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D.C. Collier: Fulfilled Messianic Prophecies Prove Bible’s Divine Authorship

Continuing last week’s theme, we now come to a collection of the most startling prophecies ever conveyed to mankind. The odds against any individual person fulfilling these prophecies are simply staggering.

In his book, Is the Bible Really a Message from God?, author Ralph Muncaster wrote:

“If someone told you he could pick the winning lottery number, and then did, you might be impressed. Odds are maybe 1 in 10 million, which equals 1 in 10 to the 7th power. Does that prove the person has divine knowledge? Maybe and maybe not, though it is very impressive.

“Now suppose he did it twice in a row. That would be one chance in 100 trillion, or 1 in 10 to the 14th power. It suddenly would seem obvious he had “special” information.

“From a practical standpoint, scientists have determined that anything beyond one chance in 10 to the 50th power is beyond reason — essentially impossible or absurd, like someone picking the lottery seven times in a row — unless there is ‘special’ knowledge involved.

“Odds far more staggering than this describe prophecies and God’s fingerprints in the Bible.”1

Connecting the Dots

Muncaster went on to illustrate this with the prophecies regarding Israel’s Messiah, their long-anticipated deliverer, savior and king. There are 322 prophecies regarding Messiah in the Old Testament. The following describes the Messiah using only the Old Testament as the source:

The Messiah will descend from Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Jesse and King David. He will be born in the city of Bethlehem in the county of Ephrathah when a bright star appears. It will be a miraculous virgin birth.

The Messiah will be unique, having pre-existed his birth. He will perform many miracles: calming the sea and causing the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk and the mute to talk.

He will be referred to in many ways including God with us, wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father and prince of peace. One day he will rule over everything — all nations will bow down to him.

The Messiah, however, will come to save mankind. He will become man’s sin offering and present himself to Jerusalem as both the anointed king and the Passover lamb. This will occur exactly 173,880 days after the decree of Artexerxes to rebuild both Jerusalem and the temple.

So four days before Passover, the Messiah will present himself to a rejoicing Jerusalem riding on a donkey. But then he will suffer greatly. He will be rejected by many, including his friends. He will be betrayed by a friend for 30 pieces of silver. Later that money will be thrown on the floor of the temple and will eventually go to a potter.

At his trial, he will not defend himself. He will say nothing except as required by law. Israel will reject him.

The Messiah will be taken to a mountaintop identified by Abraham as “the Lord will provide.” There he will be crucified with his hands and feet pierced.

His enemies will encircle him, mocking him, and will cast lots for his clothing. He will call to God asking why he was “forsaken.” He will be given gall and wine. He will die with thieves. But unlike the thieves, none of his bones will be broken. His heart will fail ... as indicated by blood and water spilling out when he is pierced with a spear.

He will be buried in a rich man’s grave. In three days he will rise from the dead.

(Note: All scripture references for the above section are located at the end of this article.2)

For most people raised in our western culture, especially schoolchildren, the above “story” will seem quite familiar because we’ve heard the New Testament account of Jesus Christ’s birth, life and death repeatedly, particularly during the holiday season.

But don’t miss the point here — the above prophecies were issued many centuries before the New Testament was written and before Christ’s time.

What Are the Odds?

At this point, skeptics usually accuse the New Testament writers of knitting together a backdated account of Jesus’ life to fit the Old Testament prophecies. To that, Muncaster comments,

“The estimated odds of just these 48 prophecies being fulfilled in the life of one man have been calculated as one in 10 to the 157th power. This would be equivalent to winning 22 lotteries in a row!”

In other words, to put forward any Messianic contender other than the genuine article, Christ’s followers would have had to manufacture out of thin air a string of credentials that the Jewish authorities could easily have discredited. That would have hastened the demise of the fledgling Christian movement, to the delight of Christ’s religious opponents.

But as the saying goes, “no one could lay a glove on him.” The prophecies were a matter of historical record, contained within the very scriptures held as sacred and inviolable by Jesus’ sworn enemies.

Their fulfillment in the life of Jesus was a matter of extra-biblical Jewish and Roman record — place of birth, ancestry, ministry, miracles, death, burial, resurrection — all beyond anyone’s ability to manipulate or fabricate. No one’s life but that of the true Messiah had a prayer of fulfilling those highly specific prognostications.

To any open and reasonable mind, the conclusion remains unavoidable. Jesus Christ is Israel’s long-promised Messiah. And it was all written down in the Bible, long before any of it came to pass!

D.C. Collier is a Bible teacher, discipleship mentor and writer focused on Christian apologetics. A mechanical engineer and Internet entrepreneur, he is the author of My Origin, My Destiny, a book focused on Christianity’s basic “value proposition.” Click here for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

1. Muncaster, Ralph O. Is the Bible Really a Message from God? Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2000. Print.

2. Genesis 9, 10; Genesis 22:18; Genesis 26:2–4; Genesis 28:14; Genesis 49:10; Isaiah 11:1–5; 2 Samuel 7:11–16; Micah 5:2; Numbers 24:17; Isaiah 7:14; Psalm 107:29; Isaiah 35:4–6; Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 45:23, Psalm 22; Isaiah 53; Zechariah 9:9; Daniel 9:20–27; Psalm 41:9; Zechariah 11:12, 13; Isaiah 8:14; Genesis 22; Psalm 69:20–22; Zechariah 12:10

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