It seems like every generation has one or more groups preparing for the “end of the world.” Many times these groups amount to nothing more than a small cult; however, other times these groups are rather large and composed of Christians led by a charismatic individual.
One such group followed the teachings of William Miller, a prosperous farmer, Baptist layman, and an amature student of the Bible. His followers became known as the Millerites. Miller predicted the Second Coming of Christ (ushering in the end of the world as we know it) to be somewhere between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. When March 21, 1844 came and went without incident, the date was revised to April 18, 1844, which also came and went without incident. Once again the date was revised to October 22, 1844, ending in the same result, which became known as The Great Disapointment. Many of the Millerites had to rebuild their lives since they had forsaken everything in anticipation of the event. The group split into three (3) sects, with one of those surviving today and known as the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
One might ask, “That is all very interesting; but, what does this have to do with the year 2012?” Many people around the globe, Christian and non-Christian alike, believe the world as we know it, will come to an end in the year 2012, or more specifically, on December 21, 2012. This belief is based upon the Mayan Long Count Calendar.
December 21, 2012 is the end date of a 5,125 year cycle in the Mayan Long Count Calendar. Despite mainstream scholarship to the contrary, there are many who believe that date marks the beginning of a series of major catastrophies, which will plague the Earth and potentially bring about its destruction. The question is, “Who is right?” Will the world end or will December 22, 2012 be just another day? It depends upon whom you believe. In any event, we will not know until December 21, 2012 arrives.
More importantly, what should Christians prepare for? What does the Bible say about it?
Shortly after Jesus’ ressurection, many of His disciples believed He was about to usher in a new era.
Acts 1:6-7 (NASB)
6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;
Jesus said we will not know the time. Furthermore, it will catch us by surprise.
Matthew 24:36-44 (NASB)
36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. 37 “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 38 “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 “Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 “Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. 42 “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. 43 “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44 “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.
Christians and non-Christians alike will be going about their daily lives and at an unexpected time, the Christians will be taken and the non-Christians will be left behind. Therefore, we must remain alert and continue to encourage one another as the day approaches.
Hebrews 10:23-25 (NASB)
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.