2012: Has the final countdown begun?

The blockbuster movie 2012 opened s this weekend in theaters across the country. By Mark HitchcockSenior pastor, Faith Bible Church … Continued

The blockbuster movie 2012 opened s this weekend in theaters across the country.

By Mark Hitchcock
Senior pastor, Faith Bible Church in Oklahoma

Over the past few years, Americans have been bombarded with one huge concept that can be summed up on one little word: change. Both political parties, and most Americans, recognize that major adjustments are needed in the economy, education, and health care. If one is to believe the political pundits, big changes are on the way. But few people are prepared for the change that many are predicting. A change they believe has been bearing down on the planet for 5,000 years, the colossal transformation of our solar system and our collective psyche that many believe will happen on December 21, 2012.

Many believe that ancient prophecies indicate that change is coming. Big change. Predictions vary widely about what will happen. They range from total, all-out apocalypse to some kind of quantum shift in human awareness and consciousness. Yet they all agree that big change is coming for planet earth and the human race. And they appear to all focus on one specific day–December 21, 2012–the final day on the Mayan long count calendar. Never before have so many people from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints pinpointed one day as the expiration date for human civilization. It’s like Y2K gone wild.

As you can imagine, there are thousands of Web sites devoted to 2012. On several websites there’s an official 2012 countdown that will give you an up-to-the-second indicator of how long we have to wait for the end of the world. Books on 2012 are flying off the shelves. Network news, cable channels and major internet outlets are all featuring programs and articles on the 2012 phenomenon. The $200-million movie “2012″ will debut on November 13, 2009. I was shocked to find that in 2008, 16 percent of Americans answered “yes” when asked, “Do you expect any apocalyptic events to happen on December 21, 2012?” Another barometer of the swelling interest in 2012 is the “Ask an Astrobiologist” section of NASA’s Web site where senior scientist David Morrison answers questions from the public. According to CNN, more than half of the inquiries on the most popular list were related to 2012. People everywhere are asking questions about 2012 and seem to share a collective sense that the world is getting near closing time. Apocalyptic thinking is in the air. A U.S. News and World Report poll revealed that about 20 percent of Americans say earth’s life expectancy is just a couple of decades.

Crises of alarming complexity are emerging and accelerating with frightening regularity–depletion of vital resources, peak in oil production, food shortages, nuclear threat, economic meltdown, vanishing species, potentially pandemic flu viruses, wars and rumors of wars, turmoil in the Middle East, record tsunamis, erratic weather patterns, unprecedented earthquakes and the escalation of battering storms. Life on planet earth in the last few years has been anything but business as usual. We live in a fragile, increasingly dangerous, interdependent world. There’s an amazing confluence of tipping points. And the world’s problems are multiplying. Is this all a build-up to some imminent cataclysm? The prelude to the grand finale of unspeakable destruction? Is 2012 the year the cosmic clock winds down to zero? A time of epic disaster? Was the warning of the earth’s grand finale encoded in the Mayan calendar?

While there are many issues surrounding 12.21.12, the bottom line is this: While the Mayans knew a great deal about astronomy and calendars, they did not know the future. No man does. Only God knows the future, and He has not revealed any specific dates for either the Second Coming of Jesus or the end of the world (Matthew 24:36, 42, 44). Of course, some unusual things could happen on or near December 21, 2012, but whatever occurs it won’t be the end of the world, the mass extinction of humanity or some quantum leap to a new level of human consciousness. Don’t panic or be drawn away to rash, impulsive actions by those claiming to know the exact date of the end of the world. They don’t know when the world will end. Only God knows, and He isn’t telling anyone on earth.

Dr. Mark Hitchcock is the author of the new book “2012, the Bible, and the End of the World” (Harvest House Publishers). Senior pastor at Faith Bible Church in Oklahoma, he is leading the “call for reason” among Christians on the topic of 2012 and will be giving a series of lectures this October podcast for distribution online.

  • Carstonio

    Hitchcock makes a persuasive argument against apocalyptic thinking and the misplaced certainty that’s involved. That is, until his last paragraph, with his baseless claim that “only God knows the future.” If humans cannot know the future, how can humans know that there are beings who do? That sounds to me like the type of misplaced certainty that he rightly condemns. We have no basis for being certain that there are gods or that there aren’t. Why not simply say that we don’t know the future, we don’t know if there are or aren’t gods, and leave the matter at that?

