December 21, 2012





John Hoole – November 18, 2012




 T E O T W A W K I


I have used this acrostic once before.  It comes up often when reading the many web sites about the global doomsday.  TEOTWAWKIThe End Of The World As We Know It.


Over the last few years, there have been a number of TV programs and documentaries dealing with the end of the world as we know it.  Some of them had journalists interviewing historians, ancient Mayan experts, and biblical theologians.  As a serious student of biblical prophecy, the discussion grabs my attention.


If you do a Google search for “December 21, 2012,” you will find 1,320,000,000 web pages that deal with the topic.  If you begin to look at some of these web sites, a whole new world will be opened to you.  You will see there is an apocalyptic subculture that seriously believes the end of the world as we know it is going to occur near the end of this year.


Before going any further, we need to offer a word of spiritual sense.  The Bible tells us not to fear the urgencies of this world, but rather to fear God, Himself.  As the Bible makes abundantly clear, Christians have nothing to fear.


Even outside this 2012 subculture, many people from around the world sense that the world is getting near closing time.  According to the Pew Research Foundation, about one in five Americans believe Jesus will return in the current generation.  A U.S. New & World Report poll revealed that 60% of all Americans, from all faith backgrounds, believe the world will end eventually.


But is this really something new?  Setting dates for the end of the world or the Second Coming of Christ is nothing new. 


•  Harold Camping said the end of world would occur on Mar. 21, 2012.  He later changed it to October 21 when it didn’t happen in March.


•  Marshall Applewhite, leader of the Heaven’s Gate cult, said it would happen on March 26, 1997.  Police found the bodies of 39 people who had committed suicide in order to be transported to a space craft believed to be in the tail of the Hale-Bopp comet.


•  Edgar Whisenant said it would occur in 1987, then said 1988 when it did not occur in 1987.


•  Jehovah’s Witnesses probably have the record for the times they said Christ would come.  1874 then changed to 1878, 1881, 1910, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1975, and 1984.


•  William Miller said Christ’s Return would occur in 1843, then, when it didn’t occur, changed it to March 21, 1844.,


There is a long, tragic history of date-setting for the end of the world.  But, could 2012 be different?


Many people have questions about our times and are looking for answers anywhere they can find them.  Some are looking to lost civilizations such as the Mayas.  Others try to understand the predictions of Nostradamus, Mother Shipton and Edgar Cayce.  Still others peruse the ancient Sibylline Oracles or Delphi Oracles to satisfy a need for truth.  Native American cultures such as the Hopi tribe of Arizona, Cherokee Indians of Oklahoma, and the Q’ero Indians of Peru are sometimes cited in support of a coming doomsday.


Although a few are looking at deciphering the Bible codes of Revelation, the doomsday believers believe that the Mayans are the key.  Just in case you do not know, the Mayans occupied eastern Mesoamerica, which today is the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, extending down into modern Guatemala, Honduras, and Belize.  Mayan cities were large populations centers.  Tikal, a Mayan city in what is now Guatemala, had a population of about 50,000, and had more than 3,000 buildings, and covered an area of six square miles.


The Mayas flourished from about 250 to 900 AD, when it experienced a sudden, unexplained collapse.  Some Maya relics have been discovered with carbon dating of 2,000 years earlier.  Their cultures featured large cities built around stepped pyramids that served as temples.  They excelled in mathematics and astronomy.  Combining these two disciplines, they produced a series of about 20 different calendars.  It would not be an overstatement to say that the Mayas were calendar-obsessed.


Their calendars were incredibly accurate.  Without the help of calculators, computers, or telescopes, they  were able to determine the length of a lunar month to be 29.53020 days.  The actual length is 29.53059 days.  Their solar year was calculated to be 365.2450 days ± an error of .002.  Modern calculations put it at 365.2425 days ± an error .0003.


The Mayas had three main calendars.  One was a solar calendar that was based on 20 day months.  The second was a ceremonial calendar that was related to the 260 day cycle of Venus.  It was their third measure of time – the Long Count Calendar – that is related to the year 2012.


