Updated: Jan 28
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
Jesus said to the crowd, “To what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
This reading from Matthew is one that has extra meaning to me, meaning that most others do not realize. That extra meaning comes from my study of The Prophecies of Nostradamus. Few people know it, but Nostradamus quoted from Biblical Scripture.
He did this most directly in his Preface to his most recognized work. The Preface is written as a letter addressed to his infant son, Cesar. Because of this, some people refer to the Preface as the “Epistle to Cesar.” In that letter, Nostradamus wrote primarily in French, but on occasion he would write in Latin. When he wrote in Latin, that language shift often related to a verse from the Holy Bible, Roman Catholic version (Latin Vulgate). Because the Preface is actually a foreword that explains the focus of the work to follow, the association of Latin to holy verse is an indirect statement that all Latin uses found in either the letters or the poems of The Prophecies (quatrains) are to be interpreted in a Christian sense.
The presentation of the Matthew reading above has in bold type the verse that Nostradamus used, although not fully. Some translations read the last part of verse 25 as a paraphrase used by Nostradamus, while he began with a direct quote of the Latin Vulgate. Of course, Matthew’s Gospel was produced in Greek, so it was Rome’s translation that Roman Catholics recognized (those who understood Latin).
To understand Jesus’ quote that was recalled by Matthew, one needs to know the context of chapter 11 that leads up to that statement made. To understand the context of Nostradamus, which surrounds his reference to the Jesus quote (as explaining The Prophecies), I would like to introduce you to that part of Nostradamus’ Preface. However, because there is a system for interpreting Nostradamus that prevents standard syntax (as English-speaking people know) be presented in easily understood text, I will quote Nostradamus first from one who uses a translation based on that syntactical application. This appears on the website Crystal Links, under the heading of “Nostradamus,” link to “Preface.” (Fair Use privilege invoked):
“For this reason I withdrew my pen from the paper, because I wished to amplify my statement touching the Vulgar Advent, by means of ambiguous and enigmatic comments about future causes, even those closest to us and those I have perceived, so that some human change which may come to pass shall not unduly scandalize delicate sensibilities. The whole work is thus written in a nebulous rather than plainly prophetic form. So much so that,
You have hidden these things from the wise and the circumspect, that is from the mighty and the rulers, and you have purified those things for the small and the poor, and through Almighty God’s will, revealed unto those prophets with the power to perceive what is distant and thereby to foretell things to come. For nothing can be accomplished without this faculty, whose power and goodness work so strongly in those to whom it is given that, while they contemplate within themselves, these powers are subject to other influences arising from the force of good. This warmth and strength of prophecy invests us with its influence as the sun’s rays affect both animate and inanimate entities.”
That translation, syntactical as it attempts to be, still is difficult to follow. One can note that Nostradamus referred to “ambiguous and enigmatic comments about future causes,” which is related to his “whole work” (The Prophecies) being likewise “written in a nebulous rather than plainly prophetic form.” After quoting Jesus, Nostradamus used the Matthew quote to explain that his confusing text was “through Almighty God’s will, revealed unto those prophets with the power to perceive what is distant and thereby to foretell things to come.” Thus, The Prophecies is explained to be a work divinely inspired, as are all books in the Holy Bible that project future events. A Prophecy is written by a Prophet, and a Prophet (as one inspired by Almighty God) understands Prophecy.
The way of translating Nostradamus that I have found to be necessary is literal (word-for-word French-to-English), with all marks of punctuation read as points of separation and with all ampersands read as beginning a new “line of statement” as emphasizing “And” as the first word. This style of translation slows down the reading process and allows the reader more ability to think about the meaning of each word, rather than be confused by sentences that are not really sentences. The text that follows an ampersand (a mark that is more than a replacement for the word “and”) is then identified as a statement most important to grasp.
