The ancient Mayans, based on star charting, prophesied that December 21, 2012, would be the end of the world (or at least the date of some type of universal catastrophe). Meso-American star charting started around 680 B.C. in the Olmec civilization, who recorded astrological patterns and eventually shared this information with the Mayans. The Mayans had a long history of tracking the winter solstice (probably for planting crops) and creating calendars (at least 17 that we know of). At some point, they developed the belief that the sun is a god and that the Milky Way, which they called the “Sacred Tree,” was a gateway to the afterlife. After learning from the Olmecs, the Mayans kept records of the stars’ patterns of movement for the next 200-300 years.
The Mayans developed their own calendar (The Long Count) ca. 355 B.C. They were able to use their observations and mathematical prowess to calculate the future movements of stars across the sky. The result was that the Mayans discovered the effect of the earth’s wobbling as it spins on its axis. This wobbling rotation causes the stars’ movements to drift gradually in the sky (an effect called “precession”) in a 5,125-year cycle. The Mayans also discovered that once every cycle the dark band at the center of the Milky Way (called the “Galactic Equator”) intersects the Elliptical (the plane of the sun’s movement across the sky).
During the year of the intersection, the sun reaches its solstice (a brief moment when the sun’s position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance on the other side of the equatorial plane from the observer) on December 21 for the Northern Hemisphere and June 21 for the Southern Hemisphere. At that time, the solstice occurs at the same moment of the conjunction of the Galactic Equator with the Milky Way. The year this occurs (in relation to our Gregorian calendar) is A.D. 2012, and happened last on August 11, 3114 B.C. With Mayan mythology teaching that the sun is a god and the Milky Way is the gateway to life and death, the Mayans concluded that this intersection in the past must have been the moment of creation. Mayan hieroglyphs seem to indicate that they believed the next intersection (in 2012) would be some sort of end and a new beginning of a cycle.
All the so-called “Mayan prophecies of 2012” are nothing more than wildly speculative extrapolations, based on the yet-uncertain interpretations by scholars of Mayan hieroglyphs. The truth is that, apart from the astrological convergence, there is little indication that the Mayans prophesied anything specific regarding the events in their distant future. The Mayans were not prophets; they were not even able to predict their own cultural extinction. They were great mathematicians and accomplished sky watchers, but they were also a brutally violent tribal people with a primitive understanding of natural phenomena, subscribing to archaic beliefs and the barbaric practices of blood-letting and human sacrifice. (They believed, for example, that the blood of human sacrifices powered the sun and gave it life.)
There is absolutely nothing in the Bible that would present December 21, 2012, as the end of the world. While that date is no less valid for an end-times event than any other future date, the Bible nowhere presents the astronomical phenomena the Mayans pointed to as a sign of the end times. It would seem inconsistent of God to allow the Mayans to discover such an amazing truth while keeping the many Old Testament prophets ignorant of the timing of the events. In summary, there is absolutely no biblical evidence that the 2012 Mayan prophecy / prediction of doomsday is in any sense valid or probable.
Accepting the Mayan 2012 prophecy requires acceptance of the following theories: our sun is a god; the sun is powered by the blood of human sacrifice; the creation moment occurred at 3114 B.C. (despite all evidence that it happened much earlier); and the visual alignment of stars has some significance for everyday human life. Like every other false religion, the Mayan religion sought to elevate the creation instead of the Creator Himself. The Bible tells us about such false worshipers: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25), and “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). To accept the Mayan 2012 prophecy also denies the clear biblical teaching about the end of the world. Jesus told us, “Of that day and hour no one knows, no, not the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32).