Aztec Prophecy re: Conquistadors

Good day,

I wonder if anyone could assist me regarding a question that touches on church history and perhaps religious anthropology.

I have read, from an older book on the Conquistadors (The Conquest of Mexico by William Prescott, 1922) the theory that the Aztecs of 1519 came under divine judgment, a judgment orchestrated through the Conquistadors.

The theory runs that the Aztecs had in their writings a prophecy that one day invaders would come from afar to destroy them, a prophecy that they took to be fulfilled in the Conquistadors. The mystery is where this prophetic notion came from.

I am not necessarily defending the Conquistadors here. I suspect the idea would be that just as God used, eg the Babylonians, to bring judgment in 586BC on Israel, so God can use the wicked to bring judgment on another wicked people.

I may have misread it, but Mel Gibson’s film Apocalypto seemed to me to be alluding to a similar idea: of the invasion of the Conquistadors as a form of divine judgment on the Aztecs, a race who by the turn of the 16th century seemed to have lost moral compass in many areas, not the least of which was human sacrifice and butchery.

I believe there is a counter-argument that runs that the Aztecs received such prophetic notion from Christian missionaries, who had begun to work higher up in the Americas shortly after the Columbus arrival of 1493.

This does, on the surface, seem a little specious. Twenty years since Columbus’ arrival seems scant time for a belief to be so entrenched in a given group that it becomes lore as such.

A further argument runs that general ideas of divine judgment, a special day of wrath and prophecies of destruction run through many religions by virtue of mutual contact of one people with another. I.e., that the prophetic idea of a special race that would come and destroy one’s own civilization may be fairly common in various religious traditions; thus the argument from uniqueness is diluted and may lose force.

All of which may well be bound up in the ongoing debate about how religions influence one another and whether Christianity can claim uniqueness among them.

However, my knowledge of all this is fairly limited. I read of it in the above history of the Conquistadors and was intrigued. I was wondering if anyone has done research on this question and can perhaps provide assistance.

Much appreciated,
Erasmus

Allegedly, the eagle-on-the cactus symbol of the Mexican nation was the prophetic symbol of the conquistadors’ arrival.

ICXC NIKA

Divine Judgement comes after a soul has departed from the body. What the Israelites (and any subsequent cultures) perceived as judgment was not the Divine Judgement. Our Lady of Guadalupe, in the image of a native American no less (a shocking thing to many in the 16th century, even among the Spanish who were notably less racist than their English counterparts at the time and who quickly built families with the indigenous), came to the Aztecs and all the people of the Americas in order to bring salvation and all of its joys into their lives.

There is somewhat of a religious connection between the Spanish Catholics and the Aztecs (I am not speaking of later encounters with the Incas). The same time that Cortez arrived in Mexico was the year that corresponded with year 1 Reed, 1 Wind in Aztec. The Toltec Empire, who were the predecessors of the Aztecs, also had practiced human sacrifice until a benevolent ruler named Quetzalcoatl abolished the practice. The legend transmitted was that he would later return on the year 1 Reed (which occurs every 52 years) on the day 1 Wind, coming from the East and wearing black. Thus, when Cortez arrived, many indigenous Americans who were enemies of the Aztecs saw this as a great sign and quickly allied with the newcomers. It should be noted that the imperialist Aztecs had a very large number of enemies. They regularly expanded, raided, and pillaged other tribes and collected prisoners as part of their ritual sacrifices.

Of course, we don’t authoritatively know that this was Divine Providence. I am inclined to believe that it was and that God was using virtuous pagans as instruments in the same way he uses any of us, just as he has always done throughout the world. In 16th century Europe such an idea would be very foreign and even potentially blasphemous to an ordinary Christian mind. But, the Church has developed quite a lot since then.

Diane Moczar’s book, Converts and Kingdoms has a section on the first encounters with the New World and goes into greater detail, if you are interested in reading more.

Christopher Columbus believed the Last World Emperor would lead a crusade against the muslims before the end of the world. Many argue that Christopher Columbus thought that Ferdinand and Isabella fulfilled this prophecy. You can read more about this in the Book of Prophecies by Columbus, which he wrote in September 1501 up to March 1502.

There is also a prophecy about the Angelic Pope who will revive the church from schism.

Christopher Columbus believed the Last World Emperor would lead a crusade against the muslims before the end of the world. Many argue that Christopher Columbus thought that Ferdinand and Isabella fulfilled this prophecy. You can read more about this in the Book of Prophecies by Columbus, which he wrote in September 1501 up to March 1502.

There is also a prophecy about the Angelic Pope who will revive the church from schism.

Catholics are not required to believe in any of these prophecies that have been handed down through the centuries. All Catholics have the gift the Discernment of the Spirits where the holyspirit enables them to judge whether a prophecy is true. If a prophecy goes against Catholic teaching it can be condemned by a bishop.

Christopher Columbus believed the Last World Emperor would lead a crusade against the muslims before the end of the world. Many argue that Christopher Columbus thought that Ferdinand and Isabella fulfilled this prophecy. You can read more about this in the Book of Prophecies by Columbus, which he wrote in September 1501 up to March 1502.

