I've got to hurry and get this last editorial published for you to consider before next Friday rolls around. You know, the 21st of December, 2012 which, according to the Mayans, is when the world, as we know it, will end. We'll get back to the Mayan's in a moment, but first let's look at some other predictions about the end of the world and the result of those.
I'll lead off this section of our lesson by asking you a question that Christ asked His disciples, recorded in Luke 8:25 "Where is your faith?" I think that's appropriate to start off with here because, to me, that's the basis of whether you attach any credence to predictions by men (there's been many) as to the end of the world.
When we have another prediction of this sort I always think about the cartoons showing a man wearing a "sandwich" sign reading "REPENT - THE END IS NEAR!" He may very well be right because we don't know when the end will come, which is why we're admonished in several scriptures to be ready at all times, one of which is Matt. 25:13. Another scripture we need to know and understand is the one found in Hebrews 9:27. That our death is "the end of the world" as far as our soul is concerned and it's at that point that we'll be "judged."
But, it seems to me that a lot of "prophets of doom" don't seem to care about what the Bible says about no one knowing the "day and hour" when God says that we've gone as far as we're going, time wise. But, what else I find interesting in studying these end-of-the-world predictors is that many of them base their predictions on "calculations" of the scriptures. I guess that they only see the passages they want to see and ignore anything that contradicts their "calculations."
Another thing that amazes me is how much faith a lot of people put in these predictions. Which is why I asked the question: "Where is your faith?" Is it in all of "THE WORD" or do you place your faith in these "doomsday prophets?" I actually know people who believe this latest prediction by the Mayans, or say they do.
Trust me when I tell you that the Mayans are just the latest in a long line of false predictors of the world ending on a certain date. I've got my own opinion of the Mayan calendar, which this prediction is based on, and I'll share that with you in a moment. But first, let me just provide you with a little information regarding some previous predictions that turned out to be wrong. And, there are many to pick from, but here's a sampling.
In the 1st century, almost from the time that Jesus ascended to heaven, many believed that He would return in their generation. (Mt. 25 and 1Thess. 4). A supposed Christian prophetess by the name of Thiota predicted the world to end in the year 848. This caused much fear and alarm which resulted in a lot of people giving her gifts for her prayers to allay this doom. She later confessed that a priest had put her up to predicting the end of the world for profit. (Hmmm, profit?)
Certain dates have had an influence on predictions of "the end." Many thought that Jan. 1, 1000 would bring "the end" as this was a 1000 years after Jesus' death. One prediction that I thought very interesting, and illustrative of what I said earlier about ignoring Bible passages, is the one made by some astrologers that the world would be destroyed "by a flood" on Feb. 1, 1524. Obviously they didn't take into consideration what God said in Gen. 9:11 and 15. Or, if they did, they believed their calculations more than the Bible's words.
Even Christopher Columbus made a prediction that the world would end in 1658. Do you think that superstition played a part in the prediction of the world ending in 1666? Another interesting predictor was a Puritan minister by the name of Cotton Mather. He made three separate predictions that the world would end in 1697, then revised it to 1716, then finally 1736, all of which were wrong.
The Shakers even got into the prediction act by saying 1792 would bring the end and then updated it to 1794 when the first one proved wrong. Of course, so did the second one. William Miller (the Millerites, later to become the 7th Day Adventists) specifically designated Mar. 21, 1844 as the day the world would end. Didn't happen and he said that he'd "miscalculated the scriptures" and moved the date to Oct. 22, 1844. Guess what? Wrong again. Sad thing about his prediction is that thousands believed him and lost everything they had because of their faith in him.
Some of you may remember a guy named Herbert W. Armstrong, a radio preacher who started his own church known as the Worldwide Church of God. He was a prolific prognosticator of doom. First it was 1936, then 1943, then 1972 and finally 1975 before he gave up. Maybe because he died in 1986 is the reason we haven't seen any more predictions from him.
World famous psychic Jeane Dixon said that the planets would align on Feb. 4, 1962 and bring the end of the world. Since we're still here I guess that doesn't speak very well about her "powers." Helps us to understand why God forbade Israel from having anything to do with these sorts of people. (Dt. 18:10-12).
She wasn't the only psychic to predict the end as Edgar Cayse also got into the act. He said we'd come to "the end" in 2000. We didn't and I see that psychic "powers" are equal between the sexes. Chuck Smith, who started Calvary Chapel, predicted the world would end in 1981. Though not a psychic, he was wrong too.
The well-known TV evangelist, Pat Robertson even made some faulty predictions. He first said the world would end in either October or November, 1982, then when that didn't pan out, he revised it to April 29, 2007. Alas, even with the aid of television, he's no better that any of his predecessors at predicting the end of the world.
Prior to our Mayans, probably the latest prognosticator of "the end" is a man named Harold Camping who predicted May 21, 2011 as the big event then, like many of his predecessors, had to update it to Oct. 21, 2011 when May 22nd rolled around. Many of you may not know this but, he had earlier said that 1994 and 1995 would bring "the end." He's still wrong on all accounts.
I see the Mayans as just another blip on the "end-of-the-world radar." I told you that I'd offer you my opinion of their prediction based on their calendar. Since their calendar is inscribed on a stone and Dec. 21st, 2012 is where the calendar ends, could it possibly be that they just ran out of rock?
Here's how I'll close today: if Saturday the 22nd dawns we can add the Mayans to the long list of false "dooms-day prophets" and have our faith reassured that what God says in His Word is true. That "no man" knows when "the end" will occur. Until then, we need to be ready for it at any time.
"Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh
at an hour when ye think not." Luke 12:40