Nostradamus, a French pharmacist who lived from 1503 to 1566 has been credited as a prophet, but he was not a true prophet of God. Nostradamus failed to provide verifiable detail in his prognostications and he failed to point to the One True God of the Bible and His Son Jesus Christ. A true prophet of God is never incorrect and will lead others to worship God. Nostradamus' telling of the future may have some parallels with certain events, but often it takes quite the machinations to equate what he wrote to the event.
Was Nostradamus a prophet of God?
Some people who read his writings see in them a forecast of Hitler's leadership over Germany, the 9/11 attacks in New York City, and other modern events.
To pin down whether Nostradamus was a prophet of God it is important to understand the biblical definitions of prophesy. There are two.
First is the ability to speak the Word of God (the Bible) to people "for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation" (1 Corinthians 14:3). In context, people who prophesy in this way draw others to a closer relationship with Jesus.
Secondly, biblical prophecy is telling of future events with detail and accuracy. Deuteronomy 13:1–3 and 18:22 require a prophet to accurately foretell the truth and lead others to worship the One, True God. If not, he is a false prophet.
Nostradamus did not draw people to a closer relationship with Jesus, nor lead others to worship the God of the Bible. As for his ability to identify events in the future, his record is unclear.
For example, his supposed prediction of 9/11 can be cobbled together from separate writings. It reads: "In the year of the new century and nine months, From the sky will come a great King of Terror. The sky will burn at forty-five degrees. Fire approaches the great new city." Though New York City is a great city and has the word "new" in it, it is one of the oldest cities in North America. There is no evidence of a "King of Terror" nor any connection with burning at "forty-five degrees." Many cities have been burned to the ground since Nostradamus' time. Do any of them meet his predictions?
When people look back from a current event and find a vague foretelling of it from the past but manipulate it to match the event, that's called "retroactive clairvoyance." It seems this is what has occurred with Nostradamus' writings, if it was even Nostradamus who wrote them as it is unclear if they were written after his death.
In contrast, there are hundreds of prophesies in the Bible that tell of Jesus. One, in Psalm 22:16, says "they have pierced my hands and feet" foretelling the death of Jesus on the cross generations before crucifixion was even invented. See the detail? There are hundreds more prophesies that tell of Jesus' first coming, and of His second.
Nostradamus is not to be trusted. Additionally, his forecasts are unnecessary and unneeded. We have the Bible which offers us peace for the present and peace regarding the future.
"And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:19–21).
Do we have prophets in the church today?
Can we trust biblical prophecy? Does biblical prophecy really predict the future?
What are the signs of the end times?
What is the key to recognizing false teachers?
Is the Bible really the Word of God?
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