What is it about humans, that we clamor after weirdness and false doctrine? The latest Mayan tablet craze predicts the end of the world in 2012. TV specials, books, DVDs and even an upcoming major motion picture are all addressing the subject.
Fortunately, one of America’s best Bible prophecy teachers, Mark Hitchcock, has penned an easy-to-read book on the subject and given a much-needed biblical view, to boot.
In “2012: The Bible and the End of the World,” Hitchcock, senior pastor of Faith Bible Church in Edmond, Okla., addresses some misconceptions about the Mayan date.
The whole subject is enormously fascinating when considering a biblical worldview versus a humanistic worldview. If one believes the Bible is the word of God, accurate in its history, science and philosophy for living, then one recognizes that the Bible never gives a date for the end of the world.
That should settle the matter of the Mayan calendar for us, but sadly, too often, it doesn’t. Millions grasp at false teaching to understand the present and the future.
This is the product of generations raised on the teachings of Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey, and even syrupy TV preachers. A huge chunk of our culture does not understand the world from a biblical worldview. That’s why they spend more than two seconds wondering if the Mayans accurately predicted the end of the world.
Hitchcock brings some reasoned research, and a cool head to this hysteria.
He astutely points out that virtually everyone – from secularists to atheists to the religious – senses that something big is in the offing. Sadly, we have three years to wait before people see that 2012 will likely come and go without the apocalypse.
Early in his book, Hitchcock makes an important point, centering around worldview: “While many other 2012 books mention the Bible or Bible codes, they don’t look at 2012 through the lens of Scripture; rather, they look at Scripture through the lens of 2012.”
A stone tablet unearthed decades ago in Mexico – the so-called Mayan calendar – has created a firestorm of speculation. Yet just recently, a Mayan Indian elder, Apolinario Chile Pixtun, says that the belief that the calendar predicts the end of the world comes from Western, not Mayan ideas. He says the prediction only mentions that a significant period comes to an end in 2012.
This is the kind of sensible reasoning that Hitchcock brings to “2012: The Bible and the End of the World.” For example, in debunking the 2012 hysteria, Hitchcock relates the story of Spain, as she stood on the threshold of discovering the New World. Ancient tradition said that two huge pillars were placed in the Strait of Gibraltar by Hercules. The pillars were to signify that nothing lay beyond that point; there was nothing new to discover in the world. Of course, Columbus was one of those men in every generation who does not embrace silly predictions. He pushed past Spain and, as we know, went much farther.
Hitchcock’s point here is that tons of predictions come and go, and almost all of them pass from the scene in quiet, embarrassing fashion. There is every reason to believe that 2012 will fade into 2013.
Now, Christians who believe in the Bible’s end-of-the-world predictions recognize that Jesus Christ insisted that no one knows the date of the end of the world, except God himself.
Hitchcock also devotes a valuable chapter to Nostradamus, the French seer who could not have foreseen his own popularity in our day. The “prophet” is a fixture on documentary channels, and he has achieved the status of prophet by many. But is he?
From Quatrain 2-6 of his famous book, “The Prophecies,” Nostradamus wrote about a moment of destruction that many identify with the dropping of atom bombs on Japan in World War II. But, as Hitchcock points out, this event, partly about “famine within plague, people put out by steel” had nothing to do with famine and plague in 1945 Japan. He is helping us see that perception and bias often drive “predictions” like those of Nostradamus or 2012.
In the end (get it?), Hitchcock makes his most valuable contribution to this subject by outlining a biblical view of the end times. He reminds us of several last-days factors, such as the ingathering of the Jewish exiles into the modern state of Israel. He builds a most compelling case for relying on Scripture alone in how we see the approaching end of the world.
Hitchcock has packed a tremendous amount of research into this quick read, and I highly recommend you get copies to give away. Kudos to Mark for a fantastic contribution to this highly charged topic.