Yesterday we looked at what Jesus of Nazareth and His disciples were doing just weeks before His crucifixion and resurrection. We also looked at some of the Old Testament prophecies that Jesus fulfilled hundreds of years later.
In today’s article we’ll look at the strength of those prophecies and how Jesus fulfilled them.
Mathematical Probability That Jesus Is The Messiah
Jesus of Nazareth told His disciples “all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished” (Luke 18:31). The mathematical/statistical probability that one person would fulfill every prophecy concerning the Son of Man in the Old Testament is beyond our ability to comprehend. Here are some examples to help us see how amazing the Lord’s statement was to the disciples just weeks before His death and resurrection.
More than 50 years ago the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship at Pasadena City College in Pasadena, California sponsored a class in Christian evidences. More than 600 students participated and the results of their findings were studied and approved by experts in mathematics and statistics. Peter Stoner, a professor of mathematics and astronomy, evaluated the findings and changed some to make them even more conservative. Here’s what the students discovered.
Concerning the prophecy in Micah that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem – the students asked – “One man in how many, the world over, has been born in Bethlehem?” Based on the population of the world and Bethlehem between Micah’s prophecy and the birth of Christ, the students estimated the mathematical probability would be one man in 2.8 x 105 was born in Bethlehem. That’s 280,000 men.
If we poured 280,000 silver dollars into a large room – drew a cross on one of the dollars – and led a blindfolded man into that room to select one of the dollars – what are the chances he would pick up the dollar with the cross drawn on it? 1 in 280,000.
Next, the students took Micah’s prophecy and added seven other prophecies to it – for a total of eight prophecies about Messiah. Those seven other prophecies were Malachi 3:1, Zechariah 9:9, Zechariah 13:6, Zechariah 13:12, Zechariah 11:13, Isaiah 53:7, and Psalm 22:16. None of them included prophecies concerning the Virgin Birth – since that is truly impossible in the natural world.
What is the chance that one person could fulfill all eight prophecies? 1 in 10^17. That’s a 1 followed by 17 zeroes! 100,000,000,000,000,000. It is estimated that if we were to pour that many silver dollars on the state of Texas, it would cover the state two feet deep. If we added a silver dollar with the cross drawn on it and put it in the mix of coins before we poured them across the State of Texas, then sent our blindfolded friend into the state and asked him to walk as far as he wanted to go, then pick up one coin – what are the chances he would find the coin with the cross? 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.
Next, the math students doubled the number of prophecies to 16 – without any being the Virgin Birth. The chances of one person fulfilling those 16 Messianic prophecies increased to 1 in 10^45. That’s a 1 followed by 45 zeroes. Now we have silver dollars that would cover a space in all directions 30 times the distance of the earth to the sun. That’s 30 x 93,000,000 miles in all directions!
The Math students then tripled the number to 48 prophecies – again without the Virgin Birth included. They found that the mathematical probability that one man could fulfill 48 Messianic prophecies was 1 in 10^157. That’s a 1 followed by 157 zeroes. Now we have silver dollars filling galaxies! What is the chance that our blindfolded man could find the one silver dollar marked with a cross? 1 in 10^157.
Keep in mind that we’ve only gone up to 48 prophecies about the Messiah. There are hundreds of Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament. The statistical probability of one man fulfilling every Messianic prophecy – except for the prophecy of the Virgin Birth – would be a 1 followed by thousands of zeroes. We would have silver dollars filling the universe! The possibility that a blindfolded person would find the marked coin could truly be called statistically impossible. We know there is only one way Jesus fulfilled every Messianic prophecy – He is the Eternal Son of God.
Oh, and as soon as we include the prophecy about the Virgin Birth – we do have the impossible. It would be a true miracle of God. When God is involved – the chances are always 1 in 1. God is always right!
Two weeks until Easter – what does it mean to you?
#1 – You can trust the faith you have in Jesus Christ. It is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. The Greek word for “substance” (hupostasis) means “confidence.” The word for “evidence” (elegchos) means “proof, that which is tested, reproof, reprove, rebuke, certain persuasion, leading to conviction.” The proof of our faith is so powerful that it is overwhelming!
#2 – You can depend on God to do everything He promises. For a Christian, that includes the promise that we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of God, “who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” God will do everything He promised to do! Jesus is who He said He is – did what He said He would do – and will do what He says He will do. We can depend on God in every area of our life.
#3 – You can know the power of God in your life. The same power that forgave sins on the Cross and raised Jesus from the grave is operating in you! You wonder if you can go on? You can in the power of God! You don’t know if you can forgive any longer? You can in the power of God! You don’t know if you can do what God asks you to do? You can in the power of God!
We invite you to watch this video about how Jesus fulfilled Messianic prophecies.
Rejoice! Jesus is Risen!!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.