The Mayans, 2012, and the End of the World
The Mayan Calender has generated some great discussion and has gotten people once again talking about the End of the World. Last year, it was Harold Camping's prophecies that the world was going to end in March, and then when that did not pan out, October. These dates were supposedly drawn from Camping's study of the Bible. Christian "date setters," no matter how sincere or well-meaning, give Christianity a black eye.
The Mayan Calender seems to indicate that the world will end in December of 2012. There is some discussion over the exact date, but one wonders at why this discussion is taking place at all. The Mayan Civilization disappeared around 900 AD. If they could not see their own demise coming and prevent it, why do we, a thousand years later, think that they have something to say to us?
Talking about and considering the End of the World is not a bad thing, however. Anytime people start thinking about their own mortality, it creates opportunities for the Church to provide answers. Unfortunately, when discussing the End of the World, the Church often takes people to the book of Revelation to start that discussion. Revelation does have much to say about the last days, the return of Christ, and the end of the world as we know it. Without laying the proper context, however, Revelation is just a scary apocalyptic book that will send the curious scurrying for the door.
Jesus had much to say about the coming Kingdom of God. Jesus told His followers that only the Father knew the exact day that Jesus was returning. Rather than trying to force Biblical prophecies into the shape of foreign events, His admonition is:
"Be on guard!"
"Watch for His return."
"Watch for Him!"
Jesus left us with much to do. He has called His people to do the things that He did. We are called to reach people with Christ's love and to establish His Kingdom on the earth. At the same time, we are occasionally looking up, listening for the shout or trumpet that will signify the end has come. Until then, the people of God have enough work to keep them busy and not worrying about the date that the world will end. If you are not a Christian, maybe 2012 might be the year that you examine the claims of Christ.
How does the discussion on the world ending this year affect you?