Much is being made in the media about an ancient Mayan prediction that the world will end in December 2012, that being the alleged end of 12 cycles of time called b’ak’tun.

Actually, there is no clarity to the Mayan prophecy, but this is being used as yet another opportunity to mock the very concept of an apocalypse by demonstrating that such predictions have always failed. In this the mockers are correct.

Apart from the Bible’s prophets, no one has been able to predict the future accurately. Nostradamus is one of the most acclaimed of the extra-biblical prophets, but his predictions are mired in hopeless obscurity.

In contrast to the uncertain and failed predictions of astrologers and soothsayers, the Bible’s prophecies are set in brilliant relief. Not only are the Bible’s prophecies ancient; they are clear and infallible. Israel’s entire history was prophesied in the Mosaic Scripture in Deuteronomy 28-30 before she even entered the land of Canaan. This amazing 3,500-year-old prophecy described how that Israel would reject God’s law and be evicted from her land to wander throughout the world suffering endless pain and sorrow until she repents and is returned to the land in the last days.

The details of Jesus’ life were likewise recorded in the Old Testament Scripture hundreds of years before His birth, and these details include the name of His birthplace and the minute details of His death on the cross. The Psalmist, writing in about 1000 B.C., described the piercing of Jesus’ hands and feet, the very words He spoke on the cross, the mockers who sat and stared at Him, the soldiers who gambled for His garment, and the offer of vinegar to drink (Psalm 22). The prophet Isaiah described Jesus’ unjust trial and his burial in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53). And those are only a few of the Bible’s prophecies of Christ’s First Coming.

On the basis of this “track record” we can be sure that the prophecies of Christ’s Second Coming are equally accurate. These prophecies describe a period of unprecedented “great tribulation” during which the antichrist will rule the earth with brutality, followed by Christ’s return. When will the biblical apocalypse occur? At any time. Jesus warned against setting exact dates, but He said we see the signs of the times and can therefore know that the day is drawing near. That no man can know the day warns us from following any teacher who sets dates for Christ’s return. That Christ’s return is imminent warns us to be ready at all times.

Why has Jesus “tarried His coming” for 2,000 years? The Bible answers this question. It is because of God’s love for sinners and His desire to save those who repent. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

(Friday Church News Notes by David Cloud, January 13, 2012,,fbns@wayoflife.org866-295-4143)