How reliable are they? And what do they really mean?
Let's look at it piece by piece...
The predictions for the year 2012
The biblical prophecies of the end of the world
The prediction for May 21, 2011
Bible Predictions for 2012
The first is easy -- there are no 2012 predictions to be found in the Bible.
In fact, there is no date ever given for the end of the world.
Jesus said directly that no one knows when it will happen...
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. -- Matthew 24:36
Jesus Did Say When, But...
Jesus himself seems to have been mistaken about the end of the world, since he stated that it would happen within his disciples' lifetimes...
Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things [signs of the end] be fulfilled. -- Matthew 24:34
Many scholars believe that Jesus was speaking more locally. He was living in a time of great tension between the Jews and the Romans, and could easily have been speaking of the destruction the Romans wrought on Jerusalem not long after his death, in retaliation for rebel uprisings.
So here's what all this means. Since the end of the world obviously hasn't happened, even though Jesus said it would 2000 years ago, can you believe any Bible predictions for the end of the world?
I mean, if Jesus was wrong... who could be right?
Biblical Prophecies for the End of the World
Although there are no dates given, Bible predictions do refer several times to the end of the world.
It is put forth as a final battle between Good and Evil. After this epic war, Christ is expected to return to Earth, and everyone will be judged as to which side of that eternal war they "fought," then relegated to their eternal non-negotiable accommodations.
I'm not going to go through all the Biblical prophecies. You can read Revelations if you're really interested.
But I will say this about the Bible predictions for the end of the world...
The end of the world was a relative term. In the days the Bible was written, "the world" was a fairly small place, and in the view of the Hebrews (as with everyone's homeland), only their lands were really important, only their lands were "the world."
I think it's most likely that the Biblical prophecies may refer to a lot smaller scale than the destruction of the entire planet.
Prophecies aren't as impressive if they talk "small." And, as everyone knows, sensationalism gets a bigger audience.
If you can make people fear death and pain and suffering and judgement, and you are likely to get more of them to do whatever you say, in order to avoid it. I think that's partly the reason for apocalyptic prophecies.
Having said that, these prophecies probably contain a germ of truth. Most of the 2012 predictions agree that there will be a time of great cataclysm.
But I think the Bible predictions are exaggerated -- by fear, limited world-view, or intent to control -- into total and absolute destruction.
Most people don't take their prophetic dreams at face value. The Bible predictions, however, are generally taken literally. But perhaps they were not meant to be.
The prophecies make a lot of sense, if you take them as metaphor.
For example, the Bible describes King Nebuchandnezzar's dream (Daniel 2:31-45). He dreamt of a great bright image with a terrible form...
its head was of gold,
chest and arms of silver,
belly and thighs of brass,
lower legs of iron,
feet of clay mixed with iron.
Daniel interpreted this dream for the king, as a metaphor.
He said this form represented “kingdoms” that would arise after Nebuchandnezzar's dominion fell...
the golden age of Nebuchandnezzar's rule,
a second kingdom that was inferior to that golden age,
a third that would rule over all the earth,
and a fourth that would be separate from all other kingdoms (nature?), which “shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.”
After which would arise the “kingdom of God,” a spiritual age.
But if you're waiting to see an actual Pale Horse with Death astride, you're probably going to be waiting a long long time.
The war of Good and Evil, as a metaphor, has gone on forever. Who is on the side of Good, though, is certainly the big question.
Most Christians expect that they are. But in Jesus' day, the Jews were God's Chosen People, the only ones going to Heaven. The Jehovah's Witness know that only they are. The Mormons are sure it is them. And so on. Everyone is so sure they understand the Will of God so perfectly!
There are going to be quite a few surprises in store! After all, not all of them can be right.
The part that surprises me is that many Christians believe that they -- just because they claim to be saved by Jesus -- are the Good guys. If someone really wants to be on the side of Good, they're going to have to do more than just buy their membership into the Jesus-Is-Saviour club.
They're going to have to actually walk Jesus' talk. How else would anyone be judged, but against the standard and guidelines Jesus set? That was one of Jesus' big spiritual revolutions: you don't get to Heaven by being of the right blood or religion; you get it by living as Jesus lived.
It would be easy to see this last 100 years as a perfect example of Good vs Evil. Evil has been winning. But Good is making a come-back!
And we all know Good when we see it, don't we?
Caring for others.
Not harming anyone, including through damaging the Earth.
Living in peace and harmony.
Sounds just like what Jesus told people to do, doesn't it? Even if we aren't being "judged" in the end by some celestial magistrate, this is still a good way to live.
Bible Predictions For 2011?
Harold Camping, despite the Bible's assurance that no one can know when the end will come, believed he knew the date. He said there was "Biblical evidence" that the Rapture would occur on May 21, 2011, when certain "believers" would be taken to Heaven.
After which, October 21, 2011 would be the end of the world. (But long before then, apparently, everyone not chosen would be wishing it were the end.)
However, it seems that no biblical scholars agree with Camping's assessment.
It also seems that the Bible disagrees with him.
The Rapture apparently came and went, unnoticed, putting Harold's record at 0 for 2. He had already, incorrectly, predicted the Rapture once before, for September 1994. So presumably his credibility is completely shot.
The thing that really rings false to me about Harold Camping's prediction of the Rapture is this... In his view, the ones who will go to Heaven were already pre-chosen at the beginning of time. No matter what they do or did, it seems, they've been born with the lucky ticket.
I just can't even fathom a God, worthy of the title, who would run things that way.
However, I can't really fault him for sensing the massive change that is coming, even if he's misled as to what will really happen.
"The End Is Nigh... Again! Really!! This Time We MEAN It!"
Let's face it, people have been claiming Bible predictions for the end of the world, ever since Jesus' time.
Thus far, they've been batting zero.
So can we really trust the Bible predictions on the 2012 era to be accurate?
I would say that, given the historical inaccuracy of bible predictions that "the end is nigh," one shouldn't put too much stock in any of it.
Surviving 2012 -- The Manual Here are the secrets and strategies for surviving 2012. Part of the strategy is simple knowledge--when you know what's really going on, it can't hurt you (as much). And part of it is action-based. . . Continue...