How did the 16th century psychic Nostradamus map out the future of the past four centuries? Or did he?
The summer of 1981 witnessed a strange sequence of events in Europe. Earlier that spring, against a Western tide of political conservatism, a socialist swept into power in France. Then came the near assassination of a Pope. And to the surprise of many, riots erupted in England.
Unrelated events? At first glance, it would seem so.
But a new translation of a medieval book of prophecy rocked Europe when it appeared to predict the above three events nearly four centuries in advance.
“Roman Pope do not approach the city in which the two rivers bathe,” reads an English translation of the obscure French writings of the 16th-century medical doctor Michel de Nostredame — better known as Nostradamus. “Your blood and that of your followers will flow near this place when the rose will flower.”
This verse is from Nostradamus’ 16th-century book The True Centuries — a book divided into 10 sections of about 100 verses or quatrains. This particular verse is number 97 from book II.
At first, these words would appear to be a meaningless jumble. But M. Jean-Charles de Fontbrune (a pseudonym), a French pharmaceutical executive, claims to have interpreted the “rose” in the latter part of the verse. He shocked Europe by claiming it as the party symbol of French President Francois Mitterrand. During the 1980-81 French campaign, President Mitterrand would often hold aloft a freshly cut rose as the symbol of forthcoming prosperity.
But so, too, did West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt hold up a rose at his party’s victory!
The flowering of the French political rose occurred less than a year before Pope John Paul II was shot while greeting well-wishers in a public square in Vatican City near the two mouths of the Tiber river. A number of Catholics who strained to glimpse their religious leader also fell under the sharp gunfire from the assassin. The “blood … of your followers,” it is said, was fulfilled in this deed.
Elsewhere in Nostradamus’ obscure, crabbed writings runs the theme of violence in England. When riots unexpectedly erupted in Liverpool in the summer of 1981, some added these verses to the prediction.
Not so, thought thousands as they gobbled up more than 700,000 copies of the new computer-enhanced translation and interpretation of Nostradamus’ True Centuries.
To achieve this impact on his readers, Mr. de Fontbrune had taken several of the quatrains once ascribed to other Popes and political leaders and reassigned them. Even the verse (II, 97) that supposedly now predicted John Paul’s gun wound was earlier thought to describe the death of Pope Pius VI at Valence, France, in 1799.
But the new translation, Nostradamus: Historien et Prophète (in English, Nostradamus: Historian and Prophet), spawned widespread anxiety, to the point where Mr. de Fontbrune later publicly lamented, “I am frightened by the panic that my book on Nostradamus has unleashed on France.”
Why such panic? Because the 565-page translation — of material written in a curious mixture of Latin, Italian, Greek, a southeastern French dialect and classical French, which must be translated even into modern French — indicates that more than two thirds of Nostradamus’ 1,050 quatrains reflect grisly events scheduled to come in this century.
As interpreted by various individuals, Nostradamus is thought to predict that before the 20th century ended, a blazing meteor would fall into the Indian Ocean, spawning awesome tidal waves that will engulf most of southern Asia and Australia (I, 69); the United States and Soviet Union would unite in an awesome economic and military alliance (VI, 21); a dark Arabic prince would arise and plunge the world into nuclear, chemical and biological warfare, beginning in the Middle East (V, 25, 78; VI, 80); and Europe would collapse under the ensuing onslaught, with few to survive past A.D. 1999.
The result of Nostradamus’ book? A leading French newsweekly declared editorially: “Fear is becoming a market. One hundred days after having brought Mitterrand to power, our citizens are paying $20 a copy [for Mr. de Fontbrune’s book] to shudder in horror.”
In almost a mirror image of the 1981 panic from Nostradamus’ predictions, the late 1800s similarly saw France frozen in fear of seemingly prophesied upheaval. An exciting interpretation of Nostradamus insisted that the Bourbon line of kings would be restored to the French throne. The interpretation was wrong and failed to appear.
Is it possible to know the future? Some turn to the writings of Nostradamus. Others to I Ching coins and various alternatives for clues to what the future holds.
But what criteria should be applied to determine whether such sources are in fact reliable? Would you put your faith in Nostradamus?
Notice how Nostradamus himself claimed to have received his information.
