdue three of the ten rulers and become the eighth ruler of the remaining seven. (Daniel 7:24)
- The Antichrist will be worshiped and glorified, so that people have no desire to revere Almighty God. (Revelation 13:4)
- Everyone will be forced to receive a mark, as a pledge of allegiance to the Antichrist. (Revelation 13:16-17)
- Everyone will require this mark to buy and sell, indicating an overhaul of the world’s economic system. (Revelation 13:16-17)
More detailed discussions on these developments will be presented in later articles. However at this time, it is worth noting that there are specific trends evolving in technology, social media, security, political unrest and economic uncertainty across the world. As one follows these affairs, he/she will observe the slow progression that the world has been going and continues to go through, which will eventually lead exactly to that which was predicted in the Bible. The crucial point is this: the culmination of these developments is complex, beyond any one person’s or group’s control, will take time (maybe years, maybe decades), and all must occur before the end of the world.
Furthermore and subsequent to the reign of the Antichrist, the book of Revelation provides details on many global cataclysms, which cause massive destruction on Earth, followed by Christ’s return to rule the nations for a millennial age (the duration of which is debatable). The final apocalyptic event of “Armageddon” does not logically occur until after this millennial age, which is a topic for a later discussion! In short, Apocalypse 2012 is null and void.
We do not know when the Antichrist will take control of the world system, nor do we know when Christ will return to Earth to defeat it/him. All we know is what we observe in the gradual progression of global events that all point to the prophesies outlined in the book of Revelation.
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:37-37 (NIV)
For Christians, believing that Apocalypse 2012 is the Armageddon spoken about in the book of Revelation is absolutely ridiculous. We cannot usher in the Apocalypse through our own efforts in hopes of Christ’s return. The Apocalypse of the Bible is not something that can be speeded or slowed and Christians shouldn’t be hoping that it will happen or fighting to stop it, but working together to take the gospel message of Christ to the world while time allows. God has an appointed time set for the End. He does not enjoy the suffering in this world, but He is patiently waiting so that as many as possible will come to know Him.
Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time. Daniel 11:35 (NIV)
As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel? Ezekiel 33:11 (NIV)
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. II Peter 3:9 (NIV)
Apocalypse 2012 is perhaps, whether intentional or not, a great deception in our modern age. It is a relatively recent concept introduced at the end of the 19th century, represented as ancient knowledge for our modern world, permeates the unspoken thoughts of many in society and creates a sense of mystic wonder for people seeking to find God. For many who are seeking purpose in their lives, the arrival of the December 21 date may result in a complete non-event that leads to great disappointment or it could even serve as an opportune time for a staged event that leads to further deception. When it comes to Apocalypse 2012, one thing we can say with confidence is that whatever happens this year, especially on December 21, the world will continue its gradual progression towards the End as originally predicted in the Bible. Christians, having a proper understanding of bible prophecy and their hearts set on eternity, should use the Apocalypse 2012 trend as an opportunity to share the true message of Christ with a sense of urgency during the time we have left, whether it be a few years, a few decades or even a few centuries.