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ChurchWatch

Join Craig von Buseck weekdays as he shares his perspective on the major trends and news affecting the Body of Christ today.

2012: The End of the World?

I grew up in the height of the Charismatic Movement where the "End Times" were always "at hand". I can remember hearing dozens of scenarios for how Jesus was coming back any day. And there were also dozens of songs pining away about how "I wish we'd all been ready." And who can forget the  action-packed epic movies like "A Thief in the Night" and "A Distant Thunder".

That was nearly 40 years ago, and while the Christians who produced these movies and books were no doubt sincere, they were all wrong -- Jesus did not come back in the 1970s. And all the 88 reasons why Jesus was supposed to come back in 1988 turned out to be false as well.

Now we are hearing a growing chorus of voices -- including the upcoming Hollywood movie, also called 2012 -- saying that the world is going to end in 2012. We'll see.

Fuel has been added to the fire recently with the release of scientific reports that there is an expectation of major solar storms in 2012.

I find great comfort and wisdom in the words of Jesus that, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Matthew 24:36, NIV). So I don't allow myself to get caught up in "rapture fever". I find it to be mostly a waste of time and energy that could be better spent helping hurting people and preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ.

But just to stay in balance, the Lord instructed that disciples were to be aware of the "signs of the times" and when these things begin appearing to "...stand and look up, for your salvation is near!" (Luke 21:28b, NLT) So we are to study the signs of the times, but not to be so caught up in "end-times theology" that we are distracted from the important work of the Great Commission.

In light of this, I believe this prophetic exhortation by R. Loren Sandford, pastor of New Song Fellowship in Denver, Colorado, is timely. This prophetic word was published in Charisma Magazine's online Prophetic Insights section.


In recent weeks I've found I can no longer turn to the History Channel (my favorite) without being confronted with the Nostradamus Effect, the Mayan calendar, the Chinese I'ching or the Christian prophet, Malachy, from the 12th century, each of which has been said to have declared the end of the world in this time period. Even people who don't read their Bibles seem to be focused on the last days.

Will the world end in 2012? I don't believe so. But in that time period and leading up to it we will see an acceleration of instability and uncertainty in the world. This will not be a collapse, but rather an intensification of fear as the whirlwind of change across the globe gathers speed.

It will appear that major nations once at war with one another are making peace. In terms of the possibility of major wars, therefore, there will be a diminished sense of danger, while smaller conflicts in more localities will likely escalate, in both number and intensity. It will be a time of "wars and rumors of wars" (Matt. 24:6, NASB), but not on a world scale.

We will also see an increase in natural disasters in various places—earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, hurricanes and tornadoes. Earth can no longer bear up under the weight of the sin of mankind (see Matt. 24).

The coming turmoil will be felt primarily in global power shifts in both comparative military might and economic influence. These shifts are already taking place. America will remain a big fish in the world's pond, but it will no longer be the only big fish in the world's pond and will therefore feel itself diminished in terms of significance on the world stage.

These changes, among other influences, will lead to increased political turmoil and greater ideological polarization in America. We will be an increasingly divided nation with an escalating risk of erupting violence as frustration grows; ethnic and cultural groups see themselves disempowered; and people seek outlets for the fear and anger they feel due to not being heard by their government and/or other ethnic and cultural groups.

In days to come believers must not feed these divisions or participate in them at any level or in any way. We have been called as reconcilers who have been given a ministry of reconciliation, not division (see 2 Cor. 5:18).

That being said, no matter what we do, we will be increasingly marginalized culturally as a result of societal disfavor in days to come, but we must take care that our own attitudes and behavior in response to such disfavor do not draw unnecessary levels of opposition upon us.

In the years to come it will become more and more necessary that we live as the first and second century Christians did under the Roman Empire. They didn't equate their Christian faith with a political movement or party as so many of us do today—"My kingdom is not of this world," Jesus told his disciples (John 18:36)—but rather became known for their love when everyone else's love grew cold. They openly modeled a moral and glorious lifestyle without issuing scathing condemnations of Roman immorality.

"See how the Christians love," became the testimony of those who observed their character and their conduct toward one another as well as toward outsiders. It wasn't that they didn't address sin. They did, in fact, call for repentance, but left judgment, vengeance and condemnation up to God. This made them wonderfully attractive to growing numbers of Romans who were hungering for an alternative to the destruction brought on by the sin that infected the core of Roman society.

Historically, societal decay has always set the stage for revival because sin brings death—and death makes people hungry for healing. If we will set a course to be Christlike in days to come, we can turn the tide of disfavor and win multitudes to Jesus.

