The Mayans had a couple of different calendars. One of these calendars is called the “long calendar”. This long calendar ends on December 21st, 2012. Many people believe that the Mayans must have known that the world was going to end on that day so they stopped their calendar on that date. There are all sorts of theories on what might happen on this date, like a shift in the magnetic poles and some sort of galactic alignment that would cause the destruction of the world. It is thought that somehow the Mayans knew or predicted that this was going to happen.
The Mayans did have an amazing way of keeping track of time and dates in relation to lunar cycles. It is possible that the cyclical nature of the Mayan calendar corresponds with cyclical nature of their belief in the creation. In these creation accounts "the present world and the humans in it were preceded by other worlds (one to five others, depending on the tradition) which were fashioned in various forms by the gods, but subsequently destroyed" (Wikipedia _Mayan Calendar).
End times predictions and theories are nothing new. Even during modern times, there have been different people who have claimed to have predicted when the end of the world the is going to occur and every time they are proven to be wrong. William Miller (Adventist Movement), Joseph Smith (Mormon Faith), C.T Russell (The Jehovah's Witnesses) and many others have all been shown to be false prophets when it comes to predicting the future return of Jesus.
Does the Bible say when the world is going to end?
- “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only" (Matthew 24:36).
- "Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night." (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2).
If one is prepared for the 2nd Coming by being "in Christ" (Galatians 3:27), Judgment Day is not a event to fear, but an occasion for rejoicing for at that moment we will go on to be with the Lord forever.
Notice what a glorious day the Judgment will be for those who are prepared.
- But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
Maybe the world will end on December 21st. It might also end on December 22nd, 23rd, 24th etc... It might happen in 2012 and it might happen 6000 years from now. We do not know when the world will end and we do not know when Judgment Day will occur. One day it will happen, and if we are “in Christ”, we are ready! There is no way the Mayans would have known when the end of the world would come. If it does occur on December 21st, they just got lucky. (That's even if they were predicting the end of the world in the first place).
By CS - Quotes from NASB95 and Wikipedia. Image from zmescience.com