Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Bible vs. Nostradamus

Michel de Nostredame, popularly referred to as Nostradamus (1503-1566), is synonymous with secular predictions of doomsday. Nostradamus was an apothecary, astronomer and self-proclaimed prophet. His best known book, The Prophecies, has remained in print since 1555. The infamous predictions made by Nostradamus were written in a coded format called “quatrains,” which are mysterious poems of four lines. In order to conjure up his visions Nostradamus reportedly used an occultic method called “scrying” in which he would enter a deep trance while staring into a crystal ball or pool of water. 

There’s a familiar story that Nostradamus even predicted his own death. According to the legend, on July 1, 1566, when his assistant wished him goodnight, the soothsayer responded, “You will not find me alive at sunrise.” He was found dead on July 2, 1566. Since his death, some who have studied his cryptic writings acclaim Nostradamus as a seer without peer. Some say that he predicted events such as, the rise of Hitler, the assassination of JFK, even the attacks of 9/11. How should we view such predictions in comparison with biblical prophecy? 

First, many predictions of the future made by men like Nostradamus are simply too obscure or ambiguous to interpret. The vast majority of prophecies made by seers are so vague that they could be twisted to fit any number of events. 

Second, even his most ardent supporters admit that Nostradamus was often wrong. However, the Scriptures are very clear that if a prophet receives a revelation from God then he will be right 100 percent of the time. According to the Old Testament if the events that a false prophet spoke about did not come to pass then he was to be stoned to death (Deut. 18:22). 

Third, the Bible strictly prohibits the use of occultism and divination to discern future events (Deut. 18:10-12). What Nostradamus engaged in wasn’t harmless, but demonic. Therefore, the predictions of men like Nostradamus cannot be put on the same platitude as biblical prophecy. 

The Bible has a stunning track record of declaring history in advance. Daniel predicted the rise and fall of four world kingdoms: the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans (Dan. 2,7). Isaiah named Cyrus as the King of Persia 150 years before he was born (Is. 44:26-28). Ezekiel predicted the destruction of Tyre and Sidon hundreds of years before Alexander the Great toppled them (Ez. 26:3-6). Jesus fulfilled at least forty Messianic prophecies just on the day of His crucifixion (Is. 53, Ps. 22). The Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecies calculated that 27 percent of the entire Bible contains predictive prophecy. This is true of no other book in the world and it is a sure sign of its Divine origin (Is. 46:10). In God, history and prophecy are one and the same.

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