National media has given a lot of coverage to the supposed Mayan prediction of the end of the world. According to the predictions, the world was supposed to have ended on December 21, 2012. While many people took this prediction as a myth that had no bearing on reality, others took it as a bit of the ancient world that should not be ignored altogether. It stirred enough interest on the national scene that many secular people began to wonder about an “apocalypse” and the end of the world.
Or course, as Christians, we know that the teaching of the Bible is that only the Father knows when the world will end and that efforts at predicting a date (specific or general) are futile at best. The Bible is clear that the preparations that should go into preparing for the last days are not to be built on an awareness of the specific date or time. Instead, the readiness described in the Bible comes from life renewal and living in Christian virtues. Not surprisingly, three elements were missing from the Mayan predictions.
First, the last days of the Bible include both general and specific signs that demonstrate the fullness of time.
Some of those indicators include tribulation and martyrdom for believers, a general turn of Israel to embracing their Messiah and the rise of the antichrist. While surely our world shows signs that the ‘”beginning of birth pangs” could be imminent, all of the necessary elements are not yet place for the world to end.
Second, the Mayans did not include any indication of the judgment scene that will accompany the end of the world.
Some anticipate that if they know the world is coming to an end, then they will live a radically different life over the last few days. However, the Bible teaches that when the world ends, it will end in a judgment of all things and that every action and thought will be judged before of God. This total, final and complete judgment makes every moment of every day meaningful. No “last minute” flurry of good deeds will secure one’s eternity, nor will an “end of the world” binge of immorality go unnoticed or unpunished.
Third, missing from the Mayans’ predictions was the prominent place of Christ for the end of the world.
The end of all things is not an impersonal devolution of the living order into oblivion or chaos. The “last days” are the supreme Christological event. Christ, our Savior and Redeemer will be revealed as the great king over all people and the ruler of the universe. The end of the world is the coming of Christ in glory. All things that happen to bring about the end of the world are actually preparations for the coming King and Judge. While many parts of the “last days” are mysterious, the part that is clear is that Jesus Christ is the center of God’s purposes and His supremacy will be clearly seen when this world ends.