The Long Count Calendar was a measure of what they called “world age cycles,” each covered 5125.36 years (exactly 1,782,00 years) which repeat over and over again.  This calendar was divided into five units or cycles that started with the mythical date for the creation.  The last of the five cycles began on August 11, 3114 BC and is calculated to end on December 21, 2012 on the Gregorian Calendar that we use in the Western World.  Since their calendar ends on that date, some modern day interpreters have jumped to the conclusion that it marks the date for the end of the earth.


Meanwhile, the History Channel on television has promoted the 2012 craze with much zeal.  They have broadcast a whole series of programs focused on the date.  The titles of some of the shows are:


                   •  “Mayan Doomsday Prophecy” (2006)


                   •  “Last Days on Earth” (2006)


                   •  “Doomsday 2012: The End of Days” (2007)


                   •  “Seven Signs of the Apocalypse” (2009)


                   •  “Nostradamus 2012” (2009)


There are other factors providing fuel for the hype.  One is the fact that the same date, December 21, 2012, allegedly marks the first time in thousands of years that the galactic alignment of the sun and earth with the center of the Milky Way will occur.  Some have theorized that this cosmic event will cause the earth’s poles to reverse, resulting in major catastrophes.


Before going further, I need to say that there is not a single academic Mayan scholar who has endorsed the idea that the conclusion of the fifth cycle of the Mayan Long Calendar will signal the end of the world.  In fact, they have mocked the idea as nothing more than an Internet urban legend.


Dr. Sandra Noble, the director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, has pointed out that there is no declaration in Mayan literature that the end of the world will occur when the Long Calendar ends the 5th cycle.  On the contrary, she says its conclusion would most likely had marked a time of celebration for the Mayas and the launching of another 5 cycles.


Regarding galactic alignment, again it appears that all the predictions of cataclysmic events are based on junk science.  Academic astronomers have pointed out that the galactic alignment will span a period of 36 years.  That period began in 1998 with a convergence that was actually more precise than what will happen in 2012.


In contrast, the prediction of increased solar flare activity in 2012 is based upon solid science.  Every 11 years the sun goes through what is called a solar cycle.  During the peak times of this cycle, the sun’s magnetic poles switch.  This produces, in turn, solar flares which are pieces of the sun, which are discharged into space, carrying with them radiation and strong electrical currents.  Most of these flares fall back on the surface of the sun.  But sometimes a very strong flare, called a Coronal Mass Ejection, will shoot into space like a bullet.  These flares can cause major power blackouts when they hit power grids.


The prediction by the National Center for Atmospheric Research that solar flare activity could increase 30% to 50% over previous years is a legitimate cause for concern.  It could result in large scale blackouts, and it could affect such things as satellite communication and cell phones.  But even the scientists who have issued the warnings have not predicted cataclysmic results.  And they have not proposed any specific date it might happen.  In fact, one of the lead scientists for the National Space Science & Technology Center argues that the maximum sun flare activity is more likely to have already occurred in 2010 and 2011.




I think that all the 2012 hysteria is clearly unfounded.  But would it be accurate to say that even if the 2012 date is wrong, we could very well be near the end of the world?  Well, that all depends on what is meant by the phrase, “the end of the world.”  The only reliable source of information about the future is the Bible.  We know it is reliable because it contains hundreds of very specific prophecies about persons, cities, and nations that have already been fulfilled in history.  It also contains 109 specific prophecies about the Messiah that were fulfilled in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.


The Bible prophesies the end of the current age, the end of the current world system, and the end of the natural world as we know it today.  But it never prophesies the end of the world in the sense that the universe will cease to exist.  In fact, it clearly states that planet earth will exist forever.


Let’s consider each of these three in order.


•  The End of the Current Age.


•  The End of the Current World System


•  The End of the Current Natural World


The End of the Current Age


The Bible teaches that Mankind entered a whole new age on the Day of Pentecost at about AD 30.  On that day the Holy Spirit fell upon the 120 gathered in the Upper Room, empowering them.  Peter preached the first Gospel sermon, and the Church was establish when 3,000 people responded and accepted Jesus as their Messiah (Acts 2:14-41).  We have been living in the Church Age ever since.