There is also a prophecy about the Angelic Pope who will revive the church from schism.

Catholics are not required to believe in any of these prophecies that have been handed down through many centuries. All Catholics have the gift of the Discernment of the Spirits where the holyspirit enables them to judge whether or not a prophecy is true according to God. If a prophecy goes against Catholic teaching it will be condemned by a bishop.

Christopher Columbus believed the Last World Emperor would lead a crusade against the muslims before the end of the world. Many argue that Christopher Columbus thought that Ferdinand and Isabella fulfilled this prophecy. You can read more about this in the Book of Prophecies by Columbus, which he wrote in September 1501 up to March 1502.

There is also a prophecy about the Angelic Pope who will revive the church from schism.

Catholics are not required to believe in any of these prophecies that have been handed down through many centuries. All Catholics have the gift of the Discernment of the Spirits where the holyspirit enables them to judge whether or not a prophecy is true according to God. If a prophecy goes against Catholic Teachings it will be condemned by a Bishop.

The symbol was told to the Aztecs by their priest. They were looking to find new land to escape the Spaniards and a priest told them that when they saw this eagle sitting on a cactus eating a snake, this is where they would build. It was an island that is now current day Mexico City. How much of it is true? Not sure but a cool story though.

Erasmus777;14850566]Good day,

I wonder if anyone could assist me regarding a question that touches on church history and perhaps religious anthropology.

I have read, from an older book on the Conquistadors (The Conquest of Mexico by William Prescott, 1922) the theory that the Aztecs of 1519 came under divine judgment, a judgment orchestrated through the Conquistadors.

The Aztec prophecy consisted of the return of a past Emperor ruler Quetzalcoatl by sea as a deity to bring about a significant change ( or ruin as some historians record) in the Aztec culture. Cortez learning of such a prophecy played in the role, seeking gold. Cortez in his light skin fit the bill, which began the conquest. Providence does play a role, but not in the conquest made by the Spaniards in killing off the majority of the Aztec warriors and raping of the Aztec women.

The theory runs that the Aztecs had in their writings a prophecy that one day invaders would come from afar to destroy them, a prophecy that they took to be fulfilled in the Conquistadors. The mystery is where this prophetic notion came from.

The thinking goes along the lines, that the Aztecs were looking to see their prophecy come to fulfillment and did not resist the Spaniards. Until the last Emperor Montecazuma and his priest’s learned that the Spaniards were not deities. Cortez had the Aztec Emperor arrested and confined. The Aztecs at first resisted the Spaniards and chased them back to the sea. But the Spaniards re-armed with advaced weaponry returned and the Conquest of the Spaniard disease, which required gold to cure their sickness, thus began the killing and raping of the Aztec Tribes.

I am not necessarily defending the Conquistadors here. I suspect the idea would be that just as God used, eg the Babylonians, to bring judgment in 586BC on Israel, so God can use the wicked to bring judgment on another wicked people.

The Aztecs migrated from what is now the state of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, to Mexico. In search of their prophetic Aztlan, when the sign of an Eagle possessing a snake mounted on a cactus, would reveal to them, this is where they will find Aztlan. What is interesting the Eagle landed near a huge lake, which the Aztecs built their city on, which is now Mexico city today. There are still Nahautal (Aztec language) speaking indians existing in these areas, including Florida, when the Nahautal speaking Indians were displaced with other American Indian tribes on the road of tears.

The Aztecs had a religious belief system similar to Christianity in a lot of ways. The Aztecs had a deep and celebrated understanding of Life, death, sacrifice and blood. Not to miscontrue their eating of flesh and drinking of blood as a form of worship to their deity on a par with Jesus teaching to eat his flesh and drink his blood, is one example.

cont;

cont,

I may have misread it, but Mel Gibson’s film Apocalypto seemed to me to be alluding to a similar idea: of the invasion of the Conquistadors as a form of divine judgment on the Aztecs, a race who by the turn of the 16th century seemed to have lost moral compass in many areas, not the least of which was human sacrifice and butchery.

The Aztecs were Warriors and hired mercenaries. Other Tribes would hire them to fight their battles as they journeyed south in search of Aztlan. Contrary to today’s view of war and human sacrifice. The Aztecs would make mock war’s in order to maintain peace, sometimes volunteering their own Warriors to fight for the enemy to balance the war of flowers. Again sacrifice to the Aztec was a high honor, and most celebrated sacrifices, were volunteered victims, who would willing sacrifice their life in a ritual, for the protection and welfare of the Aztec people.

I believe there is a counter-argument that runs that the Aztecs received such prophetic notion from Christian missionaries, who had begun to work higher up in the Americas shortly after the Columbus arrival of 1493.

This does, on the surface, seem a little specious. Twenty years since Columbus’ arrival seems scant time for a belief to be so entrenched in a given group that it becomes lore as such.

