It has arrived: The year that has captured the world’s imagination has come at last. Before going any further, we should say that the key word for this year is anxiety. People everywhere are displaying a range of unsettling emotion that ranges from apprehension to outright fear.
As we shall see, there are actually many good reasons for this phenomenon. We’ll begin by looking at the issues behind the global fear.
First, we need to offer a word of spiritual sense. The Bible tells us not to fear the urgencies of this world, but rather to fear God, Himself. As the Bible makes abundantly clear, Christians have nothing to fear. A bit later, we’ll see that the Bible speaks words of faith that seem expressly directed to the fears that plague the year 2012. Before that, let’s take a closer look at a list of what the world fears today.
A Litany of Fright
An abbreviated review of the litany of fright includes: Earthquakes (and they are increasing), wild weather (“global warming,” “climate change”), global bankruptcy, monetary pilfering by government leaders, multinational bankruptcies and the threat of collapsing democracies.
On every street corner, the cry is heard: “Buy gold! Soon your money will be worthless!” The specter of class economic warfare is burgeoning into full-blown public demonstrations. Street-marches (“Occupy Wall Street,” to name one) are now commonplace, threatening to become large-scale mass rallies. Revolutionaries are calling for new governments.
In the Mideast, the Islamic Brotherhood moves inexorably toward its vaunted caliphate, first regional, then global. Above all, as it calls for “death to Israel!” and “death to America!” The news is filled with the horrifying portents of an approaching war in Israel. Once they are unleashed, they will almost certainly intensify to global dimensions. Perhaps there will be a nuclear war.
On the cultural side, Christians are increasingly portrayed as the cause of social unrest, as we resist trends toward greater “sexual freedom.” Abortion as birth control, as well as social and population control, is more and more accepted.
As the world moves toward “Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender” equality, we are lampooned as hopelessly outmoded simpletons who cling to a worthless myth led by a first-century charismatic social idealist whose life was cut short by the Romans. Jesus was only a disillusioned idealist whose scattered disciples “invented” a religion that is now outmoded.
At the same time, more and more openly, Christians criticize each other with conflicting views of Israel’s biblical validity, anti-Zionism, replacement theology, amillennialism, postmillienialism, preterism, the Antichrist, the pretribulation rapture, Gnosticism, social justice, etc. etc. Jews are being blamed for the unrest that surrounds their tiny country. Once again, anti-Semitism in the Western nations is on the rise.
As believers attempt to counter such godless trends, they are singled out as foolish idealists who obstruct real progress toward a new world of peace and prosperity.
Nor does this growing agnosticism exist in a vacuum. It brings with it a multitude of bizarre false beliefs. The strange worlds of spiritism … ghost hunting, clairvoyance, vampirism and mentalism in general … are now accepted. These metaphysical beliefs are accompanied by belief in so-called extraterrestrial phenomena.
Threats from outer space are the stuff of videos, computer games and movies. Exposure to such suggestive material has produced the belief that extraterrestrial intervention is man’s only hope. In this arena, recent ominous signs and sightings have produced an escalating anxiety in the hearts of men.
Just beneath the surface of the social order, there is the bubbling ferment of a government UFO conspiracy, which diligently covers up its longstanding interactions with ambassadors from other star systems. There is a widespread yearning for government “disclosure.” Why won’t they tell us what they know? Are they afraid, too? Have they made dark agreements with superior extraterrestrials that they can’t back away from? Are the ETs here because they know that our planet is about to experience a cosmic catastrophe?
“Doomsday!” This word isn’t just being whispered; it’s shouted. Sensing growing public interest, the global media fan the flames of conflict, selling the news as they create it.
The 2012 Prophecies
As if all this weren’t enough, amateur soothsayers of every stripe are excited about the mystical potential of the year 2012. In decades past, as archaeologists began to decipher Mayan pictographs, they discovered the famous “long count” calender. It features a 5,126-year cycle, which began in 3,114 BC. It is divided into 394-year periods called “Baktuns,” the 13th of which ends on December 21st, of our year 2012.
Apparently, because the Mayans considered the number 13 to be sacred, the completion of this grand cycle has been assumed as the fulfillment of conditions that will lead to some prophetic event. However, archaeological experts who can read their ancient pagan hieroglyphs insist that the Mayans, themselves, never prophesied that the end of this cycle would portend anything specific. But even though they never predicted any event, the temptation to connect world events to the end of the 13th Baktun was too great to ignore. Enthusiastic “prophets” felt that this date marked something significant … perhaps the return of the Mayan’s serpent-god Kukulkan.
Some have gone so far as to reason that Kukulkan and his retinue were the “gods from outer space” of popular literature. Perhaps they are the extraterrestrial ufonauts, who birthed our infant culture, and have returned to help mankind surmount its difficult transition.
