INTRODUCTION

 

 

On September 18, 1918, Lord Edmund Allenby, the British general and commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Forces during World War I, defeated the Turks on the plains of Armageddon during the Battle of Megiddo. He was the first Christian conqueror to win a decisive victory on the ancient battlefield in 800 years. Twenty-three years later, Vichy French and Axis bombers swept across Armageddon to raid the British fleet at the then-Palestinian port of Haifa. In the moonlight, townspeople and tourists watched from rows of hotel balconies above the slopes of Mt. Carmel as tracer fire lit up the night sky and Nazi shells pounded the coast below, the thunder of warplanes echoing menacingly from the mountains of Megiddo.

Thanks to the rapid momentum of scientific progress since the late nineteenth century, Darwinism, the evolution and exaltation of the media, and an exaggerated, collective social identity shaped over the years by various notions of what it is to be "modern," it is not unusual to find in each succeeding generation many individuals living with a sense that they are the sum total of their forebears, the ultimate product of centuries of refinement. In the West, due to subliminal fears instilled by the Judeo-Christian doctrine of the Apocalypse, this conceit becomes elevated during times of impending crises and wars. It is then that individuals succumb to the notion that they represent not only the most modern incarnation of the human species, but the last. For the cycles of war and peace are such that it is rare indeed for one to live out an entire life span without witnessing at least one major conflict that will be perceived as a universal threat and a personal Armageddon.

As we begin a new millennium, fears of global war and Armageddon—along with exploitation of these fears—continue to increase. Although the legend of "the end" has been with us since the dawn of civilization, evidence of a collective, contemporary Western obsession (or "love affair") with Doomsday can be traced back to an ABC News poll conducted in the early 1980s that revealed a majority of Americans believed that the United States would be involved in a world war by 1985. Similar polls conducted in the UK and Western Europe reflected the same shared concern that a third World War might only be a few years away. The trigger for this belief was the release of several major films between 1979 and 1981 concerning biblical prophecies and the predictions of Nostradamus and their pending fulfillment in the 1980s and 1990s. As a result, in January 1991 a substantial percentage of Americans and Europeans believed that the coming Persian Gulf War would last considerably longer than a year and some of these feared that it would eventually lead to a global conflict.

Following that time, televisions throughout the Western world were inundated with documentaries on the subject of prophecy, several of which were hosted by actor David McCallum, predicting, among other things, a Russian invasion of Israel led by ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky and a fiery cataclysmic end of the world by May 5, 2000. Now, in more recent television documentaries, books, and on numerous web sites on the Internet, some of the same people who brought us the notion of a 2000 apocalypse have pushed the envelope ahead to 2007, 2009, 2012, or even the 2020s—giving everyone an additional decade or two to dread or sensationalize.

The greatest fraud ever perpetrated by would-be prophets and interpreters of prophecy alike was the idea that either the year 1999 or 2000 would actually mark the cataclysmic finale of human history or else usher in a brief period of tribulation (seven to twelve years) culminating in the ultimate final conflict: Armageddon. Despite reams of contrary prophetic evidence, religious propagandists and sensationalists continue to espouse a deliberately misleading and dangerous agenda for our immediate future. Their efforts, I believe, have contributed to tragedies such as the fiery catastrophe at Waco in April 1993, the release of deadly sarin fumes into a Tokyo subway that killed and injured 5,500 Japanese commuters in March 1995, the Solar Temple Cult suicides in Sweden and Canada in 1996 and 1997, and numerous other deadly events.

One of the strangest and most disturbing of these occurred in March 1997. As the brightest comet in nearly two centuries reached its closest position to the earth, the dead bodies of thirty-nine men and women were discovered in an expensive house in southern California, the face and chest of each covered with a triangular purple cloth. They were members of an obscure spiritual cult called Heaven’s Gate: a group which fused UFOs, science fiction, and gnosticism into a reason to commit mass suicide, to "shed their containers" and link up with a huge UFO they were convinced was traveling inside the tail of Comet Hale-Bopp. The group’s leader, Marshall Applewhite, alias "Do," appealed to television viewers in a videotape recorded just prior to his suicide to join the cult members "before it is too late," before a nebulous Apocalypse wracked the planet.

