I may be too busy to post tomorrow (currently enjoying a hotel room and a slow start to the morning!), so I thought I would post on this today. With tomorrow’s being November 21, that means we’ll be only one month away from the Great Non-Maya Non-pocalpyse.
Saw a nice admission in the news recently in a sadly pathetic story about town in France that is being forced to prevent people and reporters from flooding it as December 21 approaches because–no kidding–people believe that the mountain on which it sits contains a UFO that will rescue them from the approaching Non-Maya Non-Event of Non-Doom. As the article says, “One online rumor holds that on this day of destruction, Pic de Bugarach [the mountain] will open up to reveal an alien spacecraft, which will save believers nearby. That has local officials worried.” Later, the article points out that they are “worried” about being overrun by “visionaries” and reporters, not little green men.
The calendar change would not have been seen as the end of the world by the ancient Maya, scholars agree. But in New Age and other online subcultures, believers have come to expect something major on that day, with predictions ranging from a new dawn of peace and harmony to an explosive doomsday.
“Scholars agree.” Indeed. As I’ve pointed out here over and over, nothing in the Maya writings (and they have possessed an elaborate writing system for many centuries, well before the Spaniards arrived with “Christianity”) nor their many, many carvings indicates that they saw December 21, 2012 in the same way that 2012-ologists do, and credible researchers today agree on this. If anything, Mayan writings say the opposite. And none of the later corrupted writings (such as the Chilam Balam) tie any of their often misunderstood “apocalyptic-style” writings to 2012 or the end of the current calendar cycle, either–again, as scholars continually try to assert to a world of New Agers and Maya-hobbyists who refuse to face facts.
Now, might something actually happen in December of 2012? We certainly are in increasingly cataclysmic times, and, yes, “something” can always happen. In fact, I can predict that no matter what happens or doesn’t happen, certain “prophets” will point to one thing or another to claim they were right: “See, I said (something sort of like) that would (possibly) happen!” or “Don’t you feel the wave of intergalactic peace and love washing over all of us?” [In the first case, we need to coin a word for such folks, as I feel bad abusing “prophet.” Maybe “probphet”? In the second case, I suspect that funny-smelling cigarettes will be passed around while such sentiments are discussed.] But it won’t be because the Maya predicted it.
If you want to know what real scholars say about the 2012 hoopla, poke around the blog here (for instance, this post). However, if you want to know what real prophecy says about the years just ahead of us, poke around here: Tomorrow’s World.
While it’s almost a shame to post on this topic when the Feast is moments away from beginning, but until it’s all done I almost feel it’s a duty! Just saw an Associated Press article on Yahoo! News that I thought I would highlight for those looking for such things: “Experts: Mayas prophesized, but not end of world” (AP, 9/28/2012). (For the record, I believe they should have said “prophesied” in the title, as I don’t think “prophecize” is a word.)
Here’s the telling section of the article:
Only a couple of references to the 2012 date equivalency have been found carved in stone at Mayan sites, and neither refers to an apocalypse, experts say.
Such apocalyptic visions have been common for more than 1,000 years in Western, Christian thinking, and are not native to Mayan thought.
“This is thinking that, in truth, has nothing to do with Mayan culture,” said Alexander Voss, an anthropologist at the University of Quintana Roo, a state on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. “This thing about looking for end-times is not something that comes from Mayan culture.”
Indeed. Worth repeating: “This thing about looking for end-times is not something that comes from Mayan culture.”
(I should add that not only is there no stone carving with such claims about 2012, but also there is not written record, either. Those who say that the Dresden Codex or even the much, much later Chilam Balam refer to 2012 in such a prophetic manner misuse those texts, however innocent their intentions may be, out of simple ignorance or out of theory-bias.)
The idea of any sort of millennial/end times/golden age/etc. concept that modern Christians and religionists would be familiar with did not enter into Mayan understanding until long after the Classical period had passed–after the Spanish conquest and corruption from Catholicism. This is solid, historical fact with which no reputable modern scholar I know of disagrees. And even then the idea of change on 2012 was not a part of that picture, either! The 2012 hoopla really is a “gringo invention.”
Feel free to check out my other blog posts on the topic (a good list is in this post), but even better: Check out the articles and commentaries we’ve written on the Tomorrow’s World website and telecasts we’ve created (available here) or order the completely free, no-strings-attached, hour-long DVD we’ve put together on the subject, which will not only explain the origin of the 2012-hysteria but also point out real prophecy instead of New Age, 2012-related, mumbo jumbo (can be requested on this page).
