Prophecies Fulfilled

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"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." - 1 Thessalonians 5:21

God wants you to know that He is real and is who He says He is. The saved know that He is real by the changes in their life and the Holy Spirit that dwells within them. But what about an agnostic that says, 'Sure I believe a higher power created the world, but why should I believe it is your God.'?

One of the best ways to prove the validity of the Bible is to look at what was prophesied in the Bible and see if it came true, and consider just how difficult was the prophecy.

Below is a short summary of three ten-minute videos from Chuck Missler titled "What Are The Odds Statistically: Jesus/Prophecy" in which he calculates the probabilities of a few of the 300 Old Testament prophecies about Jesus that were fulfilled in the New Testament. Links to the videos are available at the end of the article in the footnotes.

The Old Testament (The Tenach) were translated into Greek by 270 BC. The process began around 285 BC when Ptolemy II Philadelphus funded 70 scholars to translate the Hebrew scriptures into Greek. This is important because as a matter of history we have copies of that work product around three centuries before the birth of Jesus. This is a matter of secular record. They contain over 300 prophecies detailing the coming Messiah that were fulfilled.

Here is a sample of the prophecies that are quoted in the new testament as being fulfilled:
  • Jesus was to come from the David's lineage: 2 Sam 7:12-16; Psa 89:3-4, 110:1, 132:11; Isa 96:6-7, 11:1;
  • He would be born of a virgin: Isa 7:14;
  • He would be born in Bethlehem: Mic 5:2;
  • He would sojourn in Egypt: Hos 11:1;
  • He would live in Galilee: Isa 9:1-2;
  • He would live in Nazareth: Isa 11:1;
  • To be announced by an Elijah-like herald: Isa 40:3-5; Mal 3:1, 4:5;
  • He would occasion massacre of Bethlehem's children: Gen 35:19-20; Jer 31:15;
  • He would proclaim a Jubilee to the word: Isa 58:6; 61:1;
  • His mission would include the Gentiles: Isa 42:1-4;
  • His ministry would be one of healing: Isa 53:4;
  • He would teach through parables: Isa 6:9-10; Psa 78:2;
  • He would be disbelieved, rejected by rulers: Psa 69:4, 118:22; Isa 6:10, 29:13, 53:1;
  • He would make a triumphal entry into Jerusalem: Zech 9:9; Psa 118:26;
  • Betrayed by friend for 30 pieces of silver: Zech 11:1-13; Psa 41:9;
  • He would be like a smitten shepherd: Zech 13:7;
  • He would be given vinegar and gall Psa 69:21;
  • They would cast lots for his garments: Psa 22:18;
  • His side would be pierced: Zech 12:10; Psa 22:16;
  • Not a bone would be broken: Ex 12:46; Num 9:12; Psa 34:20;
  • He would die among malefactors: Isa 53:9-12;
  • His dying words foretold: Psa 22:1, 31:5;
  • He would be buried by a rich man: Isa 53:9;
  • He would rise from the dead on the 3rd day: Gen 22:4; Psa 16:10-11; Jon 1:7; Hos 6:2;
  • Resurrection followed by destruction of Jerusalem: Dan 9:26, 11:31, 12:1-11

Below is more details on eight of the above fulfilled prophecies:

1. Micah 5:2 - Probability of being born in Bethlehem

"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."

In this verse it is prophesied that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem. Dr. Missler calculates the probability of that happening as such:

Bethlehem has a population of less that 7,000, pretty much unchanged throughout history. Using round, conservative numbers. Assuming the average population of Bethlehem over the last 2000 years was 2,000 and the average population of the earth over the same period was 1,000,000,000 (one billion). Using round numbers 104/109=1:105 or 1:100,000 of someone randomly being born in Bethlehem.

2. Zechariah 9:9 - Probability of presenting themselves as a king riding a donkey

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass."

How many people have presented themselves as being the king of Jerusalem riding a donkey? In fact no one really knows, but to be highly conservative, let's say 1:100.

3. Zechariah 11:12 - Probability of being betrayed for exactly 30 pieces of silver

"And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver."

How many people throughout history have been betrayed for exactly 30 pieces of silver? Again, no one really knows, but to be highly conservative, let's say 1:1,000.

4. Zechariah 11:13 - Probability of a transaction in the Temple where Potter ended up with the money

"And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord."

Matthew 27:3-8, "3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. 5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. 6 And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. 7 And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. 8 Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day."

Note that in Zechariah 11:13:
- The price is 30 pieces of silver
- Location of the transaction: House of the Lord (Temple)
- Who ends up with the money? The potter (the person that owns the field)

Let's conservatively estimate the probability of all this happening as 1:100,000.

5. Zechariah 13:6 - Probability of wounded in their hand in the house of their friends

"And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends."