Notice also that I have made the text above that quotes Matthew in bold type, which was not a marking found in the translation on Crystal Links. The bold reflects where Nostradamus wrote in Latin, as quoting from Scripture. Such a change is important to note, such that I have shown this in bold italic text. Here is how I believe a translation from the Preface should be presented:
“Who with remained there business of to act to shrink form of speech to the popular, & here pen to the paper can to me is wanted to unfold expounding for him common enjoyment happening, through ones hard to be known & ones in a maze advices given in a matter them matters future ones, same ones them more urgent ones, & those ones that I have marked, some human mutation that occurs risen to defame the confessional weakness, & him everything declared under representation cloudy, more that to the whole sum prophesying how many that, Concealing up to this point from philosophers, & ones prudent, it is, powerful & rulers, had been explained in detail is those inadequate & trifling ones, & in the Prophets: through him order from God everlasting, & to them favorable ones God’s immediate messengers had received the thought to prophesying, through which they see them matters far distant ones, & draw near unto at to provide beforehand those future ones happenings: considering that anything not oneself able to absolutely conclude without him, ones to which even as mighty is here authority & here goodness with the obedient ones, who depending that they to persevere in them, albeit in them others ones working to make be servants, in respect of here similarity to there cause from the virtuous guardian spirit, this warmth & ability prophesier themselves drawn near to us: as much as he we come to pass from the rays of the Sun, which oneself grows from ones putting forth their influence in the stuffs elemental ones, & sprung from ones belonging to the principles.”
From the above literal translations into English, here is the literal Latin written by Nostradamus. Again, this presentation is mine, following the punctuation breaks and ampersand placements:
Abscondisti hæc à sapientibus, & prudentibus, id est, potentibus & regibus, enucleasti ea exiguis & tenuibus,
Since the Crystal Links translation is shown as a direct quote from Jesus, as delivered in Matthew 11:25b, here is the Latin Vulgate equivalent, with the exception being the Latin word for “and” (“et”) is now shown as an ampersand:
quia abscondisti haec a sapientibus & prudentibus & revelasti ea parvulis
As is now obvious, there is certainly an almost identical focus on “You have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent” part of this quote, with the remainder seen as a loose paraphrase that contrasts powerful rulers from those “inadequate & trifling” (“parvulis” – those “very small”) . Still, the quote from Jesus in Matthew 11 is quite relative to the purpose of Nostradamus’ letter of Preface. Nostradamus used that quote to explain how the holiest content of his work was “hidden from the will and the intelligent,” because Jesus was likewise explaining how the “wise and intelligent” of the Temple – the Pharisees, Sadducees, High priests and scribes – did not know that all of the Scriptures prophesied a future that had then been fulfilled with Jesus. Nostradamus also explained that his work (like the Torah, Psalms, and Prophets) would take centuries before it could be understood, because the meaning had been “hidden from the wise and intelligent” in both a contemporary world and a new world yet to come. Both Jesus and Nostradamus spoke from the same source voice – God.
The missing verses from this reading (20-24) focus on Matthew recalling how Jesus “began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent.” (Matthew 11:20) These were then named as Chorazin, Bethsaida, Tyre, Sidon and Capernaum (11:21-23). For their failures to believe in Jesus as the Messiah and change, by begging God for forgiveness, Jesus concluded: “I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.” This unpleasant view of those who had come in proximity to the physical Jesus and refused to be filled with the Holy Spirit is key to understanding the meaning behind Jesus saying that the Lord had hidden the forewarning that the Messiah would be like Jesus. Thus, men of learning about things Scriptural could not properly remember it or decipher its meaning. Those who did follow Jesus and believed were born again, as if babies.
The Greek works written (in comparison to the Latin), as far as the repeated statement is concerned, are:
“Hoti ekrypsas tauta apo sophōn kai synetōn kai apekalypsas auta nēpiois.”
Because the word “kai” is the conjunction “and,” if it were replaced by ampersands, then the essence would be seen as:
“Hoti ekrypsas tauta apo sophōn & synetōn & apekalypsas auta nēpiois.”
