2012 The Bible and the End of the World - A Review

If you've visited Barnes and Noble recently, you may have noticed the ever-growing 2012 display and wondered what the heck was going on. If you spend much time watching the History Channel, you already know.

2012 is the new Y2K; a great chance for basement dwellers everywhere to don their tin foil hats, brush up on their HAM radio skills, and collect a lifetime supply of SPAM and other surviving-the-end-of-the-world staples. With an opportunity like that, you know Hollywood is cashing in. 2012 the movie is coming out next month.

The Mayan people were a mysterious people who lived as long as 2000 years ago in Central America. They were fascinated with the stars and obsessed with keeping time to the point that they kept and observed more than 20 different kinds of calendars. The Mayan Long Count Calendar, one of the main ones, stops keeping time on December 21, 2012.

The reason for the date is that on December 21, 2012, the sun will block the center of the Milky Way, interrupting energy flow from the center of the galaxy to the earth... something that happens only once every 26,000 years. We're not sure what happened the last time this happened, but one thing is for sure: newspaper clippings from that date didn't survive. We've looked.

Add to the Mayan prediction some supposed predictions from Nostradamus, an occult "prophet" from the 16th century who mastered in giving vague fortune-cookie-like predictions, and you've got the makings of an opportunity for every wannabe scientist to get his 15 minutes of fame.

Mark Hitchcock is an evangelical Christian pastor in Edmond, Oklahoma who is fairly fluent in end-of-the-world language. He's written quite a few books about the end of the world from a biblical perspective, and is a scholar (and person) for whom I have a great deal of respect. His book "2012 The Bible and the End of the World" is a very good primer on the Mayan calendar, the Nostradamus prophesies, supposed Bible Codes, and the mystery around 12/21/12.

Whether you're vaguely curious about 2012 or someone who is really passionate about researching this kind of thing, this book is a really great place to start. Hitchcock's work is good scholarship, but doesn't feel like scholarly reading, and his footnotes will point the serious student in the right direction of several other resources to check out.

Hitchcock's conclusion? Who knows what might happen when energy is blocked from the center of the milky way to the earth. But, the Bible's flawless prophetic track record can be trusted above Nostradamus' sketchy guesses and the Mayans' inconclusive suggestions. And if the Bible is right, we've got at least 7 years from today until Armageddon and 1007 years from today until the world is destroyed.

So, continue to watch and wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13), and begin investing in the tin-foil hat business... you'll have some money for Christmas presents on December 23, 2012.