Rediscovering my blog & final 2012 Non-pocalypse thoughts

Howdy, everyone! My apologies–wow, it’s been the better part of a month! I did not mean to abandon my blog for so long, but December was crazy busy, so my time was better spent elsewhere. I was able to tape two new Tomorrow’s World programs during that time, though, as well as attend the wonderful Charlotte weekend with my family.

Among the things I’ve been itching to post about is, believe it or not, 2012. Charlotte published my last commentary on the subject–“After the Non-pocalypse”–on December 20, and I wanted to write something here about the lessons I have learned in being, for what it’s worth, the Church’s “2012 guy” (as Mrs. Ogwyn once called me, I believe). I actually began writing something about those lessons learned over the week I was working on telecasts and during the Charlotte weekend, but it grew so large that I have not finished it and now wonder if it is worth the effort!

I did learn a great deal, though–mostly about academic integrity and how lost some can get if they don’t maintain it. Literally every modern work I saw which claimed the Maya really did predict the end of the world in 2012 did, in some way, lack academic integrity or honesty. In this matter, I am glad that God’s Church and Work avoided shabby “research” and hewed to the most credible position: That by all appearances the ancient Maya never did predict the 2012 event that New Agers and hobbyists claimed they did (or, for that matter, what the sensationalist profit-seekers at the History Channel may have claimed they did).

And, of course, I am even more pleased that we didn’t get lost in the woods, so to speak. The thing to say about 2012 is not, “Oooooo, look at what some pagans and hippies think”–rather, it is that such stuff is junk and that the Bible, alone, should be our guide concerning prophecy. In this sense, what the Mayans said or didn’t say is irrelevant.

So, now that 2012 stuff is going the way of the dodo, I can say that I am pleased the Church stood for the truth as completely as possible: Both biblical truth and academic truth. It made our position the most credible it could be and, hopefully, added power to the message we were trying to deliver (which is, of course, God’s and not ours!).

My thanks to the Church member who sent me that e-mail some years ago, now, encouraging me to do a telecast on 2012 because of the confusion he saw in his acquaintances on the matter! Now that it is over, I can say that it has been a wonderful mixture of fun and frustration and a real learning opportunity, and I am thankful to have been able to serve in this way.

But if the Inca said anything about 2014, please don’t tell me about it…

Less than three months until the Non-pocalypse

Howdy! Stone Maya Face Man, here, to say that this post has my stamp of approval. What you read here is “rock” solid–and I know “rock” solid when I see it…

As my family and I settle in for the night here in our hotel in Texas before preceding tomorrow morning toward Oklahoma, I note that today being the 24th of September (probably the 25th before this is posted) we are now–officially–less than three months before the 2012 Non-pocalypse. Oh, the non-horror! 🙂

Actually, I am delighted that 2012 is passing, as the non-Mayan, virtually-all-Gringo, 100% Non-pocalypse associated with it is a tiring and over-sold topic that, in the end, will do nothing but ruin many people on real prophecy. Like so many fake, new-age doomsdays/golden-dawn-dates before it, it will come and go, and scoffers will increase (cf. 2 Peter 3:3). Will some proclaim the beginning of a “new age of peace”–yes, probably the same hippies and druggies that always say something like that when their special day comes and goes. How many planetary alignments have come and gone in which the spaced-out leader of the meditative classes has declared that–although you couldn’t see it–massive changes have happened on the astral plane, and, indeed, the dawn of a new age has come? Too many, I am sure. But will those who do so with regard to 2012 be any more impactful than those who’ve done so before? Not likely at all.

The idea that some have been truly troubled by what they have heard connected with 2012 and have spent life savings, considered suicide, etc., is sad, and the countless books lining the shelves of Barnes & Noble, Borders (except they went bankrupt, right?), etc. probably haven’t helped, giving the fake-prophecy a credence it doesn’t deserve. In fact, I suppose some could claim that our DVD has done the same, though anyone actually watching it would hopefully conclude otherwise, as our goal has been to debunk the junk and turn the focus on to true prophecy. We are offering the DVD in, I believe, a couple more telecasts as the date approaches–if requests are low because interest in the topic has waned, that’s actually not the worst of news. If requests are high due to interest in the topic, that’s good news, too, as the DVD provides viewers with the truth about the new age, mostly-profit-driven, baseless 2012 hysteria and connects them with real sources that discuss true, biblical prophecy.

Also, we should have one more article, at least, discussing not only the fact that the Bible makes it clear that neither the end of the world nor a new age of peace will dawn in 2012 but also the fact that scientists and credible researchers are virtually unanimous that the 2012 hysteria has no basis whatsoever in anything at all but new age fantasy. The since-discredited speculations of early Mayanists aside, credentialed and credible modern researchers are clear: there is no basis in Mayan writings whatsoever to conclude that they saw 2012 as a pivotal date for either the end of the world or the beginning of a new age of peace. Really. None.

The Dresden Codex? Nope. Yes, there seems to be a flood pictured on its last page, but, no, there is no reason at all to connect that to 2012. The Venus and Lunar tables in the book do not do this either, and no one who has any idea of what the Dresden Codex is about would make this connection, since the Codex does not single out any Venus or Moon configuration as connected to the image. (Might some New Agers try to make such a connection as the date approaches? I would not be surprised. When there is no evidence, we humans are great at inventing it.)

Image of Landa's Katun Wheel
The katun wheel associated with the Chilam Balam. Scholars point out that the writings of the Chilam Balam are not connected in any meaningful or purposeful way to 2012 and the Long Count Calendar’s (wrongly) supposed “end” or to the much older Dresden Codex’s dramatic “flood” image. That doesn’t prevent Maya hobbyists and 2012-ologists from imagining such connections, however.

The Chilam Balam? Nope. This collection–written after the Spanish conquest and reflecting a good deal of Catholic corruption–does, indeed, contain what the unlearned might think of as “prophecies” of the same style, purpose, or nature as Biblical prophecies. But such a conclusion only shows that one is cherry-picking Mayan writings and not considering the entirety of Mayan culture behind them and the mentality involved in such Mayan writings. Regardless, in terms of understanding what the Maya actually thought, experts warn us to consider that (1) the writings of the Chilam Balam should not be considered as connected with the writings of centuries earlier (such as the previously mentioned Dresden Codex), as they truly are not, (2) we should not read the “prophecy-like” writings in the Chilam Balam like we do the prophecies of the Bible, since the mindset in such writings is completely different and foreign to the biblical mindset or the Western mindset, and (3) the so-called “2012 end date” is not tied to anything at all in the Chilam Balam–absolutely nothing. For a book that is mistreated by Maya hobbyists and 2012-ologists as if it were a “Mesoamerican Revelation,” the much-ballyhooed 2012 date is remarkably absent. (This is probably partially due to the hobbyists lack of research and the 2012-ologists bias. The calendar system that is the focus in the Chilam Balam is not the Long Count, at all, which did not have that sort of “prophetic” significance to the Maya, but rather, their katun cycles. Any attempt to tie the Chilam Balam‘s comments about the “law of the katun” to the end of the current baktun are simply rooted in ignorance of how the different calendars were used by the Maya, or, perhaps, in the sincere hope of making a connection where there is none.

Monument 6 at Tortuguero? Nope. The Comalcalco Brick? Nope. There simply is no evidence. Only those looking for a 2012 “end date” in Mayan culture “find” it, like psychiatric patients who see the same imaginary thing in every ink blot test.

