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Why I agree with the Mayans

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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2012 mayan apocalypse calendar on world map (Credit: photlook via fotolia.com)

I believe that you may have less than 24 hours to live on this planet.  Does this mean that I agree with the Mayans?  Let’s think about this together.

The Mayan Long Count calendar began on August 11, 3,114 B.C., dividing time into 144,000-day periods known as “b’aktuns.”  Their 13th b’aktun ends Friday morning.  However, the Mayans did not predict that the world will end tomorrow.  No one in our culture thinks time will end when a calendar runs out on December 31—it was the same for the Mayans, as another long-count period begins Saturday.

But there’s more to the story.  According to an ancient stone tablet discovered in the 1960s, some Mayans thought one of their gods might return at the end of the 13th b’aktun.  While I am confident that we won’t see Quetzalcoatl in the morning, I can make no such prediction regarding the return of the King of Kings.

The One who came at Christmas will come again (Acts 1:11), though no one but God knows when (Matthew 24:36).  I cannot tell you that Jesus will return tomorrow morning, but I cannot promise that he won’t.  Even if he doesn’t come to us, I might go to him.  One day will be our final day.  And we’re one day closer to that day than ever before.

If you somehow knew that today would be the last day before your eternity began, how would you spend it?  Please share your thoughts below.  And consider two biblical principles as your day begins.

First, it’s imperative that you make Jesus your Savior and Lord.  Only then can you know that you have eternal life.  Only then can you experience the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Paul’s urgency should be ours: “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).  If you’d like to know more about salvation, please read the “Why Jesus?” essay on our website.

Second, you are responsible to God for the way you spend this day: “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).  As missionary C.T. Studd reminds us, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Dr. Jaime Awe, an archaeologist and part Maya, assures us that the Mayans did not see December 21 as the end of the world.  However, he views the end of their 13th b’aktun as “a time for reflection, and for considering future direction.”  He’s right.