According to a bunch of Mayans who have been dead for a really long time, the world is going to end on Friday.
Or not. The Mayans never predicted that December 21, 2012 would be the end of the world; they just made a calendar that only had a set number of digits. Their calendar no more predicts that the world will end than a clock face predicts the end of time at 12 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out, but just in case, the folks at NASA have released a video, intended for December 22, entitled “Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday.” Of course, if they are wrong, no one would be around that day to watch it and laugh at them, so it is not like they are sticking their necks out on the issue.
I agree that the world will not end on Friday, 12/21/12. However, the world will end someday. There is really no argument on that point; everyone agrees that the world does have an expiration date. The only debate is how and when it will end, and what that means for us.
Why the World Won’t End on December 21, 2012
The Bible gives quite a bit of detail about the end of the world, especially in Revelation. I won’t get into all of the details here because you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about Revelation through this podcast series. There is some debate about the exact order of events, but all Bible scholars would agree that the world won’t end before Jesus comes back.
When talking about His return, Jesus says (in Matthew 24:36) that “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Eight verses later, He says that “the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
So, any time someone claims to know when the end will come, you can rest assured that they don’t actually know. Jesus said that no one knows when He is coming; even He doesn’t know. And if they predict a specific time, that time is guaranteed to be wrong. That’s because the prediction itself causes people to expect it, when Jesus said it would be a time when you do not expect it.
Because of that, I think it is fairly safe to say that December 21 can be ruled out as the date of Jesus’ return. However, that doesn’t mean He couldn’t come back the day after that. Or the day before. Or even right now.
Still here? OK, we can’t know exactly when the end will come, but we do know that it is “soon.” And it is getting closer all of the time. So what should you do about it?
Be ready. Are you certain of where you would end up if Jesus came back today? If you don’t believe in Jesus at all, are you absolutely certain that you are right? This is the question, the biggest question you will ever face in life. Do whatever it takes to make sure you get it right, and get it right soon. I’d be happy to answer your questions about it right now.
Be diligent. If Jesus were to show up right now, would you be excited or embarrassed? Relieved that your work was done, or regretful that you could have saved one more? Though we cannot earn salvation by being “good enough,” Jesus also talks extensively about making good use of the talents and time He has given us. “It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes.” (Matthew 18:37a)
Be patient. When tragedy happens, we may rightly wish that Jesus would come back already. But God is not slow; He is allowing more time for His workers (you and I) to plant seeds and share in the harvest. “See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near.” (James 5:7-8).
The End is Near
In the end, the timing of the end doesn’t really matter. The ancient Mayans are not around to see what happens on Friday, because they died long ago. Likewise, each of us will soon enough face our own end, regardless of what happens with the rest of the world. Your own expiration date is just as unpredictable and just as certain, and I guarantee you’ll live just long enough to see it.
Are you ready?