Is the world about to end? Nearly one in seven people worldwide say it will happen in their lifetime, a recent poll shows.
It’s not exactly crazy to think so. Weather upsets, economic instability, signs of societal breakdown and a tottering world order all make regular news.
What is crazy, though, is this: A great many people apparently base their apocalyptic fears on a supposed prophecy contained on ruins of a pre-Hispanic civilization in Mexico. That same poll indicates that one in 10 earthlings believe the Mayan calendar could mean civilization as we know it is crashing down this year.
It’s a bizarre belief that has been around since a stone tablet was found in the 1960s at a Mexican archeological site that describes a Mayan god returning at the end of a time cycle believed to be Dec. 21, 2012. Last November, an additional Mayan artifact was found with apparently the same date mentioned, fueling additional hype. Various Mayan ruins have drawn a surge in tourism this year to the tune of tens of millions of people.
Breathless stories fill the Internet about unusual geographic or astronomical activity associated with the prophecy: a shift in Earth’s rotational axis—violent solar flares—curious planetary alignments—catastrophic earthquakes and/or tidal events. One story has an invisible planet named Nibiru spinning into our solar system and colliding with ours. Hollywood has capitalized on the buzz with big-budget, special-effects-laden disaster films like 2012 (“Mankind’s earliest civilization warned us this day would come,” the trailer says).
The predictions of calamity are offset by other, more hopeful—and even wackier—interpretations of the prophecy: that December 21 is more a new beginning than an end; that life will go on, but differently, in some kind of new spiritual phase; that spiritually and technologically advanced extraterrestrials will revitalize the planet and educate humankind in the ways of peace.
Cooler heads have been exposing the flaws in these theories. They have revealed misunderstandings of the prophecy and its culture of origin. Popular conflation of Mayan and Aztec cultures has added to the confusion. nasa weighed in with scientific proof that there will be no unusual astronomical alignments or collisions with imaginary planets, and that the worst effects of a pole shift would be that we’d have to recalibrate our compasses.
Nevertheless, people cling to falsehoods. “I 100 percent believe it,” says one man of his golden-age-ushered-in-by-spacemen theory. “Five years ago I was a skeptic, but this is not conspiracy theory, it is conspiracy fact.”
Here’s a question: Why did so many people suddenly put so much stock in the supposed wisdom of the ancient Mayans?
How in the world could a group of people a millennium and a half ago make such a prophecy accurately? However impressive their mathematics or astronomy skills, how could they predict a collision between planets so far in the future—particularly since one of them has yet to be detected? What shred of evidence is there that Bolon Yokte, the god who is supposed to return in December, even exists?
What in the world is the basis for people’s faith in this prophecy?
Forget etchings on a few stones in Mexico. There is only one reliable, verifiable source of prophecy that has a proven track record of accuracy: the Holy Bible.
This is the most accurately copied and painstakingly preserved book from ancient times we have. It is totally unique among other so-called sacred texts: It purports to be the infallible revelation of truth given by the Creator and Ruler of the universe. It repeatedly quotes this Being claiming to be God, speaking in the first person—and actually asserting that He alone has the power of prophecy.
And what is the basis of that power? It’s not just good guessing. It is divine omnipotence: the power to proclaim major, earthshaking events in advance of their happening—and then to actually bring them to pass, even millennia later!
Did a human being write this? “I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand.”
That is quite a boast. The Being who uttered these prophecies has put His reputation on the line!
I strongly encourage you to read our free booklet The Proof of the Bible. It details several cases in history where biblical prophecies came to pass exactly.
Prophecy is, in fact, a most compelling proof God offers both of His existence and of the Bible’s veracity and authority. His Word never fails. True Bible prophecy is 100 percent reliable.
As Jesus Christ said in the midst of His famous Olivet prophecy, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” On another occasion He said, “The scripture cannot be broken.” Jesus also said, “I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.”
Prophecy shows that God is in control. He is ensuring that certain events transpire precisely according to His master plan—even to the point of setting up and toppling kings, making and unmaking nations! Only the Almighty God has the power to do so. He does everything with purpose. He has an ambition—and the will to see it through. The essential message of prophecy is that God rules.
Did you know that, in fact, fully one third of this best-selling book in history is devoted to prophecy?
It includes prophecies of the rise and fall of future cities, nations, empires—of successions of eras and epochs—and, yes, even of the end of our present civilization and its replacement with a better, more peaceful one.
Mayan beliefs may contain echoes of these prophecies, but the Bible is the genuine article.
Do the people expressing faith in the Mayan calendar really believe in the almighty power of Bolon Yokte?
The God of the Bible actually challenges anyone out there to do what He has done. “Now, the Eternal cries, bring your case forward, … state your proofs. Let us hear what happened in the past, that we may ponder it, or show me what is yet to be, that we may watch how it turns out; yes, let us hear what is coming, that we may be sure you are gods; come, do something or other that we may marvel at the sight!—why, you are things of naught, you can do nothing at all!” (Isaiah 41:21-24; Moffatt translation).
When December 21 rolls around this year, the Mayan prophecy will fail and be exposed as a fraud.
However, do not let that shake your faith in the one source of true prophecy! Jesus Christ gave specific signs—not a date, not an hour, but descriptions of general conditions and particular events—for His followers to watch for signaling the end of this age. Those signs are all around us! “When ye shall see all these things,” He said, “know that it is near, even at the doors. … Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” ▪