The Comalcalco Brick and the 2012 Non-pocalypse

A tile-brick from Comalcalco, depicting, apparently, Skeletor from the "Masters of the Universe" mid-boogie. Or maybe not...

My thanks to GN for passing on to me a new bit of 2012-related news.  The title is terribly misleading (misleading as in false) but the article is worth reading for those who are keeping up with such info: “New Reference to 2012 ‘Apocalypse’” (I appreciate that Express.co.uk at least put scare quotes around “apocalypse”).

I was intrigued by the title, because I maintain that I am very willing to agree that the Maya did predict an apocalypse/end of the world/etc. at the turning of the baktun on their calendar if (but only if) someone could actually, credibly demonstrate it. If this “new reference” would do it, then I was read to agree.

It doesn’t. At least not yet. In fact, the fact that the item in question is considered news worthy at all is evidence against any so-called “Maya” apocalypse, which I’ll point out in a moment. First, what’s the article about? Feel free to click on the title above and read it — I’ll comment below. Go ahead… I’ll wait.

Done? Great! So what did the article say?

Well, you might notice that it did not speak of anything at all concerning any “new reference to 2012 ‘apocalypse’.”  Rather, it talked about a brick that the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico said came from the ruins at Comalcalco (an interesting Mayan site in that its buildings were built of tile-like brick) and is consequently referred to sometimes as the “Comalcalco Brick.” Many of the bricks at Comalcalco are decorated with images or glyphs, which are directed inward into the mortar as opposed to outward. (Comalcalco, by the way, means “In the house of the comals (tortilla pans)” according to Wikipedia.)

The Acme company's sign of approval or indicator that the world is coming to an end? You be the judge...

Putting such glyphs and images on the reverse of tiles may seem mysterious, but actually it isn’t and it has been practiced by working masons (workers, not fraternal orders!) in both ancient Rome and India, as well — think of stamping “Acme Brick” on the little guys: identifying the work done but, by being placed inward, not marring the edifice.  The striking similarity to some of these glyphs and those used in ancient Rome has lead to some interesting speculation which you can read about here.  And that speculation would fit well with my own belief that the New World was visited in the ancient times by Israel in the time of Solomon and possibly other powers, but that’s a blog post for another day. 🙂

Back to the article at hand…  What does the little tile-brick say that is so intriguing? Well, if you read the article then you saw: Not necessarily anything.  It may have on it the date representing the end of the current Mayan baktun, believed by some to be December 21 or December 23, 2012. At the same time, it may not say that. As the article points out, there is disagreement. And if it does have that date on it, it apparently doesn’t have much else. (For those who’d like some encouragement in their efforts to over interpret something that may only have the significance of an “Acme Brick” stamp, you could always watch the Acme Song.) (Second parenthetical insert: For those unfamiliar with the Animaniacs cartoons, you’re in for a treat.)

Several things are worth pointing out here…

  • Several — among them, recognized Mayan expert David Stuart of the University of Texas — think that the idea that inscription on the brick is a connection to 2012 is very unconvincing, as it could refer to other dates as well. There is apparently no real reason to think that it refers to “the” date.
  • Secondly, even if it were such a reference (again, unproven), this tile-brick adds virtually nothing to the untenable belief amongst some enthusiasts that the Mayans, themselves, believed the end of the world would occur in 2012 — something generally rejected by actual scholars in Mayan studies.
  • Also, the only known, confirmed Mayan reference to the 2012 date (if, indeed, the baktun ends in 2012, which is also of some dispute) is still the monument at Tortuguero, mentioned in the article. And the description of that monument in the article is a bit misleading in that it lacks appropriate context. For those who are actually familiar with Mayan style of the day, the description of Bolon Yokte in that monument is nothing “end-of-the-world-y.” If we project our own ideas onto it, it might seem that way, but in the context of other Mayan writings it is not at all remarkable and does not signify anything such as what 2012-ers wish to project onto the date.
  • According to Maya scholars (including those at the Mexican institute referenced above), the current 2012-hoopla is the result of modern day projection of Judeo-Christian “end of the world” thinking onto a culture for which, at the time of the inscriptions of Tortuguero, such thinking would be absolutely foreign. That is, even if the Maya did think about the turn of the baktun as the end of a calendrical cycle, they would not have thought about it as the “end of the world” as we think of that today. The hysteria today — books, movies, etc. — is the result of people ignorant of Maya culture reading their “apocalyse”-like writings and projecting their own biases, hopes, and cultural understandings onto them, NOT a result of the Maya’s thinking, themselves.