In fact, even the very idea that the end of the current baktun was seen as the end of a major cycle is highly dubious. Many researchers, such as Mark Van Stone of FAMSI, who have pointed out that though 13.0.0.0.0 may arrive this December (or it may not, as the correlation, itself, is disputed), many Mayan inscriptions discuss times that are, essentially, 14.0.0.0.0 and 15.0.0.0.0 and more–thousands of years into our future, demonstrating that it is foolhardy to assume that the Maya thought the calendar would sort of “roll over” like the odometer on a car. And those future dates–again, thousands and even tens of thousands of years and more into the future–they are not discussed as though there will have been dramatic changes. They are, rather, seen as future dates along a continual stream of same-old, same-old. As van Stone has written concerning some particular stela (stone monuments):

“At the very least, this implies that the ancient Maya expected the status quo to continue at least 4000 years into the future. That’s 2760 years after 2012. They expected no interruption.”

Still, whether the motivation is “profit” or “prophet”, don’t expect New Age 2012-ologists to allow the facts to get in the way.

So, what should we expect three months from now? I would expect that for those who want to claim their predictions were right, they will find the evidence they need. For those who will want to claim that the end of the world has begun come December 21, 2012, they will point to something. For those who will want to claim that a new age of peace and prosperity has come, they will point to something (even if it’s only to their “astral experiences” and the information they receive from their “spirit guides”). It will be a grand time of self-declared prophets finding whatever evidence they need to say that their “predictions” were accurate. The world is certainly in a messy state right now, so that prophet wanna-be’s (and, oh, how many there are!) will likely be able to find whatever evidence they need.

If you’re curious about how in the world such a hysteria could be built on, essentially, nothing, consider requesting our free DVD. Please don’t waste another dollar–hard enough to come by in this economy–on one of the many, many, many 2012 “resources” sitting on shelves in the “New Age” section of your local bookstores when you can order a free hour-long DVD that explains the whole matter and that will point you to biblical prophecy, instead. You can order it here from the Living Church of God and Tomorrow’s World. Like everything else we make, it doesn’t cost a dime, and it will make more sense than most of what you would actually be expected to pay for.

As for this blog, I’ve written on 2012 stuff in numerous places. Two of my favorites are a small collection of what actual scientists and real experts say about 2012 and the Maya–“A Potpourri of Scholarly Quotes about 2012”–and a post in which I go into more detail about Tortuguero, the Chilam Balam, and the Dresden Codex–“What the Maya did & didn’t say about 2012.”

However, since the clock is ticking and these posts may never see the light of someone’s LCD laptop screen again after the next three months, maybe it would be good to list most all of what I’ve posted. This should be a fairly thorough list in (what I believe to be) a chronological order, oldest to newest:

Top Ten Reasons the 2012 Hype is Hype

If this guy could talk, I'm sure he would say, "Read this Top Ten List."

I noticed yesterday that my blog pops up rather high in a Google search on 2012! I don’t know if that should leave me excited or depressed. 🙂

So, I thought to myself, “Self, if folks are going to find their way here, they might as well find the truth once they arrive.” [My thanks to the late Mr. Galbreath, my high school history teacher, for that “Self…” thing. I miss you, Mr. Galbreath!]

While I recommend viewing other posts for details, perhaps this one post can give a nice summary (which I will simulblog on the “2012 Prophecy Blog”)…

Top Ten Reasons the 2012 Hype is… well… Hype

  1. 2012 is barely mentioned at all in Mayan inscriptions. (One mention on Tortuguero Monument 6—minus doomsday, mind you—and one disputed possible mention on the backside of one tile… two out of about 15,000 artifacts.)
  2. 2012 is not clearly mentioned in the Chilam Balam. (Note: the “law of the katun” is not a reference to 2012, nor to the Long Count Calendar, nor is it a “doomsday” reference.)
  3. The “water scene” in the Dresden Codex is not definitively a flood (let alone a global flood), nor is it tied in any way at all—whatever it represents—to 2012 or to the Mayan Long Count Calendar.
  4. Actual scientists who have made the Mayan culture part of their life’s work have tried again and again to explain that the Maya did not predict the end of the world in 2012. (E.g., Dr. David Stuart, Dr. Stephen Houston, Dr. Anne Pyburn, Dr. Mark van Stone, Dr. John Hoopes, Dr. Susan Milbrath, Dr. Robert Sitler, Dr. Sandra Noble, Dr. Susan Gilespie, Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, et al.)
  5. 2012-hysteria is chiefly the creation of modern New Agers and professional stoners (that is, enthusiasts of hallucinogenic drugs).
  6. Predictions of a mysterious Planet X or Nibiru being on a collision course for Earth in 2012 have no basis in astronomical fact.
  7. Comments that aliens—Zeta Reticulans, what have you—have communicated to us the significance of 2012 are based on communications from “aliens.” (‘Nuff said, I hope.)
  8. The supposed “Galactic Alignment” of December 2012 is false. We’ve been in such a supposed “alignment” for many years, with many years yet to go and with nothing special about 2012 in any way.
  9. The I Ching does not give us 2012 as an end of the world or “year of transformation” in any way at all and the “novelty theory” method used to say it does by Terrence McKenna is as close to “science” as astrology is (and was obtained by McKenna, by his own admission, through the use of hallucinogenic drugs).
  10. Virtually every means by which an “end of the world” prediction has been squeezed out of the year 2012—astrology, use of hallucinogenics, “spirit guides” and channeling, worship of ancient cultures, etc.—is soundly condemned by God’s Word.

The facts aren’t in dispute: All available evidence points to the conclusion that the Maya never said anything about the world ending on 2012. As Dr. David Stuart has said on his own website, speaking of Tortuguero Monument 6, “It has nothing to do with prophecy or the supposed, dread events that await us in AD 2012. About that the Maya are notably silent…or, truth be told, a bit boring.”

The Bible—the only credible source of knowledge about the future!—makes it clear that the “end of the world” cannot happen for—at the very least—the next 3½ years (actually more), given that the Great Tribulation (followed by the Day of the Lord) has not yet begun.

This is not to say that amazing things will not happen between now and then. In a world in which the greatest national powers in existence are teetering on the abyss of instability and conditions continue to ripen for the fulfillment of countless biblical prophecies, I would expect amazing things to happen!

But that only increases the irritation caused by 2012 nonsense. When it passes without fulfilling the expectations of its adherents or matching the proclamations of its promoters, it will be one more reason the populace provides for ignoring prophecy in general. And what a shame, when so much real prophetic fulfillment is afoot.

If you would like to know the real truth about 2012, please feel free to request your own copy of our free hour-long DVD, “2012: Mystery and Truth” (listed toward the bottom in “Media”). It really is free, with no strings attached. It’s just a little something we do. (Actually, something we have to do: Matthew 10:8.) There are a number of other free materials we have related to 2012, as well, including a stream of our half-hour television program that discussed the matter (“2012, Bible Prophecy and You!”), and some commentaries and articles you can find by searching “2012” on our website. Better yet—peruse the website and read some of our materials on biblical prophecy. What the Bible has to say about the years just ahead put the 2012 hoopla to shame. Consider starting here: “Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return”


(By the way—this is my personal blog, and though I am a presenter on the Tomorrow’s World telecast this is not an official Tomorrow’s World website. However, if I can do anything to get you to go there instead of hanging out here, I am happy to do it! The Tomorrow’s World website contains enough revelatory discussion of Bible prophecy to satisfy the sweetest of prophetic sweet tooths, all of it grounded in solid biblical understanding. Concerning the Tomorrow’s World website, I am happy to say in the spirit of the (political) season, “I’m Wallace Smith, and I approve that message.” 🙂 So, check it out!)

