Bible Prophecies Indicating Napoleon was the Messiah
by Allan Glenn

Last Updated by Allan Glenn on June 20, 2003
Updated by Jim Howell on December 5, 2009 and January 14, 2011
(fixed some links and formatting, and removed some obsolete material)

[Disclaimer: This page is intended as a not-so-subtle parody of Over 300 Fulfilled Messianic Prophecies!, which retroactively shoehorns myriad out-of-context Old Testament verses to awkwardly fit Jesus, an ancient practice known as typology. As I attempt to demonstrate below, using this technique and a little work, anyone can be retrofitted into the Old Testament - making the method fairly useless prophetically. It exploits human psychology using quirks like shoehorning, wishful thinking and confirmation bias and is in no way indicative of paranormal extratemporal perception.]

This webpage has been produced to clue in our readers on a very important fact. The Messiah has already come and gone. Unfortunately for us, he left because he didn't like that nasty French cheese.

Our readers are invited to check the verses listed below and come to their own conclusions on the matter. We can only ask that they consider this - how could one man fulfill all these predictions about his life made centuries before the fact?

  1. Genesis 1:6 'Let there be an expanse between the waters'. (France is located right between the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea! [1])

  2. Genesis 3:15 'I will put enmity between you and the woman'. Napoleon's wife, Josephine, had numerous affairs behind his back. This, in turn, led him to adopt a mistress of his own [2].

  3. Genesis 12:3 'I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.' Napoleon's Civic Code [3] was a significant improvement over previous legal systems, as it replaced regional and often arbitrary decrees with a standardized, logical group of laws based on sound judicial principles. It later inspired similar measures in numerous other countries and remains possibly the most enduring legacy of the Napoleonic era.

  4. Genesis 15:11 'Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses'. Napoleon engaged in many battles where dead bodies served as feasts for carrion-feeders.

  5. Genesis 16:4 'When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress'. Napoleon and Josephine eventually divorced because his mistress, Eleonore Denuelle, became pregnant in 1806 [3].

  6. Genesis 16:12 'He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers'. Given the spectacular nature of Napoleon's military exploits, this particular prophecy speaks for itself.

  7. Genesis 26:13 'The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy'. Compared to the aristocrats of France, Napoleon's Corsican parents were mere paupers [4]. Despite this, he succeeded in becoming emperor of one of the wealthiest nations then in existence. 
  8. Genesis 26:28 'There ought to be a sworn agreement between us - between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you'. France made many treaties [5] over the course of Napoleon's reign.

  9. Genesis 27:29 'May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you'. Napoleon struck fear into the hearts of all surrounding monarchs at the height of his reign.

  10. Genesis 28:15 'I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land'. Napoleon traveled all over Europe in his military campaigns, yet he never died on the battlefield. 19 years after his death on the island of St. Helena, his (miraculously preserved! [6]) body was returned to France.

  11. Genesis 30:23-24 'She became pregnant... She named him Joseph'. Napoleon's second marriage to Austrian princess Maria Louisa resulted in a son named Napoleon François-Joseph Charles [7].

  12. Genesis 45:20 'the best of all Egypt will be yours'. Napoleon's Egyptian campaign (1798-1801) resulted in the capture of Alexandria within hours of the French arrival. Cairo subsequently fell to French troops. In 1799, the Rosetta Stone, which would subsequently hold the key to unlocking the extinct ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and become one of the most celebrated archeological finds in history [8], was discovered by his troops.

  13. Genesis 46:4 'I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again'. Although Napoleon's Egyptian campaign ultimately ended in a hasty retreat, he safely made it back to France in time to fight numerous other battles.

  14. Exodus 20:18 'When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance'. The liberation of Toulon was achieved when Napoleon wisely took the heights ('mountain') of Cairo, captured the fort there and used the British artillery ('thunder, lightning and smoke') against them. The enemies were stricken with panic, abandoned two other fortresses and ran [9]. 'Thunder' and 'smoke' from a 'mountain' sounding 'trumpets' is a near-perfect symbolic description of a fortress on a hill discharging cannon fire.

  15. Psalm 2:1-2 'Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One'. Throughout the Napoleonic wars, numerous countries, among them Russia, Austria and Britain, allied and fought against France. General Claude-François Malet's attempted coup of the Imperial government, among other plots, was foiled [10].

  16. Psalms 3:1-6 'O LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, "God will not deliver him." Selah. But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side'. Austerlitz, also known as the Battle of Three Emperors, resulted in Napoleon's spectacular victory over a numerically superior force led by a coalition of Russian and Austrian forces. A force of around 68,000 French troops soundly defeated the enemy army of almost 90,000 [11].

  17. Obadiah 1:4 'Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the LORD'. Napoleon enjoyed the height of his reign until, in perhaps the largest military campaign the world had yet known, his attempted invasion of Russia resulted in disaster in 1812.

  18. Ezekiel 6:7 'Your people will fall slain among you, and you will know that I am the LORD'. Waterloo became synonymous with a catastrophic defeat after Napoleon's forces suffered heavy losses and were defeated.

  19. Psalm 13:4 'my enemy will say, 'I have overcome him,' and my foes will rejoice when I fall'. Napoleon's defeat was a welcome relief for the governments that opposed him.

  20. Ezekiel 11:9 'I will drive you out of the city and hand you over to foreigners and inflict punishment on you'. After Napoleon's final defeat, he was taken by the British and imprisoned on the remote island of St. Helena, never to see France again in his lifetime.

