Probability of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy |
The focus of this topic is to look at the probability of Christ fulfilling the prophecies in the Old Testament.
So, what is probability? Probability, also known as “odds“, is a branch of mathmematics that measures the likelihood that a given event will occur. To begin, let’s look at some interesting “odds”:
- Being struck by lightning in a year = 7 x 10^{5} or 1 in 700,000
- Being killed by lightning in a year = 2 x 10^{6} or 1 in 2,000,000
- Becoming president = 1 x 10^{7} or 1 in 10,000,000
- A meteorite landing on your house = 1.8 x 10^{14} or 1 in 180,000,000,000,000
- You will eventually die = 1 in 1
As you can see, the probability of being struck or killed by lightning, becoming president, or having a meteorite land on your house, progressively increases, given the event; however, someone somewhere will be that 1 in 10^{x}, and that someone could be you.
Now, let’s look at one of the most amazing probability studies to be conducted. Dr. Peter Stoner, author of Science Speaks, applied the principle of probability, which states that if the chance of one thing happening is “1 in M”, and the chance of another independent thing happening is “1 in N”, then the chance that they shall both happen is “1 in M x N”, as it pertains to fulfillment of Biblical prophecies.
The Bible is full of prophecies, either events that have happened or events that will happen in the future. In Science Speaks, Dr. Stoner looks at the probability that one man, Jesus Christ, could have fulfilled even 8 of the 300 prophecies that pertain to Him in the Bible. Let’s look at these eight prophecies from the Old Testament pertaining to Christ, their fulfillment by Christ in the New Testament, the probability of one man fulfilling each prophecy, and the sum of one man fulfilling all eight prophecies. Keep in mind, the time span between the prophecies of the Old Testament and the New Testament fulfillment is hundreds, even thousands of years.
To answer the question what is the probability of one man fulfilling all eight prophecies, the principal of probability is applied. Therefore, multiplying all eight probabilities together (1 times 2.8 x 10^{5} x 10^{3} x 10^{2} x 10^{3} x 10^{3} x 10^{5} x 10^{3} x 10^{4}) gives us 2.8 x 10^{28}, or for simplicity sake 1 x 10^{28} or 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Given this and the time span between the writings of the Old Testament and the fulfillment by Christ in the New Testament, the prophecies were either given to the prophets by God, or the prophets just wrote them down as they thought they should be. With Christ fulfilling all eight prophecies, what are the odds the prophets were just guessing?
Old Testament Prophecy | New Testament Fulfillment | Probability |
Christ to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) |
And Herod asked where Christ had been born … they answered Bethlehem (Matt 2:4-6) |
2.8 x 10^{5} or 1 in 280,000 |
Forerunner of Christ (Malachi 3:1) |
John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ (Mark 1:2-8) |
1 x 10^{3} or 1 in 1,000 |
Christ to enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey (Zech 9:9) |
Christ enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey (Matt 21:4-11) |
1 x 10^{2} or 1 in 100 |
Christ to be betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9) |
Judas betrayed Jesus (Luke 22:21) |
1 x 10^{3} or 1 in 1,000 |
Christ to be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zech 11:12) |
Judas sold out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver (Matt 26:15) |
1 x 10^{3} or 1 in 1,000 |
30 pieces of silver casted down and used to buy a potter’s field (Zech 11:13) |
30 pieces of silver used to buy a potter’s field (Matt 27:3-10) |
1 x 10^{5} or 1 in 100,000 |
Although innocent, Christ kept silent when on trial (Isaiah 53:7) |
Jesus kept silent when questioned (Mark 14:60-61) |
1 x 10^{3} or 1 in 1,000 |
Christ crucified (Psalm 22:16) |
Jesus was crucified (John 19:17, 18) |
1 x 10^{4} or 1 in 10,000 |
Stoner claims that many silver dollars would be enough to cover the face of the entire state of Texas two feet deep.
Texas is a very big state.
Who in his right mind would suppose that a blindfolded man, heading out of Dallas by foot in any direction, would be able, on his very first attempt, to pick up one specifically mark
ed silver dollar out of 100, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000?
John 13:19
Jesus said “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am.
Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”