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Nostradamus and Kermit the Frog

Nostradamus and Kermit the Frog

He has been called one of the most remarkable prophets of all time. Over 400 years ago the French physician, and poet Michel de Notredame, better known as Nostradamus, published 1,000 predictions which have ensured his lasting fame.

According to those who believe he had genuine foreknowledge of the future his ten volumes of prognostications, The Centuries, foretell among other things, the plague of London in l665, the great fire of London in I666, the French Revolution, the Second World War and the 1969 Lunar landing.

Many believe Nostradamus to have been an accurate seer of the future and not a few have worried about his prophecy that in “1999 and seven months … from the sky will come the great king of terror”. But don’t lose too much sleep; according to a recent book on Nostradamus the end of the world will not come till 3797 and, instead of doom, 1999 will herald the beginning of a new and peaceful “Age of Aquarius”.

But if Nostradamus was so hot, how did his “end-of-the-world-in-1999″ prediction become so misunderstood?

As far back as 1841, Charles Mackay in Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds observed that, “The prophecies of Nostradamus … take so great a latitude, both as to time and space, that they are almost sure to be fulfilled somewhere or other in the course of a few centuries”. The author James Randi points out in his book The Mask of Nostradamus that in as large amount of material as that of Nostradamus you can always find some way of fitting some thing to some event in history. If you want to, says Randi, you “can find Mickey Mouse in the Bible and Kermit the Frog on the moon”. James Laver, the enthusiastic interpreter of the French seer, also warned that commentators on the quatrains are “liable to become victims of [their] own ingenuity”.

Gadaffi of the Crescent Moon

Take an example of how a recent devotee of The Centuries, John Hogue finds the Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi in the quatrain:

A colonel will plot through ambition. He will seize the greatest part of the army against his Prince through a false invention. He will be discovered under his flag.

Nostradamus’s original verse has the strange name Adaluncatif. By treating it as an anagram, the author arrives at Cadafi Luna which, he says, equals Gadaffi Moon which equals Gadaffi of the Crescent Moon of Islam! He also conveniently drops the letter T so that the anagram does not read Cadafi Lunat.

In the celebrated “prophecy” of the rise of Adolph Hitler, Nostradamus refers to “Hister” but his fans have never let a wrong name or a few misplaced letters here and there shake their faith in their hero. In fact, Nostradamus was not writing about a person but about a place. At the time of Nostradamus Hister was the name of the lower Danube!

The fact is that you can make whatever you like of the The Centuries. The material is vast and ambiguous and to the layman it is difficult to make any sense of them until an “expert” expounds the matter. Take, for example, the following quatrain; what do you think it is about?

The great swarm of bees will arise But no one will know from whence they have come. An ambush by night, the sentinel under the vines; A city handed over by five tongues, not naked.

According to Erika Cheetham this is an “amazingly accurate” description of “Napoleon’s coupe d’état in 1799″!

Something completely different.

Now consider this:

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
Why are You so far from helping Me,
And from the words of My groaning?
… But I am a worm, and no man;
A reproach of men, and despised by the people…
I am poured out like water,
And all My bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It has melted within Me.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And My tongue clings to My jaws;
You have brought Me to the dust of death.
For dogs have surrounded Me;
The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet;
I can count all My bones.
They look and stare at Me.
They divide My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.

Does that sound familiar? Now consider this:

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgement,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of my people He was stricken.
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

Nostradamus did not write those passages. They lack his ambiguity and need no ingenious interpretation. They are accurate descriptions of the sufferings and death of Jesus of Nazareth written by David king of Israel and Isaiah the Hebrew prophet. David lived 1,000 years before Jesus and Isaiah penned his prophecy 700 years before the birth of Christ.

Why does Nostradamus have such an enthusiastic following (a film about him was released in 1994 and there have been several TV documentaries)? Why do people get excited about supposed fulfilments of his ambiguous verses and neglect the Bible which, in so many cases, is transparently clear?

There is a certain amount of pride in discovering new fulfilments of Nostradamus’s riddles, written in their mixture of Greek, Latin, French and Provençal. But also, Nostradamus makes no ethical demands on us, whereas the Bible calls us to be obedient to the God who spoke through the prophets pointing to Jesus the Messiah.

 

Sources

Erika Cheetham, The Final Prophecies of Nostradamus

Sharon Davey, The Prophet and the Profits

Charles Mackay, Selections from Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

James Randi, James Randi: Psychic Investigator

Philip Ward, A Dictionary of Common Fallacies, vol. II

The Bible, New King James Version

 

 

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