DVDs updated on the “Order Free” page

Underside of a DVD-R disc, modified to have tr...
Image via Wikipedia

I was checking up on an e-mail sent to me concerning the telecast that aired this weekend — “Diagnosis: Christianity” — and saw that the “Order Free” page of the Tomorrow’s World website now has a checkbox for a couple of DVDs that I don’t think were on there until recently. Namely, the “2012: Mystery and Truth” DVD and the “Big Picture” DVD. It’s nice to see them on the list. When I’ve recommended the 2012 DVD, I’ve usually had to say that one could write us and request it, but now it’s just a few clicks away!  Until this weekend, they haven’t really been needed on the list, because we haven’t offered them on the telecast (or, I think, in the magazine).

 

[I note here that they may have been up for a while and I am just now noticing. My wife and children will warmly confirm for the inquisitive that I am slow to notice things from time to time. 🙂 ]

2012: Is this any way to run an apocalypse?

 

National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City...
If he could talk, perhaps he'd say "20-what?" (Image via Wikipedia)

 

Some 2012 news today: That news being that 2012 may not be “the” date after all.

J&CS passed on to me this news item from msnbc.com: “‘End of the world’ delayed–by Mayan calendar” (LiveScience, 10/19/2010).  The subheading reads, “Overhyped 2012 apocalypse could still be decades away, says critique.”

It is nice to see a criticism of the standard Goodman-Martinez-Thompson (GMT) correlation in print.  Those of you who read my blog post “2012, Maya experts, Tomorrow’s World, and three bowls of chili” way back when are already aware that some scholars believe the GMT correlation to be off, but often such developments in the halls of academia make it to the public very slowly.  (Consider how few know of the controversy concerning Haeckel’s embryo drawings.)

This would be, perhaps, the capstone for highlighting 2012 foolishness.  Although many say that the Maya predicted the end of the world–some, specifically by flood–on December 21, 2012, the “end” of their calendar…

  • There are no Mayan records predicting an end on that date.
    (True all the more when the character of their “prophetic” writings is considered.)
  • There are no Mayan records predicting a flood on that date.
  • There are plenty of Mayan records showing the calendar does not “end” on that date.
  • And, now, some are publicly stating that even the date, itself, may be off by decades.

Regardless of the Mayan resource — the Chilam Balam, the Dresden Codex, the Tortuguero Monument, the Hero Twin mythology, et al. — the only reasonable conclusion given the current state of evidence is that 2012 is a “gringo invention,” just as many of the modern Mayan descendants have dubbed it.

And as a “gringo invention,” it even fails to be significant in that regard.  There is nothing cosmologically significant slated to happen on December 21, 2012, and any importance one places in such things is rooted in pagan astrology, anyway (or “pseudo-science,” which I won’t bother to discuss in detail).  When one traces the real roots of 2012 obsession, it has its origins in several prophet “wannabes” who enjoyed hallucinogenic drug usage and the thought of “channeling” ancient kings, pagan gods, extraterrestrials, and interdimensional beings.  Is this any way to run an apocalypse?

To borrow from Mr. Twain, “Reports of 2012’s significance have been greatly exaggerated.”

All of that said, it’s time for a word from our sponsor… 🙂

There is so much out there for free concerning the 2012-hysteria, that I have no idea why anyone would still spend money on it.  For instance, some time back I was in a Christian bookstore with two of my boys while my Beautiful Wife was in Wal-Mart with the other two.  Sitting on the front rack a book caught my eye: 2012, the Bible, and the End of the World (or something like that).

What I wanted to do upon seeing it was to run up to the counter and say, “Hey! Instead of having folks pay money for that, why not offer them a free hour-long DVD on the same subject?!? And I just happen to have a copy right here in my pocket!

Well, I didn’t do that and, no, I didn’t have the DVD in my pocket.  But you can still get our free material from the Tomorrow’s World website, even if I don’t have it in my pocket!  The DVD has not yet been added to the “Order Free” page, but you can write us on the “Contact Us” page and request it — the title is 2012: Mystery and Truth.

However, we’ve got a shorter television program on the subject: “2012, Bible Prophecy and You!” (click to view or download), also available as an MP3 file.  The most recent telecast that brings up the subject, “Prophets and Pretenders,” is due to be out in a few weeks.  Also, we’ve featured an article and commentary: “The Truth about 2012: Hollywood vs. Humanity” and “2012: The Hype and the Truth.”

Blog-wise, I’ve written quite a bit.  The two most viewed posts seem to be “What the Maya did & didn’t say about 2012” and the previously mentioned “2012, Maya experts, Tomorrow’s World, and three bowls of chili” however, I’ve mentioned it many times, which is, perhaps, easiest found by searching my blog for “2012.”

But the irony is this: The entire point of all of this writing and broadcasting about 2012 is to help people see that it is futile to focus on 2012!  Scripture is clear that we should not look to pagan sources of prophecy or that which may be inspired by demons–let alone made-up drivel like 2012.  Even if the Maya did predict the end of the world in 2012 (and, again, as best we can tell they didn’t), what difference does it make if a bunch of child-sacrificing, pagan priests predicted anything?  Israel’s compulsion to look to other religions and cultures has gotten it all confused and discombobulated — and punished — before (Deut. 12:29-30, Jer. 10:2, 2 Kings 17:15, et al. ad nauseum), and it looks like nothing has changed.

Chunk 2012.  If you want some insight into prophetic events based on something more solid than child sacrifices, goat entrails, and drug-induced hallucinations, consider the Bible.  Unlike the materials of those out there profiting (propheting?) on people’s interest, all of our material is absolutely free.  We believe that when Jesus says, “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8), He means it.  Check it out: www.tomorrowsworld.org.

2012 pops up in less-than-scientific Scientific American article

Came across the article “End-of-Days Danger” in Scientific American today (thanks to a WSJ link) in which politically active physicist Lawrence M. Krauss essentially beats up on Mrs. Sarah Palin for one of her tweets during the much publicized Copenhagen conference back in December.  (Yes, I did say “Scientific American.”  Yes, that magazine used to be about science.  No, I’m not quite sure if it is any longer based on Dr. Krauss’s political piece.)

But what really caught my attention was how he used 2012-hysteria as his lead-in hook:

“I don’t know how many e-mails I have received from children who are terrified that 2012 will somehow involve the end of life as we know it, all because of an unfounded fringe religious prophecy that has received mass-market exposure with the release of a recent Hollywood movie. I have tried to reassure those children (and not a few adults) that this date represents nothing more cosmically special than the year of the next presidential election.”

And, ignoring the air of “political rant” in his article — and his odd-but-not-surprising reference to 2012-hysteria as a “religious prophecy” as it is pushed most forcefully and successfully by the irreligious — he is essentially correct about that date in December 2012: There truly is nothing especially cosmically significant about it.

Interested in more?  Glad to hear it!  Check out our television special about the topic, now available online: “2012, Bible Prophecy and You!” If you want to know the truth behind the 2012 hype and truly prophetic events ahead, the only book you need is probably already in your house waiting to have the dust blown off of it.  Watch the show and see.