  • Athena4

    When the Mayan calendar “turned”, it meant the end of THEIR world as they knew it – the Conquistadores came. When it turns again in Dec. 2012, who knows what will happen? Personally, I’m hoping that all of the crazies will be raptured, so that I can drive Pat Robertson’s Mercedes Benz.

  • ccnl1

    Time again to remember the great words of that famous, contemporary theologian, Edward Schillebeeckx:From his book, Church: The Human Story of God, Crossroad, 1993, p.91 (softcover) “Christians (humans) must give up a perverse, unhealthy and inhuman doctrine of predestination without in so doing making God the great scapegoat of history”.”Nothing is determined in advance: in nature there is chance and determinism; in the world of human activity there is possibility of free choices. Therefore the historical future is not known even to God; otherwise we and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings. For God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women.”

  • CalSailor

    LiveandLove: Once in a while, would you try and put your posts in english? You know, sentences, with capitals at the beginning of the sentence, and the beginning of proper names, with a subject, verb, and usuall, an object? The sentences are then organized in paragraphse (collection of sentences around one main idea (topic sentence). Your randome letters strung together simply don’t make sense. I don’t know what you are thinking of, but your stuff is unreadable and indecipherable. I never was any good at cryptograms. Please, this is not a “far out science” or a “Ripley, believe it or not” site. Pr Chris

  • coloradodog

    More hocus pocus from the Huckabees.They would call Obama the anti-Christ if Palin’s witchdoctor hadn’t already told them the anti-Christ is a homosexual.16% of people who believe this 2012 nonsense is a trend in the right direction from the 23% who believe Limbaugh’s and Mormon Elder Glenn Beck’s nonsense as well.

  • ThomasBaum

    ccnl1You wrote concerning, “Edward Schillebeeckx: From his book, Church: The Human Story of God, Crossroad, 1993, p.91 (softcover) If Edward Schillibeeckx actually believed that God Is God rather than his preconceived idea of what God can be, he just might be able to see beyond his blindness, at least somewhat.One day he will and will come to the realization that rather than being the “scapegoat” of history, that God’s Plan could not be conceived by such a “puny” God as he apparently “conceives” God to be but actually is “Good News” for ALL rather than the ‘good enough news’ for some as others with a distorted “conception” of God believe.Don’t worry God’s Plan is for ALL in spite of the fact that many “believers” not only don’t believe it but some don’t even want it to be for ALL. Mighty “Christian” of them considering that Jesus, on the cross, said, “PAID IN FULL”.We have free will and we are responsible for how we use our free will whether or not we take that responsiblility upon ourselves or not.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • frogwatcher

    Dr. Hitchcock could usefully extend his description of the potential causes of concern about December 21, 2012, by mentioning these two secular facts. 1. As usual, December 21 is the day on which the Sun crosses the Galactic Equator nearest the Galactic Center, which it does every year. Any good astronomy program such as TheSky, SkyMap or Starry Night can present this event. Every year the Milky Way rotates about six milli-arc-seconds, a very small but in some parts of the biosphere, a decisive rotation. It turns eternally, and never goes backward or stops, a smaller angle each day.2. The number 12 is the atomic weight of carbon, an utterly essential element of life, and the only element capable of bonding in the all the valences necessary for reproduction of living molecules. Carbon is also the fundamental element in diamond, premier gemstone of all the crown jewels in the world. Thus 2012 is a particularly significant year in that it is the first multiple of twelve in the new millennium.Most of the other concerns, such as the Mayan Calendar, seem to be concoctions designed to present the event is terms less droll and boring as facts, and more conducive to high speculation.

  • BlueDogma

    Interesting. You state that “Only God knows the future, and He has not revealed any specific dates for either the Second Coming of Jesus or the end of the world,” then go on to state that “whatever occurs it won’t be the end of the world, the mass extinction of humanity or some quantum leap to a new level of human consciousness.”So which is it, do you know the future or don’t you?