  21. Isaiah 53: the one prophecy that leaves little doubt of the Messiah's identity. Very long and detailed, and yet the parallels between it and Napoleon's life are strikingly uncanny: '2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him'. As noted above, Napoleon's family wasn't particularly rich or famous. That the Emperor of France would be culled from such an unlikely background is a fairly unusual prediction to make, considering the much greater nobility of most French rulers. '3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not'. The people of Spain, instead of welcoming Napoleon, bitterly fought against French troops instead, while Pope Pius VII excommunicated him. [12]. Thomas Jefferson, despite the very profitable Louisiana Purchase earlier, referred to him as "the Attila of this age" and a "ruthless destroyer of ten millions of the human race" [13]. The French Senate voted to depose Napoleon, resulting in his shocked disbelief [14]. '4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed'. At the end of Napoleon's rule, the Allied powers made it clear they were after him personally, not the French people. Napoleon himself agreed to sacrifice his life for the nation of France if need be. [15]. '7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth'. This stunning prediction of the silent film Napoleon [16] was made many centuries before cinematography was even invented! '12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors'. Napoleon Bonaparte remains one of the greatest, most intriguing military generals and rulers in all of recorded history.

I originally made this webpage in around a week. If I had a fervent belief that Napoleon was actually the Messiah and even more time to kill, such as that required for a medium-sized novel, this list would probably be much larger.

There are numerous other phrases and verses in the Bible that could be used to retroactively "predict" the life of Napoleon Bonaparte, William Jefferson Clinton, Bill Gates or practically any other figure should belief in their Messianic prowess overcome common sense.

Nevertheless, 20 "prophecies" like the one above should be sufficient to shock any reader who hasn't taken the time to investigate psychological quirks like retroactive shoehorning, confirmation bias and others that have historically been best friends of charlatans around the world that claimed extrasensory abilities.

I hope this light-hearted exercise in prophetic satire will make the reader consider whether similar "predictions" about other religious figures are anything except the product of overactive and credulous human imaginations.

 J.P. Holding of Tektonics Apologetics Ministries had this to say about the above (though these comments are apparently no longer on his website)

"Anything wrong with this? It will surprise a lot of folks to know that methodologically, there is nothing wrong with this." [Emphasis added]

You heard it here first! ;)

He nevertheless added the following:

"Napoleon made no Messianic claims and made no appeal to his followers to consult texts about him. Thus WinAce has the process backwards. The prophecies do not "prove" the Messiah. The Messiah validates the prophecies. No one went down a checklist saying: "Born in Bethlehem -- yep. Called a Nazarene -- yep." Rather, the divinity of Christ was first validated, and the OT consulted thereafter. It is indeed retroactive, but with an important step of validation first."

This concern entirely misses the point of this essay - nowadays, many armchair apologists appeal to typological 'prophecy fulfillment' as an argument for Christianity in and of itself, as evidenced by, among other things, scores of webpages like the one parodied above.

The sole point of this article was to demonstrate why this is not a sound approach. The Bible codes aren't a valid argument for divine inspiration if they can be found in secular works like Moby Dick, and neither are 'prophecies' if they can be dredged up for any figure from any book with only a modicum of effort. In the end, Mr. Holding effectively blasts a strawman to smithereens.

Of course, non-Christians would probably take issue with the divinity of Jesus being 'validated' (outside the minds of early Christians, anyway), but that's beyond the scope of this article.

References for further reading:

  1. Encyclopedia Britannica Concise, France entry. ^

  2. PBS, The Emperor and Empress (November, 2000). ^

  3. Ibid. ^

  4. Carrington, Dorothy, Napoleon And His Parents: On The Threshold of History (London, Penguin Books Ltd., 1988), pp 56-69. ^

  5. A concise list of all treaties involving France in the Napoleonic era can be found at the Reference Library of Diplomatic Documents. ^

  6. Ben Weider, The Assassination of Napoleon, 1995-2003. ^

  7. Alan Warwick Palmer, Napoleon & Marie Louise: The Emperor's Second Wife (St. Martin's Press, July 2001), p. 116. ^

  8. Max Sewell, The Discovery of the Rosetta Stone (February 1999). ^

  9. Ben Weider, Chronological Table of the Principal Events in the Life of Napoleon, Chapter 3. ^

  10. Everett Dague, Henri Clarke, Minister of War, and the Malet Conspiracy. ^

  11. Encyclopedia Britannica Concise, Battle of Austerlitz entry. ^

  12. PBS, Politics in Napoleon's Time (November, 2000). ^

  13. Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, July 5, 1814. ^

  14. Bonaparte's Abdication and Journey to Elba, The Albion, February 4, 1826. ^

  15. See, for example, The Franfort Declaration of 1813: "The allied powers are not at war with France, but with that haughtily announced preponderance, that preponderance which, to the misfortune of Europe and of France, the Emperor Napoleon has for too long a time exercised outside of the boundaries of his empire". The First Abdication of Napoleon, signed by the former emperor, states: "...the Emperor Napoleon, faithful to his oath, declares that he is ready to descend from the throne, to leave France and even to lay down his life for the welfare of the fatherland". ^

  16. Abel Gance, Director, Napoleon, 1927. ^

© 2003 Allan Glenn. You may freely modify, print and reproduce this document for non-commercial purposes.