(Actually, we have a few different resources concerning understanding the 2012 hysteria and, more importantly, what the Bible says is in store.  Go to the search box atop the Tomorrow’s World webpage and type in “2012” to see what comes up!  Also, we have a brand new DVD on the matter, “2012: Mystery and Truth” that can be requested for free — simply use the online contact form on the webpage to request your copy.)


<p style=”text-align:left;” class=”getsocial”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/gs1005.png&#8221; alt=”” /><a title=”Add to Facebook” href=”http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=https://wallacegsmith.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/2012-pops-up-in-less-than-scientific-scientific-american-article&#8221; rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/gs1015.png&#8221; alt=”Add to Facebook” /></a><a title=”Add to Digg” href=”http://digg.com/submit?phase=2&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwallacegsmith.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F03%2F19%2F2012-pops-up-in-less-than-scientific-scientific-american-article&amp;title=2012%20pops%20up%20in%20less-than-scientific%20Scientific%20American…&#8221; rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/gs1025.png&#8221; alt=”Add to Digg” /></a><a title=”Add to Del.icio.us” href=”http://del.icio.us/post?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwallacegsmith.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F03%2F19%2F2012-pops-up-in-less-than-scientific-scientific-american-article&amp;title=2012%20pops%20up%20in%20less-than-scientific%20Scientific%20American%20article&#8221; rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/gs1035.png&#8221; alt=”Add to Del.icio.us” /></a><a title=”Add to Stumbleupon” href=”http://www.stumbleupon.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwallacegsmith.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F03%2F19%2F2012-pops-up-in-less-than-scientific-scientific-american-article&amp;title=2012%20pops%20up%20in%20less-than-scientific%20Scientific%20American%20article&#8221; rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/gs1045.png&#8221; alt=”Add to Stumbleupon” /></a><a title=”Add to Reddit” href=”http://reddit.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwallacegsmith.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F03%2F19%2F2012-pops-up-in-less-than-scientific-scientific-american-article&amp;title=2012%20pops%20up%20in%20less-than-scientific%20Scientific%20American%20article&#8221; rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/gs1055.png&#8221; alt=”Add to Reddit” /></a><a title=”Add to Blinklist” href=”http://www.blinklist.com/index.php?Action=Blink/addblink.php&amp;Description=&amp;Url=http%3A%2F%2Fwallacegsmith.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F03%2F19%2F2012-pops-up-in-less-than-scientific-scientific-american-article&amp;Title=2012%20pops%20up%20in%20less-than-scientific%20Scientific%20American%20article&#8221; rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/gs1065.png&#8221; alt=”Add to Blinklist” /></a><a title=”Add to Twitter” href=”http://twitter.com/home/?status=2012%20pops%20up%20in%20less-tha+%40+2012%20pops%20up%20in%20less-than-scientific%20Scientific%20American%20article&#8221; rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/gs1075.png&#8221; alt=”Add to Twitter” /></a><a title=”Add to Technorati” href=”http://www.technorati.com/faves?add=https://wallacegsmith.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/2012-pops-up-in-less-than-scientific-scientific-american-article&#8221; rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/gs1085.png&#8221; alt=”Add to Technorati” /></a><a title=”Add to Yahoo Buzz” href=”http://buzz.yahoo.com/buzz?targetUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwallacegsmith.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F03%2F19%2F2012-pops-up-in-less-than-scientific-scientific-american-article&amp;headline=2012%20pops%20up%20in%20less-than-scientific%20Scientific%20American%20article&#8221; rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/gs1095.png&#8221; alt=”Add to Yahoo Buzz” /></a><a title=”Add to Newsvine” href=”http://www.newsvine.com/_wine/save?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwallacegsmith.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F03%2F19%2F2012-pops-up-in-less-than-scientific-scientific-american-article&amp;h=2012%20pops%20up%20in%20less-than-scientific%20Scientific%20American%20article&#8221; rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/gs1105.png&#8221; alt=”Add to Newsvine” /></a><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/gs1115.png&#8221; alt=”” /></p>

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Previous Post Potpourri!

Busy day, today (spending it with the family after being absent for much of this week) and what’s on my mind at present I would rather wait until tomorrow to discuss.  So today I present a Previous Post Potpourri!  The following links are those that seemed to catch someone’s fancy in the last few weeks or so (call them “reruns” if you will).  I’ve thrown in a few new links for some added benefit.  And, as a bonus at the end, I give you my highly anticipated, very technical, and thoroughly exhaustive review of Apple’s new iPad.

  • The State of the Union speech hasn’t changed my opinion of the state of our union, I’m afraid, and I still believe that Peggy Noonan really did a fair job of hitting the nail on the head in her October 29, 2009 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.  I discussed it in my post “A Nation Run by Callous Children” and will note, here, that you will see a similar theme in her piece published online today, “The Obama Contradiction.”
  • It generated more talk on Facebook than it did out here on the blog, methinks, but it’s apparently an issue many are talking about: “Spanking bans, good idea or not?”
  • Yes, my children will be taking over the chess world soon.  We discussed their marvelous and innovative chess strategies here.
  • The post “‘Avatar’ and, believe it or not, 2012” on worldwide academic acclaim for providing a much-needed phrase to the English language: “naked space smurfs.”
  • I’ve been linking to the Living Church of God’s countdown of 2009’s most downloaded items, and I realize now that I have missed the publishing of #8 & #7.  Here they are!Top 10 Website Downloads in 2009: #8 (click here) & #7 (click here)

And, finally, as I promised, I present my exhaustive, in-depth technological review of Apple’s new iPad:  Bleh. It’s just a giant iPhone.

(My apologies for the technological lingo I had to employ in that extensive review.  Some nuanced concepts can only be communicated through the specialized and somewhat esoteric words that are specific to a technical field.)

That’s it, and I apologize that you had to sit through this post — I’m in a bit of an odd mood, today, and I suppose my posting reflects it!

Have a wonderful Sabbath!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

“Avatar” and, believe it or not, 2012

Well, “Avatar” is making beaucoup bucks at the box office. There is much that could be said about the flick and a number of easy shots that could be taken, but I will leave those to others.

OK — I can’t help myself!  Let me get in a few jabs…  For instance, I thought of at least two alternate titles for the flick: “Dances with Six-Legged Wolves” and “Hollywood Clichés — Now in Digital 3D!”  The subtitle for either one of those titles could be: “In the event our other movies haven’t made it clear, we don’t like America, capitalism, or the military.”  (OK, it’s a long subtitle.)  Wait, here’s another title: “Virtual People Virtually Naked,” subtitled: “When loincloths are simply too restrictive…”  Honestly, we could go on all day, couldn’t we?  And don’t get me started on the Earth Pandora worship stuff.  (Really: If we have to make up completely imaginary reasons to make a planet seem worthy of worship, doesn’t that tell us something about the whole idea of planet worship, overall?)

However, let me make a connection between the programmed appeal of “Avatar” and a topic that might not be obviously connected at first: the 2012 hysteria.  Not the “2012” movie, but the whole buzz and popular appeal of the so-called 2012-related “prophecies.”  (A buzz which, thankfully, has died off a good bit now that the “2012” movie has passed, but which will surely creep back into our lives the closer 12/21/2012 gets.)

Many of the faults of modern Western culture are on display in “Avatar” but one of the greatest, in my opinion, is the tendency to over-glorify primitive, indigenous cultures.