  • norriehoyt

    “Of course, some unusual things could happen on or near December 21, 2012, but whatever occurs it won’t be the end of the world, the mass extinction of humanity or some quantum leap to a new level of human consciousness.”Rev. Mark,How do you know?”Arrogance is a mixture of impertinence, disobedience, indiscipline, rudeness, harshness, and a self-assertive nature.”-Swami Sivananda “To start blindly with a statement is a sign of arrogance and narrow-mindedness, and will lead to conflict. To start blindly with a question is a sign of uncertainty and honesty, and will lead to wisdom.”-Scott Watson

  • ccnl1

    Hmmm, Thomas, “god-talker” and Moses of the NT, Baum somehow missed what god told him about 12/21/2012. Maybe Thomas should demand another audience??

  • edbyronadams

    The Maya had it all figured out. That is why they are so successful today.

  • ThomasBaum

    norriehoytYou wrote, “”To start blindly with a statement is a sign of arrogance and narrow-mindedness, and will lead to conflict. To start blindly with a question is a sign of uncertainty and honesty, and will lead to wisdom.”I have no idea who Scott Watson is, but doesn’t the first sentence of the above paragraph seem like a “statement” to you?Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    ccnl1 You wrote, “Hmmm, Thomas, “god-talker” and Moses of the NT, Baum somehow missed what god told him about 12/21/2012. Maybe Thomas should demand another audience??”Sometimes I wonder why some are so interested and/or worried about “when”.Knowing the “when” of when is not important, either one will be ready or will not be ready. As should be obvious the “when” can be when one physically dies.People talk of the “end” and some speak of the “end” in a multitude of different “ends”.The “end” will be the “end” of the night of the sixth day which will be followed by the dawning of the seventh day.So as you may be able to “see” the “end” will be the end of something but will also be the “beginning” of something else.As I have said, I look past heaven to the Kingdom, the new heavens and the new earth, which will arrive on the seventh day on which God Blest, Rested and made Holy.As Jesus said, “My Father has been busy even until now”, well this statement and the statement, “God Blest, Rested and made Holy” are both true.Some get so caught up in the “when” of the “end” that they seem to forget that there is a “here and now”.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • cmarshdtihqcom

    I think we’re running out of time. Jewish, Muslim, Christain, and Hopi prophecies are converging. Most notably, the generation alive when Israel is a nation again will see Jesus return. Look up End Times on Wikipedia. When I wonder where the mark of the beast is in the next 3 years it makes my blood run cold.Yes, Jesus saved potentially all humankind Thomas but He can’t save anyone unilaterally, He needs their cooperation to admit Him into their hearts/souls and then to try to follow Him. That is why Jesus told the Christains to spread the Word.Does it seem to you, Thomas, that, for example, LGBT, are automatically saved, and mean Christians don’t want that to happen?Anyone can be saved, but must invite Jesus into their spiritual vacuum, and then follow Jesus away from whom they once were. Thomas, LGBT may find that very difficult, especially if it means leaving behind a life partner, and never having another one, ever.I don’t say that with any pleasure. I am sorry. Right now I know what it is to be without a woman. At least I have the possibility of getting married as a straight Christian. But the important thing is anyone except married people are stuck in the same boat. Bluntly, we know how you feel because we don’t “have any” either.The Muslims fast because it reminds them of the hungry. I’m sure my married Christian friends who married as early as age 22 for guys (I know him) and as early as age 23 (I know her) for girls (a non-Christian friend snidely answered my question, “they have to get married to ‘do it’”) have little or no sympathy for those stuck in a LGBT Catch 22. Maybe you see things differently if you are stuck single at age 39 (or later?).I can’t change the religion or the wording of the Bible. But at least when I say what it says, I have a heart.

  • cmarshdtihqcom

    I am sorry. I can’t judge the sympathy or lack thereof of my Christian siblings from college. It just seemed to me God dropped their mate out of the sky. It wasn’t very long out of college either.1. I don’t understand the difference between a woman eager to be friends or eager to be something else. I hate to get it wrong.2. This might be the 21st Century, 40 years past women’s lib, but women expect to be approached, not to initiate. There is a nonverbal disability reason why the rules of the game seem so hard to understand.

  • cmarshdtihqcom

    Well God, aka Jesus Christ, did say, in so many words, if you knew when a thief in the night was coming, you would be ready for him. Jesus will return like a thief in the night, known only to God the Father, not even to Jesus.”At a time when ye think not, the Son of Man cometh”So He admonished His believers to be watch and be ready.