The combination of (in Latin) “sapientibus et prudentibus,” is consistent with the meanings gleaned from (in Greek) “sophōn kai synetōn.” Because each pair of words is synonymous with one another (“smart & smart”), the words of Jesus are identifying what I have regularly called “the Big Brain syndrome.” As a contrast to those who are “skilled” in “intellect,” which becomes those “prudently wise” or “carefully analytical,” those with Big Brains are blind to the things easily seen by little minds. Following the line of thought begun by some ancient master of translation, the reference to “infants” or “children,” as those without such prior learning to confuse or block new thoughts, is how I have compared those filled with the Holy Spirit as being simpletons, such as were the movie characters Chance the Gardener (Being There), Forrest Gump (Forrest Gump), Navin R. Johnson (The Jerk), and Karl Childers (Sling Blade). This thought parallels the saying, “Out of the mouths of babes.” (“God ordains strength out of the mouth of babes and sucklings” – Psalms 8:2)
This revelation of meaning to “babes” is also consistent to the prophecy of Joel, who wrote: “I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.” It should be understood that “sons and daughters” is reference to the immature, which includes both genders; whereas young men and old men is reference to mature adults of masculine distinction. In German, the word “kinder” is a word of neuter gender, because both sexes are “children” without full education and physical development. Therefore, the immature are not defined by mature gender status. Thus, the Greek word translated as “infants” is figuratively accepted to also mean “a simple-minded or immature person.” (Strong’s)
When this is understood, one can see how the reading from Matthew begins with a focus on children, those who were set in the marketplace, trying unsuccessfully to get the attention of adults. Jesus then said how John the Baptizer had come, like a child who did not march to the typical adult drumbeats. He was called possessed because he did not fit the mold created by rational, mature wisdom. In the same sense, Jesus (calling himself the Son of Man) came like a child, who knows nothing of rejection based on one’s standing in an adult world, and welcomed all those who knew sin AS WELL AS guilt from sin. For his immature welcoming of “tax collectors and sinners,” he was deemed “gluttonous and a drunkard.”
When Jesus said, “Wisdom is vindicated by her deeds,” he used the feminine form of “autos” (“autēs”), which confirms “wisdom” as a feminine noun (not neuter gender). Such a feminine association for “sophia” (the Greek root word in “sophistication” and “philosophy”) is possibly due to the Greek goddess of wisdom being Athena, the patron god of Athens. The word translated as “vindicated” (“edikaiōthē”) equally means “is justified, made righteous.” As such, that which is called “intellect” and “insight” is more than a belief, but a display by “acts.” Therefore, God-given knowledge is much more than one’s ability to philosophize about religion, as it is proved by one’s religious deeds. (“Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” – James 2:17)
Because Jesus named several towns where the “wisdom” of their leaders had cause many to reject the idea that Jesus was the Messiah, it was that inability to see miracles as being consistent with known prophecies that made their “knowledge” flawed. It was flawed because the brains of the leaders were not allowed to see the truth. Seeing the truth meant to see themselves as sinners, which the Big Brain syndrome prevents. The guilt they felt was relieved by projecting their self-hatred onto John the Baptizer and Jesus. This is the meaning behind Jesus saying, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Jesus knew the meaning of all prophecies that foretold of his coming, because Jesus was given the knowledge of God, through the Holy Spirit. As such, only those who could see Jesus in that light of truth (allowed them by God’s Will) were those deemed “infants” of brain, or “simpletons” of Scripture. Only those whose minds were not clouded by the pompous babblings of religious schools of thought (which equated to Jesus identifying “the blind leading the blind”) were able to have the truth revealed to them. Their brains were like fertile soil, prepared to receive new seeds of thought.
The failure of Pharisees, Sadducees, High Priests and Temple Scribes to explain Scripture in applicable means – telling the devout Jew how to be righteous AND still be able to pay rent, put food on the table, and afford clothes, furniture, etc., etc., etc. – placed heavy burdens on those who wanted to do right, but always found the only solution was to give into wrong. Jesus was telling those simpletons, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.” Jesus offered those Jews peace of mind, through the Holy Spirit. He was saying, in effect: “Your big brains are causing you so much worry and guilt, when all you have to do is let you brain (i.e.: ego) step aside and be reborn as me – the Son of God – whose brain is led by the Mind of the Messiah – God on Earth.”
The way one lets one’s ego die is by accepting God into one’s heart. One must demonstrate a deep love of God. At that point, when God is within the heart of an individual, then one becomes a reborn Jesus, able to say, “for I am gentle and humble in heart.” All the worries of the world disappear. This means “you will find rest for your souls,” with that peace and tranquility coming from the knowledge of God within, knowing His promise of eternal life with Him is in all His servants.
When Jesus then said, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” that means acceptance of the Holy Spirit removes all the worries of a sinful world, as love of God and letting the Mind of Christ lead one through life’s actions is easy mentally. All of the worry over choices – Do I do right or wrong? – is easy to decide. The choice to do right then means no regrets or guilt. Thus, the burdens of one’s sins disappear, with all prior sins are forgiven by the actions of a devoted servant that forevermore lets God set one’s course.