Failing to look at things as they really are seems to be a native trait of humanity (cf. Jer. 17:9) — we either look at things through glasses touched with rose hues or dark tint.

In the case of primitive cultures, modern Western culture seems very much on the rosey side of that self-deception.  “Oh, their ways were purer then — without the corruption of modern day life and living.  We could learn so much from them, if only we could be more like them and recognize the superiority of their world view!”  Somehow, the ways of these peoples are supposed to be superior to ours in seemingly every way.

I’m certainly not saying that there isn’t something to be learned from other cultures, more ancient or more modern.  Mankind in general has, in a sense, continued eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil since Adam took his first bite.  Our ways are a mixture of good and evil, resulting in a pained history of experimentation and deciding for ourselves what is right and what is wrong (cf. Judges 21:25).  Modern Western culture certainly doesn’t have everything right and ancient peoples certainly didn’t have everything wrong.

However, the strong desire to elevate blindly the “noble savage” above the modern man is spiritually pathological — part and parcel of the idea that civilization and modernity, itself, is the source of moral corruption and decadence instead of rebellion against and ignorance of God, which is the real source of our deterioration.  It results in idealizing primitive cultures and looking to them as models of what we should be.

“Avatar” is all about that idea.

But that spiritual pathology is also a large contributor to the fascination with 2012 ideas, methinks.

Most associate 12/21/2012 “prophecies” with the ancient Maya.  This is due the fact that their Long Count Calendar, according to some, ends a major cycle on that date (thought the calendar, itself, does not end on that date) and modern New Agers have attempted to turn this into an “End of the World”/”Age of Aquarius” expectation.

Now, I’ve written before about how there is no solid evidence whatsoever that the Maya expected the world to end on 12/21/2012.  If you find that statement surprising, you can read more here: “What the Maya did & didn’t say about 2012.” However, even better would be to contact Tomorrow’s World and request the free DVD “2012: Mystery and Truth” (it is not yet available on our “Order Free” page, but you can still request it by asking for it directly on the “Contact Us” page).  However, it doesn’t make a difference if the Maya actually predicted anything for 2012 or not — people believe they did, and that’s enough to make a difference in how they respond to the idea.

Why?  Again, because the Western tendency is to glorify such ancient, primitive cultures and peoples.  “Why, did the ancient Maya say that?  Well, I’ll bet they knew what they were talking about!” Huh?  Why don’t we say that about their horrific practice of human sacrifice, including the barbaric, ritualistic murder of children?  “Why, did the Maya sacrifice children and their fellow human beings?  Well, I’ll bet they knew what they were doing!” Yeah, right.

Part of what makes “Avatar” so appealing to Western appetites is the same thing that gives 2012 lunacy a false air of believability: the romanticizing of ancient, primitive cultures.  Sure, God said, “learn not the way of the heathen” (Jer. 10:2) — but, you know, they’re so down to earth!  (For “Avatar”: Look, they live in a tree! For the Maya: Look, they lived in a forest!)

Don’t fall for this spiritual pathology.  God is not only the source of prophecy (note to 2012ers out there), He and His Word are also the source of right culture and values.  It isn’t getting back to a falsely glorified primitive past that will heal our ailing culture and civilization and provide a path to peace — only getting back to our God can do that.

And don’t let any naked space smurfs on steroids tell you otherwise.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

What the Maya did & didn’t say about 2012

Well, normally at this time I write about why I do not keep Christmas, and I will still try and do that – maybe tomorrow.  However, due to the work I have done over the last few months for the Tomorrow’s World telecast, magazine article, and the new DVD we’re offering, I have a new timely topic to discuss: The so-called Mayan doomsday date of December 21, 2012.

(Of course, you will note that it would have been timelier three days ago.  But those who know me probably – and sadly – are not surprised that I would think to do this a few days late!)

Some have wondered if the free DVD (and as of a few weeks ago, we’ve had 26,000 requests for the DVD already!) is simply a copy of the television program that I did on the topic.  No, it is not – it is a brand new, specially made, hour-long program on the 2012 hysteria and the biblical response to it.  It contains a number of details that the Tomorrow’s World television program did not have.

I’ve been told that about 8 minutes of my work had to be edited out to fit the time constraints of the DVD.  In addition, there was some material that I edited out, myself, before taping to try and make the program fit to time and to focus on those things that were most important to say.  With those things in mind, I thought it might be fun to include some of that excluded content here on my blog – sort of like a “special features” section of a DVD, except that it’s just me, and I’m not that special. 🙂

I can’t include the material that editorial had to cut for time, because I do not know what that was, yet (except one item: my comments concerning 2012er Daniel Pinchbeck, and I will try to include that in a later post when I know more about what was cut).  However, I can include some of the information that I had to cut, myself.  And from what I have seen, it is hard to find a concentrated discussion of some of these items out there, so maybe this will have value to some poor 2012-deluded soul who is looking for info and may come across it.

In particular, let me expand on something that – in the end – I only had time to allude to in the final version of my DVD script.  On the DVD, I make the following comment:

“There simply is no solid, legitimate support in the Mayan writings we have today that they viewed December 21, 2012 as a coming End of the World!  While some wish to say that the Maya foresaw December 21, 2012 as the end of life as we know it on planet earth, the climatic date in all of history, we have to admit that the Maya are strangely silent about the date.  It seems that modern man is more concerned about the date than the Maya ever were!”

Before saying this I refer to three objects that sometimes get attention in this regard: Monument 6 at Tortuguero, the Dresden Codex, and the later writings of the Chilam Balam.  The first of these I had time to say a little about in the presentation, but for the latter two I had no time at all and I only mentioned them in passing.  Let me add some detail here for the curious and to explain the basis for the assertions I make in the presentation.

[Though, before I do that, conscience compels me to say three fundamental things:

(1) Even if the Mayans did predict the world would end in 2012 – and all indicators are that they did not – it would be irrelevant in the larger scheme of things.  It is the God of the Bible who declares the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:10), and in the light of scripture the so-called-Mayan-but-actually-New-Age 2012 fantasies are just that: fantasies.  For mode details, request the DVD or go out to tomorrowsworld.org!

(2) Many mistakenly say that the Mayan calendar (as if they had only one) ends in December of 2012.  While likely an innocent mistake, this is false for several reasons.  For one, the Mayans had several calendars; when people speak of “the calendar” coming to an end, they are usually speaking only of what is called the Long Count Calendar, which reaches the end of a baktun in December 2012 according to many scholars.  More importantly, the Mayans, themselves, did not see even their Long Count Calendar as coming to an end.  Rather, like our own calendars at the end of a century or a millennium, their calendar simply keeps on going.  In fact, there are many Mayan inscriptions that indicate dates and anniversaries long after 2012 – an odd fact for a calendar that is supposed to “end.”

(3) Some scholars believe that the commonly used GMT correlation that equates the end of the Mayan baktun with December 21, 2012 is actually wrong and is off by several years, at least.  At least one Mesoamerican scholar has told me personally that the GMT correlation doesn’t fit several Mayan astronomical records, which would be odd if it were as correct as it is given credit for, given the special fondness the Mayans had for accurate astronomy.

OK, with those things off my chest, I can continue! 🙂 ]

Where was I before Captain Parenthetical Comment interrupted?  Oh, yes!  Details for the curious that did not make it into the DVD for lack of time…  Let me warn the reader now that some of this will seem a bit dry or esoteric — get some caffeine in you before you proceed!