  • Smileyhari

    Dr Hitchcock says ” Don’t panic or be drawn away to rash, impulsive actions by those claiming to know the exact date of the end of the world. They don’t know when the world will end. Only God knows, and He isn’t telling anyone on earth.”.What that summarizes in one word about the 2012 prediction is “Nonsense.”

  • topwriter

    It’s hilarious reading a person who believes in legend, unfounded claims and myth and propagates that belief to fill the pockets of their organization complain about others who merely present legend, unfounded claims and myth to fill the pockets of their organization.To hear the church complain about Hollywood and the Aztec legend is just hilarious. I mean, the idea of Doomsday is Christian. I’d think the church would be all, “come save your souls before it’s too late; the end is neigh!”I guess its only okay when the church says it.Hilarious.

  • wharr97299

    Has it occured to anyone that this Mayan Calendar was created a couple thousand years ago, and maybe they didn’t see any purpose in going further, that they figured they would continue it when it got closer to the end? If the Mayans were so smart then why are all their cities overgrown by the jungle. Jeez, Y2K, global warming, 2012, sounds like a cottage industry to create a need to drive wealth creation.

  • lafont1

    Just more evidence supporting the obvious:Religion=Insanity

  • paultaylor1

    This date, December 21, 2012, will, indeed, be a profound day in history.It is the date that Mr. Senor Lou Dobbs has chosen to travel down to El Paso. He will stand at the turbid Rio Bravo, lower his pants to the river, and with a toothy grin of bravado, flash his big booty and pass a billowing, fetid cloud right then and there, at that murky river. It is the day that the Mighty Rio Bravo will drain, to the last drop, back into the emptied bowels of a Mr. Senor Dobbs. And the famous last words will be recorded: “Let them try to cross MY RIVER!”

  • therev1

    This is great! It will keep morons busy so they won’t have time to bother the rest of us.

  • jpanzal

    On December 21, 2012 all media will announce the ominous news that will chill the hearts of all humanity – there are only four more shopping days until Christmas, 2012.

  • bucinka8

    Kinda makes one wonder why Chicago bothered to put in a bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics.@paultaylor: You wrote: It is the date that Mr. Senor Lou Dobbs has chosen to travel down to El Paso. He will stand at the turbid Rio Bravo, lower his pants to the river, and with a toothy grin of bravado, flash his big booty and pass a billowing, fetid cloud right then and there, at that murky river. {snip}

  • DwightCollins

    as far as I am concerned, if it is the end or the beginning of a major change, I welcome it…

  • DwightCollins

    in many films about the future, star trek, etc…

  • dane1

    Now that Christians and their apologists have completely lost their minds, it’s time to rescind the tax breaks they get for masquerading as a religious organization.

  • ripper368

    I think it’s funny to hear the Christian explain that only God knows when the second coming of Christ will occur while talking down the Mayan myth. One fairy tale over another. Laughable. At least the Mayan calender is based on the movement of stars.

  • UsedtoBinDC

    “God” doesn’t know when the end of the world will come either because there is no god. There is no invisible magical being in outer space listening to our thoughts. It’s just us and the dirt. We will control when the earth ends, unless we are hit by an asteroid we can’t anticipate or do anything about, and, if that happens, it won’t be because of any magical beings but just the luck of the draw in a random Universe. We probably aren’t alone out there either so we won’t be missed. As for the end of the world scenarios, the Christians have predicted the end of the world every 1000 years from the supposed birth of Christ. The problem is, that the date for that supposed event is wrong. It was miscalculated by a monk who estimated it several centuries later and was off by 4 to 9 years. By the time we started worrying about the Year 2000, we had already passed it.

  • kkrimmer

    More than just the Mayans had 2012 on their calendar… the Chinese also. They were not just talking about their world but THE world.How do I reconcile the creationists (man magically appeared 4,000 years ago) with scientists? Easy, what you believe is true for you, so you’re right. –

  • rossacpa

    OK, everyone hold up a minute. No branch of Christianity is involved in the 2012 hype that I know of — and I do this stuff 24/7. 2012 is brought to you compliments of the same folks that brought you Rosemary’s Baby, the Exorcist, The Omen (and its offspring), the Davini Code, etc. That would be the secular humanist film makers in Hollywood. But here’s the really disturbing part — they are making scads of money off the people who go see the movie, which for the most part are secularists and Christian haters.Here’s my prediction for Dec. 12, 2012. Christians will LTAO when the final profit for this movie is released, knowing they contributed virtually nothing to that total.

