He allegedly predicted the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and even the destruction of the Twin Towers, here in NYC, on September 11, 2001. He was a "prophet," a "seer," and, according to some, a good Catholic. His name is Michel de Nostredame, better known as Nostradamus (1503-1566). His most famous book is filled with his alleged prophesies, written in quatrains (four line poems) to escape "persecution" by Church authorities who were "jealous" of him or didn't understand his "prophetic gifts." His enthusiasts (of which there are many) claim he predicted most significant world events from his time (16th century) until the Last Day.
According to researcher Leoni "Since 1775, at least one book on Nostradamus has been published every 20 years, and since 1840, at least one every decade." (See Nostradamus and His Prophesies, , pg. 57). Devoted Nostradamus fans, many of whom are Vatican II sect members, consider him the world’s most accurate "prophet" and claim to have discovered the “keys” to correctly unlocking the true meaning of his prophecies. What are we to think of Nostradamus and those who peddle his "prophecy"? This post will answer that query.
(I have compiled the information in this post from many and varied sources, including Peter Lemesurier, The Nostradamus Encyclopedia, , and David Ovason, The Secrets of Nostradamus: The Medieval Code of the Master Revealed in the Age of Computer Science, , and others referenced below. I take credit only for compiling the information into a concise post showing Nostradamus as a fraud.---Introibo).
Michel de Notredame, commonly called Nostradamus, was born in December 1503 in the south of France. His family was of Jewish heritage but had converted to Catholicism. The last name taken upon conversion meant "Our Lady" in honor of the Blessed Mother of God. Both of his grandfathers were scholars and instructed Nostradamus themselves when he was young. One grandfather was a physician. The other taught him classical languages.
At the age of fourteen Nostradamus left his family to study in Avignon, France, a major ecclesiastical and academic center. In class he often voiced dissension with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nostradamus later attended the University of Montpellier, where he studied both medicine and astrology. [Although his supporters claim it was really another name for astronomy, a real science, it was occult astrology, as shall be shown]. He graduated in 1522 and began calling himself Nostradamus--a Latinized version of his last name. He became a physician, and was modestly successful. In 1538, he was said to have complained that making a statue of the Immaculate Mother of God was basically "idolatry." (See Wilson, Nostradamus: The Man Behind the Prophecies, , pg. 62).
Outwardly, Nostradamus was a devoted practicing Catholic. However, at night he spent the hours in his study meditating in front of a brass bowl filled with water and herbs. Meditation would bring on a trance. In such trances visions would come to him. As a result, he received "prophesies" and decided to write an almanac (based on astrology and his visions) for 1550 and, as a consequence of its success, continued writing them for future years as he began working as an astrologer for various wealthy patrons. He made substantially more money as a famous astrologer to the rich than as a doctor.
In 1555, Nostradamus published the first edition of his most famous work entitled The Prophecies (or The Centuries). Written mainly in French, it was to include 10 groups (centuries) of 100 prophetic quatrains (four-line poems) each, covering many nations and spanning from the sixteenth century to the year 3797. These enigmatic quatrains contain old French terms, Latin terms, mythical Greek figures, historical allusions, unique words, anagrams, puns, odd spellings, odd syntax, partial words, inverted word order, etc. A real hodgepodge of linguistic oddities. These contain his "prophesies" gleaned from visions. Many people claim to have found the "key" that unlocks the enigma of his writing, and his predictions have always (or mostly) come true down through our time.
Although an occultist, Nostradamus stated that his predictions were in harmony with both the Catholic faith and the correct understanding of Sacred Scripture:
I protest before God and his Saints that I do not propose to insert any writings in this present Epistle that will be contrary to the true Catholic faith…. (Epistle, par. 9). So, how does someone know if he was really a prophet? Besides his occultism, there are two further lines of evidence showing him to be a fake and a non-Catholic: (a) how he got his predictions, and (b) how his predictions really failed.