•  Monument 6 at Tortuguero in the Chiapas Highlands of Mexico.  This stone work is notable as the only work discovered to date that specifically mentions 2012.  And it is also, therefore, notable in that it doesn’t say anything that indicates December 21, 2012 will be the end of the world.

The Monument 6 inscription at Tortuguero is partially eroded and no complete translation can be made.  However, according to Wikipedia (and, hey, when is that ever wrong?) the Mesoamerica Center Discussion Board for the University of Texas reports this translation: “‘The Thirteenth Bak’tun’ will be finished (on) Four Ahaw, the Third of K’ank’in. ? will occur. (It will be) the descent(?) of the Nine Support (?) God(s) to the ?.”  (The comment about “Four Ahaw” will be clearer later when I discuss the Chilam Balam.)  The scholars involved have reported that the format and words used are nothing special in that they are not uncommon and are associated with other “dedication events.”

No, Monument 6 offers nothing worthwhile for those who wish to turn December 21, 2012 into a Mayan doomsday prediction.  And, remember: it is the only direct mention of the 2012 baktun end that we have discovered to date.  Odd that if it were supposed to be the end of the world that it would be spoken of so nonchalantly, huh?

Moving on, let’s look at…

•  The Dresden Codex.  The Mayan Codices are a marvelous resource for understanding their culture and writings.  You can read more about them here if you are interested.  The Dresden Codex (Codex Dresdensis) is one of the most famous of the few codices that survive, and it is named for city in Germany in which it resides.  It is elaborate and long (a screen-folded “book” of 39 leaves & 78 pages) but is not prophetic (unlike the Paris Codex).

The Dresden Codex tends to get attention in the 2012 works I researched due to the elaborate image it bears of water pouring from the mouth of what appears to be a serpent (see image below).

Photo of Dresden Codex page

In fact, I would suspect that this might be the inspiration of the “end of the world tsunamis” in the recent “2012” movie, though I have no idea.  However, there are a few things noteworthy about this image: (1) the image is given without comment, so there is no indication that the Mayans meant for it to be a prophetic image (though it certainly could be), (2) the December 21, 2012 date is not referred to in the Dresden Codex, (3) there are good reasons to understand the Dresden Codex as, in some ways, a Mayan Almanac, which might mean that the waters indicated are simply communicating something related to agriculture.

Even if the image is meant to indicate an apocalyptic flood of Emmerichian proportions – and there is no strong evidence that I can find to indicate this – there is nothing in the codex to tie the image to 2012.

Finally, the big one…

•  The Chilam Balam.  Of the three items here mentioned, this one is of interest because (1) it does contain prophecies, and (2) it does indicate time frames (sort of) for those prophecies.  However, on both of these counts it is often misunderstood.

Rather than give the basics on the Chilam Balam here, let me defer to Wikipedia for those who want more info so that I can focus on some specific items.  Before I can discuss some passages in the Chilam Balam, there are some foundational things that have to be understood.  And, as is my wont, I will probably overexplain in unwanted detail.  (Is consistency a virtue?)

First, the books of the Chilam Balam were composed well after the Classical Mayan period – in fact, the better part of a millennium afterward.  They were written after the Spanish conquest as late as the 18th and 19th centuries, though some of the source material may go as far back as the time of the conquest in the 16th and 17th centuries (the Classical Mayan period ended around 900AD).  They are in the language of the Yucatec Maya but written with European script as opposed to the hieroglyphic-like script that the Mayans had previously used for centuries.

Secondly, the books of the Chilam Balam are clearly “corrupted” by Spanish and Catholic influence, to the point where it is often hard to pinpoint where the Maya commentary and prophecies end and the Catholic influence begins.  Read enough of them and the corruption is obvious.  It is this point on which I am probably pickier than most in that I have a difficult time calling the prophecies of the Chilam Balam “Mayan prophecies.”  In actuality, they are hybrid works, and their “culturally corrupted” nature gives me pause in using that designation.  However, it really is not an unreasonable designation, though those who hear it should always remember that there are Catholic and Spanish influences that are woven into the books and that care should be taken in identifying the writings as belonging to the people we see in documentaries and movies as the ancient Maya.  (And cultural mixings and strong Spanish/Catholic influences aside, I don’t think anyone would call Hernán Cortés the 16th century conquistador an “ancient Spaniard.”)

Lastly, as mentioned, the Chilam Balam manuscripts do contain predictions about the future, but – and this is of significance in our discussion – they do not tie those predictions to the Long Count Calendar.  Rather, the Mayan approach to prophecy focused on a different calendar: a set of 13 katuns, where a katun is 7,200 days long.  Being 7,200 days, each katun was just under 20 years long (7,200 ÷ 365.25 = 19.71), and the entire cycle of 13 katuns was a little over 256 years long (13 × 7,200 ÷ 365.25 = 256.26).

The names of the katuns are a little counterintuitive, since they have numbers in their names but the numbers do not go in the order you might expect.  The names of each of the 13 katuns (each one 7,200 days or just under 20 years long) are, in order:

  1. Katun 11 Ahau
  2. Katun 9 Ahau
  3. Katun 7 Ahau
  4. Katun 5 Ahau
  5. Katun 3 Ahau
  6. Katun 1 Ahau
  7. Katun 12 Ahau
  8. Katun 10 Ahau
  9. Katun 8 Ahau
  10. Katun 6 Ahau
  11. Katun 4 Ahau
  12. Katun 2 Ahau
  13. Katun 13 Ahau

This ordering can be illustrated by this “katun wheel” diagram, reproducing that of 16th century Catholic Bishop Diego de Landa Calderón (who, actually, was responsible for destroying a vast amount of the Mayans’ original writings in an Inquisitional auto de fé):

Image of Landa's Katun Wheel

The odd numbering (11, 9, 7, etc.) owes itself to the fact that the Mayans used a type of “week” or “month” that was 13 days long (thus the numbers 1-13 above, indicating the day of that “week”) yet they had 20 day names, the twentieth being “Ahau,” sometimes written “Ajaw.”  (You can see all 20 day names here.)  Each 7,200-day katun in the 256 year cycle was named after its very last day, and since 7,200 is divided evenly by 20, the name of that day was always the 20th day: Ahau.  However, because 7,200 is not divided evenly by 13, the number of that day differs, always falling 2 short from completing the numerical cycle of 13 days (7,200 ÷ 13 has a remainder of 11, just 2 short of a full 13).

If all of that is too mathy or confusing, don’t worry about it.  The important thing for understanding the Chilam Balam’s prophetic comments is to understand that it is based not on the Long Count Calendar, but the 256-year-long cycle of 13 katuns, and that their names are given, in order, as above.

While we modern folks place a lot of importance on the Long Count Calendar, we have to keep in mind that the Mayans were not so single-minded.  They had a variety of calendars, and the one they used depended on the purpose for which it was employed.  The calendar of primary focus in the Chilam Balam was this 256-year-long cycle of 13 katuns, which was the calendar most connected to Maya predictions – which were, in their own ways, often cyclical like the katun cycle.  What you expected to happen in a future katun was essentially a repetition of what had happened in the same katun in a previous cycle.