The years to come may therefore be tumultuous and fearful ones for the world, but if we will take our rightful places as ministers of the kingdom of God—a kingdom of love, service, and signs and wonders—the coming years will be the most glorious the church has ever known. Romans 8:19: "For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God." This is our hour! Matthew 24:14: "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come." 

See Fox News Report: Nasa Warns Of Super Solar Storm in 2012


About the author: R. Loren Sandford is the founder and senior pastor of New Song Fellowship in Denver, Colorado. He is also the author of several books, including Understanding Prophetic People and The Prophetic Church (both published by Chosen). Audio and video recordings of Sandford's messages may be purchased on his church's Web site, newsongfellowship.org.

Prophetic Insight is a weekly bulletin offering timely and relevant messages for the body of Christ from recognized prophetic voices. It is prepared by Maureen Eha, features editor for Charisma magazine. Used with permission.

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Print      Email to a Friend    posted on Tuesday, September 29, 2009 4:33 PM

Comments on this post

# RE: 2012: The End of the World?

Craig,

Your first paragraph is almost identical to a conversation I had with a friend two hours ago and the rest of the content from our conversation lies in the article.

Thank you for publishing this piece. I will pass it on.
Left by SheSpeaks2Inspire on Sep 29, 2009 5:24 PM

# RE: 2012: The End of the World?

Thanks for the article Craig. I think with the apocalypse being the soup de jour of the current times with the way the world is going, it is scary to see so many people (especially Christians) getting so "giddy". When I talk about striving for peace between countries and things like taking care of this earth we live on by doing our part to cut down on excessive consumption and waste, so many seem to not care because they believe we won't be on this planet much longer anyway...which is a TERRIBLE way to think, because, what if they're wrong? Like you have pointed out others who have claimed the same thing in the past.

As far as this "rapture" thing is concerned, I'm not sure what I believe personally. I think a lot of what our current culture perceives as the "end times" stems from theology from the Left Behind series, John Nelson Darby, and C.I. Scofield, which none is actually "biblical".

We need to remember that God is in control and we should be concerned about the present.
Left by tj_hands on Sep 29, 2009 8:48 PM

# RE: 2012: The End of the World?

I would venture into a guess that the talks about the world ending in 2012 is the result of a very good marketing and promotion strategy by Sony Pictures for their new movie to be released on November entitled 2012, with a plot centered on the end of the world. They have gone to the extent of publishing a completely bogus website for the Institute of Human Continuity (http://instituteforhumancontinuity.org), with news reports, countdown to survival, and other articles, which has deceived (even temporarily)many people including some scholars and a scientist (as shown in this LiveScience article - http://tinyurl.com/2012hoax).

If people are really taking this "2012 end of the world" news seriously because they haven't heard of the movie yet, then its disturbing that until now so few know about the words of Jesus.

Nevertheless, such manifestation of fear and panic about the world ending soon should be taken by the Church as an opportunity to spread the good news of the kingdom of God.
Left by Gail T on Sep 30, 2009 2:57 AM

# RE: 2012: The End of the World?

I totaly agree with you. There are individuals who are good at instilling fear and confusion and if we are not careful we will be caught up in this 'end of the world' stories. I pray that people amend their ways with GOD and spread the gospel to all corners of the world. Let us be found ready like the 5 wise virgins in Matthew 25 prepared for the Lord.
Left by Winnet on Sep 30, 2009 4:34 AM

# RE: 2012: The End of the World?

Thank you for this important article. As a pastor's wife, I am astounded that some Christians I know are actually concerned about this! Why would a Christian put their faith in a pagan calendar over the Bible? It makes no sense.

I sure hope pastors today are teaching their congregations to heed the words of Jesus in Matthew. If the Son does not know the day or the hour, how can a group of Mayans who didn't even know Jesus?
Left by MomOf4 on Sep 30, 2009 12:53 PM

# RE: 2012: The End of the World?

Great, thought-provoking blog! I checked my records and found several relevant items. To see them, Google or Yahoo "The Real Pretrib Calendar," "Famous Rapture Watchers," and "Famous Rapture Watchers - Addendum." (The last listing quotes Pat Robertson and other leading Christians.) And the best scholarly treatment of the origins of the various rapture views that I have read is without doubt "The Rapture Plot" by Dave MacPherson whose research has been endorsed by many scholars including F. F. Bruce, Robert Gundry, Gary North, J. I. Packer, J. Barton Payne, R. J. Rushdoony, Merrill Tenney etc. MacPherson even spent much time searching for relevant phrases in early Irvingite and Plymouth Brethren documents (such as "rapture," "any moment," "Antichrist," "firstfruits," "Israel" etc.) to find the first usage of such terms and the authors of them whether Darby or someone else. CBN is to be commended for bringing to all of us what we need to know during the present world conditions! JonEd
Left by JonEd on Oct 01, 2009 10:01 AM