"Prophesy" via Divination
Deuteronomy 13:1–5 says that even if a prophecy comes to pass, if its message leads people away from God, then it was not from God. If there rise in the midst of thee a prophet or one that saith he hath dreamed a dream, and he foretell a sign and a wonder, and that come to pass which he spoke, and he say to thee: Let us go and follow strange gods, which thou knowest not, and let us serve them: thou shalt not hear the words of that prophet or dreamer: for the Lord your God trieth you, that it may appear whether you love him with all your heart, and with all your soul, or not. Follow the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and hear his voice: him you shall serve, and to him you shall cleave. And that prophet or forger of dreams shall be slain: because he spoke to draw you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of bondage: to make thee go out of the way, which the Lord thy God commanded thee: and thou shalt take away the evil out of the midst of thee. What is Nostradamus’s message, and does it lead people away from God?
Nostradamus stated, “I readily admit that all proceeds from God….All from God and nature, and for the most part integrated with celestial movements” (Epistle, par. 12). His claims about a divine source always included reference to astrology. Nostradamus left no explicit description of his astrological method, and wild theories abound among enthusiasts. Astrology goes beyond the mere observation of planetary positions in conjunction with space-time events; it presupposes some causal connection — whether direct or merely reflective — between them. Deuteronomy 18:9–14 condemns divination (which includes astrology) and all occult practices (as does the Church).
Deuteronomy 18:9-14 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God. The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so.
According to theologian Slater: Divination is mortally sinful, for it is a great insult to God to hold intercourse with and seek aid from the devil, His bitter enemy; and, besides, it is most dangerous to the parties concerned. (See A Manual of Moral Theology, , 1:142; Emphasis mine).
Several times Nostradamus described what appear to be occult practices by which he conjured “spirits of fire,” “angels of fire,” and “flaming missives,” who gave him his prophecies. The first two quatrains in the Prophecies, in fact, describe a divination ritual:
Being seated by night in secret study,
Alone resting on the brass stool:
A slight flame coming forth from the solitude,
That which is not believed in vain is made to succeed.
With rod in hand set in the midst of Branchus,
With the water he wets both limb and foot:
Fearful, voice trembling through his sleeves:
Divine splendor. The divine seats himself near by.
These words are very similar to the divination ritual described by Iamblichus in an ancient mystical book on magick:
The sibyl at Delphi received the god…sitting on a brazen seat with four or three feet…exposed on two sides to the divine influx, whence she was irradiate with a divine light…the prophetess of Branchus holds in her hand a rod…or moistens the hem of her garment with water…and by this means is filled with divine illumination, and having obtained the deity, she prophesies. (See James Randi, The Mask of Nostradamus: The Prophecies of the World’s Most Famous Seer , , pg. 82).
Though Nostradamus was not explicit about his methods of divination, and his defenders make more of his allusions to it than is actually warranted, nevertheless, there is much evidence suggesting he used occult rituals in obtaining his prophecies. For that reason alone Traditionalists should not listen to him. However, there is even more weighing against Nostradamus and his alleged prophesies.
Deuteronomy 18:20-22 makes clear how to distinguish true from false prophets:
But a prophet who presumes to speak in My Name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.” You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed. (Emphasis mine).
It was shown that a prophesy cannot lead people away from God, as Nostradamus does by using the occult. There is a further test: (1) If a prophecy proclaims something that does not come true, it is not from God and therefore (2) we have nothing to fear from this false prophet and what he says. Let's see how Nostradamus fares in the correctness of his alleged prophesies.
1. The prophesies fail because they are nebulous and open to multiple interpretations.
The belief that Nostradamus made many accurate predictions rests on the interpretations offered by his enthusiasts. Since they claim to have discovered specific meaning in his enigmatic prophecies, the burden of proof is on the enthusiasts to demonstrate that specific (unambiguous) meaning exists in Nostradamus’s prophecies. That is, they must show that each prophecy has only one meaning and uniquely fits the event they claim fulfills it.
Each generation of Nostradamus supporters find the headline events of their time in Nostradamus’s quatrains. They suggest that Nostradamus foresaw many famous figures from Napoleon, to Hitler, to Ronald Reagan; historic events from the French Revolution, to the Civil War, to the Cold War; modern inventions from the hot air balloon, to the submarine, to the radio and light bulb; and many contemporary events from the spread of AIDS, to the O. J. Simpson trial, to the September 11 terrorist attacks here in New York City.
The process is generally the same. After a connection has been made (however spurious) between a word or phrase in a quatrain and some historical person, place, or event, the rest of the text is either ignored or twisted to fit the desired interpretation using an arsenal of discovered “devices of interpretation" (i.e., "these letters should be read this way."). What is important to note is that justification for these interpretations, if any is given, is at best weak or faulty and at worst deceptive.
