Question: I've been astonished at how some are predicting 2012 as the end of this era. These lies are permeating the hearts of all kinds of people, Christians and non-Christians. Could you please respond regarding 2012 as the end of the world?
Response: The date 2012 is most commonly a reference to the "end" of the Mayan Long Count Calendar. This date has been picked up by a number of individuals. Others attest that ancient Romans believed 2012 would be a historic year. The Ancient Chinese I Ching predicted the apocalypse in 2012. Sixteenth-century English prophetess Mother Shipton is said to have prophesied that history would end in 2012!
Jack Van Impe, who claims to be the "Walking Bible," advertised on his website: "Do these prophecies from all over the world correspond with the truth of God's Word? Could various cultural and secular sources be right about earth's final day?...In their exciting video teaching, Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe demonstrate the very real possibility that 2012 could be a year of culmination--could December 21st 2012 be history's final day?" (Van Impe, December 21st 2012: History's Final Day?, online resources).
We have no doubt that in the Last Days' coming together of religious believers, this teaching may be one common item of "agreement." The famous Mayan Long Count calendar begins on August 11, 3114 BC (Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, 2005, p. 167), The Mayan Long Count calendar, upon which this prediction is based, is reset to day 0 every 1,872,000 days (counting from 3114 BC), a period known as The Great Circle (Diamond, Collapse, p. 167). Depending on how one calculates it, the next reset date is December 21, 2012. Yet, the Maya have several calendars. The "Tzolk'in" calendar ran for 260 days and the "Haab'" was a solar year of 365 days. Both the Tzolk'in and the Haab' were combined to form the "Calendar Round," lasting 52 Haab's (every 52 years, or what was thought to be a human lifetime). In addition, the Long Count calendar (beginning in 3114 BC contains roughly 394-year periods known as "Baktuns." Thirteen was a significant, sacred number for the Maya, and the 13th Baktun ends around Dec. 21, 2012 (Mark Stevenson, "2012 isn't the end of the world, Mayans insist," AP, Oct 11, 2009).
With all of these ending cycles, this of course means that there have already been several "resets" of time, and, to all appearances, the universe continues to exist. More important, "of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" (Mt 24:36).
There are other admonitions in Scripture: "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" (Lk 21:28). This is sufficient. We can see the conditions of the world indicating that the time of the end is drawing near, but we are not given a specific date.
The Lord Jesus said in the last chapter of Revelation, "behold, I come quickly..." (Rv 22:12). He said this with the full knowledge that from the perspective of humanity, it sure seems like a long time. Peter, however, reminds us that from the Lord's perspective, it is but a few days (2 Pt 3:8-12).