With this background, we can finally look at the few comments in the Chilam Balam thought by many to mention December 21, 2012 – in particular, two selections from the Chumayel Chilam Balam manuscript.  Here’s one, from the 10th chapter of Ralph Roys’ well-respected translation of the Chilam Balam of Chumayel:

“But when the law of the katun shall have run its course, then God will bring about a great deluge again which will be the end of the world. When this is over, then our Lord Jesus Christ shall descend over the valley of Jehoshaphat beside the town of Jerusalem where he redeemed us with his holy blood. He shall descend on a great cloud to bear true testimony that he was once obliged to suffer, stretched out on a cross of wood. Then shall descend in his great power and glory the true God who created heaven and earth and everything on earth. He shall descend to level off the world for the good and the bad, the conquerors and the captives.”

(I note here that Mr. Roland Emmerich may have been inspired by this passage, instead of by the Dresden Codex, in crafting his prayer-despising, religion-hating movie, but, again, I have no idea.)

First, the Catholic cultural influence must be obvious to even the most casual reader. And to Bible students, the impossibility of the prophecy (given the promise of Genesis 9:15 that God will not “bring about a great deluge again” to cause the “end of the world”) should stand out, as well.

However, the question at hand is this: Is this a prophecy about December 21, 2012?

No, it is not.  The phrase “law of the katun” is the key, as it does not refer to the Long Count Calendar, at all.  It refers to the 256-year katun calendar, as previously explained.  Specifically, it refers to the katun of that particular prophecy (the most likely scenario, based on how the phrase is used in the texts; see also footnote 106:4 of Chapter 10 of Roys’ Chumayel translation).  In this case, that would be Katun 3 Ahau, which does not include 2012, at all.  Using the standard GMT Mayan/Gregorian Calendar correlation, Katun 3 Ahau could refer to the following time periods after the Spanish conquest, each approximately 20 years (one katun) long: 1618-1638, 1874-1894, or 2131-2150.  So, either this Maya prophecy failed (no surprise, there!) or it still has another century to go before it has another chance (don’t count on it).

[EDIT, 1/8/10:  Someone has kindly pointed out that the language may indicate this happening in a katun to follow Katun 3 Ahau as opposed to in Katun 3 Ahau itself.  This certainly may be the case, though it still doesn’t bring the statement any closer to 2012 and, given the cyclical nature of the katuns, it could be any of them if this is the case.  There simply is no worthwhile evidence to attach the timing of this statement to 2012, as the remaining paragraphs discuss.]

Though this is the best attested understanding of “law of the katun” – the one indicated by the paragraph immediately preceding the prophecy which uses the exact same phrase, as well as its many other uses in the Chilam Balam – one might argue that it does not mean the law of that particular katun, but of the full 13 katun cycle.  And even though this is not the understanding best suggested by the evidence, even if this were true it would still not get us to 2012, since the current 13 katun cycle will end in mid-2052, not 2012 – almost forty years after everyone’s favorite date.

Regardless of which of the above interpretations is accurate (again, with the former being the most likely), the evidence is clear that the “law of the katun” running its course does not refer to the Long Count Calendar’s December 21, 2012 date.  It simply cannot be made to fit given all the evidence to suggest otherwise.

Now, all of this said, let me quote a part of the Chilam Balam of Chumayel that may include 2012 in its time period and which may seem end-of-the-world-ish at first glance.  This can be read in Chapter 12 of Roys’ translation:

“Katun 4 Ahau is the eleventh katun according to the count.  The katun is established at Chichen Itzá.  The settlement of the Itzá shall take place there.  The quetzal shall come, the green bird shall come.  Ah Kantenal shall come. Blood-vomit shall come.  Kukulcan shall come with them for the second time. It is the word of God.  The Itzá shall come.”

Now, Katun 4 Ahau would be the katun we are now living in, which began in 1993 and which does end in December 2012.  (The next Katun 4 Ahau would be 2249-2269 and the previous one was 1736-1756.)  Is this an “end of the world” prophecy that stands out from the rest?

Hardly.  For one, any reader of the Chilam Balam of Chumayel would note here that the text continues right after this to say what will happen in the very next katun as if life keeps on going.  In fact, a reader of the text would have to notice that the katun prophecies surrounding this one, those before and after dealing with entirely different time periods, are in many ways more dramatic.

Also, though this katun prophecy mentions “blood-vomit,” this is not the only place in the Chilam Balam in which this word occurs.  For instance, Chapter 18 of Roys’ translation also mentions “blood-vomit” (and other similarities to the prophecy above; for the Mayans, history & prophecy were repetitious cycles).  Elsewhere in the Chilam Balam (Chapter 21 of Roys) a pestilence that occurred in Katun 4 Ahau (very possibly around 1485, or the “fifth tun of that katun,” before the Spanish conquest) is chronicled and is the best candidate for the “blood-vomit” reference.  The Mayans believed that what happened in one katun would happen again when the same katun returned in the next cycle, thus it makes sense to relate the “blood-vomit” to this pestilence.  (Noteworthy is the fact that this pestilence happened towards the beginning of that katun, not on the last day.)

Regardless, to say that this passage speaks specifically of December 21, 2012 and then to say, further, that it is a prediction of the end of the world is to miss or ignore the context.  One simply cannot say that the Chilam Balam predicts the end of the world in 2012.

And there you have it! Whew, what a long post!

I know that most of you probably gave up before reaching the end, and – what can I say – I don’t blame you!  But for those of you who struggled and made it this far, let me make a final point…

It’s sort of funny.  Consider the points above about the Dresden Codex and the Chilam Balam – the result of a lot of work done to determine if the Maya did, indeed, say anything about 2012 as they are claimed to have said.  Yet, in the DVD that we’ve produced, I simply refer to these two sources in a statement only 23 words long – none of that info is in the DVD.  Why not?  Because ultimately it’s irrelevant to the point we are trying to make, though it was valuable research for me because it helped me to know I was on solid ground in my assertions.  I post all of this here only (1) to display some of the behind-the-scenes work that went on in preparing the DVD, (2) to explain why I say that “[t]here simply is no solid, legitimate support in the Mayan writings we have today that they viewed December 21, 2012 as a coming End of the World,” and (3) to demonstrate that when I say on the DVD that I have looked at these things, I really do mean it!  🙂

Finally, if you happen to have wandered onto this blog post through some sort of search engine – perhaps Googling around for 2012 info – let me give you the end of the matter: If you really want to know about the future, get your head out of the History Channel and the 2012 stuff at your local bookstore and get into your Bible.  The Bible is a tried and true source of prophetic knowledge, unlike the 2012 fantasies of New Agers and psychedelic drug users.  If you’d like help, I recommend checking out the Tomorrow’s World website.  You can also contact us through that website and request our new hour-long DVD – “2012: Mystery and Truth” – that debunks the 2012 hysteria and presents the Bible truth about the matter, and about the future, in helpful detail.  Like all of our materials, the DVD is absolutely free.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

2012, Maya experts, Tomorrow’s World, and three bowls of chili

It looks as though the new Tomorrow’s World magazine is out with my article about the “2012 phenomenon” and the Bible: “The Truth about 2012: Hollywood vs. Humanity.”

Tomorrow's World Magazine Cover

We haven’t received ours in the mail, yet, but it is up at the Tomorrow’s World website.  I’ve discussed before some of the Church’s efforts on educating concerning this matter, but maybe this is a good time to summarize, update, and discuss some behind-the-scenes details, especially since I had a wonderful, chance meeting with a Maya expert last night which provided some great confirmation.