In the first two quatrains of True Centuries, Nostradamus reveals that he would gaze into a bowl of water supported on a tripod. From there he would lapse into a trance, later recovering to write what he insists he saw. In addition to the visions, Nostradamus employed astrology and attempted to contact the dead. In the preface to True Centuries, which was dedicated to his son, Nostradamus claimed all of his visions came from the Creator God who is revealed in the ancient writings today known as the Holy Bible. While lamely admitting that the Bible condemns all of the means he used to obtain his visions, he asserted “we have to exempt from this [biblical] judgment Judicial Astrology.”
Scholars also note that the bowl of water method used by Nostradamus was originated centuries earlier by the 4th century A.D. neo-Platonist Iamblichus. His book De Mysteris Egyptorum (The Mysteries of Egypt), detailing these methods and published in A.D. 1547, almost certainly was read by Nostradamus.
The simple fact that Nostradamus used means of foretelling forbidden in the Holy Bible proves the Creator God has nothing to do with these prophecies.
What does God command? “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God …” (Lev. 19:31).
So we see that Nostradamus’ claims to divine assistance in his divination are false claims.
Testing and Proving
The other major criticism of Nostradamus is that his predictions are impossible to interpret accurately until after the event has passed!
One author of a Nostradamus interpretation admits: “As far as is known, Nostradamus did not leave a ‘key’ to his predictions. If he did, it has certainly been lost…. The need of having to interpret his predictions without the help of such an aid has led to some curious and widely varied versions of his quatrains.”
Further, many of Nostradamus’ predictions are simply wrong!
In 1564, almost a decade after the first published edition of True Centuries, Nostradamus predicted a full life of 90 years for French king Charles IX. The king died a mere 10 years later at the young age of 24.
In book VI, verse 62, of True Centuries, Nostradamus predicted a 16th-century Italian league against France. It never materialized.
Twentieth-century editions of True Centuries for the most part conveniently leave out the preface, which among other inaccurate prophecies, predicts: “From the time I am writing this [in 1555], before 177 years, 3 months and 11 days, by pestilence, long famine and wars … the world between this day … shall be diminished and its population so reduced that there will hardly be hands enough to attend to agriculture.”
Any history student knows that 177 years later in 1732, Europe — far from being diminished — was busy colonizing and developing vast empires.
Only a few decades later, the Industrial Revolution — not, incidentally, predicted in any form by Nostradamus — would catapult the British peoples and later the United States into positions of power and influence. Subsequent development of farming implements did result in “fewer hands attending to agriculture;” but in complete contrast to Nostradamus’ statement, resultant vast supplies of food and better living conditions spawned incredible leaps in population.
Nostradamus, in short, is a very poor prophet — if indeed he could be called a prophet!
What Hidden Sources Did Nostradamus Consult?
The poetic quatrains of Michel de Nostredame’s True Centuries have been a best-seller for more than 400 years.
Oxford scholar Erika Cheetham claims that “Nostradamus [Michel de Nostredame’s popular name] is probably the only author who could claim that his work has never been out of print for over four hundred years, apart from the Bible. The interest he generates is extraordinary” (The Prophecies of Nostradamus, page 12).
The chief reason for this popularity is that Nostradamus’ quatrains written in 1555 appear to contain remarkably accurate predictions.
In book IX, verses 20 and 34, Nostradamus wrote of French king Louis XVI’s flight to Varennes, France, nearly 150 years before the fact. In book II, verse 51, he appears to predict the Great Fire of London of 1666.
Also, in several verses, he appears to predict the careers of Napoleon (I, 23, 59-60; III, 35; IV, 37, 54; VIII, 57) and Adolf Hitler (III, 35, 58; V, 29; VI, 50-51; IX, 90).
How can this be explained? It is 95 percent explained by the fact that most students of Nostradamus assign events to the obscure writings after they occur!
Nostradamus chose to intentionally obscure his writings in a curious poetic mixture of classical French, Latin, Greek, Italian and other European languages. He claimed it was for his protection.
In his Epistle to French King Henry II, Nostradamus wrote: “Had I wished to give every quatrain its detailed date, it could easily have been done, but it would not have been agreeable to all, and still less to interpret them, Sire, until your majesty should have fully sanctioned me to do this, in order not to furnish calumniators [false accusers] with an opportunity to injure me.”
