Countdown to Extinction

“It’s the end of the world as we know it,
It’s the end of the world as we know it,
It’s the end of the world as we know it,
And I feel fine….”

As of today, December 21, 2011, we have 365 days until the end of the world.

That is, if you believe in the ancient Mayan calendar, which ended at December 21, 2012. Actually, the calendar in question doesn’t specifically prophesy or predict catastrophe. It does mention the return of a Mayan god on that day, though, which marks the end of the 13th Baktun (roughly 394 years each). So, as far as we know, the calendar-maker may have just decided his “long count” calendar was long enough and didn’t feel like continuing with another volume. It may be that the only thing he was predicting was his need for a new job or hobby. But, pointing that out doesn’t sell as many books, magazines, or tabloids. And the movie wouldn’t have been very exciting, either. (“2012: Just Another Year”)

'2012' movie posterBesides, why think the Mayans had privileged info, anyway? Other groups — like the ancient Egyptians and Chinese — were pretty advanced in that stuff (i.e., math and astronomy), too, but they didn’t predict the end of the world. We’ve got a lot more and better technology now and nothing indicates an imminent doom for planet Earth or big portions thereof.

Planetary alignments? Nothing scheduled, and they wouldn’t be a problem, anyway. Never have been.

Solar storms? They usually don’t do lasting damage. Even so, there is “no evidence that one will happen on Dec. 21 next year,” according to astronomer Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object program office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Magnetic pole reversal? First, while this does occur somewhat regularly, it’s not sudden. It takes thousands of years. Again, “there’s no evidence of a flip on Dec. 21, 2012,” Yeomans said. “Even if it did flip, it would not cause any real problems, other than us having to change our compasses from north to south.”

(Near-)Collision with Nibiru? Speculation and conspiracy theories abound regarding this mysterious “Planet X” that no one has ever seen and NASA’s efforts to “cover up” its supposed existence and parallel orbit on the other side of the Sun. But, despite warnings from the residents of Zeta Riticuli (via UFO aficionado Nancy Leider), there is no real danger of Nibiru suddenly popping out to cause havoc with Earth on 12/21/2012 or any other date.

“There’s no evidence whatsoever that Nibiru exists,” Yeomans said. Besides, “it can’t hide behind the sun forever, and we would’ve seen it years ago.” (Of course, he would say that….)

Then, of course, there is the concern of some Christians and other religious groups that something cataclysmic — the Rapture, asteroid collision, worldwide earthquake, nuclear armageddon, etc. — will happen soon, and it may as well be next December. Of course, such predictions occur periodically by UFO cultists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Millenarians and enthusiasts of Biblical prophecy who think that they have figured out something that no one else has. And, they are always wrong. Just ask Harold Camping.

But, if you are an orthodox Christian (as I am), there are at least a couple passages in Scripture that you should remember whenever you are tempted to believe such ‘prophecies’. For example:

“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven…. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come.”  — Mark 13:24-27,31-33 (NASB)

Jesus Himself told us that no one will be able to nail down when exactly the beginning of the end will occur. Got it? Also, author David C. Pack reminds us:

“Many are familiar with the term ‘Tribulation’ or ‘Great Tribulation.’ The Bible speaks of this event as one of terrible trouble and indescribable horror. Jesus referred to this time as unparalleled in history: ‘For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be’ (Matt. 24:21). The prophet Daniel also speaks of this period in chapter 12, verse 1. Jeremiah references it in a similar way in chapter 30, verse 7.

The Bible reveals that a certain very specific amount of time must elapse between the start of the Great Tribulation and the Return of Jesus Christ -— or ‘the end of the age.’ So understand. If it can be proven that there are not enough years in God’s plainly revealed timeline for 2011 to be the end, then all the hysteria is for nothing!” (Note: This was in reference to Camping’s latest dire predictions, which obviously didn’t pan out. Again. Same can be said for 2012 being the end.)

painting of Christ's 2nd ComingSo, we know from Scripture that things will get really, really bad before the end. Without getting into any specific schools of thought on how the “end times” will play out, while there are a lot of disasters and suffering going on, I don’t think we are quite there, yet. More specifically to the point of this post, the planet will not be destroyed nor humanity wiped out until the very last days before Judgment Day (Revelation 19 & 20). Then, according to Revelation 21 & 22, that is when the eighth day of God’s creation begins with a replacement of the current, created order:

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be his people, and God Himself will be among them.'”  — Rev. 21:1-3 (NASB)

There is a lot that has to happen before any of that takes place, so I’m pretty sure the Earth has many more years to keep spinning while humanity keeps looking to the skies….

P.S. Merry Christmas, folks!

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