  • CalP

    I do not know, nor does anyone that the world will end on December 21, 2012. However, it is not just the Mayan Calendar that suggests such an end.It has been determined that the sun and the planets are lining up with the center of the milky way in a manner that could cause major disturbances (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, hurricanes etc) that are expected to be intense. Science also points to activity on the sun that copuld destroy communications and electricity grids that would also be peaking around the same time; and we are already experiencing a frequency of natural disturbances throughout the world.In addition, we can refer to the prophecy of Archbishop Malachy from AD 1139 that indicates that Pope Number 112 will see the end of the earth–we are currently on Pope Number 111, who himself predicted that his reign would be short. Malachy is reported to have been very accurate in predicting the reign of several Popes including that of Pope John Paul and the current Pope.We should recall too, that in Isaiah and Revelation, we are told of a new world where there would be no more sea and the old one will be forgotten. There are also other references from Revelation that could be interpreted to point to the day of reckoning of our earth, including the drying up od the Euphrates.Again, I repeat that I do not know when the earth might end, but given the state of the world today and the threat to America where the twin towers that were destroyed on 9/11 are seen as figurative of the Towers of Babylon, we cannot be too certain that the Mayan, the Chinese and the Native Peoples of Canada and others are entirely speculative.

  • ElianGonzalez

    “Only God knows the future, and He has not revealed any specific dates for either the Second Coming of Jesus or the end of the world.”Wait a minute, wait a minute. In one breath, the author dismisses the 2012 stupidity as an aberrant superstition, only to follow it up….another aberrant superstition. I remind him that even Jesus thought the end of the world was going to happen in his lifetime.It’s all ridiculous.

  • khote14

    I was shocked to find that in 2008, 16 percent of Americans answered “yes” when asked, “Do you expect any apocalyptic events to happen on December 21, 2012?”There are a lot more shocking things believed by people. What percentage of people believe the world is only 6,000 years old? That people and dinosaurs coexisted? That we never actually went to the moon? That our current president is an illegal alien?How about the shocking numbers of people who actually believe in supernatural crap, like gods and goddesses and miracles and the crap you believe in!You really should not bemoan the credulity and gullibility of other people when you have a bible in one hand, ready to shove it down the throat of anyone not so gullible as you to believe in it.

  • afpre42

    Cool the world is ending in 3 years! It’s time to start loading up my credit cards, take up smoking, and cash in my 401k. And forget all my previous postings about how the deficit will ruin the country. I say free unlimited healthcare, icecream, and beer for all US citizens, illegal immigrants, and family pets. Won’t egg be on the faces of all those creditors when they realize they’ll never get their money back! HAAAAA HAAAA!!!

  • SeniorVet

    Much B.S. about nothing, except to promote the sale of a new book!

  • rossacpa

    Calp1 — you are a bit behind. Pope Benedict XVI is the 264th successor of St. Peter, first bishop of Rome. And that doesn’t include any of the antipopes, or the current pretender to the Chair of Peter, Pius XIII, gloriously reigning from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Reality sucks.

  • scon101

    Well God, aka Jesus Christ, did say, in so many words, if you knew when a thief in the night was coming, you would be ready for him. Jesus will return like a thief in the night, known only to God the Father, not even to Jesus.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    So….the Mayans were Christians, then?

  • aaron78600

    In the Aztec calendar this year is marked as the end of the world. They believe this was when it was all going to end. I don’t think so though….when the end really comes, we won’t even see it coming…

  • Ilikemyprivacy

    All religions have exactly the same supporting facts: none. That is, after all, why it is called “faith.” So far every religion in history has proved to be factually incorrect in the long run and there is no reason to think the Biblical religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) are exempt. Refuting the unprovable tenets of one religion with the unprovable tenets of another seems pretty futile. 12/21/12 is just a load of hooey. It’s enough to leave it at that.

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