And the final thing I think worth pointing out is this: Why is the tile –with its disputed markings — considered newsworthy? It is considered newsworthy because if it does mention the Mayan date associated with 2012, it would be only the second such find. Do you get that? Outside of this tile (and possibly including it) there is only one verifiable mention of the 2012-associated date in all of recorded Mayan writings and carvings which is, indeed, a huge collection.  Really.  If you were to survey all of what the Maya have left for us in writings, carvings, paintings, etc., you would find only one single reference to December 21, 2012 (if that is the correct date) out of the 15,000-or-so available. And it would be in a generally unremarkable monument. No, it isn’t in the Dresden codex — or in any codex, frankly. Not in any other temple or wall or playing field. Nothing. Nada. Just one carving in Tortuguero. And possibly, now, the back of some tile at the place where it was stuck into the mortar paste, along with lots of other tiles with other sorts of mason-work inscriptions not meant to be seen, in a building at the “house of tortilla pans.”

Does that sound to you like 2012 was thought to be the end of the universe? Nope — it doesn’t to me, either.

Again, I’m open to actual, scholarly evidence.  If anyone has any convincing, credible evidence at all from real Mayan authorities that say the Mayans did, indeed, think that December 21, 2012 (or whatever the real date would be) was the end of the world, I would be happy to accept that — indeed, I’d like to see it, because in all my looking, e-mails, phone calls, researching for the Tomorrow’s World telecast and conversations with Maya authorities and enthusiasts, I’ve seen none at all. Until then, I’m sticking with the vast majority of recognized authorities in Mesoamerican culture and Mayan studies. And the conclusion of Maya scholars is that the 2012-hysteria is, by and large, a “gringo invention” projected onto an ancient culture for whom such thoughts would be foreign.

And, of course, even if all these scholars were wrong and the Maya did proclaim the end of the world a year from now, the next question would be, “So what?” The Bible clearly says otherwise (see “October 21: Raptured? Or Returning from God’s Feast?”), and we are not to give credence to the prophecies and religious utterances of the pagans (Jer. 10:1-2, et al.). Focus on what God says about the future, and leave 2012 — as well as 2012, 2014, etc. — in His hands. Otherwise, the ancient Maya, themselves, may come up in the second resurrection like those in Matt. 12:41-42 and wonder why you and I wasted so much time with the rest of this misguided society and its silly ideas when the amazing truth of God, itself, was so readily available.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Some references for those interested:

Tomorrow’s World booklets on prophecy

Free Tomorrow’s World DVD on 2012

  • 2012: Mystery and Truth (choose the DVD from the items listed in the Media section and request a copy; other titles may be requested, as well on this page)

Other Tomorrow’s World resources on 2012

Other blog posts related to 2012:

14 thoughts on “The Comalcalco Brick and the 2012 Non-pocalypse

  1. John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav)

    > “A tile-brick from Comalcalco, depicting, apparently, Skeletor from the “Masters of the Universe” mid-boogie. Or maybe not…”

    Eh, you’re dating yourself. And me. 😉 Ah, well, classic animation is classic animation… 😀

  2. John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav)

    Pardon my jumping in again, but if this was found in the House of the Tortilla Pans, maybe the Mayans were expecting the Coming of the Great Black Bean Burrito. 😛 Considering that the Monster Burritos at Freebird (Houston, TX. and no doubt elsewhere) are pretty apocalyptic in scale already, by the time 2012 rolls around that “prophecy” may fulfill itself despite itself. 😉

    And maybe hiding that bas-relief on the brick out of sight was a way of preserving “secret knowledge”. 😉 And maybe you’d better just send for the boys in the white coats now and put me out of your misery. 😀

    (Isaiah 44:24 RSV) Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the LORD, who made all things, who stretched out the heavens alone, who spread out the earth–Who was with me?–
    (Isaiah 44:25 RSV) who frustrates the omens of liars, and makes fools of diviners; who turns wise men back, and makes their knowledge foolish;
    (Isaiah 44:26 RSV) who confirms the word of his servant, and performs the counsel of his messengers; who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’ and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built, and I will raise up their ruins’;
    (Isaiah 44:27 RSV) who says to the deep, ‘Be dry, I will dry up your rivers’;
    (Isaiah 44:28 RSV) who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfil all my purpose’; saying of Jerusalem. ‘She shall be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.'”

  3. Steve

    The supposed Mayan calendar apocalypse was invented by a New Age guru back in the Sixties (or early Seventies?). Who knows what that guy was smoking, but he apparently made some money off it. And people continue make money off it, today.

    Actually, what prompted my comment was your paragraph six. Thor Heyerdahl believed that ancient people were a lot more mobile than modern convention says, so he did whacky things like sailing ancient ships across vast oceans. Most “scholars” still think he was nuts, of course, but at least he proved that there were no physical barriers to such events.