It all began when a couple in Arkansas talked to me about the upcoming Roland Emmerich end-of-the-world flick “2012” (Mr. Emmerich seems either addicted to end-of-the-world themes or to the money such movies rake in).  The couple (M&AS) mentioned how many folks they knew were really getting caught up in the 2012 hysteria, as opposed to Bible prophecy and its message of repenting from sin.  It just so happened that the next telecast I was due to tape in Charlotte was scheduled to be broadcast on the very same weekend as the movie’s opening and seemed to me to be an opportunity for “meat in due season” — a chance to educate people about what the Bible says about things like this “2012” business and to point them in the direction of God’s word as a true and dependable authority, versus the superstitions of men (or worse).  So, I tossed out the script work that I had done to that point and refocused on the 2012 phenomenon.

The result has been an internet commentary (“2012: The Hype and the Truth”), the upcoming Tomorrow’s World telecast this month (“2012, Bible Prophecy and You”), the article in this month’s magazine (“The Truth about 2012: Hollywood vs. Humanity”), and an hour-long DVD presentation (“2012: Mystery and Truth”) that may be offered at the end of the year in the semi-annual letter.  Of all the work, the DVD was my favorite, as I had plenty of time to go into the sort of detail that none of the other formats really have room for.

On one hand, it has been a real pleasure to get to serve in this way.  It is an incredible blessing to understand the truth of God’s word and the wonder of biblical prophecy, and it is such a shame that so many can get caught up in the universe of counterfeits out there, including the 2012 hysteria, without really knowing the basis for those counterfeits.  It’s easy to be impressed with mathematical models involving the I Ching (which, as a mathematician, I find particularly detestable), supposed celestial conjunctions, and other such things until you dig deep enough to see what really lies underneath.  Then you see (1) it’s not at all what it is cracked up to be, and (2) God’s word leaves us with very clear instructions regarding such things that most seem to ignore.  (The many History Channel shows on such subjects are laughable and make things generally worse instead of better.  It seems clear that they long ago gave up any goals of being truly informative for the more lucrative approach of being prevocative and sensational.)

On the other hand, I read and digested more 2012-related garbage that I would ever want to do again.  For instance, I’m not sure if it will make the DVD, but we created a clip in which we toss book after book onto a table, each one professing to contain 2012-related wisdom, knowledge and prophecy.  Each of those books were purchased by me and used in one way or another in my research.  (The legitimate Maya-related stuff was not so bad.  One book, in particular — The Ancient Sun Kingdoms of the Americas: Aztec, Maya, Inca by Victor Wolfgang von Hagen — was very educational, even given its age.)  I’ve been aware of speculations concerning 2012 since childhood (reared on “Nova” and PBS, as I was), but I wanted to make sure I understood what was being said today on the matter by those who are driving the current phenomenon.  Truly brain draining, it was, and the sort of stuff that makes you want to shower after reading it.  I also contacted at least one person directly: Robert Bonadurer, director of the Daniel M. Soref Planetarium at the Milwaukee Public Museum, who was kind enough to explain to me the thoughts he had expressed publicly concerning the supposed “2012 alignment.”

Then, last night, I had a very random opportunity to speak at length to a Ph.D. in Mesoamerican cultures who was a Maya expert!  My family and I were at the house of one of our wonderful local elders, using hiding from “trick or treaters” as our annual excuse to hang out together and eat some great chili (I had three bowls!), and there was one guest not from our church — an acquanitance of one of our members — who wanted to speak to me about our church’s religious beliefs.  His field was anthropology and archaeology with a focus on the Mayans and related cultures, though his knowledge of history and other cultures not-so-related to the Mayans was impressive.  After he picked my brain on things biblical for a couple of hours (at least!), I wanted to pleasantly turn the tables and pick his brain concerning things Mayan, which was a real treat.

One small thing (which was a big one for me) that I appreciated was that he confirmed that the pronunciations that I tried to use in my telecast & DVD presentation were accurate.  Since most of my sources were in writing, I was unsure of my pronunciations (e.g., how to pronounce Chilam Balam, baktun, katun, etc.), though Schele & Freidl’s A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya was a big help.  My new aquaintance pointed out that of the modern varieties of Mayan dialect currently spoken, one has real legitimacy in its connection to ancient Mayan “hieroglyphics” (which really aren’t hieroglyphics, technically), and it matched my usage in the videos.  (Or at least my attempted usage; regular viewers will recognize how a touch of Texan tends to creep in here and there, not to mention the camera’s ability to hypnotize you into saying things improperly!)

But there were many other important things he was able to confirm or expand upon.  One was the sentiment of real Maya experts on the 2012 hoopla and supposed “Mayan prophecies” versus what is generally put out before the public (and it’s not looking good for 2012 devotees, I must say).  Another was something I had noticed concerning the Chilam Balam which are generally considered “Mayan” sources but are heavily corrupted by Catholic influence: I had noticed that “law of the katuns” was used by many 2012-ologists to refer to the end of the current baktun (a.k.a., December 21, 2012) when it seemed to me that it did not necessarily have this meaning.  He explained that this, indeed, was the case: the law of the katuns does not refer to the end of this current baktun.  I wanted to discuss with him the origin of Hunab ku in post-classical Mayan culture, but I think I mispronounced it as Hunabpu and we ended up discussed the Hero Twins.  (Actually, Hunab Ku is generally understood to be a Catholic invention meant to help convert the Mayans to the “Christian” faith.)

One of the most interesting things we discussed was the actual dating of 2012 as the end of the Mayan baktun.  He says that while December 21, 2012 is the most popularly accepted end date, actually there is good reason to think that it is later than this and that the commonly accepted correlation (the Goodman-Martinez-Thompson, or GMT correlation) to the Gregorian calendar has a number of faults, including eclipses and celestial events that do not line up — something that would be very odd for a people so devoted to accurately predicting and recording such events.  He mentioned the possibility of, say, 2015 as the true year, at which point I informed him that he could probably make a lot of money publishing a book pandering to those who will be disappointed after 2012 when their New Age predictions don’t pan out.  We both laughed, but mostly out of the sad recognition that it was probably true.

I don’t know how well each of his positions represent the majority of Maya scholarship (some Ph.D.-types can be almost addicted to the rush having independent theories that differ from the mainstream, it seems), but much of it lined up incredibly well with all I have found, myself, and was a nice validation of what we are explaining.  In other research, he had also come to his own conclusions about the identity of the ten “lost tribes” of Israel, which  — though done without contact with our church — correlated incredibly well with exactly what we teach of them and of the United States and Great Britain in the Living Church of God — but that is a tale for another day.  🙂

I will wrap this up here, as I actually planned on spending the day with my family instead of here with my laptop.  But seeing the 2012 article come out on the Tomorrow’s World website was exciting, and with last night’s unexpected opportunity to talk to a real Maya culture Ph.D. last night about the information we are providing the public to replace misplaced 2012 fascination with God’s powerful truth, I felt this would be a nice post to write today.

Look for the Tomorrow’s World broadcast, “2012, Bible Prophecy and You” the same week/weekend as the movie’s release: November 12-18 (our cycle is Thursday to Thursday, I believe, though our programs air on Sunday in most areas, methinks).  To find a television station showing Tomorrow’s World in your area, check out our TV Log.  And don’t fall for the super-hyped counterfeit, when the truth is so much better!