At this writing (April 2, 2000), Ugandan authorities are investigating the worst cult-related mass murder in modern history. Thus far, 940 bodies have been accounted for and many more are believed to exist. On March 17, 2000, several hundred incinerated remains of members of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God were discovered in a burned-out church. Subsequent searches of other compounds belonging to the sect unearthed a large number of mass graves. Many of these victims, the majority of who were women and children, had been strangled or stabbed. Because the death toll now exceeds that of the infamous Jonestown mass suicide and murders of November 1978, the Uganda Massacre is now the most horrific example of cult mass death of all time.

This is the legacy that those who would have us believe that the end of the world is imminent have left us. Their books and sermons have contributed to the influence that creates a David Koresh, a Shoko Asahara, a Marshall Applewhite, a Joseph Kibwetere, or a Credonia Mwerinde. Now, dissatisfied that the hysteria has not been greater or more widespread, they push the envelope ahead another seven-to-twelve years.

Few of these religious propagandists and "authorities" on prophecy would concede that writings penned by either the Bible prophets or the famed French psychic Nostradamus depict numerous events, some quite complex and multigenerational in scope, whose chances of being fulfilled in their entirety soon or at any time during the 21st Century -are exactly zero.

Indeed, as I have discovered after nearly twenty-seven years of reading books concerning the interpretation of biblical prophecies, the predictions of Nostradamus, and the forecasts of astrologers and modern psychics, is that with a selective knowledge of history and a lot of imagination anyone with a knack for writing persuasively can squeeze centuries of unfulfilled future events into any time-frame they choose. The choice for most of these expert "scholars" had always been between the scheduled release of their books and the year 2000, with a few opting to take the reader a bit beyond the turn of the millennium.

Some, like Hal Lindsey, author of the first sensational interpretation of biblical prophecy, The Late Great Planet Earth, jumped the gun, preparing us for Armageddon sometime between 1973 and 1980. In 1979, after reading John Gribbin’s and Stephen Plagemann’s controversial book, The Jupiter Effect, Lindsey made a movie based on his 1971 best seller, and postponed the time of the beginning of "tribulation" until 1982. Three years later he was still wrong.

In 1993 it gradually began to dawn on a small number of interpreters that 2000 might end up being just another year. Yet even for them it was difficult, or simply not sensational enough, to conceive of the course of history running too far beyond the turn of the millennium. All concur that there will be a third World War and, almost without exception, that it will be the last—-whether it runs until the year 2007, 2012, 2025, 2036, or even, in one instance, 2050.

To me such people are still die-hard millennialists riding the doom train to oblivion, hoping to convince their readers that they have only been slightly off in their "calculations." The Bible scholars continue to hold the line as close to the year 2000 as possible, seldom straying farther ahead than 2010 or 2020. Most, but not all, Nostradamians are lop-sided in their assertions, cramming any and every prediction concerning war into one great future war and every conceivable description of natural catastrophe into one monstrous global earthquake or asteroid slam. Then through an act of omission these millennialists gloss over all predictions that threaten to contradict their "findings."

Other modern interpretations of the prophecies of one Michel de Notredame, famed 16th-century physician, astrologer, and prophet of Provence, run a wide and intriguing range. Nevertheless, whether commentators subscribe to the idea of a cataclysmic finale to human history or some form of universal spiritual awakening resulting in unending peace, their clocks generally are stuck sometime in the first half of the 21st Century, many of them not long after the year 2000. None investigate a proposition that should become apparent to anyone who reads Les Propheties long enough and deeply enough: that the years ahead also yawn deeply and long. This book diligently endeavors to demonstrate this proposal in great detail.

It has been said that a key to the original arrangement of Nostradamus’ nearly one thousand prophetic quatrains (four-line verses) awaits to be discovered. While a few commentators have claimed to have found this elusive key, time has demonstrated that they have been unable to find the keyhole let alone the device to unlock it.