Others, following two thousand years of Messianic hope fostered by the Christian church, have stated that another Mayan god – Bolan Yokte – would return to save humanity. Amazingly, some of them even link Christ with this strange Mayan god! They say that he was the Mayan revelation of Jesus! Such blasphemies abound among spiritualist believers. To them, the end of the Mayan calendar constitutes the fulfillment of major prophecy.
There is a persuasive resurgence of the decades-old “New Age” philosophy that revolves around “contactees” who ostensibly have received “mental messages” from ufonauts who have piloted their flying saucers here from the famous “Zeta Reticuli,” and a host of other star systems. Whether through meditation or cranial implants, these people claim to have information telling them that massive shifts in the Solar System are about to take place. Earth, they say, is about to be bombarded with cataclysmic transformation, including changes to the Earth’s tilt, orbit, and continental plate tectonics.
And our summary of current anxieties would not be complete without mentioning the belief in the coming of The Twelfth Planet, the title of a 1976 book by Zechariah Sitchin. In an amazingly complex interpretation of ancient Mesopotamian texts, Sitchin reasoned that in ancient days, our Sun was surrounded by twelve planets. Some were destroyed in collisions, leaving the wandering planet Niburu, whose long elliptical orbit brings it back to the inner Solar system every few thousand years.
Now, Niburu, sometimes referred to as Planet X, has returned. Those who follow the theory of a 2012 cataclysm even believe that this planet’s return is timed in such a way that it will coincide with the Mayan “prophecy” of December 21st. They insist that this giant wandering sphere is now so close that it can even be faintly seen. A host of observers claim to have photographs of it, and believe that within a few months it will be here. They believe they’re witnessing the closing days of the Mayan calendar cycle, insisting that humanity is on the brink of its greatest crisis.
They believe that only the intervention of “gods from outer space” can save us. But as a matter of cold fact, theirs is only a confusing counterfeit of the Messianic hope that lies at the center of Christianity.
Prophecies, and Fear
Bible-believing Christians shouldn’t be surprised at the way world events point toward an extraordinary chain of events. Our Lord told his disciples that things like this would happen. And after all, for decades, preachers have been saying that we’re living in the end times and that, “Jesus is coming soon!” Given this proclamation, it would be strange if normal, calm conditions still prevailed. He told them:
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
“Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:25,26).
Concerning this particular prophecy, one could argue that since Jesus is speaking of the Tribulation here, these words don’t apply to us, today. Of course they don’t, but the precursors of this prophecy seem to be manifesting themselves today.
Furthermore, there are many prophecies stating that humanity will begin to experience such cataclysms prior to the Tribulation. Foremost among these is that of the prophet Joel, who specifically stated that there would be fearful signs in the natural world prior to the Tribulation:
“And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come” (Joel 2:30,31).
It seems likely that we are beginning to see these things at the present time.
A Prophetic Psalm
This being the case, it is incumbent upon us to remember that the Lord will always provide peace and security for his saints … even in the worst of times. We recall the fact that many years ago, J.R. Church discovered a prophetic principle that had been noted by others, but never deciphered. Building upon the ancient Jewish idea that the sages considered the Psalms to be a history of Israel, he discerned that the Psalms laid out the history of Israel year by year in the twentieth century, and beyond.
He wrote about this principle in his book Hidden Prophecies in the Psalms, noting that each of the Psalms seemed to apply to a year in the Gentile calendar. Psalm 19, the year 1919, Psalm 48, the year 1948, Psalm 107, the year 2007, and so on. In the year 2012, this would bring us to Psalm 112.
And wonder of wonders, the subject of this particular Psalm is faith, in the face of fearful events to come! This is the very meaning of the Psalm. Its words of consolation speak with special urgency to the believer entering a year of trepidation. It carries a special blessing for the man who heeds its words.
We reprint the Psalm here in its entirety. Note the amazing “coincidences” that link it with the theme of this year. (Of course, in the Lord, there are no coincidences.)
It begins by urging the believer to fear the Lord, not coming events on planet Earth. It promises light in darkness. It speaks of the faithful man as immovable, and unafraid of evil tidings. He will not be shaken by news of threats to come, and not be afraid. The heart of the faithful is established (supported), so that it shall not fall.
In the end, the enemy of the faithful man will be frustrated, finally falling away completely. Read these words carefully. They seem specifically formulated for a time such as this.
“Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.
“His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed.
“Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever.
“Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
“A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion.
“Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.
“He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.
“His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies.
“He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour.
“The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall perish” (Psalm 112:1-10).
The year of fear may be here, but we can take refuge in the providence of the Lord. The words of this Psalm directly contradict the world’s evaluation of our current situation. It’s hard to imagine a greater contrast between fear and faith. Throughout the Bible, there are many similar statements. In the year of fear, we would do well to remember the words of Solomon:
“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge” (Prov. 14:26).
Keep looking up!