As we approach December 21st, 2012 (the end of the Mayan calendar), there is increasing interest in the idea that the Mayans somehow knew this was the date on which the world would end.
The idea of the world’s sudden end – popularly referenced as Armageddon, the Apocalypse, last days, or end of days – has been the subject of many articles, books and movies, showing that it is a topic of continuing interest to many people.
Did the Mayans have secret knowledge about the end of the world? Probably not. There are more likely possibilities to explain the end of their calendar.
For one thing, the Mayans made permanent records by carving figures in stone, which required a lot of time and energy. They probably felt that extending their calendar thousands of years into the future was enough: plenty of time to tack on a few more years later, right?
But what of other end time prophecies? The most widely known, of course, is the Book of Revelations in the Bible. Its vivid language and imagery have produced such widely-known ideas as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the battle of Armageddon and the Antichrist.
The idea of the world’s end is only implied by the Mayan calendar, but very plainly stated in Revelations: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away …” (Revelation 21:1, KJV). This supports a similar prophecy from another Bible verse, 2 Peter: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10, KJV).
While the Mayan calendar implies an exact date but provides no clear statement about the fact of the end of the world, the Bible clearly states that there will be an end, but names no specific date for the event.
The book of 2 Peter goes on to say, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God …” Peter offers this advice because, “… in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:11, 13, NIV). But who will live in this new heaven and new earth?
Again in Revelations we read, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works … And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20: 12, 15, KJV).
But for those whose names are written in the book of life, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:3, 4).
Is the world coming to an end? According to the Bible, yes – some unknown day. Better be prepared!
Dan Wafford lives in beautiful coastal Georgia. He holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Oklahoma State University and an MBA from Stanford University. He writes Christian articles, essays, songs and books, as well as novels and popular music. His book The DiVine Code, which reveals details of encoded messages in the Bible, is currently available at Amazon.com. More information about The DiVine Code is available at http://thedivinecodebook.com