Despite these evasive comments, Nostradamus, scholars say, does appear to have made some accurate predictions. How was he able to foretell specific fragments of the future?
Visions of the Future?
Nostradamus presents what he asserts was his chief method of divination in the opening quatrains of book I:
“Sitting alone at night in secret study; it [a bowl of water] is placed on the brass tripod. A slight flame comes out of the emptiness… .
“The wand in the hand is placed in the middle of the tripod’s legs. With water he sprinkles both the hem of his garment and his foot. A voice, fear; he [Nostradamus] trembles in his robes. Divine splendour; the god sits nearby” (book I, verses 1-2, Cheetham trans., emphasis added).
Nostradamus also employed other methods of the occult. He had an extensive occult library, which he later burned. In the preface of his book, dedicated to his son (Preface a mon fits), he wrote of this extensive library: “Dreading what might happen in the future, after reading them [the occult books], I presented them to Vulcan [a pagan Roman god of fire], and as the fire kindled them, the flame … shot forth an unaccustomed brightness, clearer than the light is of natural flame, resembling more the explosion of powder, casting a subtle illumination over the house.”
What was the source of Nostradamus’ predictions? Rene Noorbergen, the author of a book explaining True Centuries, explains: “Whether the majority of his visions came … from psychic inspiration, necromancy, tarot cards or a refined form of witchcraft, we will probably never learn. We might conclude, however, that his hidden source knew much of the course history would take, and possibly had the power to control or at least influence some of the major future historical developments” (Nostradamus Predicts the End of the World, pages 3-4, emphasis added). What hidden source?
A Serious Warning
A far more authoritative ancient volume, which precedes Nostradamus by many centuries, warns against this type of consultation. The Holy Bible, a source often overlooked, reveals the existence of a hidden dimension — a dimension inhabited by spirit beings.
In charge of the world of spirits stand God the Father, Jesus Christ and an innumerable company of powerful angels. In opposition — and permitted to influence the minds of mortal humans — the Bible reveals a group of miserable, cunning, competitive spirit beings led by a spirit known in the Bible as Adversary or Satan.
The apostle Paul identifies Satan as “the god of this age” (II Cor. 4:4). Compare this with Nostradamus’ quatrain saying that “the god sits nearby” — a being Nostradamus thought to be the Holy Spirit of God.
But what the Holy Spirit of God does reveal in the Bible is a world of spirit beings — today known as demons — who attempt to declare the future through willing humans! Take the example recorded in Acts 16:16: “Now it happened … that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling”.
We are commanded: “Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 19:31).
Few realize that demons are committed to the spiritual destruction of mankind! They are unalterably opposed to God’s way of life and to man’s incredible potential — that of literally becoming the sons of God! The Bible reveals that God has adopted a basic hands-off policy in human affairs for a period of 6,000 years. The first human beings wanted it that way! They didn’t want God telling them how to direct their lives. God only intervenes now as it suits his divine purpose for man.
Equally, few understand that God now permits Satan and his demons some freedom to influence and control, in varying degree, human events (Job 1:6-12).
God reveals that Satan and his demons regard themselves under no obligation to speak truth! God marks Satan as the father of lies (John 8:44). The Bible reveals that God allows “lying spirits” to possess those who proclaim themselves prophets (I Kings 22:23).
Their modus operandi is usually, as in Nostradamus’ case, to predict certain small instances to occur in the future.
As soon as they’ve established a measure of credibility, they immediately put forth confusing prophecies intentionally difficult to understand that lead away from God’s revealed purpose.
The Costs of the Occult
Latest available figures show that multiple millions are spent on divination, astrology and other occult material.
In France, divination has been officially banned for more than a century. In this homeland of Nostradamus, in 1945 the official penalty was increased for habitual offenders of this prohibition to eight days imprisonment.
Yet, according to the French National Institute of Statistics, more than 100,000 Parisians regularly consult more than 6,000 astrologers! The same bureau said that more than 34,000 fortune-tellers receive more than the equivalent of $120 million annually for their services!
This is an incredibly costly practice — regardless of where it occurs.
Source: Plain Truth, 1983