The end of the Church Age will occur when the Church is taken out of this world on the day of the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).


The End of the Current World System


At the end of the Tribulation, some 7+ years after the Rapture, when the Second Coming occurs, the current world system will also come to an end.  When I refer to the “world system,” I am talking about the way human society has operated since Adam and Eve were ejected from the Garden of Eden.


All societies of the world, despite their particular forms of government and their types of economies have all revolved around the ego of Man.  They have thus been characterized by unrighteousness and injustice and war.  Since the beginning of human history, people have yearned for a world of peace and justice.  Time and time again they have placed their hopes in politicians who have promised them the moon.  And time and time again their hopes have been dashed.  But the good news of God’s Prophetic Word is that the current world system is doomed.


Jesus is coming back to institute a radically new world system.  It will be a theocracy characterized by the rule of the rod of iron (Psalm 2:7-9; Revelation 2:27).  He will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords from Mount Zion in Jerusalem (Rev. 19:16).  His word will be the law of all nations, and it will be enforced worldwide by those of us who will be reigning with Him in glorified bodies (Isa. 2:2-4; Dan. 7:13-14, 18, 27).


There will be no political parties, pressure groups, lobbyists, or legislators.  Decisions will be based on righteousness, fairness and equity (Isaiah 11:4-5).  Vulgarity will give way to holiness (Zechariah 14:20-21).  Poverty will be swallowed up in abundance (Micah 4:4).  Peace will flood the world as the waters cover the seas (Micah 4:3).


That is what it will be like after the conclusion of the Current World System.  We have discussed the “Church Age,” and “Current World System,” but after neither is there an end to the world.  So let’s now discuss the “End of the Current Natural World.”


The End of the Current Natural World


Many Christians believe that at the end of the Lord’s millennial reign, the cosmos will be consumed with fire and cease to exist.  A corollary of this is a belief that since the material universe will cease to exist, the Redeemed will live eternally in a non-material, ethereal spirit world called Heaven.


These beliefs are derived from a passage in 2 Peter 3 that says:


2 Peter 3:10 NKJV


10     But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.


If that is all the Bible had to say about the matter, then we could rightfully conclude that the material universe will one day come to an end.  But three verses later, in verse 13, in the same Passage, it states that according to the promise given in Isaiah 66:22, we can be “looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”


Earlier in the same 2 Peter Passage – in 2 Peter 3:5-6 – it refers to the original earth as having been “destroyed” by water.  This does NOT mean, however, that it ceased to exist.  Rather, it means that the original earth was radically changed by the Noahic Flood.  In like manner, the current earth will be destroyed by fire, meaning it will be radically changed, not that it will cease to exist.


This interpretation is supported by other biblical passages.  We are told the current earth is in fact eternal.


Ecclesiastes 1:4 NKJV


4       One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever.


Psalms 78:69 NKJV


69     And He built His sanctuary like the heights, Like the earth which He has established forever.


Psalm 148 describes the things God has made – angels, sun, moon, stars, earth and waters.


         Then in verse 5 & 6 (NKJV), we read:


5       Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were created.

6       He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which shall not pass away.


We will have more to say about the end of the Current Natural World when we have a lesson on the New Heaven and New Earth in Revelation 21.


In speaking of the earth, with its ongoing and eternal future, I want you to notice a verse in 2 Peter.


2 Peter 3:6 NKJV


6       …the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.


                   This speaks a world that once existed but which gave way to another world.


I want to use this verse as a launch pad to speak about several worlds mentioned in the Bible.  Many are surprised to learn that the Bible actually reveals that we are currently living on earth number 3 and there are two yet to come.


Earth 1


The first earth was the one created at the beginning (Genesis 1:1).  It was perfect in every respect (Genesis 1:31)


Have you ever stopped to think what a “perfect” earth must have been like?  There certainly were no meat-eating animals or poisonous animals or poisonous plants.  All of nature was at peace with itself and with man.  Adam and Eve did not have to strive against nature in order to produce their food.  And there were no natural cataclysms like tornados, hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes.