# RE: 2012: The End of the World?

Correction: The first article in the above item of mine should have said "The Newest Pretrib Calendar." Sorry. JonEd
Left by JonEd on Oct 01, 2009 10:24 AM

# RE: 2012: The End of the World?

great post, really thought provoking.
Left by Terri on Oct 01, 2009 2:59 PM

# RE: 2012: The End of the World?

I think the above article was very good. As I have surveyed the various issues of the end times and listened to those who have something to say on the matter, I have come to realize that some who speak on the issue ( within the church) may not have founded the house of their faith or expectations on the rock mentioned in Matthew 7:24-29.

I have used Matthew 24 as a help in gaining some understanding on the matter. In particular, I have followed the path established by the presence of the word coming or parousia (Strong's 3952)located in Matthew 24 and elsewhere as it pertains to the Lord's return.
Left by joe on Oct 01, 2009 11:19 PM

# RE: 2012: The End of the World?


Just saw the Search 2012 billboard in LA. If they want people to believe a partial element of what is unsure and bad news. How about alot of what has proven sure and is Good News:

2Pet 1:16-21 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed,[a] which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,[b] 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God[c] spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
Left by marroneaa on Oct 04, 2009 10:30 AM

# RE: 2012: The End of the World?

Thank you for your spiritual shoring up of our faith. Yes, only Jesus knows the time. AMEN. We need to be ready all the time, for the wonderful coming of the Lord for His bride.
Left by Carol on Oct 05, 2009 11:40 PM

# RE: 2012: The End of the World?

THE BIBLE STATES END TIMES WILL OCCUR IN A PLACE CALL MOUNTAIN CALLED MEGGIDO .WHICH IS THE FINAL BATTLE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL ,
Left by christianjew on Oct 20, 2009 4:40 PM

# RE: 2012: The End of the World?

From what I've learned, I believe the gov't is gearing up to make a move on rounding up Christians and gassing us to death. I am ready to die for Christ. They have the camps and gas chambers ready. They will pick us up 2 weeks before martial law is passed. i've made peace that this may happen to me. So I'm seeking Gods face. What matters now is to live each moment to the fullest for Christ today and every day we have left. seek Gods face
Left by linda leach on Oct 22, 2009 11:02 AM

# RE: 2012: The End of the World?

WHAT DID EZEKIEL7 PROPHESY ALL ABOUT IF NOT IN GOOD SENSE OF AMOS8:11-12 JUDGMENT?
Left by umuekempi on Oct 24, 2009 3:10 PM

# RE: 2012: The End of the World?

WHAT DID EZEKIEL7 PROPHESY ALL ABOUT IF NOT IN GOOD SENSE OF AMOS8:11-12 JUDGMENT?If the present is in backward motion harmonic language judgment with other brilliant stars thought plant in air form contributions for complex building heart center temple house body of manhood , then the end had come in a way that may might look very strange like thief . Indeed, the prerogative of the victor is the rewriting of history to counter the work of those who seek to change in good sense of JEREMIAH 8:8 judgment . To this end, dooms day just as the climate change judgment day in December31, 2009 , end for the new beginning is that of a day when the world wish the end for a new beginning or the much awaited change never comes even if it stares them on the face saying , here I am . Indeed, climate change to some , might just be the end for a new beginning . it is that change that youe life either stops, crushes , or totally becomes meaningless in good sense of judgment as it is now
Left by umuekempi on Oct 24, 2009 3:33 PM

# RE: 2012: The End of the World?

I have to agree with the comments above about the world ending in 2012 is only a good strategy for marketing movies. Like the article said, Mathew 24;36 says no one will know when the end is coming. The more that i hear the world will end in two thousand twelve, only makes me believe that it is surely not going to end in 2012. However I do believe we could be very close to the end of days. The second book of Timothy does give us some good insight as what to expect. The book says that men will be lovers of themselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. Although these things may have applied years ago, I think they apply more so now than ever and we are approaching the end
Left by Marine84 on Nov 02, 2009 10:00 PM