What does the house of my friends mean? Consider Thomas' unbelief:

"25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing." John 20:25-27

What wounded Jesus in Zechariah 13:6 was not the nails, but was Thomas' unbelief.

What is the probability of someone being wounded in their hand in the house of their friends? Again, going conservatively, let's say 1:1000.

6. Isaiah 53:7 - Probability of innocent person charged with a capital crime not defending themself

"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth."

Jesus went through six trials that night, three Jewish and three Roman. He made no defense. What is the probability of a prisoner charged with a capital crime, make no defense even though the person is innocent. Again, let's conservatively estimate it at 1:1000.

7. Isaiah 53:9 - Probability of dying with the wicked bad buried with the rich

"And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth."

How many died with the wicked, yet were buried with the rich? Let's conservatively estimate it at 1:1000 once again.

8. Psalm 22:16 - Probability of being killed by having their hands and feet pierced

"For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet."

This was written 800 years before the death of Jesus and 700 years before crucifixion was invented. In Israel the form of capital punishment was stoning. Crucifixion was invented by the Persian in 70 B.C. How many people have been killed by having their hands and feet pierced? Estimating this at 1:10,000 is conservative.

Summary of the 8 Prophecies

Micah 5:2  Born in Bethlehem  1:100,000
Zech. 9:9 King on a donkey  1:100
Zech. 11:12  30 pieces of silver   1:1000
Zech. 11:13  Temple, Potter, etc.  1:100,000
Zech. 13:6 Wounds in hand  1:1000
Isaiah 53:7 No defense; innocent  1:1000
Isaiah 53:9  Died with wicked,
buried with rich
Psalm 22:16  Crucified   1:10,000

These are cautious estimated, meaning the events are even more rare than what is listed above. The next question is what is the probability that particular person would fulfill all eight of these? The way to get the composite probability is to multiply all the individual probabilities. Doing so the answer is 1:1028. To be correct we need to divide this by the total population for the last 2,000 years. As a rough estimate, let's use 100 billion (1011):

1028 / 1011 = 1017

Said another way there is one chance in 100,000,000,000,000,000 that one person over the last 2,000 years would fulfill all eight prophecies. How big is 1017? Let's consider the following illustration. To fill a bucket with 1017 silver dollars the bucket would have to be the size of Texas, and it would be 2 feet deep. The chance of fulfilling those eight prophecies would be the same as marking one silver dollar with nail polish, dropping it into the Texas-sized bucket, mixing it up so it could be anywhere then blindfolded reaching in and pulling out the marked silver dollar on the first try. That is obviously very unlikely.

That is only using 8 of the 300 prophecies. Let's add eight more prophecies. The next eight prophecies would be more specific, thus less likely to occur than the previous eight. However, for simplicity's sake let's assume the next eight are no less likely than the first eight presented. Assuming there is no decreases in likelihoods,

(1028 first eight x 1028 second eight) / 1011 population = 1045

How big of a bucket would we need for 1045 silver dollars? If we make a ball of silver dollars that is 30 times the distance of the earth to the sun, it would contain 1045 silver dollars. The chance of fulfilling those 16 prophecies would be the same as marking one silver dollar with nail polish, dropping it into the enormous ball of silver dollars, mixing it up so it could be anywhere then blindfolded reaching in and pulling out the marked silver dollar on the first try. That is inconceivable unlikely, and that is only using 16 of the 300 prophecies.

I think you get the idea, but if you want to see how absurd this gets as the number of prophecies grows, Chuck Misler in the third video below takes the number of prophecies up to 48. As a spoiler, silver dollars are too large so he has to use something MUCH smaller. Keep in mind he is assuming the later prophecies are equally likely as the first "easier" eight prophecies.

Just including one prophecy such as "He would rise from the dead on the 3rd day" and how improbable that would be would totally skew the probability. Then combine that with "Resurrection followed by destruction of Jerusalem" and these two alone demonstrates the reality of Jesus Christ when considering the prophecies were made hundreds of years before Jesus was born.

Some might say Jesus faked all 300 prophecies or they were lied about, including his death and resurrection, but his life cannot be disputed given the number of witnesses and secular historians that documented his life.

Once you settle in your mind the God of the Bible is real, you can the proceed to the next step, salvation. If you think you are already saved, then I recommend you take the Salvation Test, just to make sure. Otherwise, you can learn how to be saved here.

Chuck Missler: What Are The Odds Statistically: Jesus/Prophecy (1 of 3)
Chuck Missler: What Are The Odds Statistically: Jesus/Prophecy (2 of 3)
Chuck Missler: What Are The Odds Statistically: Jesus/Prophecy (3 of 3)
The Story of the Septuagint Bible and the Name Behind It [Backup]