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.)
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 22.214.171.124.0 may arrive this December (or it may not, as the correlation, itself, is disputed), many Mayan inscriptions discuss times that are, essentially, 126.96.36.199.0 and 188.8.131.52.0 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.
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:
Wow — I see I have gotten a lot of hits over the last couple of days for folks searching for information on the Comalcalco brick. Welcome! I’m glad to be of service, as I have seen some false information lately on the matter: hopefully you read my previous post (here: The Comalcalco Brick and the 2012 Non-pocalypse) that explains the matter, but I can add to it here, as well as debunk a few comments I’ve seen.
For instance, does the Comalcalco tile-brick “confirm” anything about a Mayan belief in a “major event” to come December 2012? No, it does not — not in any way, shape, or form.
Does the brick even talk about December 2012? That is disputed, and, in fact, there is very good reason to believe it does not. (Even if it did, as I explained in the last post, that would make it only the second item in existence that even mention the date at all, out of approximately 15,000 items. If the Maya believed it is supposed to be a major event of cosmic proportion, then they oddly said virtually nothing about it. Western obsessives, on the other hand…)
Some additional articles have appeared online about the Comalcalco brick, such as this so-summarized-as-to-be-terribly-misleading-in-places ABC News item. And other articles with more balance have been grossly misquoted or selectively quoted.
“Some have proposed it as another reference to 2012, but I remain rather unconvinced,” David Stuart, a specialist in Mayan epigraphy at the University of Texas at Austin, said in a message to The Associated Press.
Stuart said the date inscribed on the brick “is a ‘Calendar Round,’ a combination of a day and month position that will repeat every 52 years.”
The brick date does coincide with the end of the 13th Baktun; Baktuns were roughly 394-year periods, and 13 was a significant, sacred number for the Mayas. The Mayan Long Count calendar begins in 3114 B.C., and the 13th Baktun ends around Dec. 21, 2012.
But the date on the brick could also correspond to similar dates in the past, Stuart said.
“There’s no reason it couldn’t be also a date in ancient times, describing some important historical event in the Classic period. In fact, the third glyph on the brick seems to read as the verb huli, ‘he/she/it arrives,'” Stuart wrote. “There’s no future tense marking (unlike the Tortuguero phrase), which in my mind points more to the Comalcalco date being more historical than prophetic.”
Dr. David Stuart has been one of the more vocal scholars out there debunking the conclusions of the non-scholars and New Age fanatics, and his last point should be taken seriously. Anyone who says that the Comalcalco tile “confirms” a belief that the Mayans saw the “end of the world” coming in 2012 are only seeing what they want to see.
The article later mentions that Mexico’s Institute of Anthropology and History, which is responsible for bring the Comalcalco tile-brick to public attention, agrees with the rest of the scholarly community (including Dr. David Stuart) — 2012-hysteria is not Mayan in origin but is rather Western:
The Institute of Anthropology and History has long said rumors of a world-ending or world-changing event in late December 2012 are a Westernized misinterpretation of Mayan calendars.
The institute repeated Thursday that “Western messianic thought has twisted the cosmovision of ancient civilizations like the Maya.”
The institute’s experts say the Maya saw time as a series of cycles that began and ended with regularity, but with nothing apocalyptic at the end of a given cycle.
Those who wish to claim that the Maya definitely predicted cosmic scale, “world-ending or world-changing event in late December 2012” simply have no evidence or worthwhile argument to stand on and have positioned themselves against the conclusions of the community of legitimate Maya scholarship. The “2012 phenomenon” really is essentially the creation of drug-using New Agers — and that’s really about as deep as it gets. The Comalcalco brick, it seems, offers little comfort to those looking to firm up non-existent support for their ideas.
So those of you arriving at this blog by searching for the Comalcalco tile or Comalcalco brick on Google, welcome, indeed! Before you leave the blog, I hope…
that you learn something (more on 2012 is available on the blog – you might start here or at the list of items in the previous post),
that you consider ordering a copy of our free, hour-long DVD (no gimmicks: it really is free) discussing the truth behind the 2012-hysteria, Mayan misconceptions, and, most importantly, Bible prophecy, available here,
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.)
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.