Will 2012 Bring the End of the World?

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Will 2012 Bring the End of the World?

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The predictions are of total devastation! According to some forecasts, entire cities will be destroyed by enormous tsunamis, earthquakes and Category 5 hurricanes; meteors will rain down fiery death from heaven; and human history will come to a violent end.

The hype is based on a mixture of speculation about Mayan calendars, the book The Bible Code, some ancient Eastern prophecies, the writings of Nostradamus and passages from the biblical book of Revelation.

While movie special effects of tsunamis sweeping across the land can be visually spectacular, the answers to your future can't be found in speculations about Mayan calendars or in the writings of Nostradamus or self-appointed prophets. The real answers to questions about the end of the world are found in the only true source of prophecy—the Bible.

Many people believe that the Bible, specifically the book of Revelation, foretells a fiery destruction of humanity. A close study of the book shows that, although Revelation does contain descriptions of cataclysmic future events, it is ultimately a book of great hope.

The end of the world?

Revelation was written toward the end of the first century by the apostle John. His recounted visions reveal that, before Christ returns, humanity will suffer devastating wars, disease pandemics, religious strife and famine on a global scale. Many of these happenings are trends we see announced in daily headlines and newscasts today.

Watching your world teeter on the brink of economic chaos can leave you anxious. Nightly news reports of pandemics, the ongoing crises in the Middle East, rogue nations developing nuclear weapons, religious and racial tensions, and predictions of environmental disasters can make you want to crawl into a hole and hide from all the bad news.

Don't despair! In His great prophecy near the conclusion of His ministry on earth, Jesus declared that He will return to save humanity from total destruction (Matthew 24:22). Revelation tells us about the time of deliverance He proclaimed.

What does the book of Revelation foretell?

Revelation 6 begins the countdown to the end of this age of man's reign on earth. It describes a series of six seals that depict a series of events that will shake the world. The first four of these seals are the infamous "four horsemen of the Apocalypse," representing widespread religious deception, brutal warfare, famine and deadly disease epidemics (verses 1-8; compare Matthew 24:5-7).

Following that is a fifth seal, representing religious persecution and martyrdom of a number of God's true servants (verses 9-11; compare Matthew 24:9). Next comes the sixth seal, representing a massive earthquake and terrifying heavenly signs (verses 12-17; compare Matthew 24:29).

The story of what happens to our planet continues in Revelation 8 with what are called the seven trumpet plagues. The first is an onslaught of "hail and fire"—possibly a meteor storm from space—which destroys a third of our planet's vegetation (verse 7).

The next plague—"something like a great mountain burning with fire...thrown into the sea"—may be describing a volcanic eruption or an asteroid or comet impact, destroying a third of all sea life (verses 8-9). The third plague—"a great star...from heaven, burning like a torch"—seems to more closely describe an asteroid or comet impact. It poisons a third of the world's fresh water supply (verses 10-11).

Following on its heels is a plague of darkness, obscuring much of the light of the sun, moon and stars—possibly due to the smoke, dust, ash and other debris resulting from the previous three plagues (verse 12).

Next will come two great military forces—the first one inflicting months of torment and the second unimaginably killing a third of mankind (Revelation 9:1-18), more than 2 billion people at current population levels.

More horrifying events follow, as the succeeding chapters of the book show. Needless to say, the entire world as we know it—with everything and everyone in it—will be shaken to its core. Truly the human race will be on the brink of extinction!

Matthew 24:21-22 tells us: "It will be a time of great distress, such as there has never been before and never will be again. If that time of troubles were not cut short, no living thing could survive; but for the sake of God's chosen it will be cut short" (Revised English Bible). In this time when it seems that all hope is lost, the world's last best hope will arrive.

In Revelation 19 we read a description of the return of Jesus Christ: "Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.

"He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses...And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: King of kings and lord of lords" (verses 11-16).

He will first destroy the Satan-inspired leadership that has brought the world to the brink of ruin and then exterminate the armies that have nearly exterminated mankind (verses 17-21).

Many people believe that Christ's coming in power to destroy evil is the end of the story, but this is not the final scenario revealed by God to John. He writes that after these gruesome events, Jesus will establish God's Kingdom on the earth for a thousand years, bringing peace and prosperity (Revelation 20:1-7).

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah was inspired to announce what the earth will be like during the reign of Jesus Christ. One passage, in Isaiah 2, states, "Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it" (verse 2).

In Bible prophecy, mountains are often symbolic of governments. This is telling us that Jesus Christ, as the head of God's government, will reign over all governments throughout the earth. Continuing: "Many people shall come and say, 'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord . . . He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

"He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore" (verses 3-4).

This is indeed a prophecy that should fill us with great hope. Humanity will ultimately survive to see a prosperous world of peace and purpose beyond our wildest dreams!

What should you do?

So where does that leave us with 2012? The Bible clearly shows that humanity is not going to experience extinction in 2012 or any other year, since Jesus Christ will ultimately rescue us. Nor will the end-time events we've read about conclude in 2012.

Too many other events foretold in Bible prophecy must first come to pass. The conditions aren't quite right yet—but they are growing ever closer, and they will surely come. Indeed, there is much evidence to show that we are living in the last days of this age of human misrule under Satan (download our free booklet Are We Living in the Time of the End?).

Thankfully, as noted above, the Bible does show that Jesus Christ will return to save humanity from destruction. Between now and then you can live in hopeful anticipation of that day by turning the control of your life over to your Creator now.

Through the advanced newscast of Revelation, God tells us that some very bad times lie ahead; but this book also tells us that a unique and total change of society is coming. Jesus Christ is returning, not as a baby in a barn, but as Lord of Lords and King of Kings to establish God's Kingdom on the earth. He is coming to save the world!

It will be the beginning of real life and prosperity without war, crime, disease epidemics and hopeless poverty. It will be a time when all people will know the Creator and live His ways. A fantastic future is waiting for humanity! GN