2. Concrete examples of false prophesy.
The predictions and supposed "what happened" that "made it true" are taken from independent.co.uk/news/education/11-shockingly-accurate-predictions-from-nostradamus-a6772736.html. Two such prophesies will be analyzed.
- Did Nostradamus predict the great scientist Dr. Louis Pasteur?
"The lost thing is discovered, hidden for many centuries.
Pasteur will be celebrated almost as a God-like figure.
This is when the moon completes her great cycle,
But by other rumors he shall be dishonored."
Born in 1822, Louis Pasteur was a French chemist and microbiologist who discovered that the growth of micro-organisms causes fermentation. That discovery also proved bacteria doesn't simply appear spontaneously, as previously thought. Instead, it grows from already-living organisms in a process called biogenesis.
While Pasteur didn't first propose "germ theory," he convinced much of Europe of its validity. He invented a process for removing bacteria, "pasteurisation," which is named after him. His early work also led to the creation of vaccines for rabies and anthrax.
However, in 1995, science historian Gerald L. Geison published a book showing Pasteur incorporated a rival's findings to make his anthrax vaccine functional. That finding partly "dishonored" the great scientist, as Nostradamus predicted.
Why it's wrong:
The French word pasteur clearly means “pastor of a church” (the Pope?). The natural interpretation of line two in Quatrain 1–25 is that a pastor will be deified. There is nothing to suggest that the French word for a Church pastor should be taken as a man's proper surname. It is gratuitously asserted without any evidence. Also, what does the moon have to do with any of this? According to Nostradamus defender John Hogue, the Pasteur Institute was created in 1889, the end of the last great lunar cycle in astrology, but the Institute was actually established in 1887 and inaugurated in 1888. (See John Hogue, Nostradamus: The Complete Prophecies, ). This prophesy fails.
- Did Nostradamus predict Adolph Hitler?
"From the depths of the West of Europe,
A young child will be born of poor people,
He who by his tongue will seduce a great troop;
His fame will increase towards the realm of the East."
"Beasts ferocious with hunger will cross the rivers,
The greater part of the battlefield will be against Hister.
Into a cage of iron will the great one be drawn,
When the child of Germany observes nothing."
Hitler — who was born to poor parents in 1889 in Western Europe — used his intense oratory skills to mobilise the Nazi party in Germany in the years following World War I. Germany, as a part of the Axis powers, also allied with Japan in the East. While many believe "Hister" to be a typo, it's also an old name for the Danube River.
Hitler was born just miles from that river in what was then Austria-Hungary, also known as the "Danube Monarchy." Remember, Nostradamus often incorporated anagrams, such as "Hister," into his writing.
Why It's Wrong:
In the earliest manuscripts, the s in Hister appeared as a tall, thin Gothic , which resembles an l. With little effort l can be substituted for and the letters transposed to spell Hitler. There is no justification, however, for doing so except that it is needed to fit the interpretation. A simpler explanation is that, in Nostradamus’s day, the Lower Danube River was known as the Ister or Hister and was associated with the Rhine River. Nostradamus defenders make the quatrain fit either interpretation. The "cage of iron" fits nothing in Hitler’s battles, so it is sometimes interpreted as the moving van in which Mussolini was kidnapped and murdered — a strained and unconnected interpretation at best. This prophesy fails.
Writing at about the time of Nostradamus, Italian scholar Francesco Guiciardini mocked the credulity of those who had willingly accepted Nostradamus’s prophetic ability despite evidence to the contrary. He declared, “How happy are the astrologers who are believed if they tell one truth to a hundred lies, while other people lose all credit if they tell one lie to a hundred truths.” (See James Randi, The Mask of Nostradamus: The Prophecies of the World’s Most Famous Seer , , pg. 87).
There is no need to be uncritical or uninformed regarding Nostradamus’s enigmatic pseudo-prophecies. Beyond failing God's test of 100 percent accuracy, most of Nostradamus’s "prophecies" are vague and ambiguous. His reputation as an accurate prophet rests on spurious and unjustified interpretations. If anyone should try and tell you about Nostradamus, let them know they are not following a prophet of God, but an occultist who received his messages from the Father of Lies.