Prophecy and the Psyche
"He who could foresee affairs three days in advance would be rich for thousands of years."
"When the fork is supported by two pillars, with six half-horns and six open scissors: The very potent Lord, heir to the toads, Will then subjugate to himself the entire world."
There has been no shortage of effort on the part of men to predict the future. One man who is popularly credited with foretelling many things is Nostradamus, the sixteenth-century French astrologer and physician. "The first two lines indicate a date. When the fork, "V" is sustained by two pillars, they make an M, the Roman numeral for one thousand. Six half-horns are CCCCCC, the numeral for six hundred; six open scissors, XXXXXX, make sixty. In other words, in 1660 the great Lord of France, heir to the Merovingians whose emblem was the toad . . .will be the greatest monarch in the world . In 1660 Louis XIV married Maria Theresa of Spain. Early in 1661 Louis, at twenty-two, became virtual autocrat of France, the Grand Monarch of the civilized world.
On this interpretation by followers of Nostradamus of this particular quatrain the Saturday Review states, " That isn't exactly what Nostradamus said, but then again, who knows what he meant?"
Of the alleged 946 predictions attributed to Nostradamus, only about 70 are considered to have had some kind of fulfillment. That works out to less than a 7-percent success rate. However, regarding the 'successes,' M'Clintock and Strong's Encyclopedia comments that many are considered to be the "bold forgeries" of his interpreters, including the prediction of his own death. Others were "composed after the events to which they seem designed to refer." Some are "strained" in their application and some are shown to have 'fulfillments' in a number of different events.
Whether accurate or not Nostradamus's predictions have wielded great influence. He has been credited with predicting the French Revolution to the Rise of Adolf Hitler, which he called "Hister". Even in war time his predictions has been used in propaganda of opposing armies in WWII.
People are interested in the future. They search for reliable predictions concerning many subjects, from weather forecasts to economic indicators. When they act on such forecasts, however, they are often disappointed. The Bible contains many predictions, or prophecies and much like Nostradamus it has generated great controversy and hysteria amongst countless individuals.
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines prophecy as "the inspired declaration of divine will and purpose 2: an inspired utterance of a prophet 3: a prediction of something to come."
Prophecy according to The Encyclopedia Britannica is a divinely inspired revelation or interpretation. Although prophecy is perhaps most commonly associated with Judaism and Christianity, it is found throughout the religions of the world, both ancient and modern.
Though many religions...