Sep 21, 2010
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Prophecies about the Messiah: what are the odds?

               Prophecies of the Messiah


According to Old Testament, the Jewish prophets predicted the God would one day become a man, the Messiah, also called Emmanuel which means “God with us”.


There are many prophecies predicting what the God-man would be like, where He would be born, what He would go through.


Only an all-knowing God could predict all of these prophecies without error, and as we will see, they have all come true hundreds and thousands of years after predicted.


ISA 46:8-11

8 "Remember this, and be assured;

Recall it to mind, you transgressors.

9 "Remember the former things long past,

For I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and there is no one like Me,

10 Declaring the end from the beginning

And from ancient times things which have not been done,

Saying,'My purpose will be established,

And I will accomplish all My good pleasure';

11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,

The man of My purpose from a far country.

Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass.

I have planned it, surely I will do it.


Over one quarter of the Bible talks about the future and predictions.


The Bible dares to predict future events in great detail.


Other religious books don’t have detailed prophecies, because it’s impossible to do so unless you are God.


The Bible has hundreds of incredibly accurate prophecies about many different men and events over thousands of years.


This is God’s signature on the Bible; verification of the God-breathed Word of God.


This tells us in the original language God inspired the book, 1TI 3:16.


God sets forth a challenge to false prophets to tell the future, and the challenge has remained for 2500 years.


ISA 41:21-23

21 "Present your case," the LORD says.

"Bring forward your strong arguments,"

The King of Jacob says.

22 Let them bring forth and declare to us what is going to take place;

As for the former events, declare what they were,

That we may consider them, and know their outcome;

Or announce to us what is coming.

23 Declare the things that are going to come afterward,

That we may know that you are gods;



The laws of mathematical probability:

Statistical theory shows if the probability of one event occurring is one in five and of another event is one in ten, then the probability of both events being fulfilled in sequence is 1 in 5x10 = 1 in 50.

You have on you, five ones, so there is a 1 in 5 chance you will give me either 1,2,3,4,or 5 dollars. 


Consider one area of prophecy and its fulfillment; the sending of the Messiah.


There are 3 specific predictions made by 3 different prophets at 3 different times.


1.      The Bible teaches the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah; one of the 12 tribes descended from Jacob. 


GEN 49:10

"The scepter shall not depart from Judah,

Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,

Until Shiloh (Messiah) comes,

And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”


HEB 7:14 tells us the Lord is descended from Judah, LUK 3:23-34.

What is the probability?  1 in 12 tribes.  OK



2.      The Bible predicts the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

MIC 5:2

"But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

Too little to be among the clans of Judah,

From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.

His goings forth are from long ago,

From the days of eternity."


This was fulfilled in Jesus in the gospel of Matthew, and history also supports Jesus being born in Bethlehem.


Matt 2:1

                   Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king



Now what is the probability of this?  Conservatively 1 in 200 cities in Judea.


3.      He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. Zech 11:12, MAT 26:15


Written hundreds of years before, it occurred with the Lord.


Let’s say probability is 1 in 100, there could have been any number of pieces of silver, or none at all.


So we have 3 probabilities

1 in 12 x 200 x 100 = 1 chance in 240,000 that this one man could fulfill just these 3 prophecies.


If you believe the Lord Jesus arranged these events on his own, then look at the difficulty of arranging who His ancestors would be, where He would be born, and the exact price of His betrayal!


Now there are 48 specific prophecies in the OT that point to Jesus Christ being the Messiah.


Let’s cover 11 Messianic prophecies and then the staggering odds of fulfilling them all in one person.


1.      The Messiah born in Bethlehem.  Micah 5:2. 

Probability 1 in 200.


2.      He would be preceded by a messenger. 

ISA 40:3

Probability 1 in 20?  He could have been said to be preceded by anything, or nothing. 

ISA 40:3

A voice is calling, "Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness;

Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.


Fulfilled in Matt 3:1-3

3:1 Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, 2 "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 3 For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet, saying,

"The voice of one crying in the wilderness,

'Make ready the way of the Lord,

Make His paths straight!'"


3.      He would enter Jerusalem on a colt.  He could have entered many different ways, even planes and cars!  This was written hundreds of years before Christ was born.

Probability 1 in 50?

Zech 9:9

9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!

Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!

Behold, your king is coming to you;

He is just and endowed with salvation,

Humble, and mounted on a donkey,

Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.


Fulfilled in Luke 19:33-38

33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, "Why are you untying the colt?" 34 And they said, "The Lord has need of it." 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and they threw their garments on the colt, and put Jesus on it. 36 And as He was going, they were spreading their garments in the road. 37 And as He was now approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, 38 saying,

"Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord;

Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"


4.      He would be betrayed by a friend. 

Probability 1in 10?  He could have been betrayed by an enemy, mother in law, ruler, daughter, son….

Ps 41:9

Even my close friend, in whom I trusted,

Who ate my bread,

Has lifted up his heel against me.


Fulfilled in John 13:18 when Jesus said:

"I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, 'He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.'


1 in 10 is conservative.


5.      He would have His hands and feet pierced. 

Probability 1 in 100?  He could have been killed by guns, electric chair, stoning, injection, off a cliff…..

And when this prophecy was written in the book of Psalms 1000 years before Christ, crucifixion was not even invented yet as a means of capital punishment.

Ask some of your friends to deny the odds of what we are noting.

Ps 22:16

For dogs have surrounded me;

A band of evildoers has encompassed me;

They pierced my hands and my feet.


Fulfilled in Luke 23:33

And when they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.

