Prophecy – The Numbers Don’t Lie

Photo by Ulner at Photoxpress

Christianity is not a blind faith. It’s supported by a good deal of evidence. Last time, I laid out some of the reasons I believe Jesus truly is the Son of God. Here’s another big one: 300+ prophecies. I’ve found a range of actual numbers, from 365-456, as given by different scholars and organizations. I’ve read many of them for myself, and I admit some can get pretty obscure, but the fact remains, there are at least 365 prophecies that everybody agrees on. That’s a pretty impressive number.

Let’s back up. Messianic prophecies were given throughout the Old Testament so we would recognize the Messiah when he came. Some told what he would do, some described his birth, others revealed what would happen to him at the hands of others. Many are details that could in no way be manipulated by a counterfeit. And all of them were foretold between 400 and 1,000 years before Christ was born. Four hundred years! That’s like making a predictions about the governor of Michigan in 2512!

How can we know they were written that long ago? Maybe someone just wrote them down after-the-fact. Three words: Dead Sea Scrolls. These ancient documents found in the 1940’s and 50’s are widely believed to date back two centuries before Christ’s birth. They not only verify the accuracy of biblical transcription, but they also prove the Messianic prophecies were written long before Jesus was actually born.

Now the really cool part. Jesus fulfilled them all! That adds some veracity to the claims he made about Himself, doesn’t it?

I’m not going to get into the chapter and verse of individual prophecies. I’ll let you look them up for yourself. There are some excellent websites that present these much better than I could. Here’s one, and here’s another. I am, however, going to relate an astounding statistic concerning the scientific probability that Jesus could fulfill multiple prophecies.

Peter Stoner, Professor Emeritus of Science at Westmont College, with the help of 600 students, worked out the probability that one man could fulfill only eight prophecies. His numbers were widely reviewed by scientists and skeptics alike and found to be sound. The chance he came up with? One in 10 to the 17th power. That’s a one with seventeen zeros. To help us wrap our brains around that figure, he provided this analogy:

“Suppose that we take 10^17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They’ll cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would’ve had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote them in their own wisdom.”

You have to admit, those are pretty incredible odds. Almost hints at some intelligent choreography, doesn’t it?

The reason why prophecy is an indication of the divine authorship of the Scriptures, and hence a testimony to the trustworthiness of the Message of the Scriptures, is because of the minute probability of fulfillment. – David Williams, mathematician


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