The historical time line is way off base here. For example; there exist historical evidence of the Aztecs hunting the Woolly Mammoth long before any Europeans entered the Azteca world. During your historical time line, the Aztec Emperor Montecazuma had already 10 million subjects, multiple military forces, a cabinet of religious priest and warriors, to include ruling over governors in peace without any phone’s or technology. Study the Aztec Emperor governing powers, and you will find they mirror the U.S federal and state governing bodies. The Germans were so impressed with Montecazuma’s government and how he ruled. the Germans have a lot of historical information and data about the Aztec Empire.

A further argument runs that general ideas of divine judgment, a special day of wrath and prophecies of destruction run through many religions by virtue of mutual contact of one people with another. I.e., that the prophetic idea of a special race that would come and destroy one’s own civilization may be fairly common in various religious traditions; thus the argument from uniqueness is diluted and may lose force.

All of which may well be bound up in the ongoing debate about how religions influence one another and whether Christianity can claim uniqueness among them.

What concluded and sufficed the Aztec’s deeply religious appetite, was the historical uncontested Apparition of the Virgin Mary. Upon the Virgin Mary bringing her Son Jesus to the conquered Aztec Empire. Fulfilled all of the Aztec’s prophecies. Just the reading of the blessed Virgin’s apparel revealed in Saint Juan Diego’s tilma still intact, tells the Aztec story of coming to Christ and the change or conclusion of their destiny to reach Aztlan.

Peace be with you

Some people believe Azltan was the first Aztec civilization. In some legends it is a mystical city located on around the egdes of a lake.

Erasmus777;14850566]Good day,

I wonder if anyone could assist me regarding a question that touches on church history and perhaps religious anthropology.

The theory runs that the Aztecs had in their writings a prophecy that one day invaders would come from afar to destroy them, a prophecy that they took to be fulfilled in the Conquistadors. The mystery is where this prophetic notion came from.

I am not necessarily defending the Conquistadors here. I suspect the idea would be that just as God used, eg the Babylonians, to bring judgment in 586BC on Israel, so God can use the wicked to bring judgment on another wicked people.

I have a question for you Erasmus.

Taking your “suspect” of how God works His judgement. The bible is very clear of how precious children, orphans and widows are to God and how God protects them. The bible records of how God brings down wrath on those Kings who sacrificed children and mistreated the widow.

Applying your logic here, and we know God does not change. Do you believe God is passing Judgement on societies who abort and murder Children, by “used, eg the” radical Muslims who do not abort their children?

Can you apply your same reasoning here, today?

It is my understanding the apparition of Mary in 1531 (Virgin de Guadalupe) is loaded with symbolism. More important, it was done on purpose for the natives to comprehend their demise and the beginning of Christianity. The Aztecs understood the symbolism of the Virgin’s apparition on Juan Diego’s tilma.

Erasmus777;14850566]Good day,

I wonder if anyone could assist me regarding a question that touches on church history and perhaps religious anthropology.

The theory runs that the Aztecs had in their writings a prophecy that one day invaders would come from afar to destroy them, a prophecy that they took to be fulfilled in the Conquistadors. The mystery is where this prophetic notion came from.

I am not necessarily defending the Conquistadors here. I suspect the idea would be that just as God used, eg the Babylonians, to bring judgment in 586BC on Israel, so God can use the wicked to bring judgment on another wicked people.

I have a question for you Erasmus?

Taking your “suspect” of how God works His judgement. The bible is very clear of how precious children, orphans and widows are to God and how God protects them. The bible records of how God brings down wrath on those Kings who sacrificed children and mistreated the widow.

Applying your logic here, and we know God does not change. Do you believe God is passing Judgement on societies who abort and murder Children, by “used, eg the” radical Muslims who do not abort their children?

Can you apply your same reasoning here, today?

bumped;
Tennis anyone?

First of all, it was my impression that “Apocalypto” was generally descriptive of a Mayan, not an Aztec, civilization. The language used throughout is Mayan, not Nahuatl.

It is also my impression that the tremendous significance of the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe was one of life, not death. Aztecs and other Indians in Mexico had been nearly wiped out by Eurasian diseases and really thought they were finished as a “race” and that evil gods, including Quetzalcoatl were soon to devour them entirely. Our Lady’s appearance was to them in a way that it was not to the Spanish, a message that they would not die and that they were not at the mercy of evil gods. It was about salvation, but it was also about survival. The apparition fit into the native cultural beliefs in a way nothing else could have.

But they survived as “another race”; “the race”, “la raza”; a mixed race.

I have seen it speculated that Our Lady did not say she was Our Lady of Guadalupe, but that she was “Coatlashupe”, meaning, in Nahuatl, the conquerer of Quezalcoatl. But the Spanish, knowing of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Spain, did not understand what Juan Diego was saying.

The identification of Our Lady of Guadalupe with “the race” is profound, which is why one sees so many of her images on even the cars of Mexican Hispanics.

Kind of a vague prophecy…you will be destroyed one day! I am sure the conquistadors, once they learned of it, did everything they could to encourage its fulfillment. I don’t give the conquistadors much credit for Godly intent…

one shouldn’t. But it isn’t as if the Spanish tried to wipe the Indians all out. In the conquest of the Aztecs, they had enemies, but they also had allies. Some of those Indian allies were richly rewarded, some becoming “Spanish” nobles and grandees.

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