By Ed Hindson
Is there any truth to the claim that the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world on December 21, 2012?
The belief that the ancient Mayans held that would mark the end of the world or some other catastrophic event stems from their roots as an agricultural society. As such, they paid much attention to tracking star patterns. They also paid much attention to the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, which occurs on December 21st of each year in the Northern Hemisphere. After that day, the days would grow longer and more amenable to the planting of crops.
The ancient Mayans were also pagans. They relied upon the sun as a god and the Milky Way galaxy as a “sacred tree” to the afterlife. Eventually, they formulated a calendar based upon a combination of their astronomical observations and their pagan belief system. This calendar determined that the stars’ patterns moved in a cycle of 5,125 years. It also determined that once during this cycle, the dark center of the Milky Way intersected with the sun’s movement across the sky.
The last time this occurred, according to the ancient Mayans, was in what we call 3114 BC, which they claim to be the date of creation, though most theologians place it much earlier. The completion of the 5,125-year cycle from that date would bring us to 2012, remembering that there is no “year zero.” While the Mayans did not use our BC/AD calendar, they deduced, then, that what we call 2012 would mark another ending of one cycle and beginning of a new one.
The flaws in such thinking are obvious. First, they are relying on creation rather than the Creator Himself. God warned ancient Israel against undertaking the pagan practices of the surrounding nations, and such advice is still pertinent today:
“There shall not be found among you anyone who maketh his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or who useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter of mediums, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD; and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee,” Deuteronomy 18:10-12.Additionally, this Mayan prophecy establishes “date-setting,” a practice which Jesus Himself warned about in His Olivet Discourse:
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only,” Matthew 24:36.Since the Mayans were pagans, their prophecy did not establish the return of Christ as the cataclysmic event of the year 2012. Ironically, many anti-Christian New Agers have accepted this Mayan “prophecy” as a valid prediction of either: 1) the end of the world, or 2) the dawn of a new age. By doing so, they may have automatically excluded 2012 from being of any prophetic significance at all, because Jesus said:
“Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh,” Matthew 24:44.So our advice for the Mayan prophecy involving 2012 would be to consider the source and note its deviation from Scripture, and dismiss it accordingly.
2012: Is the Sky Really Falling? - Probe Ministries (Dave Sterrett)
2012: The end of the world? - Lamb & Lion Ministries (David Reagan)
What is the year 2012 Mayan prophecy? - GotQuestions.org
A Response to the 2012 Mayan Prophecy Theory - Bible Prophecy Today (Grant Jeffrey)
2012, the Bible, and the End of the World - Mark Hitchcock (Book)