In the context of Nostradamus’ Preface, leading up to the quote from Matthew, he told of how he had written almanacs in the past, which were tricky to interpret but the metaphor was simple enough to make solving the language riddles fun. However, due to The Prophecies dealing with a very serious and distant future, with the corruption of the Church of Rome part of that future, the language of the verses was made much more difficult to interpret, on purpose. That purpose was deemed by God, to protect the innocent (those like children), leading Nostradamus to further quote Scripture, saying only God can be the ultimate source of the timing for all future matters (Jesus quote from Acts 1:7)***. Therefore, The Prophecies is a warning of a future to come, which has been purposefully hidden from the wise and intelligent.
[*** Nostradamus wrote (Crystal Links translation) “For it is not for us to know the times or the instants, etc.” The Latin written by Nostradamus is: “Quia non est nostrum noscere tempora, nec momenta, & c.” The Latin Vulgate of Acts 1:7 is: “dixit autem eis non est vestrum nosse tempora vel momenta quae Pater posuit in sua potestate.“]
In the context of Matthew’s chapter 11, Jesus spoke to a Jewish crowd about his cousin, John the Baptizer, who had then been imprisoned. He told them to go tell John of the specific miracles Jesus had performed. He told them that John was the return of Elijah, whose return was known to come prior to the coming of the promised Messiah. It was then that Jesus began by pondering what his generation, which included John, could be compared to, leading him to compare it to children being ignored in the marketplace. That ignorance was due to an adult world that had been trained not to hear anything of intellectual value being possible from children – the untrained minds. What the children were doing (by playing tunes to dance by and by singing sad songs to mourn by) was pointing out the true meaning of the Scriptures: God will send a Savior – a tune to dance to; Failure to welcome that Savior will bring great pains – a song of lament. That then leads to Jesus saying that God had “hidden these things (holy messages) from the wise and intelligent (adults) and revealed them to infants (simpleton children ignored).”
In the context that follows Nostradamus’ quote from Matthew, where he paraphrased “revealed them to infants” by stating, “had been explained in detail is those inadequate & trifling ones,” Nostradamus wrote that there would be those inspired by the Holy Spirit (“the virtuous guardian spirit”) to understand The Prophecies, thus keeping the flame of its message alive until the future it told of would arrive. He said that the distance this future was from his generation’s present made it impossible for wise and intelligent men to interpret the meaning of his words (words divinely inspired by God). Only those shown the meaning by God would be capable of helping others to find faith in the power of God, through the miracles of Prophecy.
Likewise, in the context that followed Jesus’ quote, of God hiding the truth of prophecy from the minds of wise and intelligent Temple leaders (so they did not welcome Jesus as their Messiah, despite the miracles he had been witnessed to perform), awareness of past Prophecy would require followers of Jesus to also be filled with the Holy Spirit (“anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal [God]”). As such, Jesus’ quote of hidden meaning in prophetic words is the mirror image of Nostradamus’ repeating that quote: Jesus reflected the past to be revealed by Apostles; and Nostradamus projected the future to be revealed by Apostles.
The Torah and the Psalms had existed for thousands of years, with the books of the Prophets had been known for hundreds of years, by the time Jesus ministered to the people. In exile, continuous study kept the flame of their promise alive through devout Jews. Still, they were blind to Jesus being the promise delivered. In the same manner, The Prophecies written by Nostradamus, as one continuing the line of of God’s Holy Prophets, have now existed for hundreds of years, with the flame of belief kept alive by those who guess at it meaning, proclaiming miraculous results. Jesus came to a generation of those who wanted to believe, but lacked divine guidance. Nostradamus left a seed that would not germinate until the world would be ripe for destroying itself. Such a destructive world, like that one Jesus knew, recovering from their destruction, always lacks divine guidance.
We know that the wise and intelligent would plot to kill Jesus and successfully do so (fulfilling prophecies). The world loves a good execution, even if killing the messenger means a world in denial will be turned upside down in turmoil for its “deeds based on wisdom.” Only the simpletons play tunes and sing songs that are worth paying attention to; but in a world of Big Brains, it is hard to find time to dance in celebration to God, or to cry at how ignorant we have been.
By R. T. Tippett