  4. Yes, Mr. Glen Travis and I used to talk about Mr. Heyerdahl’s ideas on occasion during some of our long drives visiting folks in Missouri. He was a fellow willing to put his money where his mouth was, huh?

  5. John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav)

    Just how wacky do people really think such ideas are these days? We know – not guess, not surmise, know – that the Polynesians discovered every inhabitable speck of island in the so-called Polynesian Triangle between Hawaii, New Zealand and Easter Island. Why? Because the Polynesians were already on all of them when the Europeans came into the Pacific Ocean (New Zealand being the last Polynesian settlement)! The Micronesians and Melanesians likewise settled vast areas. And how did these peoples get to these islands? In relatively small but fast boats using sophisticated if traditional ways of navigating using the signs of the sun, stars, sky and sea. (As one of the last living traditional canoe travelers put it to a National Geographic author, “it is enough that we hit the row of palm trees.”)

    Can we get serious here? Easter Island is not so far from South America compared to distances we know the Polynesians traveled – and that’s not counting their travels from Southeast Asia where their last known staging area was. The question isn’t whether the Polynesians could have made the journey to South America, only whether they actually did. That has to be put forward from evidence in South America itself.

    Crazy theories? Thor Heyerdahl was far from the only person making voyages in reconstructed boats. Polynesians in the reconstructed deep-water-voyaging catamaran-canoe Hokule’a (“Star of Gladness”, their name for the star Arcturus, which was once at the latitude of Hawaii and thus a marker for its location), have proved repeatedly that their people could and did travel tremendous distances using the resources available to them. Those resources included catamarans big enough to hold thirty people with their livestock, food and water, and plants for raising crops at their destination.

    National Geographic is just one of the sources that has covered this sort of thing over the decades and I’ve always followed the unfolding rediscovery of the Polynesian sailors’ abilities in particular with respect and even awe. No, “most ‘scholars’ don’t think such ideas are nuts.” The gainsayers were essentially refuted in principle a long time ago.

  6. John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav)

    Your pardon, Steve! (This is what I get for “misremembering” and not checking up on the one really important piece of information: which way T.H. thought people were traveling!) From the Wikipedia article on the boat Kon-Tiki:

    Kon-Tiki was the raft used by Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl in his 1947 expedition across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian islands. It was named after the Inca sun god, Viracocha, for whom “Kon-Tiki” was said to be an old name. Kon-Tiki is also the name of Heyerdahl ‘s book and the Academy Award-winning documentary film chronicling his adventures.

    Heyerdahl believed that people from South America could have settled Polynesia in pre-Columbian times, although most anthropologists now believe they did not.[1][2][3] His aim in mounting the Kon-Tiki expedition was to show, by using only the materials and technologies available to those people at the time, that there were no technical reasons to prevent them from having done so. (Although the expedition carried some modern equipment, such as a radio, watches, charts, sextant, and metal knives, Heyerdahl argued they were incidental to the purpose of proving that the raft itself could make the journey.)

    Well, that would be a “wacky” theory now because all the evidence goes the other way. Even the famous statues or moai of Easter Island have parallels on other Polynesian islands and in Polynesian culture. I have yet to hear of direct evidence of South Americans settling Polynesia. I have seen and heard of abundant evidence of people coming from Southeast Asia and settling Polynesia. And we know that they had the abilities and techniques to do so.

    Occam’s Razor strikes again. 😀

  7. John from Australia

    One “silly idea”?

    One historical scenario to view the future suggests that it will be at least ten years before the start of WW3.

    The Dow Jones has not yet reached its cyclical bear-market high; inflation hasn’t yet kicked in and interest rates haven’t been raised in response. The impact of interest rate increases will burst the Government Bail-out Bubbles ushering in the next Great Depression – the markets forcing a Jubilee debt release – the adjustment phase of the last debt-cycle took from 1929 to 1953 to complete – 1953 the starting date of the upwave of the present debt cycle.

    The Hoover depression of the great depression lasted from August 1929 to March 1933 – say 3.5 years.

    Hitler became chancellor in January 1933 (Fuhrer from August 1934). World War 2 started in September 1939. From Hitler becoming chancellor to the beginning of WW2 – say 6.5 years.

    So far we have approximately ten years using this scenario.

    “… the review of maritime strategy underway in the U.S. is demonstrating that naval power is as important in today’s age of globalization as in the first age of globalization a century ago…

    “Without state-of-the-art maritime capabilities – like the mobile “global fleet station” envisaged by the U.S. – we shall have no way of responding to … challenges, save an increasingly anachronistic nuclear deterrent” (Niall Ferguson, Global leaders need to rule the seas, latimes.com, April 16, 2007).