Earth 2


The Bible indicates that the curse radically altered the nature of God’s original creation.  Romans 8:22 tells us the “whole creation groans and labors,…”  Instead of Man exercising dominion over all of nature, as originally planned (Genesis 1:26, 28), nature rose up in conflict with Man, as poisonous plants, carnivorous animals and climatic cataclysms suddenly appeared.  But because of Man’s sin, God placed a curse, not only on Adam, Eve and the Serpent, but also upon the earth (Genesis 3:17-19).


There is much biblical evidence in both Genesis and Job that the second earth had a thick vapor canopy which shielded life from the ultraviolet radiation of the sun, contributing to the long life spans recorded in Genesis.  The whole earth was like a greenhouse with a thick vegetation growing everywhere, even at the north and south poles.  We are also given some biblical evidence for there being only one large land mass.


Earth 3


Like the curse, the flood radically altered the nature of the earth.  It produced the third earth, the earth we live on now.  Some believe it was at this time the earth tilted on its axis, forming the polar caps.  The land mass began slowly to split apart, forming continents as we now know them.  This is documented in Genesis 10:25, the chapter immediately following the flood.  The vapor canopy was now gone, allowing the full radiation from the sun, resulting in much shorter life spans, first to 120 years then to 70 years.  Earth #3 is the earth we currently live on.


Earth 4


The Bible, however, reveals that the current earth we live on will be radically changed again at the second coming.  The change agents will be earthquakes on the earth at unprecedented severity, and supernatural phenomena in the heavens.  The changes produced will so totally alter the earth and its atmosphere which will exist during the 1,000 year reign of Christ (Isaiah 65:17).  The fourth earth – the millennial earth – will be very different from the present earth.


In addition to the earthquakes that will be the most severe in all of history, the Bible says every valley will be lifted, every mountain will be lowered, and every island will be moved (Revelation 6:12-14) and (Revelation 16:17-21).


And Jerusalem, we are told, will be lifted up, and Mt. Zion will become the highest of all the mountains (Zechariah 14:10; Micah 4:1).


Micah 4:1 NKJV


1       Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the Lord's house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And peoples shall flow to it.


Isaiah 30:23 indicates that the earth will again bring forth an abundance in food.  Some have speculated that the vapor canopy will be restored.  Amos 9:13-14 tells us the plowman for the next season of crops will overtake those who are reaping the previous season’s crops.  We are told that the Dead Sea will no longer be dead, but will bring forth an abundance of fish.


Most important, the curse will be partially lifted, making it possible for Man to be reconciled to nature and for nature to be reconciled to itself.  The wolf will dwell with the lamb because the wolf will no longer be carnivorous.  The nursing child will play with the cobra because the cobra will no longer be poisonous (Isa. 11;8).


Earth 5


At the end of the 1,000 years, Satan will be loosed after having been bound in the pit.  Satan’s last revolt at the end of the Millennium will leave the earth polluted and devastated (Revelation 20:7-9).  God will remove the redeemed off the earth, place them in the New Jerusalem, then cleanse the earth with fire (2 Peter 3:10-13).


This will result in the “new heavens and a new earth prophesied in Isaiah 66 and Revelation 21.  This will be the fifth earth, the perfected, eternal earth accessible by the redeemed.  In fact, we are told in Revelation 21 that the New Jerusalem descends to this renewed earth.  The curse now will be totally gone.


Revelation 22:3 NKJV


3       And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.




There is no reason for you to fear the “end of the world” if you are a born-again child of God.  You have the promise of living eternally with God on this earth after it has been redeemed and perfected.


But if you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you have every reason to fear the future.  The signs of the times given in the Bible indicate beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is about to return to take His believers out of this world, in preparation for the pouring out of God’s wrath during the Tribulation.  It will be a time of unparalleled horror on this earth.  It will be so terrible that literally 50% of the world population will die in the first 3½ years.


God does not wish that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9).  That is why He has provided us with signs to watch for His Son’s return.  We are in the midst of those signs right now.  We are living on borrowed time.  So don’t delay – give your heart to Jesus today.