It is highly doubtful that Nostradamus received his visions in any sort of chronological sequence and then "scrambled" them later—at least not initially. However, I do believe that by 1558, after he had versified the nearly one thousand of them, he attempted to put a large number of the quatrains together into a reasonably cohesive and consecutive progression to satisfy his own curiosity. This book contends that the result of this experiment is the nearest we will ever get to a "key" by which we can assemble a chronicle of future history as the French prophet believed it to be. The clue has always been accessible; unfortunately it has been largely misunderstood by generations of serious scholars. To more than a few commentators it has been a source of embarrassment, while to others it has been a wellspring of information that they have been able to contort to perpetuate and reinforce their more popular, albeit erroneous, interpretations.

This key, the "Epistle to Henry II," a letter of dedication composed as a preface for Centuries 8 through 10 (a "Century" being a presentation of one hundred quatrains) in Nostradamus’ 1558 publication of The Centuries, also known as Les Propheties de M. Michel de Nostradamus, is largely composed of a truly revelatory wonder: a chronological prose outline of events destined to occur in our future and far beyond. Commentators throughout the many years have presumed that the Epistle began with the prophet’s death in 1566, thus arriving at the spurious conclusion that the beginning of this prophetic abstract concerned the careers of four of the seven House of Valois children and their impact on European history thereafter. Reading the missive in this light, they inevitably concluded that Nostradamus had blundered rather badly or had foreseen an alternative future. Yet, it has never occurred to any that he might have envisioned the prose prophecy originating at some other point in future time.

If these interpreters had ever taken it upon themselves to compare the Epistle to Henry II with biblical prophecies they might have uncovered yet another key that not only promises to make Nostradamus’ predictions concerning our future clearer but also goes a long way to clarifying our understanding of biblical prophecy as well. Instead, wishing to present their oracle as an inspired astrologer, an enigmatic physician-turned-sorcerer, or a forerunner of New Age mysticism, they have overlooked one of the paramount critical chronological narratives of future events by one who is considered by many Bible historians to be the most important of the Old Testament prophets: Daniel of Chaldea. By comparing the Epistle and certain key quatrains from The Centuries with Chapters 8 and 11 from the Book of Daniel, the elusive point of commencement for the Epistle becomes quite obvious: Nostradamus’ long, winding road of prophetic narrative begins early in the 21st Century, a decade or more following the end of what may become known as the Third World War (or, if contained quickly enough, merely "the World Crisis").

Long ago, after seeing the Nostradamus documentary The Man Who Saw Tomorrow narrated by the late Orson Wells on cable television in March 1983, I had my misgivings about the popular interpretations of his prophecies. Shortly after I would be reading the works of Erika Cheetham and John Hogue’s first book. I questioned what made these authors, as well as the producers of the 1981 film, so certain that all the quatrains concerning comets were inexorably linked to Comet Halley’s 1985-1986 visit? Why only one comet? My initial impression was that a number of different comets were being described and that all of them awaited us well ahead in the future. The recent appearances of Comets Hyakutake and Hale-Bopp have proven my original contention out. Thus far only one of the quatrains with events linked to the passing of a comet has been fulfilled, tragically so I might add; by Comet Hale-Bopp. From the chaos in Albania and the resulting exodus of refugees to Italy to the historic U.S.-Russian summit in Helsinki, Finland; its saddest and most shocking legacy was finally realized at the end of August 1997 (this quatrain will be discussed fully later in the book).

Another thing that became apparent to me early on in my new-found hobby was that although there are many themes concerning war and disaster to be found in The Centuries, they do not necessarily complement one another in the fashion many commentators would like to have us believe. Two contrary themes I sorted out almost immediately when I first began reading Nostradamus in August 1985 was one which had France, along with other major Western powers, pitted against Libya and other Arab countries; and another which had France and Britain in league with Libya and the rest of North Africa in a war against Italy, Switzerland, and Germany. How could both scenarios be part of the same conflict? They cannot of course without a considerable amount of wrenching and contorting. The logical conclusion anyone should be able to arrive at is that, since neither theme has occurred since the death of Nostradamus in 1566, both must describe events to be played out in two entirely different future wars.

