Modern man has made a big mistake. He thinks that ancient man was a primitive and that mankind has been evolving upwards ever since. Not true. And this erroneous conclusion leads to serious misunderstandings.
The Jewish tradition - the true tradition - tells us that the first man had all knowledge and existed at an exalted level before his fall and exile from Gan Eden. He was able to look into every animate and inanimate thing and call it by a name which perfectly expressed its inner essence. He was more a being of light than a being of flesh at that time, but his breaking of the Creator's commandment not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil caused him to fall from that exalted state and lose many of his spiritual abilities.
Even so, he knew what he knew and he passed his knowledge down. Because people lived such long lives, Noah actually lived at the same time as Adam HaRishon's grandson. And then Avraham Avinu lived at the same time as Noah's son Shem. And, of course, Avraham Avinu was still alive when Ya'aqov Avinu was a young man. As you can see, the information did not have to pass through very many people to come down to the heads of the tribes of Israel by oral tradition.
The generation that built the Tower of Bavel was so technologically advanced that had Hashem not confused the languages, there was nothing they could not have achieved. Our tradition tells us further that at the same time the languages were confused, the land mass of the world was broken into continents and separated by the oceans.
Science has always confirmed this, but insisted that it was a process that took millions of years. But, today, they admit it could have happened in a matter of days. (The rabbis say that the more science learns, the more it proves Torah and that the closer we get to Mashiach, the less contradiction there will be between the two.) This also explains how pyramids of similar design, astronomically aligned and constructed in a manner which still cannot be duplicated, can be found on every continent.
We have examples from the Tanakh of powers that people possessed in the past due to their superior knowledge. For example, Egypt's magicians could duplicate the plagues, although only to a point. The Erev Rav used the same "magic" to create the Golden Calf. Go and read in Melachim Bet, chapter 6, about the floating ax head. I'm sure there are other examples.
Now, we come to the Mayan calendar whose authenticity and accuracy are not in dispute. The only thing that is in dispute is the meaning of the date 21.12.2012 for mankind.
Among the oral traditions of many Indian tribes like the Maya and the Hopi, it marks the end of one cycle and the beginning of another cycle. However, this refers to cycles of creation as our own tradition teaches - that there were worlds which pre-existed our current one. The Maya say we are finishing the fourth and moving into the fifth. The Hopi say it's the third going into the fourth. The rabbis say we could be in either the second or the seventh of seven cycles in all. The Tanakh says that after this world, Hashem will create a new heaven and a new earth. (Yeshayahu 65.17)
The generations have not been getting smarter and more powerful. Just the opposite! The generations are going down, getting weaker and losing valuable information along the way. It seems that only those with an oral tradition passed down from father to son and teacher to student are even vaguely aware of where we have come from and where we are all going. As the Maya have said, they are not expecting the end of the world, but a transition to a higher state of being.
This is, in fact, our own expectation. We're on our way back to Eden - to recover the former state of the first man of this cycle of creation in which we've been living for 5773 years. And according to our prophets, we will attain it during what we call the Messianic Era, which is scheduled to occur before the year 6000 and according to some sources, before the years 5786 or 5790 when the resurrection of the dead will begin.
The only thing we know for sure about the Mayan date 21.12.2012, and which has been confirmed by scientists who knew nothing of it until the last few years, is that the earth will complete a precessional cycle which takes 26,000 years. At this same time, the sun and the earth will be in precise alignment with the black hole at the center of the galaxy. No one knows for sure what effect this might have, if anything discernible, but it is possible that the increase in radiation could cause our sun to emit a super flare. It's possible that the approaching event has been causing the sun to gradually heat up and consequently, heat up the planets as well and this could account for what people have been referring to as global warming and its effects on the weather. There is a portion of the scientific community that says that the warming is not confined to earth and that the sun is the cause rather than carbon emissions.
Take a look at this:
Over the next few months the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy will set about consuming a vast cloud of interstellar dust and gas - somewhat prosaically known as G2 - that has strayed too close to the singularity's event horizon.
It promises to be quite a show as all the material that doesn't get sucked into oblivion will be swept up, swirled around in a gigantic catherine wheel, heated, stretched, shredded and finally fired out again in a dazzling display of gravitational power. Not something astronomers get to see every day according to Dr Karen Masters from the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at Portsmouth University.
"The black hole at the centre of our galaxy is normally quite quiet, docile even, but as this cloud begins to fall in the material is going to get very, very hot and it's going to start emitting all sorts of radiation. We don't know exactly what's going to happen but we know it's going to be spectacular...." (Source: BBC News)
The Jewish tradition states clearly that there will be changes in the celestial bodies at the end of the age before we transition from the world-as-we-know-it-now to the Messianic Era. Will it start on 21.12.2012? Will it culminate on 21.12.2012? Or will the date pass inconspicuously?