The functions of the Bible
- T.W.M. van Berkel -

Nederlandse versie

Epistle to Henry II

...All these figures are applied correctly, by the Holy Writings...

The investigation on which Nostradamus, astrology and the Bible is based, showed that for Nostradamus the Bible had five functions while composing the  Prophecies. The major part of information about the nature of these functions can be read in the letter to Henry II, but also a few passages in the letter to César reveal how Nostradamus used the Bible.


The functions of the Bible
1. Source of historic calculations
For Nostradamus, the Bible was a source for historic time calculations regarding the years of existence of the world. In the letter to Henry II, he describes two time tables regarding the time span, covered by the Old Testament. The second time table is based on data, available in Genesis, Exodus, 1 Kings and Revelations.[1]

2. Phrasing predictions
A couple of times, Nostradamus uses bible verses to phrase predictions. In the letter to Henry II, it reads: O quelle calamiteuse affliction sera par lors aux femmes enceintes This is a paraphrase of Matthew 24,19. Nostradamus also writes: Ut audiret gemitus compenditorum, ut solveret filios interemptorum. This is a paraphrasing of Psalm 102,21.
As for the quatrains, quatrain 10-74 is the most striking example of using the Bible for phrasing predictions:

Quatrain 10-74

At the turn of the great seventh number
It will appear at the time of the games of slaughter
Not far from the great millennial age
When those who entered, will go out from their tombs.

In this quatrain, the transition is described of the seventh millennium into the eighth. The "games of slaughter" in the second line is the war in which the beast, the false prophet and their followers are killed. This war is described in Revelations 19 and takes place before the beginning of the kingdom of one thousand years, which is mentioned in the third line. The fourth line refers to the "First Resurrection" as described in Revelations 20, the resurrection of the martyrs who died because of their testimony of Jesus.

3. The gift of prophecy
Nostradamus uses the Bible to show that God gave to him the gift of prophecy. In the letter to Henry II, he quotes a part of one of the most explicit bible verses, which is Joel 3,1: I will pour my spirit over all people, your sons and daughters will prophesy.[2] The verse continues with: your aged ones will have dreams and your young men will have visions.
It is very likely that Nostradamus has drawn this verse to himself. The investigation on which Nostradamus, astrology and the Bible is based, showed that he got visions from October 16, 1524. This was short before his 21st birthday.
Quatrain 01-48 is an autobiographical quatrain, in which Nostradamus connects twenty years of his life with 7.000 years reign of Satan:

Quatrain 01-48

Twenty years of the reign of the Moon have passed
Seven thousand years another will hold his monarchy
When the Sun will reach its tired days
Then my prophecy is accomplished and finished

In the investigation on which Nostradamus, astrology and the Bible is based, it is assumed that the twenty years in the first line refer to the first twenty years of the "imagination period", the period which runs from October 16, 1524, to February 27, 1554, in which Nostradamus had the imaginations (visions) on which he based the quatrains. These twenty years could also refer to Nostradamus' age of 20 when he got his first vision on October 16, 1524. But such an assumption lacks further evidence.

4. Roots in the past
In especially the letter to Cesar, Nostradamus tries to demonstrate by means of bible verses that the contents of the revelations he got, corresponds with the contents of the revelations which for example the old prophets got. When he writes: visitabo in virga ferrea iniquitates eorum, et in verberibus percutiam eos ,he paraphrases Psalm 89,33. He also refers to Amos 3,7 and/or Revelations 10,7, in which it reads that God, before executing his secret decisions, will always reveal them to his servants, the prophets.

5. Legitimation of the practice of judiciary astrology
Nostradamus, founding himself on Deuteronomium 18,10-12, writes that God permitted the practice of judiciary astrology. In this verse, each kind of occultism is forbidden; astrology however is not mentioned concretely. Further, Nostradamus interprets Hebrews 4,13, in which it reads that everything is "naked and open", in the sense that everything which goes on in the world, can be explained by means of astrology.


A biblical manifest
The biblical backgrounds and fundaments of the Prophecies can be listed as follows:

  • Amos 3,7 and/or Revelations 10,7: God reveals his decisions to the prophets.

  • Jeremiah 13,14: God destroys ruthless, without mercy.

  • Acts 1,7: It is not to ordinary people to know the day or the hour which God by his eternal power determined.

  • Joel 3,1: God promises that people will receive visions and the gift of prophecy.

  • Matthew 11,25 and/or Luke 10,21: Regarding the future of the world, God hides the facts for the wise and powerful and reveals them to the humble ones.

  • Deuteronomium 18,10-12: God condemns all kinds of occult practices, with the exception of judiciary astrology.

  • Hebrews 4,13: Everything is naked and open. Nostradamus reads the causes of history from the cycles of the stars.

  • Psalm 89,33: The disasters, predicted by Nostradamus, are the same as the ones God announced in the past.

  • Matthew 7,6: The world is not susceptible for the message of Nostradamus, as the world has not been susceptible for the message of God.

  • Revelations 19 and 20: the biblical kingdom of one thousand years will come, in which Satan will be locked up and God will rule the world, together with the risen martyrs. At the end of the one thousand years, Satan will fight the heavenly armies for the last time. Then, the Last Judgment will take place; heaven and earth will vanish and there will be a new heaven and a new earth.


T.W.M. van Berkel


The titles, places and year of issue of the mentioned authors are listed in the bibliography.

  1. See the page: Epistle to Henry II: the second biblical chronology.[text]

  2. In the "Willibrord translation", a catholic bible translation, the number of this verse is 3,1. In the NBG-translation, a protestant bible translation, the number of this verse is 2,28. In the "Willibrord translation", the book of Joel contains four chapters; the number of chapters in the NBG-translation is three. The verses 3,1 to 3,5 in the "Willibrord translation" are numbered as 2,28 to 2,32 in the NBG-translation. The verses 4,1 and next in the "Willibrord translation" are numbered as 3,1 and next in the NBG-translation. [text]


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