Will 2012 be the end of the world?

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Will 2012 be the end of the world?

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Many people believe that the ancient Mayan calendar mysteriously ends at the winter solstice in the year 2012. Is this a sign that the Mayans knew that Dec. 21, 2012, is the end of human history? The History Channel, Newsweek magazine, major movie studios, booksellers and dozens of Web sites are fanning the 2012 craze.

Movie trailers for the science fiction disaster film 2012 have added to the hype, showing entire cities devastated by enormous tsunamis and earthquakes, meteors raining down fiery death from heaven and human history coming to a violent end.

According to Wikipedia, "The studio also launched a viral marketing website operated by the fictional Institute for Human Continuity, where filmgoers could register for a lottery number to be part of a small population that would be rescued from the global destruction."

Other 2012 scenarios picture a wonderful change in human consciousness and the ushering in of a New Age. John Major Jenkins, author of Maya Cosmogenesis, describes the coming New Age this way: "Around the year we call 2012 a large chapter in human history will be coming to an end. All the values and assumptions of the previous World Age will expire, and a new phase of human growth will commence."

All the hype about 2012 is based on a mixture of speculation about Mayan calendars, the book The Bible Code, some ancient Oriental prophesies, supposed writings of Nostradamus and a little of the biblical book of Revelation.

But does the Bible say anything about 2012 being the end of human history?

In Matthew 24:3, Jesus was asked about the sign of His coming and the end of this age. He gave prophecies of many events to happen before His return. He said there would be religious deception, wars and rumors of wars, famines, disease epidemics and earthquakes, all leading to a time of Great Tribulation when mankind would be on the verge of destroying all life on the earth if the time wasn't cut short (verses 21 and 22). Then Jesus prophesied there would be heavenly signs, and He would return with power and great glory (verses 29-30).

These prophetic events are described in more detail in our booklets Are We Living in the Time of the End? and You Can Understand Bible Prophecy.

While Jesus gave His disciples signs to watch for that indicated His return, He stated clearly that no one knows the exact date except His Father. In Mark 13:32 we read, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." Matthew's account puts it this way, "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming" (Matthew 25:13).

The Bible does not tell us the date Jesus Christ will return to save humanity from destroying ourselves. But it does promise that Christ will return and set up a government that will bring peace and prosperity to this earth. In the meantime God doesn't ask us to explore the intricacies of ancient Mayan calendars. He warns of rampant deception and tells us not to be fooled by those who claim secret knowledge of His return (Matthew 24:4, 23-26).

What are we to do? The purpose of the biblical prophecies and warning signs is to remind us of our need to always be growing closer to God and to be spiritually ready. We need to be preparing spiritually for Christ's return and the end of this world now, in 2012 and every year.

"Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matthew 24:44).