One very common response when we discuss Bible prophecies is that people quote other prophetic sources as being equally valid. The most common one is Nostradamus. It is claimed that he predicted Hitlers rule, man landing on the moon and the assassination of President Kennedy, amongst other things.
Who was Nostradamus?
Nostradamus was born Jewish in France in 1503. In the early 1500s King Louis VII ordered all Jews to be baptised as Catholics or suffer the consequences, so the Nostradamus family decided to be baptised but secretly held on to their former beliefs. Nostradamus studied the classics as well as philosophy, but his real interest was in the occult and astrology. By day he lived as a good Catholic but by night he burned candles as he delved into the mystics. He would empty his mind of all thought and gaze into a water bowl where he would see visions of the future.
He began to write down his prophecies in quatrains or four line poems. One such prophecy correctly predicted the death of King Henry in a jousting accident which took place two years after the prophecy was given. This gave Nostradamus fame throughout Europe. He went on to publish a book which would tell of future events until the end of time, which was called The Centuries.
What did he believe?
Nostradamus believed that all that he accomplished was through divine power and inspiration. His religious belief was that mankind, represented by Adam and Eve, fell from union with God into a state of forgetfulness. The way back was by studying the Tree of Life, a mystic path with ten levels of consciousness. This is in fact the way of the Kaballah, a Jewish system of mysticism similar to some eastern religions.
Nostradamus used well known rituals which involved surrendering his will in an occult trance in order to receive his prophecies. In his book on Nostradamus Francis King writes: There is evidence to be found in the curious forty-second quatrain of Century One that makes it seem quite certain that Nostradamus had some knowledge of both the darker aspects of occult arts and of modes of divination involving the use of basins. … Those about to prophesy take a basin of water, which attracts the spirits of the depths. The basin seems to breathe as with sounds. The water in the basin excels because of a power imparted to it by incantations, which have rendered it capable of being imbued with the energies of spirits of prophecy. A thin voice begins to utter predictions. A spirit of this sort journeys where it wills and always speaks with a low voice.
The Bible spoke of this spirit that always spoke with a low voice: And they shall say unto them that have familiar spirits that peep and mutter … and your speech shall be low out of the dust, and your voice shall be of one that has a familiar spirit. Isaiah 8.19, 29.4. See also Deuteronomy 18.9-14.
The fact is that people can and do make accurate predictions by this method at least some of the time. If they did not, no one would ever believe in them. Satan has some limited knowledge of the future and knows how to deceive people by this method. So did Nostradamus make accurate predictions?
The problem with Nostradamus prophecies is that the language is very obscure and almost anything can be read into them. Add to this the translation from Medieval French into English and the imagination of his supporters and you have a recipe for confusion. One of his most famous prophecies is said to speak of Hitler by name:
In the year that is to come soon, and not far from Venus,
The two greatest ones of Asia and Africa,
Shall be said to come from the Rhine and Ister,
Crying and tears shall be at Malta and on the Italian shore.
In case you missed it Hitlers name is the last word of the third line. However a different translation renders Ister as the Lower Danube from Hister, the Latin name for the Danube!
Nostradamus interpreters also differ greatly in their understanding of his prophecies. For example this quatrain:
Near the harbours within two cities,
There will happen two scourges the like of which was never before seen,
Famine, pestilence within, people put out by the sword.
Then cry for help from the great immortal God!
This is said to be about the day Hiroshima was irradiated capturing the prophets horror while witnessing the two Japanese ports sacrificed on the altar of the dawning nuclear age. (John Hogue, Nostradamus and the Millennium). However according to Jean-Charles de Fontbrune in Nostradamus – Countdown to Apocalypse, this prophecy clearly predicts the Berlin Wall which divides the city in two. Two cities near the gate. In fact the forecasting of Nostradamus is often so vague it can be shaped by the hands of the wildest imagination. It can be made to mean almost anything.
Biblical sources for Nostradamus.
It is clear that Nostradamus was familiar with the Bible as he often quotes from it or refers to its passages. He writes of the great Gog and Magog who shall wreak so much abominable destruction. He uses phrases like tribulation, Antichrist, latter days God loosed Satan, fire and sword, the sea shall be red great tribulation as ever did happen. Clearly he would have had some knowledge therefore of the biblical view of the coming time of tribulation when giving his prophecies. The parts he got right therefore are derived from the Bible, the true source of prophecy. That is not to say there is any profit in studying Nostradamus, because even what he got right is mixed up with the spirit of error which comes from the occult source of his writings.
The only true source of information about prophetic events is the Bible. Here are some of the current events or trends prophesied in the Bible:
- There will be a restoration of Israel as a Jewish homeland (Ezekiel 36-7).
- There will be a great conflict in the Middle East and hostility towards Israel from all nations. (Ezekiel 38-9, Zechariah 12-14, Revelation 16-19).
- There will be an increase in wars, famines and earthquakes leading to a time of great trouble on the earth. (Matthew 24.6-7, 21-22).
- The earth will be full of violence and many people will be afraid of what is going to happen to the world. (Luke 21.25-26, Matthew 24.37, Genesis 6.11).
- There will be many false cults bringing religious confusion and in the established religions a movement towards a united world religion. (Matthew 24.24, Revelation 17).
- There will be a trend towards world government. (Revelation 13).
- There will be widespread pollution of the earth. (Isaiah 24, Revelation 8).
- There will be a breakdown of traditional values and decency. (Matthew 24.12, 2 Timothy 3.1-9).
- There will be an increase in knowledge and world travel. (Daniel 12.4).
- The message of the Gospel will reach all nations despite opposition and persecution. (Matthew 24.9-14).
Unlike Nostradamus and modern prophets the Bible makes it clear that our problem is not a loss of knowledge or understanding, which we can recover through divination or occult practices. It is a moral problem caused by our sin which can only be solved by repentance and faith in the Messiah Jesus:
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising him from the dead. Acts 17.30-31.
Information from The Secrets of Nostradamus exposed by Ray Comfort.