Still other themes in Nostradamus’ work presented themselves, taking the story of humankind far beyond the pale of any of our contemporary concerns, let alone the turning of the millennium. Although the biblical "end times" may have begun, they should not be confused with the final seven-year period identified by most Christian fundamentalists as "the Tribulation." The "latter days," as they have come to be called, constitute, I believe, a final era of human history that will cover, by our mortal reckoning, an expansive period of time. In this book I propose to demonstrate that there are at least as many years ahead of us before the second coming of Christ as those which have passed since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. This, based on his Epistle to Henry II, is what I have become convinced Nostradamus believed. Reading Chapter 8 and then Chapter 11 from the Book of Daniel from beginning to end, even without the Epistle for comparison, I derive a sense that there is no less, and likely much more than a century of future prophecy outlined in those passages.

The greater part of this book shall present the many, as-of-yet unfulfilled quatrains of Nostradamus in a comprehensive chronological sequence, covering a "latter days" age of roughly 250 years. Commencing from the early 21st Century, this chronicle analyzes, quatrain by quatrain, the events of five future global wars, the careers of twelve European emperors to come, the protracted evolution of power centers toward the North, an era of peace to rival the Pax Romana, the ultimate destinies of Russia and the United States, and the horrifying realization of John of Patmos’ vision of the beast and false prophet. A smaller section of post-Armageddon predictions, including the millennial reign of Christ and far beyond, is also detailed.

While the idea of chronologizing future history based on Nostradamus’ predictions is nothing new, the handful of authors who have attempted anything of this sort have focused their attention on the immediate future and "World War III." No one, to the best of my knowledge, has ever attempted anything of quite this magnitude. Succeeding chapters will seek to explore this, hitherto, uncharted domain of final history.

The French prophet’s prose chronology of future events, his Epistle to Henry II, does not appear to commence until sometime between 2009 and 2016. This window, in my view, approximates the beginning of a very long future age of war and peace.

For the time between now and then we have a small number of quatrains which correspond to the opening portions of Daniel 8 and 11; more quatrains which seem to relate to the writings of the prophet Jeremiah; the revelations of a few modern psychics; and some degree of speculation to help us determine the course of the next nine to sixteen years.

Following a comparison and analysis of the Old Testament prophet Daniel’s eighth chapter and relevant Nostradamus quatrains, the entire text of the Epistle to Henry II and Daniel’s eleventh chapter will be presented and analyzed. Nostradamus himself will also be spotlighted—his life, his beliefs, and his practices will be probed. With that groundwork laid, I will then explain the methodology by which I was able to date and categorize the various major eras of human history beyond the 2009 - 2016 period. Then we shall examine a generous helping of quatrains that have been fulfilled from 1979 through the year 1997 (1998 and 1999 will have been discussed in the chapter previous).

After the chapter on fulfilled predictions follows The Chronology, which makes up the greater part of the book. Every unfulfilled prediction made by Nostradamus that can possibly be interpreted is presented in the most probable sequence the French prophet assembled for use in composing his missive to Henry II—and for the benefit of the coming "King of France the Second." Supporting presentiments by both past and recent seers and scryers alike will appear along with relevant quatrains and passages, accompanied by an interpretation, an analysis, available astrological datings, and other dating methods when applicable. The predictions of these additional prophets—biblical, classical, medieval, early modern, and contemporary—will serve to function as a body of prophetic corroboration.

Before proceeding, I must warn the reader that, although Armageddon is not knocking at the door, it is possible that another global war is. The pundits of doom will of course do their utmost best to convince everyone that they had it right to begin with and that "the end is at hand" (the end is always "at hand" for someone, no matter what the circumstances may be). Do not listen. Both Daniel and Nostradamus indicate that we have it in our power to determine the outcome and lessen the severity of the coming conflict when it arrives. It is equally possible that, in place of a global conflagration, the world will be confronted with a scattering of brush fires that will require our collective courage for their extinguishing (thus far this appears to have been the case). However, on the dark side of the coin, we also have the power to give way to our own worst fears, based on all the "millennium madness" surrounding us, and hastily create a nightmare that need not be.

Nevertheless, we can take heart in the knowledge that Satan’s man does not yet walk among us nor will he until long after we have gone to dust.

If a dedicated interpreter of prophecy is successful, he will make the future seem a familiar place. Here then is the long-awaited map to a most strange country. Let us journey there with open eyes and minds, guided by the oracle of Salon.

12 September 2000

 

 

Nostradamus and the Final Age 1998-2006 Michael McClellan

 

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