    For Europe and her allies to successfully invade North America there will need to be an arms build-up, especially for aircraft-carriers. (Compare the dreadnaught race before WW1 and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement of 1935 – the former naval build-ups occurred after Great Depressions; at least for Germany in the latter case).

    The first of the next generation of aircraft carriers the CVN 78 Gerald R Ford is schedule to be commissioned in 2015 which implies a building time of seven to eight years.

    Another Albert Speer will most likely be able to reduce this time considerably but the construction of aircraft carriers suggest the arms-build up in Europe will takes some time.

    Just as ancient Israel was defeated during the Divided Kingdom, Great Britain and America [and China] will mostly likely balkanize as a result of the coming depression – making it easier to be invaded.

    “… Roosevelt himself stood before the world in 1938 as a badly weakened leader, unable to summon the imagination or to secure the political strength to cure his own country’s apparently endless economic crisis. In the ninth year of the Great Depression and the sixth year of Roosevelt’s New Deal, with more than ten million workers still unemployed, America had still not found a formula for economic recovery. From such a leader, what could the democracies hope? From such a troubled nation, what did the dictators have to fear” (David Kennedy, “Freedom from Fear”, p.362).

    Another type for the future?

    “The Munich Pact of September 30, 1938 has become an icon of the failure of appeasement…

    “Germany was able to also significantly boost its offensive power in the time thus granted, and quite possibly to a greater extent than the Allies, since Germany had no illusion about Munich being a path to “peace for our time”.

    “There is also historiographical evidence of internationally acclaim on the Munich appeasement at the time of the pact’s signing. Munich was praised by practically all Western leaders, including Pope Pius XI, defender of the true faith, and US President Franklin D Roosevelt, defender of liberal democracy. Chamberlain was applauded by the British public for having cleverly avoided another war in the West at the expense of the East” (Henry C.K. Liu, henryckliu.com, China and Appeasement, April 27, 2007).

    This event coinciding with the start of the Anti-Christ’s prophetic week and the start of the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem – cp. also the typology of the Kaiser’s visit to Jerusalem in 1898.

    The World Tomorrow Program and the Plain truth magazine commenced in 1934. Another ‘work’ to begin towards the end of, or after, the severe stage of the next great depression? – history suggests the acute phase of the depression will occur in the next Republican presidential term.

  8. John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav)

    Again from the Wikipedia article, section “Anthropology”, for what it’s worth:

    A TV documentary about Easter Island compared skulls on the island with skulls of peoples from the east (South America) and skulls of peoples from the west (Maori) Studies. The conclusion was that the people on Easter Island were Maori from the west notwithstanding anything that the Kon-tiki expedition was trying to prove.[12]
    In 2011 Professor Erik Thorsby of the University of Oslo presented DNA evidence to the Royal Society which whilst agreeing with the west origin also identified a distinctive but smaller genetic contribution from South America.[13]

    Interesting indeed, if true. Sometimes the presence of something is known by the footprints it leaves behind. 🙂

  9. Steve

    @ Mr Wheeler: Yes, I read his “Kon-Tiki” book many years ago. Of course, I simply enjoyed the adventure aspect of it. You know, this shark missing a flying fish and landing right in the middle of the boat. Oh no!

    His Fatu Hiva book is really good if anyone cares to read it. He was exploring vine covered tombs/monuments (I can’t remember which now). Anyway, the glyphs showed Incan or Peruvian influence. The locals grew increasingly upset with him for disturbing the ruins, so he decided to leave the island.

  10. Thanks, Pedro, I suppose, except that doesn’t seem to be related to this post in anyway. Still: Yes, if no one has sinned, then Jesus died for nothing. However (per Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:8, et al.) we have all sinned — you, too, of course — so He died for something. And, more importantly, He lives now for something, too. Pretty straightforward!

  11. Pingback: A fost descoperită o nouă inscripţie maiaşă ce face referire la 2012! « Rombiz Co

  12. Steve

    Sorry for jumping in again, Mr Smith, and commenting on an off topic subject. You probably think I’m spamming you (which means that I’m feeling guilty, of course). 🙂

    Christian can and do sin in this present life, because we still suffer the pulls of human nature. Even if you could be perfect after baptism, you still have the condemnation of past sins hanging over your head. Consequently, Christ’s sacrifice was necessary either way. That’s how I learned it.

    You know, people talk about the gift of eternal life. And that is a gift much to be sought after. But about the gift of being free from human nature – the power to never sin again? Seems to me, that is an incredible gift in itself.

  13. No disagreement here, Steve, except that I don’t see it as an “either way” circumstance. Both comments depend on a central truth: We’ve sinned and Jesus Christ’s death for us paid the penalty on our behalf.

    Thanks for commenting, and, no, I do not feel like you are spamming. 🙂

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