The 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of eschatological beliefs according to which cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on December 21, 2012 . But is it true? Find out on BibleProphecyTruth.com
. This website will help answer the questions about
what is 2012
, does it follow
as how they fit in to Bible Prophecy. Discover more on BibleProphecyTruth.com
When Tom went to the movies one night in 2009, he had no idea that his life would change as a result. After the house lights dimmed, one of the coming attractions was for the movie 2012. It supposedly chronicled the end of the world as predicted by ancient prophecies.
Tom actually remembered more about that movie trailer than he did about the feature film. He had heard in the past the strange things about the year 2012, but seeing the violent images on the screen made him realize that he needed to know more, even if only to prove it was all untrue.
As Tom began his research into the various 2012 predictions, his mind raced with endless questions: What is 2012 all about? Is this the end times? How will the world really end? When will it end? What is this Mayan prophecy? Does the Bible say anything about the issue?Many people today share his concerns, and as 2012 wears on, fear and suspicion about the end of the world is growing. People have serious questions, and they’re looking for serious answers.The Mayan Calendar
The reason most people associate the year 2012 with a cataclysmic event is because of the calendar of the ancient Mayans, a tribe of people native to Central America and who predated European exploration there. The Mayan calendar divides time into several units, the longest being 144,000 days long, or approximately 394 years, called a b’ak’tun. According to this calendar, the thirteenth b’ak’tun of world history concludes on December 21, 2012.
The calendar itself actually says nothing about why this date is important. Rather, it has been the speculation and hype generated by enthusiasts and experts of Mayan culture over the last century that has led to the 2012 phenomenon. While there is some evidence that the ancient Mayan people anticipated a big event on this future date, the evidence is incomplete as to what that event could be.
Thus, most of the fear and excitement around the year 2012, and the specific date of December 21, is almost entirely speculative. In fact, the same calendar also makes mention of dates beyond the thirteenth b’ak’tun, further calling into doubt whether even the people responsible for the calendar were anticipating the end of the world later this year.
There is no shortage of predictions about what, if anything, will happen before the end of 2012—and these predictions often contradict each other.
For Tom, learning more about the mysteries of 2012 yielded more questions than answers.
After combing through endless pages of research about the Mayans, geomagnetic reversals of the Earth, cosmic alignments, black holes, solar flares, invisible planets, alien invasions, and the like, he found no solid evidence that any of the leading theories were even remotely true.
Almost ready to give up his search for truth about the end of the world, one day Tom found an article that discussed prophecies of the Bible. His attempts to search the Bible for answers had, in the past, been unfruitful. He also realized there is no clear consensus among Christian churches as to the meaning of many prophetic symbols. But the article he found was different. It used the Bible as the primary source of information; it offered explanations that made sense; and it ultimately ended his search for truth, because he knew he had finally found it.Jesus Christ and the End of the World
Tom learned that no one and no thing gets to destroy the world except the One who made it in the first place. Indeed, the Bible assures us that human life on Earth will not come to an end because of a black hole, nuclear war, supernova, global contagion, or anything of the sort. Rather, the Bible promises that God, in the person of Jesus Christ, will one day return to the Earth to rescue His people, put an end to sin, and usher in His eternal kingdom, where death and illness no longer reign. For believers in the Bible, the atrocities and hardships of the world can never eclipse the hope of God’s kingdom to come.
The Bible gives us many insights into how people will experience Christ’s return. Jesus Himself underscores the importance of knowing these things in order to avoid deception. Christ tells us, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). This had been Tom’s experience in the past. He read many conflicting accounts of Christ’s return from several different authors, all claiming to be authoritative. But he had never before read it straight from the Bible.
Tom was relieved to learn that, despite claims made in popular novels on the subject, the return of Jesus will be anything but secret. Jesus says, “The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” Immediately following these signs, the inhabitants of Earth “will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:29, 30).
Christ’s return will be such a magnificent event that the Bible promises that everyone alive, both good and evil, will witness it. Scripture says, “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be,” and, “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him” (Matthew 24:27; Revelation 1:7). Additionally, Christ will return with a shout so loud that even people in their graves will hear it and be roused from their deathly sleep. “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” God also promises those who are still alive at Christ’s return, “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).
Will this truly be what many anticipate as “the end of the world”? The Bible is very clear that the Earth will be desolate after Christ’s return. God’s people will go with Christ to heaven, but many will choose against God and reject this reward. Despite the sacrifice Jesus made for them at the cross, they will choose to “[gather] together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army,” to attempt to literally fight with God when He returns, rather than enter into God’s kingdom with Him (Revelation 19:19). Having rejected God’s offer of eternal life, they will be “killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse” (Revelation 19:21). The Bible also describes the condition of the Earth when these events are complete. “I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void; And the heavens, they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, And all the hills moved back and forth. I beheld, and indeed there was no man, And all the birds of the heavens had fled” (Jeremiah 4:23–25).
Tom delighted in this knowledge because it meant that God foreknows and is in control of human history, that a believer in God has no need to fear what might happen in the world. Nothing is random. The battle against evil will someday end.A Bible Calendar
Despite these reassurances, however, Tom doubted. Though he believed in God, he wanted more proof. He reasoned, “At least the Mayans had a calendar!”
The Bible does not offer a calendar to mark Christ’s return (see Matthew 24:36), but it contains something better: fulfilled prophecy. Tom found out about the prophecy in Daniel chapter 2, and his doubts disappeared. The ancient prophet recorded the experience of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar in the early 600s BC. God gave the king a dream that he did not understand, but God revealed the meaning of the dream to the prophet Daniel, who then told it to the king. The dream was actually a prophecy of world history from Nebuchadnezzar’s time until Christ’s return!
The Bible promised that Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom, Babylon, would one day fall to another kingdom, which would in turn fall to a third. The Bible later names these kingdoms as Medo-Persia and Greece, respectively. Greece would then fall to a strong and brutal fourth kingdom. This kingdom would itself not be conquered, but would rather dissolve into ten smaller nations. These nations would exist, in one form or another, until Christ’s return.
Tom was amazed to learn that Medo-Persia did, indeed, conquer Babylon in 539 BC, and was then conquered by Greece in 331 BC. Greece reigned until 168 BC, when it was conquered by Rome. The iron monarchy of Rome, famous for its brutality, including the invention of crucifixion, was never conquered by anyone. It dissolved in 476 AD, and ten prominent tribes of people emerged from the empire’s ruins. Seven of those ten survived to become the nations of Europe today.
Tom was convinced! If God was able to accurately describe the progression of human history over a period of more than 2,600 years, including our modern days, then God would certainly also be accurate about His promises to return and begin His eternal kingdom. Tom sought after and learned more about the prophecies in the Bible, and his certainty of Christ’s soon return increased with every new thing he learned.
Unlike the Mayan calendar and the speculation surrounding the date December 21, 2012, the Bible offers great detail about the changes taking place in our world today. To those who desire to learn them, God has messages of comfort and reassurance. We can know what to expect to happen on the Earth, and what to expect in God’s kingdom afterward. We can face a future that only seems uncertain with the certainty of God’s promises.
Tom had lived a life of fear before learning the Bible. Mysteries like the ancient Mayan calendar filled him with dread, and society fueled those fears with movies like 2012. But God removed that fear by revealing to Tom that history would not draw to a close in a haphazard manner or by chance. No matter how difficult or frightening the events of Earth might be, God has promised an eternal kingdom of perfection afterward and has proven its surety to reasonable men and women through the accurate fulfillment of Bible prophecy throughout time.
The invitation is open to all to be part of this kingdom. “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). We invite you to respond to God’s invitation today.