Roman crucifixion used nails or spikes.  But when the book of Psalms was written 10 centuries before Christ, crucifixion wasn’t even invented yet.


6.      He would be wounded by His enemies and whipped by them. 

Probability 1 in 25?

And He was innocent. Not a serial killer!

ISA 53:5

But He was pierced through for our transgressions,

He was crushed for our iniquities;

The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,

And by His scourging we are healed.


Fulfilled in Matt 27:26

Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he delivered Him to be crucified.


7.      He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. 

Probability 1 in 100?

Zech 11:12-13

12 And I said to them, "If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!" So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages. 13 Then the LORD said to me, "Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them." So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD.


Fulfilled in Matt 26:14-15

14 Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, 15 and said, "What are you willing to give me to deliver Him up to you?" And they weighed out to him thirty pieces of silver.

Just a coincidence. Right?

It makes more sense that the earth is flat than for one man to fulfill all these prophecies hundreds and thousands of years later!

Unless an all-knowing God wrote the Bible.


8.      He will be spit upon and beaten. 

Probability 1 in 10?  How many criminals do you know are spit on and beaten when they go to trial?

ISA 50:6

I gave My back to those who strike Me,

And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard;

I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.


Fulfilled in Matt 26:67

Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him,

Another coincidence?


9.      He would have His betrayal money thrown in the Temple and given for a potter’s field. 

Probability 1 in 200?

There could have been many different amounts and many different uses for the money!

Zech 11:13

13 Then the LORD said to me, "Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them." So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD.

Fulfilled in Matt 27:3-7

3 Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." But they said, "What is that to us? See to that yourself!" 5 And he threw the pieces of silver into the sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. 6 And the chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, "It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood." 7 And they counseled together and with the money bought the Potter's Field as a burial place for strangers.


Wow.  This was also predicted hundreds of years before Jesus was born.


10.  He would be silent before His accusers.  What are the odds of that?  None of us could be silent especially if we were innocent!  Right?!   

Probability 1 in 100?

ISA 53:7

7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,

Yet He did not open His mouth;

Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,

And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,

So He did not open His mouth.


Fulfilled in Matt 27:12-14

12 And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He made no answer. 13 Then Pilate said to Him, "Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?" 14 And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so that the governor was quite amazed.


11.   He would be crucified with thieves! 

Probability 1 in 100?

ISA 53:12

Because He poured out Himself to death,

And was numbered with the transgressors;

Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,

And interceded for the transgressors.


Fulfilled in Mark 15:27-28

27 And they crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left. 28[And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "And He was numbered with transgressors."]


He interceded for them, saying to the thief who believed in Him that today he would be with Him in paradise.


Now with the mathematical law of probability you have to multiply the odds to get the combined odds of all these things coming true, never mind all of them being fulfilled by one Person in human history.


Grab a calculator: multiply 200x20x50x10x100x25x100x10x200x100x100.


The answer is 1 chance in 10 to the 19th power.  1 in 10 with 19 zeros, which is 1 in 10 billion x a billion that one person could fulfill just these 11 prophecies!

Here is what it looks like:  1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000,000.  whatever number that is!


For it to be by chance, we would have to say it’s impossible.


We have been conservative, such as Bethlehem actually being 1 in 1000 towns with names to them.


He would be crucified, written hundreds of years before the Roman empire even existed, before Crucifixion was even a means of capital punishment.


With the most conservative probabilities of these things happening to the Messiah, we would have to say it’s not possible.


There is a man who became a believer in Jesus Christ because he was into mathematics, and he saw the staggering prophecies and realized the impossibility of them all coming true.


After studying just 22 prophecies, he used the analogy of taking a little common pin and flying over the world and dropping it somewhere into the world.


Then you take a blind man and spin him around and drop him somewhere on the earth.  Then you tell him he has one chance to bend down and pick up that little common pin that’s on the earth somewhere.


He says that’s the probability of one man fulfilling 20 prophecies.


You don’t think you have a supernatural book before you, that only a God with all knowledge could direct its writing?


We have listed only 11 of the 48 major prophecies given about the promised Messiah.


And the odds of those 11 occurring is 1 in 10 billion x a billion.


The Bible is like no other religious book.  It is true and supernatural and you had better look into what else this book says about life and salvation!


ISA 46:8-11

8 "Remember this, and be assured;

Recall it to mind, you transgressors.

9 "Remember the former things long past,

For I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and there is no one like Me,

                   10 Declaring the end from the beginning

And from ancient times things which have not been done,

Saying,'My purpose will be established,

And I will accomplish all My good pleasure';

11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,

The man of My purpose from a far country.

Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass.

I have planned it, surely I will do it.


It is indeed the Word of God.


John 1:1

1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God

John 1:14

14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.


And by simple faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we accept His free gift of salvation.  ROM 6:23

He purchased our salvation on the Cross with God’s own blood. Acts 20:28.

So now we are set free from the slave market of sin we were born into.  We have been redeemed, or purchased, and set free.


“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved!”  Acts 16:31

“For God so loved the world that He gave His uniquely born Son, that whoever believes in Him shall never perish, but has eternal life!”  JOH 3:16

"But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
ROM 10:8-11 NIV

Now is the acceptable time.  Now is the day of salvation.  If you haven’t trusted Christ as your Lord and Savior, the promised Messiah, do so now before your life is over!

Repent before God; you are a sinner and you need a Savior!

If you make the decision to believe in Him, God will save you, and reserve a place for you in heaven forever and ever.

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